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Printer Hardware

Testing Cheaper Printer Ink 290

Posted by timothy
from the droplets-of-common-sense dept.
Carl Bialik from the WSJ writes "Computer users world-wide spend $22 billion a year on ink cartridges, and the big companies are getting stingier with the amount of ink they are putting into each cartridge, the Wall Street Journal reports. Entrepreneurs are seeking a slice of that market by undercutting HP and Lexmark with ink prices 20% to 50% lower. The Journal tested do-it-yourself refill kits, cartridge retail outlets and replacement cartridges from online stores to find the best way to save money on ink refills. One major finding: The quality often wasn't as good as with the name-brand cartridges."
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Testing Cheaper Printer Ink

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  • by archeopterix (594938) * on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @06:23AM (#12811043) Journal
    Too bad they haven't even mentioned Continuous Ink Flow Systems - CIFS replacement kits exist for most of the ink printers out there and you stop getting raped by the printer manufacturers. Why buy cartridges at all, when you can buy ink by the barrel?
  • by HazE_nMe (793041) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @06:26AM (#12811053) Homepage
    From TFA: "The kit included three ink colors -- yellow, blue and magenta"
    Not to be anal, but isn't it cyan, magenta, yello (CMY)? Blue is part of RGB. There is a difference IIRC.
    • From TFA: "The kit included three ink colors -- yellow, blue and magenta"
      That might have something to do with their poor results :)
    • by dnixon112 (663069) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @07:27AM (#12811257)
      Probably just the author's inexperience showing there. Cyan is a mix of green and blue, and to one who is not familiar with design or color theory it could be easily construed as just being blue.

      Here's what cyan looks like. [hypertextbook.com]
    • Not to be anal, but isn't it cyan, magenta, yello (CMY)? Blue is part of RGB. There is a difference IIRC.

      Even if it is a three-colour CMY ink cartridge, that's not particularly advanced - my fairly basic Epson Stylus Photo 1290 uses five-colour CcMmY cartridges along with the separate black one, the lower-case initials being lighter versions of the 'pure' colours.

      If I printed a bit more [hylobatidae.org], I'd buy one of those continuous ink flow systems [inksupply.com] as mentioned earlier - but they're terribly expensive!

      From my own ex
    • I think it's actually King's Yellow (yellow shade), Azire (blue shade) and Cinibar (magenta shade) :P
    • 'tis the last hurdle of true WYSIWYG. why isn't there white printer ink?
      • White ink? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Dogtanian (588974)
        'tis the last hurdle of true WYSIWYG. why isn't there white printer ink?

        Because (a) There isn't really a market for it, and (b) Printer ink works on the subtractive model, and to produce an ink that can print white on non-white paper would violate this model, and thus (more importantly) the ink itself would have to be substantially different in nature to the standard CMYK inks.

        Think about printing white on black; the ink would have to be dense enough to *cover* the black up (something like 'Tipp-Ex'/'L
        • Ah. While it doesn't fix the problems with the subtractive model, what about white TONER?
        • Re:White ink? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jcostantino (585892)
          The Alps MD series printers could do spot white color. They could do spot metallic color too with the same process.

          The 'ink' was one wax ribbon that looked like a single-use typewriter ribbon per color. They sounded like they were going to fall apart when printing anything.

          I had one but got rid of it due to high(er) consumable costs, harder to find consumables and the fact that it stopped loading paper without a fight. When it worked - and didn't get cat hair in the printout - it looked amazing!

  • Hmm.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by onion2k (203094) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @06:27AM (#12811057) Homepage
    Ok, first thought on the quality is .. Durrr .. obviously the quality is going to be lower. Any idiot could tell you that.

    However ..

    Does it actually matter? Certainly I find that any documentation I want a client to see has to be *perfect*, which generally means sending it out to a proper copy shop or in-house repro facility. Internal documentation doesn't need to be anywhere near as high quality, so replacement inks are ok assuming they actually last a few years on the paper, I find thats more important than a few lines here and there.

    So really where I work there isn't actually a market for "premium" ink cartridges. They're too expensive for everyday things, and not good enough for top quality things. There isn't any middle ground.
    • Re:Hmm.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @06:41AM (#12811103) Homepage
      If your office is using inkjets, and you have more than 2 employees, then your IT or management are being extremely stupid.

      Laser printing is the absolute cheapest with the Xerox color laser printers being the cheapest per page with their solid toner printers. We allow the sales department to print all they color they want as the Xerox is lower per page in full color than the HP4100dn Black and White, and yes I am counting printer cost+maintaince.

      Inkjets are good for home use only or in LARGE format photo quality printing. Using then in an office is the absolutely stupidest thing in the world, you can recoup the cost of a $1900.00 Xerox color laser in less than 1 year with ink prices alone.... And yes, I know what I am talking about. We have a remote office of 3 employees and one manager, they were spending $225 a month in ink on two HP inkjets.
      • Amen to that!

        Even at home, laser is the way to go. My wife likes to print a lot of documents. We were spending a fortune on inkjet carts. Finally, I bought a couple of old LJ4 printers off of ebay, cleaned them up, put new toner in them, and put them on the network. Now, she can print at about 1/10 the cost as before.

        Also makes a great anniversary present ;)

      • Re:Hmm.. (Score:2, Insightful)

        by halleluja (715870)
        Nope.. get a free laserjet 4 from the junkyard :-)

        But, how do "clone" toners perform?

        • Re:Hmm.. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by michrech (468134) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:14AM (#12811827)
          Clone cartridges (at least for Lexmarks) SUCK.

          They drop toner all over in the printers. I hate cleaning them up (but love charging the customers for it.). No one ever considers the extra cleanings that need to be done because of those cartridges.

          I couldn't even count how many times a customer had a print quality issue (toner being dropped all over the pages or 'image ghosts' from dead image drums) that was fixed by a $110 service call and a new toner cartridge.

          No one ever learns. Keeps me in business, though.

          ---
          Read my journal [slashdot.org].
      • Re:Hmm.. (Score:4, Informative)

        by smchris (464899) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @07:33AM (#12811275)
        If your office is using inkjets, and you have more than 2 employees, then your IT or management are being extremely stupid.

        I don't remember ever working in an office that had an ink jet printer. I remember employees _asking_ for one (and being told it was stupid). I've had a home laser since '92 -- and it weighed about 40 pounds.

        You want to save money beyond switching to laser: tonerrefillkits.com.

        You'll almost always get one good refill for around $20. You might get two refills from a catridge particularly if you have some .pdf manuals to print because the cylinders usually start to wear at the edges. I got a little wild with the soldering iron the first time, but it really does take about 5 minutes when you get the hang of it.

      • Re:Hmm.. (Score:3, Insightful)

        Inkjets are good for home use only or in LARGE format photo quality printing.

        Do lasers get the same color fidelity as inkjets as small format photo quality inkjets? My understanding is that they do not. That's the main reason I've avoided color lasers.

        Last I heard color laser printers were ok for color charts and graphs, but photo leave quite a bit to be desired. Of course, things could have changed since I last looked at color lasers . . .

        • by Lumpy (12016)
          the old Xerox Phaser 850's produced photo quality 8X10's easily. the newer xerox color Lasers certianly keep pace with the current "photo quality" inkjets, but do not compare to the high end inkjets designed specifically for photo printing.

          keep away from HP color printing. they still are the most expensive at nearly $1.00US a page and have the lowest quality color printout. Xerox with their Wax/Solid toner technology outpaces them in resolution ald overall look.

          and at $0.09US per full color print, we l
          • Re:Hmm.. (Score:3, Interesting)

            by michrech (468134)
            the old Xerox Phaser 850's produced photo quality 8X10's easily. the newer xerox color Lasers certianly keep pace with the current "photo quality" inkjets, but do not compare to the high end inkjets designed specifically for photo printing.

            The Xerox Phaser printers (specifically the model you mentioned) are not laser printers. They use a special wax ink stick. They do make VERY nice prints and are quite fast, however, they are DAMNED expensive to repair. We quit selling them because we were unable to
      • Re:Hmm.. (Score:3, Informative)

        by wallykeyster (818978)
        If your office is using inkjets, and you have more than 2 employees, then your IT or management are being extremely stupid.

        I am the IT Director for a small private university and I hate inkjets because of the enormous cost. However, I've been unable to get management's support to eliminate them because they don't want to deal with the convenience arguments from faculty and staff (mostly faculty). The employees have gotten used to having a printer on their desk and there is no way to replace inkjets with

        • Re:Hmm.. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by OglinTatas (710589)
          employee bonuses, or other incentives for saving money, may go a long way toward quieting the inevitable bitching when change is made. You've already made the cost analysis (which you have found to be positive) now push the benefits.
          • Good point.

            Too often short-sighted management tries to save $1 million at the cost of slight employee inconvenience. The initiative is bound to failure as the employees have no incentive to play along.

            On the other hand, if the company is open about the savings and gives $500k in bonuses back to the employees they suddenly don't have such a big problem with the change.

            My pet-peeve is when companys save a bundle by centralizing IT, and then they save $50k by cutting the central group to the bone so that q
      • by Danathar (267989) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @08:24AM (#12811525) Journal
        If you can believe it everybody here at the unamed government agency I work for has their own inkjet printer. Why? Because they are too lazy to get up and walk over to the $20K floor copier that nobody uses.

        Sometimes the Federal Gov boggles my mind....when I worked in the private sector if I had asked my manager for a personal ink jet printer he would of passed out laughing and then after recovering would tell me to get back to work, use the floor copier and don't EVER ask for something so stupid again!
        • If you can believe it everybody here at the unamed government agency I work for has their own inkjet printer. Why? Because they are too lazy to get up and walk over to the $20K floor copier that nobody uses.

          Or the manager in charge of the department decided that that was one way to spend the rest of the budget.

          True story;

          My father worked at one of the federal agencies as a department manager. After many years, he secured a job with the UN.

          He called me asking about printers, and what I thought ab

          • I've seen a lot of this working for the Canadian federal goverment too. Basically, those who do a good job, and come in under budget, are punished, by having their budget reduced. While those who spend their entire budget, or more, are rewarded with a higher budget. You'll see departments with plasma TVs, 21 inch flat panels on every desk, brand new computers everywhere, and XEON Servers and SANs that are just sitting in a corner, collecting dust, not even plugged in. Then there's the ones who don't bl
        • At another government agency, everyone also has their own inkjet. Sharing a printer is discouraged as it requires changing the computer's cnofiguration (bad). Laser printers are discouraged because toner is classified as hazardous waste while ink cartridges are not... (this is a lab setting). US tax dollars at work.

        • We've tried and tried to convince the powers that be, to stop authorizing the use of Ink jets. we have a bunch of really nice lasers, and even a couple of Color lasers that are sitting around idling most of the time. But people complain to their managers that they have to walk 15 feet to the printer, so the manager whacks IT till they get a ink jet. Morons. It's amazing to me how we, back here it in IT, have 1 common laser printer. Nobody has their own. We have no issues with that, and we're print
      • by Cylix (55374) *
        It's fairly easy to do the math and reach that conclusion.

        The reason they make it into the office anyway is the low entry cost. Getting individuals to see the long term gains is sometimes difficult.

        In any event, our last one died off and I forced them over to the network printer. Oh noes... they have to walk to get their printed document!
    • Re:Hmm.. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by EnderWiggnz (39214)
      If you're printing Photo's, you want the real stuff, no question about it.

      I've been happy with Canon, and found that they have some of the cheapest per photo, and best looking prints around, if you use the right printer. (i850, i960)

      Plus, their ink doesnt auto-expire.
      • Re:Hmm.. (Score:3, Informative)

        by Biomechanical (829805)

        Yeah but forget about Canon if you want to use Linux. As I've been told on the phone, their official stance is that they don't, and will not, support Linux in any way, shape, or form - no official drivers, no disclosure of how anything works, etc.

        I've got a Canon PIXMA iP3000. Nice printer, nice functions, fucked support for Linux.

        I can use Canon BJC-7004 drivers, or I can pay about AU$50 (nearly half the cost of the printer) to Turboprint.de for a driver they've cobbled together (amongst others) aft

        • Perhaps HP and Epson are nicer for Linux, but since both company's have started playing at silly buggers with their replacement cartridges. Trying to shut down cartridges cloners by way of DMCA and such tactics. Or placing restrictions similar to the sone policy in CSS on the cartridges. I'm starting to consider buying a Canon anyway, besides giving EUR 29.95 to a Linux company does not bother me so much. It looks like the drivers from Turboprint.de both are easy to install and of high quality. Have you tri
          • You just need to buy a 10 gizmo to reset the cartridge chips.

            Linux support and print quality is awesome on the cheap Photo printers (R2xx/R3xx), even with bottled ink.
          • Re:Hmm.. (Score:2, Informative)

            by Biomechanical (829805)

            I did try the free edition of the drivers, and the installation was relatively painless and the print quality did seem pretty good considering my limited testing.

            That aside, Canon's support policy extends to all of their product range - camera's, scanners, printers, etc - as I've been told by two people at Canon, and I'm not willing to pay nearly 50% of the cost of a printer to get a single driver file for it to run on Linux.

            It's not just bad support for OS's other than Linux which has me so pissed w

            • Thanks for you input on the drivers, even if it was limited:-)

              We are buying from the lesser of "evils/stupids".
              Sad but true. Since I fortunately don't have immediate need of a new printer, I going to use the time to consider the lesser evil/stupids. Perhaps the difference are to small to matter to me, and I may decide to go for the best overall bargain(eventual drivers included) on price/preformance.
            • I haven't had any direct experience with Cannon but my friend who does photography has some negative feelings concerning Cannon's digital camera offerings. Apparently Cannon's SLR digital models didn't support using lens from the traditional SLR cameras unlike Nikon which apparently does. I personally use a Minolta SLR but haven't been able to afford a digital Minolta SLR (which appears to allow many of the older SLR lenses to be used - maybe not all automated, but most are). I have a digital Kodak Easy
        • I've got a Canon PIXMA IP2000, it's a fairly decent printer but lack of support for Linux and 64-bit Windows is a PITA (IIRC people emailing support either got answers that 32-bit drivers work fine (they don't), they will be developed with XP-64 is released (it already is) and that they don't plan to support it). Can get it to print fine in both using BJC drivers, but still have to hook it up to my 32-bit Win laptop for cleaning print heads etc.
    • The second question would be what damage the ink will be doing to the printer. How man inkjets get clogged cartridges from 3rd party ink? This is a tough on because inkjets are so cheap that when the break you toss. No company who wants to make money will fix an inkjet unless it is one of those high quality ones that cost over 1k. So they just toss it and get a new one. But I have seen on Solid Ink Printers some nasty stuff when they used 3rd party ink. Lets just say it was like Carls Bad Caverns in t
      • Possibly true. But on my cheap inkjet printer ($100 retail), I have already saved enough money using cheap ink to pay for the printer if I have to replace it. When a printer is $100, and a complete ink replacement is $70, you do NOT have much to loose.

        A coler laser is a different story, though, as hardware tends to start at $400.
    • Quality is certainly an issue when you are forging stuff like invoices, insurance certificates etc.
    • I have tried several vendors for replacement ink. The prices have ranged anywhere from $1 to $20 per cartridge. Some haven't worked well, so I've had to try several sources to find ink that I like. I order about 10 cartridges at a time to save on shipping, so it ends up less than $5 per cartridge. I've been using non-Epson ink in this printer since I bought it new (refurbished) in the summer of 2000.

      I don't remember what the original ink was like, but I like how things turn out now. If I have to have
    • Yeah. Most people don't even understand the value of draft printing either. Uses like half the ink, doesn't look quite as good, but who cares really? For resumes and stuff you might want to make it look good, but if you're printing up a recipe, or something else like that, just use draft mode, it's quicker, and will save you tons of ink.
  • Back in the day (Score:4, Informative)

    by el_womble (779715) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @06:31AM (#12811069) Homepage
    I worked as an office junior for a guy once who refused to by branded cartridges once he found out about them - in this case Epsom. The cartriges were about 2/3 of the price and when they worked were pretty close to the quality of the original... when they worked. Between increased maintenance, broken printers and destroyed print outs I can't see how the TCO was much less than double the price of the branded inks.
    • Re:Back in the day (Score:4, Informative)

      by Technician (215283) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @07:22AM (#12811242)
      Between increased maintenance, broken printers and destroyed print outs I can't see how the TCO was much less than double the price of the branded inks.


      I bought small amounts. What worked I kept using. What didn't I junked.

      Here is what works for me. My wife's re-branded Dell all in one - donated to goodwill. I couldn't see the thimble size carts priced the same as half full HP carts as a value. The carts could not be picked up down the street, so S & H from Dell was extra. I found no refilling instructions online. It never got it's first refill.

      My HP laserjet III uses refilled carts. I would refill myself except it only needs a replacement once every couple years. Cost to operate is about $18/year in toner.

      My HP950 The color carts were not reliable when refilled. Sometimes the printer simply stopped mid photograph. Black refills worked great. Bought black ink by the pint bottle. One time when one color died, I switched to B/W printing to get greyscale prints. Got a lovely purple picture. WTF? It uses color ink to print black and white. Printer now sits in a box on the shelf.
      I liked the self alignment it does, so it would make a good networked printer, but cost of supplies retired it to spare status.

      HP922c Color refills not reliable. Refills work if running a large batch of photos, but don't expect it to work the next day. Black refills work great. Uses the same black cart as the HP950. I am on my third re-order of ultra black pigmented ink. The twin pack of color carts are less than the price of a single color cart for the HP950. I buy the ocasional twin pack. I do photo printing through my local Costco at $0.19 per 4X6 and $1.99 per 8X10.

      Most B/W printing gets done on the laser. Web pages go on the HP722c. I don't home print photos anymore.

      All my printers are on network printservers (Hawking). At less than the price of one set of carts for the HP950, a printservers is a good investment. The inkjet printer sits on a shelf in the hall closet so the whole family can use it. This cuts down on problems of dried out carts and supporting a fleet of printers for each PC.

      We have the 2 printers online and the HP950 sits as a spare.
  • by Zog The Undeniable (632031) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @06:33AM (#12811072)
    We never really use our inkjet at home. Most stuff gets sent to the ageing (7 y/o) Panasonic b/w laser printer, which was only 200UKP new - probably 120UKP for today's equivalent - and is on only its third toner cartridge.

    Digital photos are printed on proper photographic paper using a web-based service which returns the (non-fading, and remarkably cheap) prints in the post two days later.

    • I agree. I bought a samsung ml 1510 for £50 and when I found the replacement for the half filled cartridge supplied was also £50 I went to ebay and bought a bottle of toner for £5.
    • We never really use our inkjet at home. Most stuff gets sent to the ageing (7 y/o) Panasonic b/w laser printer, which was only 200UKP new - probably 120UKP for today's equivalent - and is on only its third toner cartridge.
      Laser rocks :) Even colour laser printers are quite cheap nowadays, at Digital photos are printed on proper photographic paper using a web-based service which returns the (non-fading, and remarkably cheap) prints in the post two days later.

      What service are you using for this? I've always
      • by squoozer (730327) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @07:18AM (#12811226)

        <disclaimer>I used to work for one of the online digital printing service providers.</disclaimer>

        The quality of the prints was, I have to admit, pretty damn good. When I first started there the service was quite expensive and it was touch and go whether it was worth sending off to have them printed. By the time I left though the price had dropped greatly and the quality remained (at least in the basic prints anyway).

        It's worth shopping round, you can get some really good deals such as a second set for free. The cheapest always used to be (in the UK at least) Bonus Print but they were cheap because they only did a very limited number of print sizes. There are loads of other services out there that will print you photos onto just about anything you can think (we even did a toy bear for a while!). The quality of the other stuff though is questionable at best. A 2MPixel camera will produce a pretty good A4 sized print.

        I'm sure I will get shouted at for promoting it but there is actually a fairly good digital printing client built into XP. You select a folder with images in it and then select print from the left hand menu (you need folder view tured off). It will give you a list with a number of printing service providers. I don't know if it still works though - since leaving the company I have stopped using Windows.

    • Errr... I'll use the preview button this time.

      We never really use our inkjet at home. Most stuff gets sent to the ageing (7 y/o) Panasonic b/w laser printer, which was only 200UKP new - probably 120UKP for today's equivalent - and is on only its third toner cartridge.

      Laser rocks :) Even colour laser printers are quite cheap nowadays, at £300 GBP. Print quality is great, print speed makes it frustrating to go back to inkjet, and there's no more hassle with changing tiny ink cartridges every few wee
    • by hey! (33014)
      We've got an HP laser of about the same vintage. I think it was over five years before we had to replace the toner cartridge. My wife told me there was something wrong with the printer, and looking at her printouts my first thought was, "do they even sell the cartridges for this thing anymore?" Of course they do. You can get toner cartridges for the original laserjets

      We also recently got an inkjet printer for the odd color document and for photos. Now a photo takes a tremendous amount of ink, to be fair
  • by hobotron (891379) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @06:39AM (#12811093)

    I mean really, If I had started out with a blank slate and the intention of making a true jem of the worst part of the consumer electronics industry I would not be able to top what modern printer manufactures have come up with.

    The previous Lexmark debacle was just another symptom. I refuse to believe that Ink for something that prints out my TPS reports is worth more than its weight in gold.

    "The price of ink per milliliter from the big printer shops such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Lexmark International Inc. has been steadily rising, at about 1% a year"

    Excuse me, but wtf? It is supposed to be cheaper to produce a product as time goes on, and dont give me that "they are innovating the way things are printed". There hasnt been any corresponding 1% increase in quality over the years.

    Now things are coming to a big market (refillers, do it yourself or walkin/internet retailers) and personally I cannot wait till they gut the entire industry down to a reasonable profit margin. The only complaints of the article were "not as sharp as the new HP cartrige", personally I can live with that if it means not being overcharged the next time I goatse my neighbors mailbox.

  • Quality (Score:2, Interesting)

    by turbofisk (602472)
    What is it exactly that makes the quality worse? Is the ink less good? You would think they could fix that and add a buck or two - and still slap the HP and Lexmark on their fingers...
    • Re:Quality (Score:3, Informative)

      by judmarc (649183)

      What is it exactly that makes the quality worse?

      It's the little copper-colored thingy at the business end of the ink cartridge, which produces the electromagnetic field that shapes the ink jet into whatever you're printing - alphanumeric characters, photos, etc. There's wear to this part over time, so that's why a refilled cartridge's print output will deteriorate. And the remanufactured ones never quite get to the tolerances of the new.

  • I have three Canon printers - one i860 and two i865. I think they are great printers and have always used Canon ink as it is not that expensive. However, I would love to know what results people have had putting cheaper ink into it.

    Comments please.
  • I work in this business but the trick is really really really, i can't stress this enough, don't buy a cheap printer. I'm suprised how many geeks completely ignore this part of their system, they'd sooner put neon lights in the case than get a decent printing aperatus.

    if you're looking to print anything, get a laser, they're built better, and cost less per page. if you must have ink jet, consider a draft printer or commercial quality high volume inkjet, i know HP sells an inkjet with a 60+ Ml black cartridge, that's a lot more than the 19 ml ones they give you in the cheapo consumer units. did a little research and here's a list of printers starting at 150 bucks that use 70 ML black cartridges.

    http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF02a/1897 2-236251-236261.html?jumpid=re_R295_prodexp/buspro ducts/printing/color-inkjet-printers [hp.com]

    also worth noting, don't refill the cartridges for canon or epson printers unless you want to be replacing the printer shortly, it's like putting a bit of suger in the gas tank at every fill up.(hp's the print heads are disposable so it doesn't matter as much, and lexmarks aren't even worth mentioning)
    • if you're looking to print anything, get a laser, they're built better, and cost less per page.

      It all depends on the volume. I imagine many home users of printers are like me, and print stuff out only very, very rarely. I print out the occasional map/route description, short articles, stickers, photo's and CD sleeves. My volume is low but I want color and good quality printing. I got the cheapy HP OfficeJet, which also scans and copies; a really handy feature. With the amount of stuff I print, I'd

      • Hear hear, I'm still on the original cartridges in my Deskjet 960C - it's a pretty old printer, probably about four years I think. We probably average three pages a week. The diagnostics say it's still half full. I only bought it because it was end of line and half price.
    • Seventy mega-litres of black ink is just showing off.
  • Thousands of pages vs a few hundred and that's assuming the inkjets don't clog. Better quality output too. Then get a cheap inkjet for the occasional colour page.

  • What HP says about refills and warranties:

    "Using refilled print cartridges alone does not affect either the warranty or any maintenance contract purchased from HP for its HP Inkjet printers. However, if an HP Inkjet printer fails or is damaged because you used a modified or refilled HP Inkjet print cartridge, the repair will not be covered under the warranty or by the maintenance contract. Instead, standard time and material charges will be applied to service the printer for that particular failure

    • for a while (mid '80s), hp was starting to feel pressure on refilled toner cartridges and started making statements about refilled and/or third party toners breaking the warranty. i'm not sure that this was ever 'official' hp policy.
      however, one day this stopped very suddenly. it turns out that there is federal law that says that if replaceable/consumable parts/materials by third parties will void the warranty, then those parts/materieals have to be provided free under the warranty. apparently, some
  • by jellomizer (103300) * on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @06:55AM (#12811149)
    Honestly InkJets printers have the highest costs per print vs. Laser or Solid Ink. And the cost of these printers have dropped Rapidly.
    Samsung Makes a Color Laser Printer for $600 that comes with full cartridges, which covers about 10,000 prints. vs Paying $80 for an Ink Jet and $70 for ink every 500 prints. If you do the math you find you are saving a lot of money in the long run. Also Solid Ink is really good too, just as good if not better then Laser for Cost/Page. (And for those you probably said they heat their old TekSolid ink, Solid ink has improved greatly in the past 5 years and are just as reliable as a good laser printer)
  • by benk (93688) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @06:56AM (#12811151)
    I remember searching this out extensively when I took on a colour Epson printer from my brother. I don't have links to the sources, but I recall that the nutshell answer was that some manufacturers' prices were better or comperable to the generics, and some were worse.

    Apart from factoring in cost of replacing print heads more often, and potential problems with DRM or voiding your warranty if they allege damage was caused by use of non-original ink (which I think in the US is in violation of the Magnuson-Moss Act, but I don't think is so here in Oz, tho I haven't checked) I recall there were two main factors:

    One was capacity of generic cartridges - some have a smaller volume than the original, and hence this has to be factored in against their cheaper cost. Off the bat, this made the generics only marginally cheaper than the original for my printer. (I'm talking new cartridges, not refills).

    The other was the quality of the print job. I was looking for a colour printer for photos, and it matters to me that the printouts would last perhaps 1-2 yrs before fading for the generics, versus a much longer (supposed) lifestyle for the Epson ink. Why save a couple of bucks if the photo will fade in its frame?

    For me the answer was simple, and the Epson was much better value than the generic stuff. I recall finding material that suggested that it wasn't so clear cut for ink from other manufacturers, in particular HP. But I didn't chase that down.

    fwiw, reading other peoples' experiences that it took a number of printouts before the generic ink replaced the original in the printer heads, and to expect smearing and poor quality until then, didn't exactly engender confidence that the inks were of comparable makeup.
    • fwiw, reading other peoples' experiences that it took a number of printouts before the generic ink replaced the original in the printer heads, and to expect smearing and poor quality until then, didn't exactly engender confidence that the inks were of comparable makeup.
      Even on our orginal HP ink it says to run some test copies and to expect some initial smearing.
      For most people purchasing refilled cartridges are well worth it, vendors that resell cartridges do a really good job indicating the amount of i
  • I used to use refill kits for my old canon bubblejet. I then changed it for an Epson C62 because I needed a colour printer. Lo and behold they'd fitted "smart" cartridges with chips that knew when the where empty and resisted all efforts to refill them. After a quick trip to the shops to buy replacements and finding out that they were £40 for the colour one and £29 for the black one, I said "fck that" and and just went back to the shop where I bought the printer and bought another one as the pri
    • After a quick trip to the shops to buy replacements and finding out that they were £40 for the colour one and £29 for the black one, I said "fck that" and and just went back to the shop where I bought the printer and bought another one as the printer itself (which came with a set of cartridges) was only £60.

      You really put one over on The Man there... *cough*

      Let's see; you bought a printer with overpriced cartridges. Rather than replace it with one that took more sensibly priced carts,
    • My Epson C42UX cost $69. Both cartridges ran out at once. Cost for new pair of cartridges: $69 (tax included).

      Since then printer prices have gone up to discourage people from buying a new printer every time they ran out of ink.

      And I snagged a discarded Laserjet IV, replaced the rollers for $20 and no longer think about the cost of ink -- a replacement cartridge for it costs the same a load of ink for the epson.
    • Even if he's serious about the prices for toner replacements, that's still fucking funny. It's just as well to buy a brand new printer and throw the old one out! LoL @ Printer industry for this one, LoL @ the environment for taking a punch in the gut so this guy could print :)
  • by duffer_01 (184844) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @07:03AM (#12811171) Homepage
    I have used refill kits in the past and although they are cheap I find they tend to mess up your printer heads. I have lost two printers in the past to these refills. Now, I just use new cartridges.
    • ... and the new printer costs just as much as a set of cartridges.

      I hand fill my R200, and I save 90% on the price of cartridges. Sure, occasionnally I spill ink all over the printer ... so I go get another one for 109, compared to 15*6 for a full set of cartridges.

      It just sucks for the environment, though.
  • With the costs of laser printers dropping, I've taken the stand that I'll never buy another inkjet printer. Recently I bought a HP Laserjet 1012, which is not that much bigger than a good inkjet printer and reasonably fast (14 ppm I think). Toner is about $90 for a 2000 page cartridge.

    If printing in color is ever really that important, I'll either get a color laser printer or print at work/school/Kinko's/etc.
  • I'm seeing a lot of recommendations on this thread pushing color laser printers . . .

    However, my understanding has been that color lasers are worse that color injets for photo printing. Additionally, it is my understanding that most pros use inkjets, not lasers to print their photos (Even in the not so large format 13" wide Epson 2100/2200 realm). Is this still true, or has color laser printing taken some siginficant leaps forward in the realm of digital photos?

  • by purduephotog (218304) <.hirsch. .at. .inorbit.com.> on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @07:32AM (#12811274) Homepage Journal
    Not much.

    A drum of ink, if memory serves, was around a couple of hundred dollars to synthesize. 55 gallons of purified, strained dye ink.

    Now pigmented ink- thats far more expensive. The good ones are nano-milled which add (if memory serves) 300$ per kg to the production cost.

    Ink is cheap.

    The research, however, is very very expensive.
  • I bought a refill kit at Costco as it was the first one I'd found that had Photo Cyan, and Photo Magenta (for 6 color prints)

    Aside from the hassle, I couldn't see a noticible difference in the prints after refilling. The _second_ refill however had a color drop out and I was too lazy to troubleshoot it. That's the nice thing about the HP printers - new cart = new print nozzles.

    So, I'm pretty happy with at least one refill per cartridge...I also don't really mind the cost of the ink...you either pay now or pay later, I don't see why folks haven't figured that out.

    Now, when my Laser Printer finally kicks off (May be soon, I doubt I'll replace the photo drum on a, geeze, 8 year old printer), I may seriously investigate a color Laser printer with an ethernet port on it...I've seen them as low as $350 w/o NIC and $450 with one.
    • you either pay now or pay later

      I'd rather pay now. I'm one of those people who likes to buy stuff like printers to keep for ten or fifteen years. The problem with cheap printers and expensive supplies is that people like me end up paying a couple of grand for stupid $200 printer over the course of its lifetime. I would much rather pay a few hundred bucks extra and buy ink that's dirt cheap, something a lot closer to what the actual cost of producing it. In the long run, we'd save a LOT of money.

  • I have a Canon S300 ink(bubble?)jet printer, and I buy ink cartridges made by Pelikan [pelikanhardcopy.com], a company that knows a thing or two about ink.

    I get *more* ink per cartridge, the black ink is *much* better than what Canon sells, and it costs *half* as much.

    If Pelikan makes cartridges you can use, and you don't want to go through the hassle of refilling your own, I highly recommend them.

    It's not the cheapest way to go, but hey - half price, more product, better quality. Not bad.
  • We did.

    I got tired of spending $50 to replace ink just because HP couldn't make a cartridge that wouldn't dry up after a few months or would just flat out expire (see previous /. stories if you don't believe...). Besides, now that HP has a $39 inkjet printer - we now live in the age of disposable printers. That's bound to be great for the environment, eh?

    We've had a networked laser printer for quite some time, for a long time, an HP LJ 2300M with a Jetdirect card, and more recently an HP LJ 2420d. I

  • The quality often wasn't as good as with the name-brand cartdriges.

    I've observed this as well. Where I used to work, we had a laser printer that got totally screwed up. We had an independent repair company come out, and they told us that it was because of the refurbished toner catridge we were using. We didn't think it made that much of a difference, so management kept buying them. Well, guess what, the printer screwed up again. By that time, we had switched to a different independent repair compan

  • by JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @07:55AM (#12811382) Homepage
    Consumer Reports did a side-by-side test, as well as simulated UV exposure age tests. They found the same story -- refill ink was OK for drafts, but name brand ink looked and lasted much better.
    You get what you pay for, anyone?
    • True. I hate to pay the prices for name brand, but the generic carts just aren't as good -- at least for photos. With generics photos come out slightly discolored, banded, or grainy -- or all three. Name brands work perfectly.
    • I've worked in a print lab that test remanufactured cartridges & toner and the like. One of the largest three in the US, as a matter of fact.

      Sure your refill/3rd party ink may look as vibrant, and some actually live up to UV very well, but you drop them into the O-Zone chamber, or mist water over them...

      There's a big difference out there, if you have to use inkjet, and you want to keep your documents longer than a month, shell out full price, or move up to a large reliable printer.

      Also note, for ton
  • bah (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chrish (4714) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @08:10AM (#12811461) Homepage
    I gave up on inkjets and bought a decent but inexpensive laser (Lexmark E232). It cost me less than my first inkjet (an HP Deskjet 500 back in the day), and I've found that I really don't need to print in colour that often.

    The E232 is ridiculously fast, too, which is great.

    I've still got my inkjet (a crappy Lexmark Z32) on the off chance that I really do need to print colour some day, although I'm more likely to drop a PDF onto a CD and take it to a print shop... it'll be much cheaper than investing in new ink.
  • I have used cartridge world in australia, UK and the US and never had any problems with printing out documents or photos. I have recommended them to everyone as Ive been so happy with the end product.
  • Why not just refil your cartridges with deoderant [afrotechmods.com]? The cartridge isn't empty, it's just dried out.

    (Link not entirely SFW)
  • by Ilgaz (86384) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:43AM (#12812104) Homepage
    I couldn't stand not posting it. I got 2 working inkjets using different technologies and I have nothing against them.

    The stuff here needed huge amount of printouts, I had a spare money and I got really tired of buying ink (original) or printing via clone stuff (which DOES have diff.) so I went and bought a Epson C1100 Colour Laser.

    The brand choice was not so random, I did my usual trick, checked around which brand does really care about OS X development etc.

    The thing is, I really feel like I wasted huge amount of money to ink. Because of a illustration I misunderstood, I spilled 75% of toner (dust?) which you know, no printer comes with full. It was stated on manual already.

    As I am lucky(!), my mailbox under that situation (black toner warning) has become full with 200 page word documents which _have to get printed_. Believe or not, that spilled toner printed:

    443 total pages, 262 of them colour, 181 B/W

    Of course I am not mad to count :) Printer counts, just printed a status sheet. Yes, that postscript show off page still prints, Epson still warns me that I should get a toner before it ends.

    I am not advertising a particular brand/model here but staring to the ink packages I still have on desk, I say something is wrong with inkjet technology.

    If I had to print 30 pages/month, I would stay with ink of course.
  • by jridley (9305) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @12:36PM (#12814341)
    Sure the quality goes down; HP and Lexmark cartridges are designed to wear out fast. But if you buy a printer with a permanent printhead and ink tanks, and buy good ink that's formulated for the printer (not "one-size-fits-all" generic ink) you can get very good quality indeed.

    I have a Canon i970 photo printer. I have never bought an OEM cart, when the ones it came with ran out I started refilling. I have refilled each tank about 25 times now, and the quality is still fine.

    Wake up people. HP and Lexmark inkjet printers are cheap crap designed to be a continuous source of income for the manufacturers. Pay > $50 for a printer and save $100's later.

    Epson also has permanent heads, but they take other steps (bottom loading carts which are messy to fill and cause bubbles, and chipped cartridges) to make refilling a pain.

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