Why is printer ink expensive? Many years ago, wireless phone companies started offering subsidies on new devices to induce customers to sign long-term contracts. Nearly a century ago, Gillette gave away razors at reduced prices in order to increase the sales of their high-end razors. But when it comes to ink jet printers, it’s often much cheaper to replace a printer than to replace the cartridges for it.
Often when you buy a new inkjet printer, whether HP, Epson or whatever, they’re relatively cheap. For $50 or less you can buy a pretty decent inkjet printer that will serve your home printing needs well. But there’s a reason why the inkjet printers are cheap. Your newly purchased inkjet printer comes with only half-empty cartridge, that will run out or dry up within a few months after purchase. That being said, when it’s time to get new ink jet cartridges for your printer, you’ll likely pay more for the set than what you paid for the initial printer purchase.
Even though the predictions are optimistic of a paperless world, we seem to be printing as much as ever. Reading long documents on a screen is no picnic. My desk is full of printouts. Also, many companies now charge you for mailing paper bills, forcing you to print copies yourself if you need more than an electronic record.
It’s Expensive Because It Can Be Expensive
HP one of the most recognized IT companies, dominates the market for printers and ink – HP has a 42 per cent market share, more than the next two competitors combined. So, why does printer ink cost more than the printer it self?
There’s a a reasons, and it has very little to do with the cost of the ink, but rather the answer lies in the marketing. Printer ink is so expensive because manufacturers can make it that expensive. It costs more than it should.
But there’s more to this.
Aside from good marketing, ink also happens to be one of the most expensive liquids anywhere in the world. Do you know how expensive regular printer ink costs by the gallon? I’ll bet you did not know that you could buy one gallon of black printer ink for the same price as 982 cartons of milk! You can buy 742 bottles of hand lotion for the same cost as a gallon of black printer ink! The graphic below illustrates that.
Ink technology is expensive to develop, and you pay for reliability and image quality. These liquids are completely different from a technology standpoint and users concerned about cost per page can buy “XL” ink cartridges from developers such as HP that last two to three times longer.
Most ink jet consumers avoid the awful price of a new cartridge by using places such as the local dollar store which fills my cartridge for half the price. But what most don’t consider is that the print quality is awful and refilled cartridges last 50% less than brand new ink jet cartridges. Why? Technology of course. Those little micro chips you see on the ink jet cartridges work in sync with the printer. and most are one or two use and done.
The other solution (and my favorite) is to just buy a laser printer, and problem solved. I bought a HP laser printer for for $110 + tax, comes with a drum that will print thousands of pages. And toner is much cheaper than ink any day. Laser printers don’t jam or dry up, because toner is a dry powdery solution already. Some of you will argue that toner is expensive as well, and I agree with you. However, the yield on a toner cartridge is much larger than the one of an inkjet.
Lastly, you can tweak the settings on your computer and adjust the resolution on your printing. So, rather than full rich prints for home use, you can decrease the resolution by up to 50% per print.
There’s no point refilling your own or paying someone to refill it for you when you can get a brand new 3rd party replacement for that cheap. It is true that using 3rd party ink can impact print quality or the life of your printer. But if you buy well-reviewed quality ink, you shouldn’t have much of a problem. And even if it breaks after 2-3 uses of cheap ink, you can buy a brand spanking new printer for less than $50 anyway – no big loss!
But since I gave up on printer ink expensive ways long time ago by upgrading to a laser printer I haven’t looked back since. Maybe it’s something that you should look into for you everyday black&white printing.
Readers, Do you still use ink jet printers? Have you or would you upgrade to a laser printer?
Thanks for stopping by.