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How to Install and Troubleshoot Canon® PG-245 / CL-246 Cartridges

How to Install and Troubleshoot Canon® PG-245 / CL-246 Cartridges

The Canon PG-245 and CL-246 ink cartridge series may be a couple of years old but they are a customer favorite due to the large number of PIXMA® printers that use it. To this day, there are still new printers being built that use the 245/246 series (ie: Canon PIXMA TR4550).

Canon sells the 245 and 246 series in standard yield and high yield (or XL) cartridge sizes and they are a good option for casual home printer users.

Standard yield cartridges work best for consumers that print sparingly, but if you print with any regularity, it is probably worth investing in the high yield option. In this article, we will review the basic specs of the cartridge series and offer some simple troubleshooting tips so you can keep your cartridges running longer.

Technical Specs

  • PG-245 Standard Black
    • Page yield: approx. 180 pages
    • Color: Black
    • OEM ink type: pigment
  • CL-246 Standard Tri-Color
    • Page yield: approx. 180 pages
    • Color: Tri-color Cyan, Magenta and Yellow
    • OEM ink type: dye based
  • PG-245 XL High Yield Black
    • Page yield: up to 300 pages
    • Color: Black
    • OEM ink type: pigment
  • CL-246 XL High Yield Tri-Color
    • Page yield: up to 300 pages
    • Color: Tri-color Cyan, Magenta and Yellow
    • OEM ink type: dye based

Printers That Use Canon PG-245 / CL-246 Ink

Canon PG-245 and CL-246 cartridges work with a number of Pixma model printers that were released in the last 3-4 years.  Some of the more popular models include the Canon Pixma iP2820 and the Canon Pixma MX-492.  For a complete list of compatible printers, see the list below.  Many of the printers on this list are no longer available in stores due to their age, but you can still find the Canon Pixma MX-492 and the Pixma MG-2520 on Amazon®.

PIXMA iP2820 | PIXMA MG2420 | PIXMA MG2520 | PIXMA MG2522 | PIXMA MG2525 | PIXMA MG2555 | PIXMA MG2920 | PIXMA MG2922 | PIXMA MG2924 | PIXMA MG3020 | PIXMA MX490 | PIXMA MX492

Installation Instructions

Before you install a new cartridge be sure to consult your printer’s user guide for the appropriate installation steps.  We will review the steps for the Canon Pixma MX492 here:

  1. Open the front cover.
  2. Open the cartridge access door that is located directly behind the front cover
  3. Allow your cartridges to center in the printer.
  4. Remove the protective tape from your new cartridge. We recommend removing the tape over the trash can, as sometimes ink can escape during this process.
  5. As you remove the tape, try to avoid touching the gold contact points. These are very sensitive.  If you do touch them, we will go over how to clean them further in this guide.
  6. Grasp the old cartridge with two fingers and gently pull out to remove it from the machine
  7. Slide the new cartridge into the empty slot, you should hear a click.
  8. Close up the cartridge access door. When you close this door, the printer will start priming the cartridges by running a printhead cleaning.
  9. Once the cleaning has finished, you are ready to print!

Troubleshooting Canon PG-245 / CL-246 Issues

Resolving an Error Message When Using an Original Canon PG-245 / CL-246 Cartridge

If you’ve recently installed a new original Canon cartridge and you are getting an error message on your printer’s display, there are some quick troubleshooting steps you can take to get around the message and resume printing.  First, remove the cartridge from the printer and clean the chip, or gold contact points, with a lint free cloth or Q-tip.  This will remove any residue that might be on the contact points, which could be the source of the error message.  Then replace the cartridge, power down the printer and unplug it from the wall for 10-15 seconds.  Then, plug it back in, power it back up and attempt to print. If you are installing a remanufactured cartridge, there are a few additional steps you may need to take in order to get your cartridges to work as expected.

Resolving an Error Message When Using a Remanufactured PG-245 / CL-246 Cartridge

Most remanufactured versions of the Canon PG-245 and CL-246 series will not read in your printer like an original cartridge, but they will still work and print to the expected capacity. After installing an LD brand remanufactured PG-245 or CL-246 cartridge, a “low” or “empty” message may appear on the printer’s LCD screen.  To get the cartridge working you need to force the machine to override that error message and accept the cartridge. First, remove the cartridge and clean the chip, or gold contact points, with a lint free cloth or Q-tip.  This will remove any residue that might be on the contact points, which could be the source of the error message. Reinstall the cartridge and hold down the Stop/Reset button on the printer for a full 15 seconds.  It may say “please wait a while” on your printer’s screen and your printer should go through a startup sequence.  Once the startup sequence is complete you should be able to print as expected! After overriding the error message the printer will continue to use the cartridge without stopping due to the ink level being low or empty.  You will not be able to tell how much ink is left in your cartridge. However, the cartridge is filled to capacity and you should get the same number of prints as an original!

Resolving Spotty, Streaky or Light Prints

Cartridges that have been sitting on the shelf for a period may require some preliminary troubleshooting to get up and running. If you recently installed a new cartridge and are getting poor print results, priming the cartridge will often solve the problem.  To troubleshoot this cartridge series, we recommend starting out with the “paper towel” method. On the end of the cartridge, you should see a gold/copper strip.  This is the printhead, which is where the ink comes out of the cartridge.  To prime it, follow these simple steps:

(The video below features an HP 64 cartridge but the cleaning process is identical for Canon PG-245 / CL-246 cartridges)

  1. Grab a damp paper towel and a dry paper towel and fold both into quarters.
  2. Blot the cartridge with the printhead facing down onto the damp paper towel. You should see a bit of ink appear on the paper towel as you do this.
  3. After blotting a couple of times, hold the printhead down onto the dry paper towel for about 30 seconds. This process will wick the ink out of the cartridge, priming the cartridge for the printer
  4. Reinstall the cartridge and run a test print on your machine.

These four steps usually will resolve a print quality issue right away.  If you are still having trouble, move onto our next troubleshooting option…printhead cleaning! Almost every printer these days has a built-in printhead cleaning function.   This function is another way to unclog the nozzle in the printhead, which should improve your print quality. To run a printhead cleaning in the Canon MX492, follow these steps:

  1. Press the “Setup” button on your printer’s display and use the arrow buttons to select “Maintenance”.  Then, press “OK”.
  2. Use the arrow buttons again to select “Cleaning” and select “OK”.
  3. The printer will start running the cleaning process, which should take around 30 seconds
  4. Once it is complete, run a test print.

If your results are still spotty, try running a second printhead cleaning.  After running a couple of cleanings the quality should improve.  Running multiple cleanings in a row will deplete the ink inside the cartridge, so if you run a couple without any change, you may want to consider trying a replacement cartridge.

More Affordable Options

More affordable alternative Canon 245 ink and CL-246 cartridges are readily available as a great way to cut down on printing costs AND minimize your carbon footprint.  Consumers have been using compatibles for some time now and some even say compatible cartridges perform better and last longer! Instead of ending up in a landfill after one cycle of use, each cartridge is refurbished, cleaned, tested and filled with new ink, offering a comparable page yield and print quality to the original Canon.  LD brand remanufactured cartridges are incredibly affordable at just $20.99*  for the PG-245XL high yield black and $21.99 for the CL-246XL high yield color. We hope this guide introduced you to a few new ways to troubleshoot your Canon ink cartridges.  If you have any other questions or suggestions about the PG-245 / CL-246 series, drop us a note, we would be happy to help!

*Savings based on price comparison between remanufactured/compatible cartridge prices and printer brand (OEM) cartridge prices effective as of May 24, 2023 on  OEM names are registered trademarks of their respective owners and are not affiliated with, and do not endorse LD Products.

Cartridge Series
Thank you for reading this post! This article is written by a team of ink experts at LD Products - a Long Beach, California-based company that specializes in compatible ink and toner.  With over 20 years of printing expertise, we’re committed to helping you save money on printer ink without sacrificing quality.  If you found this content helpful, we’d be grateful if you supported us by visiting for all of your ink and toner needs.  We appreciate your support!



  • will 901 HP ink cartridges replace Canon 245 and 246

  • Because of the difficulty of installing new ink and still not getting it to work and having been out $52 dollars on ink I cannot use even though it was supposed to fit and the old does not even go back in now I will never use cannon products again. Great job guys. Way to loose customers.

  • Will a 245 XL fit in a 245 slot

    • Hi Cydney,

      Yes! The PG-245XL cartridge will fit in the PG-245 slot. The two cartridges are the exact same size. The only difference is that the PG-245XL is filled with more ink, so you’ll get more prints.

  • We just ran out of cartridge and bought black one but is not working. Do we need to get color one too to have the printer to work? the color one is out too.

  • Hello,
    I have a Canon MX490 printer and a remanufactured 245 print cartridge. It gives me the 1401 error message, and will not clear it. I held down the STOP button as you said (the MX490 does not have a Stop/reset button, only a Stop button), for over 15 seconds, and it doesn’t do anything. I have turned if off and on, done the hold-down-the-power -button and push Stop 5 times thing that is on Youtube, but nothing works. ( It is cleaned, also). Your directions below did not work– what am I doing wrong?
    Thank you

    “Reinstall the cartridge and hold down the Stop/Reset button on the printer for a full 15 seconds. It may say “please wait a while” on your printer’s screen and your printer should go through a startup sequence. Once the startup sequence is complete you should be able to print as expected! “

  • I accidently removed the flex tape& nozzle plate from my new Cannon PG 245XL print cartridge, can I purchase a new tape or must I buy a new cartridge?

  • I bought a remanufactured PG-245XL cartridge at Target. It doesn’t fit into the PG-245 slot as it is slightly larger than the PG-245. Am I missing something?

    • The PG-245XL should fit in the same slot as the standard sized cartridge. Also check if all packaging and labels have been removed. If all else fails, it’s probably best to just return the cartridge to Target and get a new one that will hopefully fit.

  • can I use a 245 black when it calls for a 246 black?

    • The Canon CL-246 is a tricolor cartridge, the black cartridge thats paired with the 246 is the Canon PG-245 black.

  • I am having the same issue as Pamela. The PG-245 XL and CL-246 XL replacement cartridges I bought from Office Max appear to be larger than the PG-245 and CL-246 cartridges that came with my PIXMA MX492 printer. The PG-245 XL and CL-246 XL cartridges do not seem to fit into the slot. What do you recommend?

    • That’s strange, XL cartridges are designed to fit in the same slot as the standard cartridges. Did you purchase OEM cartridges or was it a third party brand? Even so, manufacturers of aftermarket cartridges usually built high yield cartridges to fit the standard slot. If it really doesn’t fit, I’d suggest returning them to Office Max.

  • I only printed 45 copies and my color ink cartridge is low. Is this normal.

    • Not unless you printed 45 pages filled with color from end to end. Was the cartridge a starter cartridge or a standard cartridge?

    • Mine was only 37 brand new canon brand standard cartridge. Promised i would get over 100 prints. I think something is up with canon ink lately this is second time it happened to me. May just start filling my own. And i didn’t print end to end color on pages most of them were 4×6 invites for birthday party. Ridiculous.

  • I purchased a standard 246cl canon cartridge. After using it only 4 days, i printed 37 pages and printer is saying im out of ink already. No error codes or number show. Just low ink levels on color. Any answers as to why i couldn’t even print close capacity of 180 pages? Suggestions would be appreciated.

  • Same problem. Canon says the new cartridges (we tried multiple from different place) are empty after printing 3-20 pages. It’s the Greenboxes PG-245XL that we’re having trouble with. I tried cleaning. I tried restarting. I tried resetting. I tried priming. Then I tried it all over again. First it says the ink amount is unknown for a minute but I can’t get anything printed before it deems it empty. I can’t even get it off the “Check ink 1686 Blk” once it’s past it’s start up noises to try anything in the menu. I don’t think it would even let me print color right now, but I’m not going to try.

    • Hi Leah,

      It sounds like you’ve gone through all the appropriate troubleshooting steps, if they do not work, it may be that you just have a faulty cartridge, which does happen from time to time. If you bought the cartridges from us, we back all of our compatibles with a lifetime guarantee and would be happy to get a replacement cartridge for you to try. Hope this helps!!

  • Will a starter 245 and a 246XL work together?

    • Hi David, yes those two cartridges will work together! The only difference is the 245 starter cartridge has much less ink than the 246XL color cartridge.

  • I can not find a double pack of regular or XL double pack they say it is because of the Pandemic and everybody is home on their computers and it is making it hard to obtain the ink cartridges.

    • Hi David, yes this series is hard to find right now. We carry a compatible LD InkPod version of the color cartridges here: LD InkPods are our new cartridge line and they print just like the Canon OEM but use ink refill pods instead of a standard cartridge. Unfortunately our black inkpods are on backorder but we hope to get more in soon. Hope this helps!

  • Can the 245, 246 ink work with Canon Pixma 3010 printer?

    • No, unfortunately not. The PG-245 / CL-246 series works with these printers: PIXMA TS3320 / MG3020 / TS3320 / MG3020 / MX492 / MG3020 / MX492 / TS3320 / iP2820 / MG2520 / MG2420 / TS3120 / TS3120 / TS202 / MG2924 / TS302

  • By the way I am using a PIXMA mg2525 printer!

    • With this printer you kind of have to guide it into the cartridge slot. It helps if you have it start at a slight angle as you install it and then click it up into the slot. If you have done it with the 243, it should be the same with the PG-245XL.

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