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Every printer has a model number. Likewise, every toner and ink cartridge has a model number. To be entirely truthful, ink and toner cartridges usually have more than one assigned number—one on the box and one on the cartridge itself. Why? I don’t know. I do have a personal theory which involves an alien invasion while the majority of humans are preoccupied trying to match printers to their corresponding cartridges using arbitrary alpha-numeric codes. (I’m accumulating evidence to prove this alien conquest theory.) In the meantime, let’s talk about the importance of using entire model numbers.

It may seem like a trivial thing, but giving an incomplete model number has the potential to cause major headaches. Perhaps an example will work best to explain why.

Jane needs a toner cartridge for her HP printer. The old cartridge box says ‘83A’ on the package, so she orders an 83A cartridge. Simple enough?

If only.

When a magenta ink cartridge is delivered to Jane’s door, she’s baffled as to why? “My HP printer doesn’t even use ink or color; I wanted a black toner cartridge!”

In reality, ‘83A’ was only the tail end of a longer model number for the cartridge she needed. The entire model number reads CF283A for a black toner cartridge. There are at least two other HP cartridges that use ‘83A’ as a shorter designation— the HP 83 magenta UV ink (C4942A), and the (CF383A) for HP 312A magenta toner.

Are you feeling that headache coming on yet? Don’t stress it. These mistakes are easy enough to avoid. Just look for the entire item or model number for your cartridge before placing an order. To be extra sure, include the printer model number as well. And, no matter how long it is, give the complete model number because there is a difference between the

HP Laserjet Pro 400 M401 that takes a CF280A or CF280X black cartridge, and the
HP Laserjet Pro 400 M475 MFP that takes a CF301AM tricolor cartridge, and the
HP Laserjet Pro 400 M451 that takes a CE410A or CE410X black cartridge as well as CE411A, CE412A, & CE413A color cartridges.