The headline results are:

1. The best prints for fade resistance, across a range of papers, are those produced by Canon's PIXMA MP600. After 12 months, they dropped just one point in total due to fade.

2. Cartridge World, which did so well in our three-month fade tests, still does well when printing from an HP OfficeJet 6310, scoring marginally better than with HP's own inks.

3. JetTec scores as well as Lexmark's own ink, when printing from a Lexmark X5470.

4. The original manufacturers can fairly claim that prints produced with their inks in their printers resist fade better or as well as any third-party ink.

Breaking this down a bit more, you need to look at the total scores for each make of ink after a year's testing. The Canon, Epson, HP and Lexmark inks, in their respective machines, scored 49, 46, 44 and 29, out of a possible 50. The Canon result is remarkable as only one point was dropped and the difference between a nine and 10 in our assessments is very subjective. Effectively, the prints didn't fade at all.

Next to that, Epson also did very well, with nothing less than a nine on any paper. Slight fading on a couple of the HP prints brought it score down to 44, but it's worth noting that PC World no longer sells its own brand, PC Line, paper.

Even Lexmark, which looks to have a much lower score, is damaged by the zero it scored printing on Kodak Ultima Photo paper, though the results on the PC Line and Staples papers also show considerable fading. Best to stick to Lexmark or Ilford papers with this machine.

Of the third-party inks, Cartridge World did considerably better than any of the other brands and came joint top, with HP itself, on prints from the OfficeJet 6310. In third place is JetTec, which matches Lexmark ink as a top performer in fade resistance, when printed on an X5470. It's also worst in the group, though, with its Canon ink. InkTecShop has the worst rating for its Lexmark ink and StinkyInk brings up the rear in Epson and HP machines. None of the HP prints made with either InkTecShop or StinkyInk inks is anywhere near usable after a year in the window.

See also:

The Inkjet Investigation

The Inkjet Investigation Part 2

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