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In case you were wondering what the difference between the Canon PGI genuine ink and the Canon CLI genuine Ink is, you’re not alone. Most of the new owners of the Canon series of printers are asking themselves the same question once they decide to buy and replace their first Canon ink cartridge, and today we’re going to explain you the difference.


The main difference between PGI ink and CLI ink is the type of ink stored within it

If you own an all-in-one device which has the capability of printing out normal black and white papers and, on top of that, also high quality photos, you will probably find several ink tanks within it. Usually the setup is four CLI Cartridges and one PGI Cartridges.

PGI Ink Cartridge is for the regular black and white paper printing. The PGI stands for “Pigments”, where this ink cartridge is mainly used for printing text. In most cases when you print out paper you print it out in a small font (usually 10 or 12), which means that the printer will likely struggle with the quality, and it needs specialized ink which can offer a skill set similar to the ones in a Laser Printer. Canon knows that, and this is why they introduced their PGI line of Ink Cartridges, specialized for printing small black letters.

CLI Ink Cartridges are for your photos and other colorful printing projects. The CLI stands for “ChromaLife”, which (as the name implies) is focused and designed specifically for colorful printing projects, photos and similar.  And while most of the older printers will feature 4 of these CLI Ink Cartridges (a Black, Cyan, Magenta and Yellow cartridge), some of the newer ones also incorporated a grey cartridge, just to improve the overall quality of the photos.

Canon PGI and Canon CLI ink difference what is it

Do you need to buy both versions or can you just go with one?

It depends, in case you own a genuine set of ink with 1 PGI and 4 to 5 CLI cartridges, and at this point your PGI is empty, sure, go for it and buy the same brand of the same PGI cartridge and just replace it, you will not have any issues with it. But in case you want to combine non-genuine and genuine ink, this is the part where problems arise.

So in my own humble opinion, try to stay at the Jedi side of the printing world and always go for genuine ink cartridges, and if you’re actively using your printer for office prints and photo prints, be sure to buy both, the CLI and the PIG ink, which in most cases come together within a set designed for your printer.