Pros / You can feel good about purchasing from an environmentally conscious company.
Cons / It scored low on our inventory tests.
Verdict / TomatoInk’s updated site and its attachment to environmental nonprofits makes this an attractive option for purchasing cartridges despite a fairly limited inventory.
Companies that retail discount ink cartridges often encourage their users to recycle their original equipment manufacturer (OEM) cartridges, but TomatoInk takes it a step further by partnering with OneTreePlanted.org, which plants a tree for every purchase you make on the site. TomatoInk reminds their users that using refilled discount ink cartridges reduces their carbon footprint.
In addition to encouraging environmental responsibility, TomatoInk has a lot of the features we look for in a discount ink cartridge store. School and business accounts get a dedicated account manager and 10 percent off the first order. Applying for such an account requires faxing documents, and online support for this process is scant.
Organization accounts can use a line of credit or a purchase order to pay for items. Group and individual buyers alike have access to coupons and bulk ordering discounts.
While other sites have a lower total order threshold to qualify for free shipping, TomatoInk.com matches 4inkjets’ (our top pick) requirements of $50. If you subscribe to the newsletter, you can qualify for an even lower free shipping amount – only $35 – as well as qualify for additional discounts.
The products you buy have a standard one-year warranty. Like many other sites we reviewed, you’ll need to get an RMA (return merchandise authorization) before sending back a product. If you return an unopened product within 10 days of delivery, you can get a complete refund, shipping and all. If you ordered the wrong cartridge, you can exchange it for store credit or get a refund minus a 15 percent restocking fee.
The company ships to the United States, its territories and Canada. The standard shipping fee is the same that you’ll find on other sites, $3.99, but you can also get expedited shipping – three-day, two-day or overnight – for a higher price.
Although user-friendly, the site lacks the broad inventory of some of its competitors. Only 19 percent of the popular ink products we searched for popped up. And TomatoInk has fewer than half of the brands we found on the sites of our top picks: 4inkjets, InkCartridges and 123inkjets.
Partly because of TomatoInk’s environmental mission, it doesn’t sell OEM cartridges. The store does retail cables and paper, however.
The payment options are a bit limited. The most up-to-date checkout methods, such as Amazon and social media accounts, are missing. But the site does have superior customer service with a lot of different ways to connect with support. You can troubleshoot problems with your cartridge directly on the site as well as find recycling instructions for empty cartridges.
We like the environmental approach to discount ink cartridges, and the site’s customer support seems to be in line with its easy-to-use interface. But we’d like to see a larger inventory from the company. If you can find the products you’re looking for, we think TomatoInk is a solid option for purchasing discount ink cartridges.