Cartridges: New Canon Ink Cartridges – CLI-226 Colors, PGI-225 Black

“Augmenting” the Canon ink cartridge line.

CLI ink cartridges from Canon have not really changed much over the life of the ink cartridge.

When any printer manufacturer releases new printers, it usually means new cartridges too.  Welcome the new CLI-226, and PGI-225 ink cartridges from Canon.

Pay me now consumerThis *also* means if you plan on “upgrading” in the next 6-8 months, make sure to use up all your current ink cartridges.  Canon invented the individual ink tank market with the old BCI-6, and BCI-3 ink cartridges – which were Canon’s flagship cartridge(s) for over 6 years.  Fast forward to 2010, and aggressive revenue generating plans have resulted in Canon releasing three (3) – three! – new ink cartridges in the past 3 years. The cartridges are ink tanks, nothing more; there is no “great technology” on the cartridge itself, so there is practically no reason to change the cartridge. Unless…the prevalence of compatible cartridge usage, refilling, and other 3rd party inking methods are getting more popular, and more widely accepted. Just asking.

Smart LED with Canon logo to let you know it’s installed correctly.

Should really read – special “microchip” attached so we can punish consumers by rendering the ink monitor useless if you want to refill your cartridge, and using scare tactics when it comes to 3rd party solutions.

Downgrading of the Canon ink cartridge

So the CLI-8 and PGI-5 cartridges needed “downgrading” by Canon to the CLI-221 and PGI-220 (very tiny) ink cartridges.  We now must welcome the CLI-226 and PGI-225 cartridges to the fold.  They look the same, act the same, and perform the same function as their predecessors. To bad the plastics are keyed differently and different chips are used.  No word on chip resetters for these cartridges.

PGI-225, and CLI-226 ink cartridges available on the Canon eStore:

Canon cli-225, and cli-226 inkjet print cartridges for the Pixma iP4280.

The PGI-225 pigment black (larger black cartridge), and the CLI-226 color cartridges (including individual photo black, cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges).

New cartridges include the following.  The printers in this series typically use five (5) individual ink cartridges – the larger black cartridge (PGI-225) contains 19ml of pigment based black ink. The “colors” (CLI-226) which includes a photo black, cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridge contain 9ml ink, and are physically smaller than the PGI-225 cartridge.

Ink Tanks: PGI-225 Pigment Black CLI-226 (Cyan/Magenta/Yellow/Black)

Seems reasonable at first glance, but what about when you make a set – that is over $50.00 for a set of ink (essentially a black and color cartridge) – look at what they did the last time Canon changed cartridges:

New CLI-220 Canon cartridges are MUCH smaller than the previous CLI-8 series.

These cartridges are compatible with the following Canon inkjet printers:

Expect there to be shortages on these cartridges when these printers first hit the market in full.

Review: Canon CL-52 Photo Ink Cartridge (Cracked Open)

A Look Inside The Canon CL-52 Photo Cartridge:

The CL-52 photo cartridge from Canon works in the following printers:

This cartridge is rated at 710 pages (photos?), and contains about 21ml of ink (divided by 3).

This cartridge was never very successful, and only worked in (3) printer offerings from Canon.  This cartridge was intended to be used with the CL-51, or CL-41, and is installed in the black cartridge slot.  If you notice, this cartridge contains 3 different sections for ink – black, photo cyan, and  photo magenta.  The CL-51 and CL-41 cartridges are both “color” cartridges which contain – cyan, magenta, and yellow.

So if there is a CL-52 photo cartridge present in addition to a color cartridge (CL-51, CL-41) the color configuration will be: black – cyan – magenta – yellow – photo cyan – photo magenta.  You certainly do not want to use the CL-52 photo cartridge for printing documents, text or black and white photos since there is a very small section of the cartridge dedicated to black ink.  Also, once the cartridge is out of a single color, the printer will report it as empty.

Hewlett Packard (HP) Does It Too:

This type of “ink separating” in a single “specialty” cartridge is far from dead – HP uses this a bunch for cartridges like the HP 58 (photo cartridge), the HP 99 (photo cartridge), and the HP 102 (light gray, dark gray, and black).  There are others, but heavy printers should avoid printers that use these types of cartridges.

Canon CL-52 photo color ink cartridge cracked open, internal structure revealed.

Canon CL-52 photo color ink cartridge cracked open, internal structure revealed. Notice the colors, black, photo cyan, and photo magenta.

News: Still No CLI-221, PGI-220 Chip Reset

Currently No Consumer Level Chip Resetter Available

It appears that there is no chip reset solution for owners of the following Canon inkjet printers and their associated cartridges:

  • PIXMA iP3600
  • PIXMA iP4600
  • PIXMA iP4700
  • PIXMA MP560 Wireless
  • PIXMA MP620 Wireless
  • PIXMA MP640 Wireless
  • PIXMA MP980 Wireless
  • PIXMA MP990 Wireless
  • PIXMA MX860 Wireless

Page Counter Chip:

What is a chip resetter?  If you are searching for it, you probably already know – however let’s review:
CLI-221 Chip PGI-220 Microchip Reset or RefillThere is a chip on the end of the cartridges for the above mentioned canon printers.  This chip helps to keep an estimated page count for the individual cartridge, and once a set number of prints has been reached, the “chip” shuts down and the cartridge demands to be replaced.  There is a way to reset the chip back to a full status for the PGI-8, CLI-5 series individual ink tanks, but not the CLI-221, and PGI-220 [which are smaller versions of the 8 and 5 series]

In the past couple of years there has been a refill prevention trend from companies like Canon, who has employed 128-bit encryption protected page counting “chips” to prevent the simple refiling and re-inserting back into the printer.  All-In-One printers are the rage these days, however keep in mind all that extra functionality does not function unless a working inkjet cartridge(s) are present.

Ink security - page count chip cannot be reset

Canon chip cannot be reset by any resetter currently available.

There is some good news:

There are 3rd party aftermarket cartridges (with a cloned chip) available from China, and they work fine for everyday printing needs in the office or the home.  Prices are about half that of Canon brand cartridges, and the price difference makes the 3rd party solution the way to go.  Find a reputable vendor and go this route.

If you want a chip resetter…

You might have to wait a few more months for large scale consumer level supply of reset devices that cost less than $20.00.  It takes many monkeys to crack 128-bit encryption.
Chip reset CLI-221, and PGI-220, iP3600 PIXMA, iP4600,  iP4700, MP560, MP620, MP640, MP980, MP980, MP990, MX860.

First Look: Canon CLI-221 Ink Cartridge Up Close

New Canon Inkjet Cartridges:

We just picked up a Canon iP3600 which has the “new” smaller CLI-220/CLI-221 inkjet cartridges (how is that for innovation?), and we thought we would post some initial photos of the cartridges.

  • Bad news: cartridges are MUCH smaller. They contain about half the amount of ink as the previous generation of Canon Inkjet Cartridges (PGI-5, CLI-8)
  • Good news: compatibles are starting to trickle out, and will be available in large quantities shortly (they are “on the boat” from China as we write this).

Full set of cartridges installed in a Canon iP3600 inkjet printer.

iP3600 Cartridges Installed

Top of The Cartridge:

Here is what the cartridge looks like from the top.  The vent hole tape has been removed, and this cartridge is about to be installed into the Canon iP3600 printer.  It is worth noting that the Canon Pixma iP4600 uses the exact same print head, and cartridges as the iP3600 and will look similar to the above configuration.

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

The CLI-221 part number is for the color inkjet cartridges.  There is also a CLI-220 part number which is a pigment black cartridge.  The “larger” CLI-220Bk black inkjet cartridge (there are 2 black cartridges in these printers) will run out first in our experience.

What’s The Secret Canon?

I guess Canon does not want you looking inside their cartridge. In contrast to Epson, which puts a piece of black tape to cover the ink levels, Canon has gone a step further and made the cartridge out of black plastic.  The only thing that is visible is a small window that shows the ink level.

Click for larger image.

Click for larger image.

Pesky Little Chip:

cli-221-chipThe chip on the end of the cartridge that communicates with the software ink monitor is still there, but at least it has already been “cracked” and compatibles are soon to be in plentiful supply.  We also expect to see chip resetters for all you refillers out there.  Since Epson has done such a good job shutting down the compatible cartridge aftermarket, we think Canon will be the way to go in the future.  More on the iP3600 later.

The CLI-221, and CLI-220 cartridges work in the following Canon inkjet printers:

  • PIXMA iP3600
  • PIXMA iP4600
  • PIXMA MP620
  • PIXMA MP980
  • PIXMA MX860

News: Canon CLI-221, PGI-220 Compatibles? Yes!

Canon CLI-221, PGI-220 Compatible Update:

Check out the Continuous Inking System Here! No More Cartridges!

container-shipJust got word today that CLI-221 and PGI-220 compatible inkjet cartridges (that will include a cloned chip) will be available in about 3 weeks.  They are “on the boat” from China.  This is excellent news as Canon has seen fit to reduce the size of their new inkjet cartridges, and added a new chip.  It has been quickly cracked, however no word on a $30.00-$20.00 personal use resetter.

An Entire Solution:

CLI-221, and PGI-220 compatible cartridges without chip are currently available, however they require the end user to swap the Canon cartridge chip onto the new cartridge as well as turn off the Canon ink monitor software permanently (cannot be turned back on, that we are aware of).  It is always nice to see aftermarket inks available within 3-4 months of Canon releasing a new printer series.

Ok, So How Much?

Remanufactured compatible Canon Inkjet Cartridges

Owners of the Canon Pixma iP3600, iP4600, MP620, MP980, and MX860 series inkjet printers should be able to get compatible cartridges that work with the Canon ink monitor software in the $6.00 to $8.00 range, with prices expected to decline in the near future as production matches demand.  Very good news indeed.

Fortunately we have an answer to our previous speculation, just click the link below.

Review: Canon CLI-221, PGI-220 Inks Shrink Compared To CLI-8, PGI-5

Filed under less ink for more money

Check out our Continuous Inking System review and installation guide here. No more cartridges!

Spotted this on Amazon and wondered why:


The iP4300 printer has been discontinued by Canon for a while now, and its replacement is the Canon Pixma iP4600 which cost a mere $87.00. Why does the new replacement cost less than the old model?


We found the answer when we saw the new CLI-221 and PGI-220 ink cartridges that the iP4600 uses.  Canon has halved the size of the inkjet cartridge on the newer CLI-220, PGI-221 cartridges; we also assume that the print head assembly has changed as well.  This would explain the rush on old technology.  Having tested an iP4300 we can testify to the quality of the printer, very good.  Two paper trays in a consumer inkjet printer is worth its original $99.00 price alone.  But $295.00 is stretching it a little.

New CLI-220 Canon cartridges are MUCH smaller than the previous CLI-8 series.

New CLI-220 Canon cartridges are MUCH smaller than the previous CLI-8 series.

The new cartridges also have a new chip to deal with, so that is also an issue.  Copies of the cartridges (available as compatibles) are available, however these copies do not include the chip attached to the end of each cartridge which is required to register the cartridge in the printer.  The Canon print monitor can be turned off, and you find out you are out of ink when the page you printed is missing a color.  A quick look inside the printer to check the ink every now and then cures this.

Chipless compatibles are available for CLI-220 series inks, but requires a chip swap.

Chipless compatibles are available for CLI-220 series inks, but requires a chip swap.

If you want a cartridge with a reset chip, they are not currently available.  The previous Canon cartridges like the CLI-8, and PGI-5 series, which were released in 2005-2006, and it took over a year and a half until the code on the chip was broken and reset systems were made widely available.  Canon locked out third party cartridge providers when they used 128-bit encryption on the ink monitor chip as to stymie remanufacturers.  It took a long time to crack the original Canon code, and I would guess this would be the case this time around as well.  Compatibles with chip for the CLI-8, PGI-5 series ink cartridges are readily available today, however this was not the case over the past 2 years.

Printers that use the “new” CLI-220, PGI-221 cartridges are:

  • PIXMA iP3600
  • PIXMA iP4600
  • PIXMA MP620
  • PIXMA MP980
  • PIXMA MX860

So if your printer uses the newer CLI-220, PGI-221 cartridges, it looks like you will have to do the chip swap in the short term.

We will update this post as more information becomes available.

This deal on a Canon MP960 looks even better now.

Update 4-14-09:

Canon compatible cartridges with a reset chip will soon be available.