Buying Generic Ink Cartridges

Nowadays, printers are becoming increasingly cheaper to buy. It was only back a few years ago when the simplest printer, by today’s standard would cost many hundreds of dollars. How times have changed. Today printers are much cheaper and it isn’t uncommon to find a good quality printer for ~$50. Generally speaking these printers are more than capable of providing all the features a home user could ever ask for. So why are manufacturers doing this? There is more money in ink!

You may now be thinking to yourself “How can they make more money from a $15 ink cartridge than a $300 printer?” Let’s look at an example. You buy your printer ($300) and the manufacturer puts 5% margin ($15) in his pocket. Now you do a little bit of printing at home, so let’s say you print 60 pages per week. Now your cartridge has a life of 2000 pages meaning every 33 weeks or just over 7 months you will need new ink cartridges. So you go down to your local shop and pick up 5 ink cartridges, because your printer takes 5 cartridges at a time, which costs you $75. The same manufacturer makes a 40% markup on his ink cartridges. So he makes $30 every 7 months from you. Now over the life of the printer 3.5 years he can expect to make about $150 from you.

The aim of this article is to give you, the consumer, a balanced commentary on both sides of the story and the facts about generic ink cartridges. So let’s start with what we know about generic ink cartridges. Generic ink cartridges came on the scene just over five years ago. These early adopters would take a basic ink cartridge nozzle and design an ink tank that would fit the printer by making a simple plastic mould from the original ink cartridge. The print quality was average at best but it opened consumers eyes to how much a cartridge could be built for, with discounts of 80% of the original amount.

Today, generic cartridges have come a long way. Although many suppliers still stock extremely dodgy Indian and Chinese manufactured ink cartridges many claim similar printing results from their generic ink cartridge. Of course, you do need to shop around to find to best generic ink cartridge supplier for you printer.

Another method of reducing the cost of ink cartridges is to refill them. There are two ways of refilling your ink cartridges. The fist is to modify your printer and fit larger ink tanks. You then connect these larger tanks outside of your printer with the smaller ones inside. These larger ink cartridges can be filled at home with a generic ink. The other method is to get your ink cartridges refilled at a shop. It seems these shops are popping up on the corner of every business district. You bring in your ink cartridge and after a short wait your cartridge has been refilled. Although most will only refill your cartridge twice but more on that later.

So which one is better? I thought you would ask that so let’s examine some pros and cons of each.

Refilling Ink Cartridges

Refilling is, in my opinion, the worst way to save money on ink cartridges. The most important thing to remember is that companies that offer refill ink use the same ink for every cartridge. So it doesn’t matter if your ink cartridge is from Canon or from HP they will use the same ink to fill both. What’s wrong with that? Well, each manufacturer uses a different nozzle size for spraying ink. These nozzles are highly sensitive and require the correct consistency of ink or they produce blockages, blotches and all sorts of other nasties. Another issue is most refillers won’t refill generic cartridges. This is because they don’t know the quality of the cartridge and don’t want to know if the cartridges stop working. This means that even though you get you cartridge refilled you will still need to buy an original ink cartridge after two refills.

Generic Ink Cartridges.

Generic ink cartridges are a better option than refills because the actual ink quality is generally better matched to the printer and they can tailor an ink to the model of the printer. However, in my experience these ink cartridges can be hit and miss and you have to be prepared for more blockages and problems than you would experience with the original manufacturers ink cartridges. Although some people swear by generic ink cartridges, I would only recommend them for black and white printing where quality isn’t as important. I wouldn’t recommend them for important documents such as your resume.

Genuine ink cartridges

Genuine ink cartridges made by the printer manufacturer as still the only way to go when quality is important such as digital photos etc. But perhaps the most important issue is with warrantee claims. If your printer is under warrantee you should not use anything except genuine ink cartridges. All printer manufacturers will rip up your warrantee in your face if they can prove you have been using non genuine ink cartridges. Many manufacturers are now including “chips” in the back of ink cartridges so the printer will only work with original ink cartridges, while others have software that can detect non genuine parts. In my opinion that is anti competitive but that is for the courts to decide.

So in conclusion I think there is a time and a place for all 3 kinds of ink cartridges. Although with manufacturers lowing costs almost daily to compete with non genuine ink cartridges the major selling point of the non genuine ink cartridges (the price) may soon become irrelevant. Perhaps the best way to end this article is with the old adage you get what you pay for…and that is most true with ink cartridges!


Post time: 04-30-2017