This is a question that we come across all the time, and unfortunately there is no simple answer!
The majority of ccartridges will have a used by/ best before date that is one-and-a-half to two years after the manufacturing date. This is because over time, exposure to air and water evaporation can cause changes to the ink which can start affecting quality. That said, most of the time this date is only there to serve as a guide and the cartridge will still be good to use well after the date given if it has been stored correctly.
However there are exceptions depending on the brand that you are buying. For example, genuine Canon cartridges have no use by dates at all, as they claim their cartridges should last indefinitely. HP however, has a small percentage of cartridges that will simply stop working once they hit their expiry date. Some of these have an override, some do not! In other words, be careful if you are buying in bulk, or stocking up!
So how do you store your cartridges to ensure they last? It is important to ensure that they are kept in their packaging, at room temperature, and preferably in a dark place (IMPORTANT! Cartridges should NEVER be left in direct sunlight, or in excessive heat, such as in a car!). Inkjet cartridges should always be stored in the upright position.
Do you have any questions you want us to answer on our blog? Feel free to contact us!