If you own an HP printer or have ever purchased their cartridges you may have noticed that like food some have expiry dates, some cartridges and print-heads also have Warranty and Install By dates but what do they mean and what is the difference?
Expiry dates: Ink Expiration date, as the OEM call it is a date when the ink cartridge or printhead will cease working automatically, it will basically stop, down tools and refuse to work anymore!, but please don’t get stressed with the cartridge its actually not its fault, it has been programmed to do this at the manufacturing stage, kind of like the genetic death switch but for a cartridge.
Now before you start getting concerned there is a genuine and valid reason for this, according to the HP website some cartridges or the formula of the ink inside them can change after time, air can be ingested as well as water evaporation which can cause print quality issues and possibly damage the printheads which I suppose, is why HP have put these safeguards in place. It is important to note that not all HP ink cartridges have expiration dates and this should not be confused with the ‘End warranty date’, If you experience this problem then don't worry, the expiration date error message can be overridden on some printers. Not all of HP ink cartridges range are affected by this but to find out if your is use the link below, this will take you to HP for more information on which ink cartridges are affected by ink expiration dates.
Source for info on Expiration Dates:
Install By & Warranty Dates: HP are in the process of removing the ‘install dates’ from their products as it has been found to be somewhat confusing for customers who were mistaking the ‘install by date’ with the ‘warranty end date’ and I can understand why, it confused me too until I did some research on HP’s website.
So what is the difference between the two dates?... The Install date is the date that HP recommends you install the cartridge or printhead into the printer by, it simply tells you that your ‘warranty date’ will expire 6 to 12 months after this ‘install date’, you can still install HP ink cartridges and printheads after the install date as long as the ‘warranty end’ date has not passed and your ink cartridge or printhead will still be covered by the HP warranty.
Hopefully the above info has made the expiration date and the install date a little easier to understand, so that just leaves the “warranty date”, what is it and what does it mean? Well in simple terms it means that the cartridge or printhead you have purchased is warranted to be free of defects in materials and workmanship for the period of the warranty. For more info on HP’s warranty use the link below.
Source for HP warranty: http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/document?lc=en&dlc=en&cc=us&docname=c00206040
The warranty date is not stamped on the outer box, it is stamped on the actual product itself but the location varies depending on what type of ink cartridge or printhead you have, HP have a detailed guide on their website, I have borrowed the image for reference below. To find out where your warranty date is located simply pick out your cartridge or product style from the images below.