Original equipment printer manufacturers (OEMs) say that the technology to make ink is expensive. They say that a lot of money is spent on research and development (R&D) and that it costs a lot to make sure that the ink is of high quality and reliable.
The "theory" that most people believe, though, is that OEM (original equipment manufacturer) companies charge a lot for ink to cover the costs of making printers that they then sell for very little money, like a "razor-blade" business.
Both of these ideas may have some truth to them, which is a shame. Original brand ink costs a lot, end of story. But as customers, is there something we can do? A more affordable option? Absolutely.
How to Deal with Expensive Ink (Save money on ink)
Technology for non-OEM ink printers is always changing. Just like OEM companies are getting better at making ink, so are companies that make ink for the aftermarket. And just like some OEM brands make better products than others, some aftermarket brands make better generic cartridges than others.
Customer reviews are everywhere, which is a good thing. Check out what other people say to get a good idea of which aftermarket brand is the most reliable and has been around the longest. Brands that have been around longer have a more stable reputation and more experience in the market. You can also expect better quality from well-known non-OEM brands than from those that have only been around for a few years.
Research on Printers
You can also make sure you don't spend a lot of money on ink cartridges by knowing if you have the best printer for your needs and how much it really costs to run your printer.
It can take some research to find a printer that uses cheap printer cartridges. Every few months, printer companies come out with new models, and most of them can print text or photos in good quality.
So why do some ink cartridges cost more than others?
Reason 1: Your printer uses cartridges that don't work well.
Prices for printers can vary a lot, but people who are shopping for their first home printer usually go for the cheapest one. Some are as cheap as $30, and a cheap printer can be very appealing to someone who doesn't know much about them. For years, the printer business has done well by selling cheap printers but charging a lot for ink. This is called the "razor and blade" business model.
The razor and blade model is the idea that you should sell a product at a low price to get people to buy it, but charge a lot for the parts that the product needs to work. For example, a hand-held razor is cheap compared to the expensive blade packs you have to buy over and over again in order to use it.
Also, if you bought a cheap printer and have used it for a year, you've probably already spent more on ink cartridges than you did on the printer itself. In fact, this is why many printers are priced to break even or sell at a small loss. Why? Because they can charge more for the cartridges since you need them to use the product and have no choice but to buy more when you run out of ink or toner.
We suggest you don't put too much stock in that new printer sale. There might be a good printer in the group, but you should do your research first and look for a printer that fits your needs and gives you a good value for your money.
Reason 2: Your printer doesn't fit what you need to print.
From one printer to the next, printer cartridges and how many pages they print can be very different. Whether you have an all-in-one inkjet printer or a color laser printer, how quickly you use up your ink depends on what you print and what kind of cartridge you use.
Inkjet printers use ink cartridges, which are usually best for printing photos and occasional documents at home. Due to their small size and limited capacity, you may need to replace them often if you print a lot. This can quickly make your printing costs go up.
Laser printers are preferred by home offices and businesses that need to print a lot. They use toner cartridges. If you print a lot, you should spend your money on a laser printer. It might cost a bit more up front, but over the life of the printer, you will get a better value for your money. Most toner cartridges can print thousands of pages before they need to be replaced, and unlike ink cartridges, they won't dry out if they're not used for a long time.
If you print a lot of documents and don't need high-resolution color images, switching to a laser printer will probably save you a lot of money in the long run.
Reason 3: You are buying cartridges that don't do a good job of getting you pages.
The page yield of a cartridge is about how many pages you can print with it. Yield is based on 5% page coverage, which means that 5% of a page is covered in ink when it is printed. Each cartridge has a different number of pages it can print, and some are much cheaper than others. Most cartridges come in two sizes: standard yield and XL, or high yield. Some printers can also use extra high yield cartridges. Higher yield cartridges have more ink, so they are usually the best choice if you print a lot.
Keep in mind that the cost of cartridges can vary greatly depending on the printer you use. When shopping for a new printer, you should always look at the page yield. Two cartridges with the same number of pages can be bought at very different prices.
Reason 4: You pay too much for printer cartridges.
Many printer cartridges from well-known brands can be pricey. You don't have to print on them, though. Compatible cartridges from a reputable third-party manufacturer like Inkjets.com can cut your cartridge costs by a large amount while giving you the same quality prints for a lot less money. Since it doesn't take much to make a compatible alternative, the savings can be passed on to the customer without affecting the quality of the print.
Want to know more about what drives high ink prices and what you can do about it? Then click here to learn more about What Printer Companies Don’t Want You to Know.