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Cheap Printer Ink Cartridges: New vs Refill & Brand Name vs Generic

Rachel Carey
Financial Guru
Updated: 6/2019
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A printer can be a very handy tool making like easier at home or the office. However, with the technology becoming more and more advanced each decade, even the capabilities of printers are getting too complex making ink cartridges more expensive.

Table of Contents

Introduction

There’s one dilemma that is still being faced in home and office users today and that is deciding whether to buy a new ink cartridge or to buy a refill kit or buying new versus generic cartridges. Each option has its own strengths and weaknesses that can be good or bad depending on the user’s situation. If you’re not sure on whether you should DIY refill your own ink cartridge or buy new ones, here are the advantages to help you decide.

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Advantages Of Replacing Your Old Cartridges

1. Guaranteed high-quality prints

One of the problems in refilling your ink cartridges is the fact that its print quality will never be as great as its OEM counterpart. This effect is even more noticeable on pictures that involve photographs or bright colors. Most of the refills will give an ugly stripe (if printed using colored ink) in a printed photograph, or a washout text (if printed using in black) in documents. A suggestion to remedy this problem is to use refilled cartridges for black texts and use OEM cartridges on colored prints. But this remedy would be more of a hassle in the long run.

2. Avoid the messy refilling job

Another harsh reality in refilling ink cartridges is the fact that it might mess up your workplace. Refilling the ink cartridge might make your workplace messy by means of accidental spillage, especially in the hands and in the clothes. Your table and office materials can be stained in ink when it is accidentally spilled in those objects. This risk is avoided when using an OEM cartridge because all you have to do is to remove the old one, press some clips to release the old ones if needed, insert the new cartridge, and run a print test. If there is a problem such as streaks, lines, or smudges, reconfiguring the printer head is likely the solution.

3. Ensure the printer’s health

This might be one of the most important factors in faithfully replacing the cartridges of your printer. An ink repair that was sloppy done might cause leaks and clogs that can damage the print head. In addition to this, if your printer was damaged because of improper refilling of the ink cartridge, your warranty will be void and you will shoulder the cost of repairing your printer. It is worthy to note that simply using an off-brand product to your printer does not void the warranty. But if the off-brand products caused the damage, then your device is not covered.

Cheap Printer Ink Cartridges

Advantages Of Refilling Your Own Ink Cartridges

1. More cost-effective

Usually, one of the most important factor when it comes to our purchases is our budget. If your budget is too low, you’ll find yourself taking time scouting products for a lower price. This rule also applies to ink cartridges. According to Macro Enter, refilling cartridges can save nearly 50% to 60% compared to when you buy a new set of cartridges. People who refill their cartridges can see their ink expenses reduced in more than half in the long run.

Cheap Printer Ink Cartridges

2. Helps in maintaining the environment

What a lot of people don’t know is that discarded ink cartridges that were only used once are a waste of resources that could have been recycled. In addition, these cartridges will end up in the landfills or in worst places that can harm both humans and other animals. When you use refills, you won’t just save half of your budget, but you and the future generation will be benefited with lesser waste on the planet. This is because 95% of the cartridge material can be recycled or reused.

3. More convenient than replacing cartridges

Initially, a lot of people find refillable cartridges more convenient because the ink outage can be fixed in just a few minutes. Refilling the cartridge will just need a little bit of patience in inserting the needle, putting the ink inside, and it’s done, provided that you have an available refill kit. However, when replacing the cartridge, you need to remove the whole thing up and insert the new ones, which could take a lot of time depending on your printer’s mechanics and design.

Cheap Printer Ink Cartridges

Things To Consider Before Doing A DIY Refill

1. Is it okay for me to void my warranty?

Since damages from using off-brand products are not covered by your warranty, you might want to consider the risk of you damaging your printer before refilling your cartridge. You might find it easier to choose to refill when your printer is not covered by warranty anymore or if the unit is old. To be in the safe side, if you really find refilling the best option, ask a tech proficient person to show how to ink refilling is done before trying it out yourself.

2. Am I cool about injecting ink in my cartridge?

If you’re not a tech-savvy person, injecting ink in the cartridge might be like some undescribable high-level Science to you. But assuming that you’re the one who will be tasked on injecting the ink to the cartridge, are you confident about your tech skills? Refilling ink is a relatively easy activity but might intimidate people who are not that updated in the latest technology. In this case, better ask a professional or a tech-savvy person to teach you instead of doing it yourself the first time.

3. Will refilling the ink cartridge a better solution financially?

Saving financial resources in printers is important for both home and office settings, especially in offices. The sweet spot for quality and savings is finding the right moment when to refill and when to replace the cartridge. If your office documents are mainly for internal use and for safekeeping, then refilling the ink cartridge is better of. However, if printing is a part of your business operation or when your product is usually in the printed form, then you should strive for quality of quantity and replace your cartridges instead of refilling them.

Cheap Printer Ink Cartridges

Should You Buy Branded Or Generic Ink Cartridges?

Once you decided whether refilling or replacing is the right one for you, the next step you should be considering is what kind of ink should you consider to use in your printer. There are two kinds of ink cartridges available in the market right now. Depending on your need, you might use Generic Ink Cartridges, Branded Ink Cartridges, or a combination of both inks.

Generic Ink Cartridges – Caveats And Acceptable Usage

Generic Ink Cartridges are cartridges that are usually known as the cheap alternative ink because these inks promote saving money at the expense of the print quality. You can find these inks in electronic stores and shops. However, it is recommended to get these inks online because you can save up to 50% to 70% versus buying branded inks. In addition, generic inks can publish more copy of a document compared to their branded counterpart.

One of the biggest problems in Generic Ink cartridges is the fact that most of these items are manufactured to be a “one size fits all”. The bad quality might not bother you for a while as a user, but you will later notice the drop in printing quality if you decided to use Generic Ink. In addition, using generic ink will increase the chance of blurred lines, smudges, and a higher rate of ink overspray in the final product, which is not ideal if you’re printing your products or schoolwork.

Basically, if money is your greatest concern, you can refill your cartridges with generic ink, which will yield you the worst quality you can ever have but will save you more money than any other option. This combination is only ideal for reporting, data drafting and sharing of documents (inside the company). This is also ideal if you have to print a lot of pages that are mostly in black and white.

Branded Ink Cartridges – Caveats And Acceptable Usage

Meanwhile, the Branded Ink Cartridges are the most expensive combination, but with the highest print quality possible. Artworks and color-specific prints are expected to be printed properly and vividly when using branded ink cartridge. There is no way your company will not honor your warranty if you used their products for your printer. And you’re warranted that the quality is consistent throughout your printing process unless the ink is running low. The print longevity is even better because the ink will not fade easily even after some time.

This would’ve been the best option, if not for its expensive price tag. According to Cartridge World, the annual cost of black ink cartridge will cost up to $120. Colored ink is more expensive for up to $150 per year. And last but not least, replacing the laser cartridge will give you $840 expense annually. Interestingly, the more expensive your printer is, the more savings you get in the long run. Printers that are worth $200 and up will cost 3.9c per black and white page and 8.3c per colored page. Meanwhile, printers under $200 will cost 5.5c per black and white page and 8.9c per colored page. If quality is more important than quantity, always go or a branded ink cartridge.

Final Thought

Printer users have different needs and budgets, and this is the reason why there are a lot of options when it comes to printers in the market. If you’re willing to make an effort in order to save money, refilling your ink cartridge is the way to go. You’ll save more than half the amount of money vs buying new ink cartridges every once in a while. In addition, refilling ink cartridges is also a good way to help the environment. But before you went on and started refilling your ink cartridge, make sure to ask for the help of professional or a tech-savvy friend, especially if you yourself are not that knowledgeable to printers.

However, if you’re required to choose quality over quantity, and you have the budget to make that decision, then it is recommended to always replace your ink cartridges once dried up. This assures you that you will have the best quality available in your printer’s settings, as well as the longevity of the printer. To save up in ink usage, invest in the printer itself before investing the ink. A better printer will be able to reduce the cost per page because it is more efficient and has more capability.

When it comes to the ink cartridge that you’ll be using, you will again weigh in your need for budget and quality. You can use generic ink only if your need lies on documentation of transactions, reports, and other office works. Meanwhile, if you work in the field where details, colors, and overall print quality must be superb, use branded ink cartridges designed for your printer for the better result. It is also worthy to note that if your product needs to be printed (photos, invitations, etc) then a high-quality printer and high-quality ink cartridge will be your best bet.

FAQ

General Printer Ink Questions

This section answers the basic questions you have about printer ink. 

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How to dispose of ink cartridges?

The best way to dispose of printer ink cartridges is to recycle them. You can easily search and find a recycling outlet near you.

How long do ink cartridges last?

That depends on the type of printer, the type of printing your doing, and how much you’re doing. The higher the print quality, the shorter the life you can expect from your ink.

Where can I get my ink cartridge refilled?

That depends on what kind of ink cartridges you have. Most manufacturers don’t offer ink refill programs, so you’ll need to find a third-party option in your area.

How do I recycle printer ink cartridges?

You can drop printer cartridges off at a local collector for spent ink cartridges. Most office supply stores provide this service for free.

What can I do with used ink cartridges?

The best thing to do with used ink cartridges is to recycle them. This helps protect the environment and gets them out of your way.

Do off brand ink cartridges work?

In many cases, yes. However, using an off-brand ink cartridge may void the warranty you have on your printer. Your printer’s software may also reject off-brand ink cartridges.

Where to buy printer ink?

Online is the best place to get cheap printer ink. If you buy in bulk, then you can get even better deals.

How to put ink in a printer?

That depends on the type of printer you have. Your best bet is to look at your printer’s manual or to search your printer model to get a new manual for instructions.

Does printer ink expire?

Yes, the composition of printer ink changes over time, so after a certain period of time, the ink cartridge won’t work properly.

Can printer ink dry out?

Sort of. The chemical composition of printer ink changes over time unless it’s used. That means the ink won’t work after it expires. This can seem like the ink has dried out.

How to make printer use black ink only?

You can make your printer use black ink only by going through the print settings of the application you’re using. The specific directions depend on your application and operating system.

What type of ink does my printer use?

That depends on your printer. We recommend searching the printer model to find out what kind of ink you need.

How to keep printer ink from drying?

The best way to keep printer ink from drying is to use it before the expiration date. You should also store them in a cool, dark area.

Can you refill printer ink cartridges?

It’s technically possible to refill printer ink cartridges, but doing so may void the warranty on your printer. Your printer’s software may also reject these cartridges.

Printer Ink Prices

Printer ink can be expensive. This section answers your questions about printer ink prices.

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How much is printer ink?

Printer ink can run from $15 to $100, depending on what kind of printer you have and what kind of ink you need.

Why is printer ink so expensive?

Printer ink is expensive because there’s a lot of technology and science packed into the ink cartridge. The cartridge provides information to your printer’s software about ink levels, jams, and more.

Which printer has the cheapest ink cartridges 2019?

Presently, the printer with the cheapest ink is the Canon PIXMA MX922. You can also try the Epson Expression ET-2750 EcoTank and the HP Envy 4520.

How much does Costco charge to refill ink cartridges?

Costco charges between $8 and $10 per refill, depending on the specific cartridge.

HP Printer Ink Questions

HP is one of the most popular printer makers. This section covers your questions about HP Printer ink.

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How to refill ink cartridges HP?

You can refill HP ink cartridges by taking them to Costco. You’ll pay between $8 and $10 for the refill, depending on the cartridge.

Are HP 61 and 63 ink cartridges interchangeable?

No, the different ink cartridges look very similar, but they are not interchangeable.

How to reset ink cartridge HP?

The best way to reset the ink cartridge on an HP printer is to remove all of the ink cartridges, shut the printer off, wait 20 seconds, reinsert the cartridges, and turn the printer back on.

How to override HP ink cartridge error?

That depends on the specific error. You should contact HP with more information about your specific issue to get a fix.

How long does an HP ink cartridge last?

On the shelf most cartridges have a 2-year life. When you use the cartridge in the printer the amount of time it lasts depends on your print quality and color settings and how much you print.

Can you use remanufactured ink cartridges in HP printers?

You can, but you might have issues with your warranty and your printer’s software refusing to recognize the cartridge.

Does CVS sell HP ink cartridges?

Yes, CVS sells a fairly wide variety of HP ink cartridges at its stores. The selection for each store may vary.

How to check ink levels on HP printer?

The best way to check your ink levels on your HP printer is to open the printer’s application. This will give you information about ink levels immediately.

What is instant ink for HP printers?

Instant Ink is a service from HP where your printer tells HP when it’s running low on Ink and HP sends ink before you run out.

Where to buy cheap ink for HP printer?

Online stores are the best place to get cheap ink for an HP printer. These stores usually have lower overhead, so they can charge less and still make a profit.

How to tell which ink cartridge is empty HP printer?

You can tell if your HP ink cartridge is empty by opening up the printer’s application on your desktop. This will show you the current ink levels.

What HP printers use 933 ink?

933 cartridges are used in the Officejet 6600.

What printer uses HP 10 ink cartridge?

There’s a huge list of printers that take HP 10 ink cartridges. You can find the full list on HP’s product page, here.

How to override low ink on HP printer?

You can sometimes get around the low ink error by taking the cartridges out of the printer, shutting the printer off, waiting 20 seconds, putting the cartridges back into the printer, and turning it back on.

Can you use remanufactured ink cartridges in HP printers?

You can usually get away with using remanufactured ink cartridges in HP printers, but the printer’s software may try to stop you, and you may void your warranty.

Cannon and Epson Printer Ink Questions

We’ll cover your questions about Cannon and Epson printer ink in this section.

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How to refill ink cartridges Canon?

The easiest way to refill Canon ink cartridges is to take them to your local Costco. It will cost you between $8 and $10, depending on the specific product.

How to reset Canon printer ink?

To reset Canon printer ink you’ll need to unplug the printer from both power and the computer. Then open the cartridge door and hold down the power button. Then, while holding the button down, reconnect the power and USB cables to the printer. Finally, close the cartridge door and release the power button.

How to replace ink cartridge Epson wf 2630?

You can replace the ink in an Epson wf 2630 by having the printer powered on, lifting the scanner unit, squeezing the tab on the cartridge and lifting it straight up. You can then place the new cartridge in the slot.

How to reset Epson ink cartridge chip without resetter?

The easiest way to reset an Epson ink cartridge chip by using a paperclip that’s been unfolded to press the button.

Printer Ink for Other Brands

This section answers your questions about ink for other types of printers.

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Where to buy Dell ink cartridges in stores?

Many stores carry Dell ink cartridges, including Office Depot, Office Max, Target, Walmart, and more.

How to refill Brother ink cartridges?

You can refill Brother ink cartridges by taking them to your local Costco. They’ll charge you between $8 and $10 for the service.

How to replace ink absorber pad Brother printer?

There’s a seven-step process to replace the ink absorber pad on a Brother printer. You can find all the steps on their support page here.

Other Printer Ink Questions

This section covers questions that don’t fit into our other categories.

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What printer has the longest lasting ink cartridges?

That depends on what you’re looking for in a printer. The OfficeJet Pro 8710 is the best option below $150, and the OfficeJet 7612 is the best option for large prints.

How to take out ink cartridge?

That depends on your printer model. You should search your specific printer to get instructions to remove the ink cartridge.

Where can I sell my empty ink cartridges?

Most large office supply stores have a rewards program that will give you $2 in store credit for every printer cartridge you turn in.

Are remanufactured ink cartridges any good?

They can be just as good as standard cartridges but using them may void your printer warranty. Also, your printer’s software may reject the cartridges.

How to get printer ink out of clothes?

Use an absorbent cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol to light dab the stain to remove it.

Does Target sell printer ink?

Yes, you can find a wide variety of printer ink for sale at your local Target in the electronics section.

Do thermal printers require ink?

Direct thermal printers don’t require any ink or toner. Thermal transfer printers require a ribbon to print.

Can you use sublimation ink in any printer?

No, there are only certain printers that are able to use dye sublimation inks. They can’t be used with any printer.

Is there white ink for printers?

You’ll need to make a special order to get white ink for your printer. Moreover, it isn’t available for every printer.

What color is cyan printer ink?

Cyan printer ink is commonly known as blue, as cyan is a shade of blue.

Which printer is the most economical for ink?

That depends on your printing needs. The Canon PIXMA MX922 is a good option. You can also try the HP ENVY 7640 or the Brother MFC-J480DW.

Rachel Carey

Rachel Carey

Financial Guru

Rachel is dedicated to helping individuals and families boost their budgets so they can enjoy the lifestyle they deserve. Rachel graduated with a degree in Family and Consumer Sciences. She’s a prolific finance writer, producing tons of articles on different aspects of personal and family budget management.

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