"Cheap Ink" Printers

P4i6g / P4i65g
March 31, 2010 at 06:01:01
Specs: Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition, 2.596 GHz / 2038 MB
I have an very old, but still working fine, HP 2100 series All-In-One printer.

The HP ink is pretty expensive and all of the "generics" and refills I've tried just don't work as long or as well.

Lately I've been seeing ads for Kodak and Lexmark printers whose claim to fame is how inexpensive their ink is. Lexmark claims $4.99 for 500 pages of black.

In addition, Staples is giving $50 off any printer over $199 if you turn in an old one.

So I'm wondering...

Would it be worth turning in the HP for something more modern that uses the less expensive ink? It would take a bit of math to figure out the payback period on a new printer that uses cheaper ink, but a quick estimate of $4.99 vs. ~$30 seems to mean that I'd make up the ~$150 cost in about 6 black cartridges.

Am I missing something?

See More: "Cheap Ink" Printers

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March 31, 2010 at 13:00:34
The best place to start is by not printing, printing less or reduce area or dpi.

Yes, they make money (big money) on the ink. Some generic ink may work well with some papers but usually the best choice is to use the name brand ink with the associated paper.

There are ink refill deals that may or may not suit you. I spilled it all over the place so I don't use them. A not so clumsy person may be able to use them.

You would need to know how many supplies you have used in some period prior to this to know your savings if any.

Playing to the angels
Les Paul (1915-2009)

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March 31, 2010 at 16:56:23
The advantage of the Kodak ones is their cartridges are a decent size and the cartridges are relatively cheaper than all other OEM ones. However, nobody refills them so far as I know.

The cheaper HP and Lexmark ones have tiny cartridges - a poor choice, in the long run.

Obviously, the more ink capacity of the cartridges, the less it will cost you in the long run.

You can buy already refilled original (e.g. "re-manufactured") cartridges on the web for your HP printer and not have to fuss with refilling them yourself, for about half the price of new cartridges, or less.

I have refilled older Canon BC-02 and BC-20 cartridges myself for years, the same cartridge as many as a dozen times.

Newer cartridges have a chip that must be re-set after you have refilled the cartridge, so you need a re-setting device as well as ink.

If you do a lot of printing, get a color laser printer - they're generally cheaper than they've ever been. The toner cartridges cost more, but it can be a very long time before you have to change them, and they can often be refilled locally for a lot less than buying a new one. .

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March 31, 2010 at 17:34:40
Kodak used to offer a ink that looked like a large candlestick. You simply put a new chunk on top of the old one and printed some 50K pages in color. Even at $900 for the printer I guess they didn't make enough on them. The sticks were like $30 each of colors and black. That would be the cheapest if you can still get the ink and printer.

We have had to remove the color laser printers from most of the department. We haven't seen a cost effective color laser.

I think all those printer companies lie too. They make claims based on some coverage that seem to be to be way less than what people really print. Some company might claim 1000 sheets at 10% while another may claim some other percentage. Yet if you print a common web page it is way more than 10%.

If you just want to print text and simple graphics you can't beat the old pin type printers with ink ribbons.

Playing to the angels
Les Paul (1915-2009)

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Related Solutions

March 31, 2010 at 18:21:42
The Kodak printers I'm talking of are the new ones available in only the last few years, for less than about $150.

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April 1, 2010 at 04:33:38
re: "You can buy already refilled original (e.g. "re-manufactured") cartridges on the web for your HP printer"


"I have refilled older Canon BC-02 and BC-20 cartridges myself for years"

Just as background, and as I hinted at in my OP, I have purchased cartridges on the web and at places such as Metro Ink and have used various types of "refill kits" over the years.

None of these methods proof to be as reliable and long lasting as purchasing HP cartridges directly. This study provides some backup to what I have experienced, including faded printouts, DOA, etc.

HP Inkjet Print Cartridges Vs Refilled Brands

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April 1, 2010 at 07:15:59
You do have to make sure that the ink used has the same formulation as was originally used. E.g. the Canon BC-02 and BC-20 cartridges use dye based ink - pigment based ink will clog them eventually. Some places that sell ink claim their ink is universal - can be used in any brand of cartridge - stay away from buying that.
And ink has shelf life - it's not expected to be viable for more than, say, a year, although I haven't had problems regarding that with dye based ink - that seems to be more applicable to pigment based ink.
Properly re-manufactured cartridges are flushed with a machine to make sure all ink jets are cleared of clogs, and refilled with the proper ink formulation - there should be no difference between those and a new cartridge.

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