Alot of people ask about the expiration dates on ink cartridges because they were taught that ink somehow goes bad.
THAT IS WHAT THE MANUFACTURING COMPANIES WANT YOU TO THINK!!!
Expired inks are no better or worse than "fresh" ones.
Here is a brief technical explanation of ink cartridges, most inks are made of small micron-sized particulates called pigments. The pigments are suspended in a solution allowing it to be transported from the cartridge to your paper. This solution can be water based or it can be alcohol based but all serve the same purpose.
The alternative could be a dye, which are similar to pigments but instead of being suspended in a solution they are actually dissolved in a solvent, much like the way sugar dissolves in water.
Any other component of the ink cartridge includes the circuitry that "squirts" the ink on to your paper and the plastic housing.
So with that information take into consideration each of the major individual parts of an ink cartridge:
-Pigments (or dyes)
Think about this, which one of those components do you see "expiring"?
Consider the pigments, every manufacturer advertises that their inks "last the longest", "are the brightest", "won't fade" etc... etc... This is really speaking of the pigments and their stability. So if the pigments are suppose to last on paper for years and years exposed to different elements, why can't it last in a SEALED cartridge for more than 2 years???
Solvent or the solution... well when was the last time you saw an expiration date on WATER or your glass cleaner??? I mean, really, just think about this one for a second.
Plastic... not even going to address this...
Circuitry, well do you still have your 4 track or BetaMax that you don't want to give up because it "works great!"? Point made.
Many printer manufacturers will print dates on your ink cartridges in hopes that you will throw out the cartridge like it's moldy bread then make you buy another $50 cartridge thats "fresh". Don't let those go to waste, THEY WILL STILL WORK! Besides, what's the worst thing that will happen?
As far as I know, HP is the only company that "hard codes" the expiration dates onto the chip in their cartridges but even then, you have at least 2-2 1/2 years to use an "expired" cartridge. I have never had any problems with an expired cartridge as long as they are SEALED in the original packing. (Here's a hint do a search on Google for: hp ink cartridge lawsuit )
The only consideration to take when buying any cartridge is that they are SEALED. New or older, if they are sealed there will be no discernible difference in quality!
For all those people who say that expired cartridges don't work or are inferior to "fresh" ones, please show us the evidence!