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Printer Hardware

How Aftermarket Inkjet Ink Holds Up After a Year 152

Posted by timothy
from the or-lays-down dept.
An anonymous reader writes "About a year ago I found a link on here for a test of inkjet printer inks. The article compared original manufacturer inks against much cheaper third party stuff and the results were surprisingly in favour of third party products. They've now published the final part of this study, examining the prints produced a year ago. This time the printer manufacturers have come out far better, with some third party prints having disappeared completely! Cartridge World ink still seems worth a try though, if you don't want to pay manufacturers' inflated prices."
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How Aftermarket Inkjet Ink Holds Up After a Year

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  • by Programmerman (1166739) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:01AM (#23237474)
    If you're in a business where you print documents for a meeting or which will be obsolete in a day or two, this may be of even more benefit than it remaining visible. Undocumented feature?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by peragrin (659227)
      better yet employee theft. can you imagine a government case against you falling apart because the documents that an employee stole are no longer readable?

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by mrsteveman1 (1010381)
        Yea, thats a problem. Maybe some day someone can implement a way to preserve paper documents, perhaps implement a scanning element of some kind

        We can call it "The Scanner"
    • If only... (Score:5, Funny)

      by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:24AM (#23237728)
      If only they could invent some sort of electronic device that acts like a hundred small scissors and cuts up your documents into little strips, making it really difficult to figure out the contents of the original document.... I'd call it The Scissorator.

      Better yet, maybe, would be some sort of fantastical sci-fi method of applying an energy to the document in such a way that the very atoms of the paper disassociate from eachother, and combine with oxygen in the atmosphere to form carbon dioxide and liquid water. Of course, we'd probably need tiny nanomachines to do this atom-by-atom. It's still hundreds of years off, I'm sure...
    • by peipas (809350)
      If I were in a business where I had to us an inkjet printer I would be pissed. Even our finance director has a little HP LaserJet 1300. What a nightmare it would be to work in IT at a company so short-sighted as to forgo/ignore basic ROI analysis.

      For the casual printer of confidential documents, send a locked job to your copier. Lease a decent copier if you can't do this.
      • by TClevenger (252206) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @12:42PM (#23240076)
        I get that a lot from my accounting department.

        "Why did you buy a $1,500 laser printer, when Costco has $80 printers on sale?"

        "Uh, because the $80 printer uses $55 cartridges that last 2,500 pages, while the $1,500 printer uses $175 cartridges that last 20,000 pages, and don't need scheduled maintenance for 400,000 pages? Oh, and the $1,500 printer prints 50+ pages per minute?"

        "Oh. Okay, I guess."

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by nuzak (959558)
          Not to mention the inkjet clogging if you don't use it for a month. That's pretty much the main reason I stay away from inkjets. That and you can print on cheap copier paper -- an inkjet will smudge.
          • Actually, I was referring to the $80 throwaway lasers you sometimes find, but inkjets are a whole class of problems in themselves. My father is a contractor and switched to laser after a particularly rainy day on the jobsite--when his inkjet-printed invoices were so smeared as to be useless.
          • by ncc74656 (45571) *

            Not to mention the inkjet clogging if you don't use it for a month.

            Not all printers are created equal. At one extreme, I have a 2+-year-old HP DeskJet 450 that pretty much only gets used once or twice a year at homebrew competitions. It still has the original color cartridge (had to replace the black cartridge once when it ran out), and it still produces good-quality printouts with it. At the other extreme, I have an Epson Stylus Photo R200 that clogs up after 2-3 weeks of disuse and needs to waste a

            • Epsons do that. The permanent piezoelectric printhead can be a source of headaches. Does wonders for image quality though, not that every inkjet on planet Earth can't make convincing photos by now.
    • I'd really love a pen containing ink that either degraded to invisibility or sublimated. It would be useful for signing things that need temporary authorisations - where you don't necessarily want your mark to be retained forever. Or where you want people to reauthorise something after a period of time. Maybe have it available in "1 day" "week" "month" and "year" varieties for different contract lengths.
  • The prices may not be inflated if one of your goals is to read the paper after a year.
    • How the hell are you going to even find the paper after a year? Much easier to do a find or (s)locate or use beagle to find the pdf or tiff and print it out again.
  • Why I love my Canon (Score:5, Informative)

    by IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:05AM (#23237534) Homepage Journal
    I have a Pixma IP4200 inkjet. Bought for about $150 (not on sale) and the individual carts are about 6$, for Canon ones, why bother with 3rd party? At this rate I can toss them out the window and still come out ahead.

    This is why I love my Canon. HP could learn a thing or two about ink pricing from them...
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Can you tell us where you get ink for only $6. I have an IP4200 as well, and the lowest price I find for ink is $14.95. Thanks.
      • $15 for a pack right? Canon color inks are (or were when I owned a canon. CVS does my color printing, now) in separate tanks, so a color pack that costs circa $18 would equate to "individual" carts* that cost $6 ea.

        *GP most certainly did not mean "cartridges" which on canon printers are a full replacement of all ink tanks and print heads.

        I dunno. If there really are cartridges or even ink packs for only $6 though, I might consider buying another inkjet.
    • by kklein (900361)

      1) Pros and Cons of Hitchhiking in your sig; I like you already.

      2) Me too. I've toyed with 3rd party ink on my iP4100 and it looks like crap, runs, and only costs a hair less than the real Canon stuff.

      3) Yeah... This printer and my cold dead hands. I can even print on CDs with it (I live in Japan).

      • by zakezuke (229119)

        2) Me too. I've toyed with 3rd party ink on my iP4100 and it looks like crap, runs, and only costs a hair less than the real Canon stuff.

        3) Yeah... This printer and my cold dead hands. I can even print on CDs with it (I live in Japan).

        Yes, the ink in japan is about 1/2 the cost it is here, according to amazon.co.jp. I'd consider going OEM ink if I could refill my tanks for $30ish. As it stands it's closer to $70ish.

        CD printing is an option for American canons. details are on this site
        http://pixma.ulmb.com/ [ulmb.com] I'm not sure on the ip4500, no one as posted any info on that, but most models are supported, all you need is the tray.

        You can easily make an extra buck in japan selling trays. They are not too spendy and ebay will give you 100%

        • by kklein (900361)

          Hey, I might very well do some tray-selling. Every other thing I've thought of selling on eBay from Japan is better-sold elsewhere and I found I couldn't compete in my spare time.

          Plus, printing on CDs is awesome. It was such an afterthought when I bought the printer ("Huh. That's cool, I guess..."), but I actually use it for little but. Even just printing notes on what's on the disc is worth it, it's so hassle-free. I don't have to worry about writing incorrectly, and I don't have to fuss with trying

    • by Intron (870560)
      What I haven't seen is any rating on the number of pages that a color cartridge will print. Obviously it depends on what you are doing, but somebody should print a standard image like Lena and see how many pages you get out of these cartridges. The right number is cost per page, not cost per cartridge.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bogie (31020)
      Where can you buy Canon ink for $6? Retail everywhere for canon stuff is like $12 offline and $10 online.

      I have a 5yr i560 that still prints beautiful photos. I'll never buy another HP inkjet.
    • by mikeboone (163222)
      I like my Pixma, except that if one of those printer cartridges has a problem, it won't let you scan, fax, or do anything else [boonedocks.net]. And buying the replacement yellow cartridge at the local office store, just to get scanning working, cost me $14.
      • by tzanger (1575)

        My pixma mp530 does not have this problem. I run with the cartridges low/empty all the time and can scan/fax and print even, although it'll be ugly of course if it's missing ink it needs. I'm *really* happy with the MP530, actually. cheapish, good use of ink, acceptable cost of consumables, has ADF for scanner/fax and duplexer for printer. Wish it had a bigger paper tray and have to get around to making CUPS not "hog" the port so I can't scan without killing it, but overall an excellent, excellent devic

  • Sunlight is key... (Score:5, Informative)

    by ramk13 (570633) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:05AM (#23237536)
    The summary neglects to mention that the third party inks failed in sunlight, but were fine in indoor or controlled storage conditions. It's still something to consider, but nearly as bad as the summary makes it out to be. Tons of photo processes produce photos that'll fade in a year of sunlight, so it's reasonable you'd have to put in a little more expense there for pigments instead of dyes.
    • by MoxFulder (159829)
      Yeah, this is the part that bugged me... in the summary page they explain that they divided the samples up into three groups:

      We cut each print into three and stuck the left third of each image on boards which we then put in the lab window, where they would be exposed to typical daylight conditions.

      The second third of each strip was stuck to a clip frame and covered with glass, before being hung from an internal wall with no direct sunlight falling on it.

      The final third of each print was put in a darkened drawer in a sealed container.

      Then they go on to explain the very detailed results of fading on the prints exposed to direct sunlight for a year... and this whole time I'm wondering, "WHAT HAPPENED TO THE OTHER ONES???"

      Finally, on the last page of the review [trustedreviews.com], they mention that the prints stored in the dark or hung on interior walls haven't faded at all.

      So... punchline: If you hang your prints in sunlight, this ar

  • I always buy 3rd party inkjet supplies, mainly for the price, but also since what I do isn't in need of amazing quality so I may not notice any decrease in clarity/color. I've never had a problem with ink that is 10% of the price of what I would pay for epson ink. If I do really need something of high quality I use the laserjet at work.
    • I totally agree. I buy my ink from a certain large auction site at a fraction of the extortionist prices charged by the printer's manufacturer. If I want hi-quality I go to Kinkos, or use one of the online photo printing services for that.

      The 3rd party inks are not as good but I refuse to pay the huge markup on the store brand ink on principal.
  • So? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EdIII (1114411) * on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:11AM (#23237602)
    I don't think third party ink providers are going to be around much larger. That whole industry is run like the mob. I don't say that to troll either, i'm serious. They are very competitive and the major manufacturers do just about everything they can to stop third party providers.

    Ink is one of the most over priced products on the market today. Only Monster has margins that can compete.

    A few years ago my father figured out that he could buy a whole new printer with new ink cartridges for about 15$ more then just the ink cartridges ALONE. Of course they got wise to that and I am sure many people are familiar with new ink jets being sold with minimal ink installed.

    Now the "final solution" is about to be unleashed, which is the encryption being applied to the ink cartridges themselves. That has been coming for awhile AFAIK, and it will be interesting to see how third party manufacturers react when they have to break these new "DRM" like methods of protecting business revenue.

    I have always told my clients that ink jets are for "suckers". Suck it up and buy yourself a color laserjet and you will greatly reduce the cost per page to print a report. Of course, I know there are some people that really need a good ink jet printer for their specific tasks, but does that really represent the mass market? I don't think so.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Prefader (1072814)

      Now the "final solution" is about to be unleashed, which is the encryption being applied to the ink cartridges themselves.

      I've seen this at my work, where we have several older-model CD and DVD duplicators manufactured by Primera. They come with modified Lexmark printers, which have a little IR doohickey mounted under the ink carriage to read a little barcode-esque sticker on the bottom of the ink carts. They cost significantly more than the carts sold by Lexmark, but we've found that the printers only r

    • by steveo777 (183629)
      My Epson RX580 carts come with a chip on board that "conveniently" tells the printer how much ink is still in the tanks. The best part is that it prevents you from refilling the carts because the refill places can't reset the counters (yet). Yes, you get a lot more use out of them.* Just the same it literally forces you to replace carts even if there is any ink left.

      *I read about a comparison study [slashdot.org] showing that the Epson single color carts are among the top efficiency. Epsons supposedly quit around %20

      • by tzanger (1575)

        My Canon Pixma MP530 will print until the tank is bone-dry, although quality will obviously suffer near the end. These tanks are chipped, but I haven't had any trouble yet, much like your Epson. I was nervous when I saw the little chip carrier on the tank, but after it warned me that it was low, then alarm that it was empty, and still dutifully printed I wasn't so uneasy. I don't plan on ever updating the firmware of this thing, so until something breaks, I'm good. :-)

    • by zakezuke (229119)

      A few years ago my father figured out that he could buy a whole new printer with new ink cartridges for about 15$ more then just the ink cartridges ALONE. Of course they got wise to that and I am sure many people are familiar with new ink jets being sold with minimal ink installed.

      Epson and Canon still offer full sized tanks, though with epson priming the printer takes extra ink. In the case of Epson... you can hit their online store and buy a referb printer which often is competitive or cheaper than the ink it comes with.

      For example, ink for the Epson R280 will run about $60 for the color, and about $18 for the black. A referb from the epson store will run you $70.00 , in the past they offered free shipping. On a side note I just noticed they offer high capacity tanks, so I must

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MoxFulder (159829)

      Now the "final solution" is about to be unleashed, which is the encryption being applied to the ink cartridges themselves. That has been coming for awhile AFAIK, and it will be interesting to see how third party manufacturers react when they have to break these new "DRM" like methods of protecting business revenue.

      This has already been around for several years... most of the DRM has been thoroughly broken by third-party cartridge makers.

      For example, a US court case in 2003 found that the Lexmark could not use the DMCA to prevent a competitor from making DRM-breaking chips for use in compatible cartridges [theregister.co.uk].

      For another example: most Epson inkjet cartridges keep track of how many pages they've printed, then refuse to print when they think they're empty, to prevent refilling the cartridges. But you can buy a "chip reset [google.com]

    • by zakezuke (229119)

      I don't think third party ink providers are going to be around much larger. That whole industry is run like the mob. I don't say that to troll either, i'm serious. They are very competitive and the major manufacturers do just about everything they can to stop third party providers.

      Well, the ink it self I imagine will continue to be produced, since there are already major ink production factories in the business. Plus you have to take into account the fact that cartridges are protected by patent which is only for 20 or 14 years (I'm not sure IANAPL). The companies can kick and scream as much as they like, as soon as the patents die everyone can produce replacement cartridges including complex printhead like HP. Not that 14-20 year old printers are that popular.

      Then you have the Ma

  • Does it matter? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rorschach1 (174480) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:15AM (#23237652) Homepage
    Really, who cares that much? If I want something to be UV-resistant to hang on the wall or something, I'll go get professional prints.

    For the other 99.9% of the stuff I print, my cheap Chinese continuous inking system is the best 300 Yuan (~$43) I ever spent. The whole package, plus some extra ink, cost me less than a full change of manufacturer's ink for my Epson RX580.

    On glossy photo paper, it looks just as good as the OEM stuff. Most of the time I'm just printing regular business graphics, though, and it does just as well there. I no longer hesitate at all to print lots of graphics-heavy stuff, and the kids get a lot of use out of it. My son got elected 6th grade class president thanks in part to a series of lolcats-themed campaign posters he printed. (lolcats... is there anything they can't do?)

    I've been using it for several months now, and would normally have gone through a couple of cartridges. As it is, I can barely tell that the reservoir levels have changed.

    Now if only some honest printer manufacturer would embrace this sort of thing - I'd gladly pay a lot more for a printer with easily replaceable heads and nice, big refillable ink reservoirs that the printer can't lie about and doesn't waste excessively. I don't expect to ever see that happen, though.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MMC Monster (602931)
      Care to give the name of the manufacturer and model number?

      Some of us could use a decent printer from a manufacturer that isn't out to bleed us dry.
    • HP Design Jet plotters do this.
      You have to replace the heads about every other tank of ink, but they are not too expensive, the ink is one color-one head-one tank, so you replace only what you need.
      -nB
      • by Tacvek (948259)

        The ideal to me would be fixed printheads intended to last for the life of the printer, but that are user-replaceable in the event that a problem should arise. Apparently most current cannon printers have this. Ideally the printhead would be inexpensive enough and long lasting enough to not contribute significantly to the cost per page of printing.

        Then have the printer use fixed ink tanks intended to be refilled by the user. Buying ink in 8oz bottles can result in a price/oz-of-ink of 1/30 the price/oz-of

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Flavio (12072)
      Now if only some honest printer manufacturer would embrace this sort of thing - I'd gladly pay a lot more for a printer with easily replaceable heads and nice, big refillable ink reservoirs that the printer can't lie about and doesn't waste excessively. I don't expect to ever see that happen, though.

      Get an HP Officejet K5400. It has replaceable heads (which are NOT part of the cartridge, unlike all other HPs), and you can also install a $50 CIS kit. It prints faster and cheaper than any laser in its price r
  • Or so it says here [eatliver.com]. This seems a bit odd to me.
  • I used to work at one of the worlds largest electronics retail store (that is not the surprising part). With my employee discount a $25 ink cartrege would cost me ~$5. Most of the ink cartrages are only partly filled as well. HP is really bad about saling a $19 cartrage and a $27 dollar one.... the difference? 2x times as much ink.
  • Please don't buy the native ink, they are just scamming people with them.
    * The software embedded in HP printer cardridges causes them to expire after a set of amount of time, forcing comsumers to purchase new ink, even if it's not run out yet. This prevents users from refilling their cardridges. (HP Ink costs more than human blood) by the way.
    * They enforce "region coding" restrictions that prevent cardridges purchased in one region from operating with printers purchased in another. This "feature" is intend
    • Laser toner is a cheap black powder. You can buy a refill for about $4.99. Opening the toner equipment for a refill can be tricky, in the case of Lexmark they made it impossible. A new toner costs ~$100

      It depends on your selection of printer. My HP Laserjet III is still running. HP no longer makes carts for it. The aftermarket carts are 4/$100 with free shipping. Needless to say, I have no immediate upgrade plans for plain text printing.
  • Disappearing ink sounds to me like a feature, not a bug. That documentation expires when a new version comes out, so why not have it actually fade away and be unusable?
  • by Bullfish (858648) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:29AM (#23237782)
    Ink jet printers are stupid, especially for people who print occasionally and in black in white. A toner cartridge is more expensive, but is cheaper in the longer run producing far more copies and it never dries out.

    If you need to print photos, a colour ink jet is a damned expensive way to do it... if do print photos occasionally, at least around where I live, photo printer kiosks abound.
    • It's cheap and black and white and even if it sits for weeks it fires up and prints perfectly. Much more than I can say for inkjets costing more.

      Maybe some day they'll make a cheap color laser printer that's as reliable, and I'll buy it.

    • I do think it's interesting that the article talks a lot about using them in an office environment. We use laser printers almost exclusively (most black and white, a few color). We've got one or two fax/scan/whatever multifunction ink based printers but those are there more for the fax/scan ability than for the printing.

      Ink is also much slower than laser. I'm not sure why, in an office environment, anyone would choose to use ink.

      • I keep meaning to pick up a color ink jet for the house... I don't print a lot of color, but sometimes it would be helpful for diagrams and things. Photos, that's crazy, CVS has a decent printer and charges like 30 cent a print. If we want a picture in a frame, why would I get a photo-quality printer when CVS will let me use theirs for next to nothing. A color laser would be cheaper if I printed a lot, but I don't, we're talking diagrams and graphs.

        If I have something that needs to look good, I can uplo
      • a great 31 PPM HP 4700 that has been a champ (and cost 2k new)
        and an epson 1800...

        why? lasers don't do full bleed,
        and tabloid/oversize color lasers make my wallet bleed.

        I occasionally need edge to edge, and occasionally need a 11X14 or 13X19 print
  • by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:34AM (#23237834) Homepage Journal
    I use a CD label printer [oggfrog.com] to print CDs of my music. I spend a lot of money on ink, but I have hesitated to use refills because I doubt that their formula took CD surfaces into account.

  • My horror story (Score:4, Informative)

    by njcoder (657816) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:35AM (#23237848)
    I had an epson photo printer for many years and always bought epson inks.

    Then I found a link to third party inks at a great bargain. I bought 5 sets of color and black cartridges for about the price of one set of epson brand inks.

    Within a relatively short period of time the print head got clogged up and the printer was useless. I tried everything I could to clean it, all the way to taking it completely apart. Nothing I did got the printer working again.

    The printer was very old but never had any problems before. I think epson overcharges for ink but the third party ink cost me more. I wound up getting a color laser printer for normal printing and will be getting another epson photo printer at some point for photos. Though I mostly send out stuff to the lab since I prefer the tone and quality of lamda or fuji frontier prints over inkjet ones when I'm not printing them myself in my darkroom.
  • Another issue that I didn't see after skimming this article, as well as part one of the series, is that many of the third party ink cartridges don't contain as much ink as the name brand. Consumer Reports tested a bunch of inks, and found that most of the cheapest inks were actually more expensive per page than the brandname ink. Which inks fared well varied from printer to printer.

    Unfortunately, it looks like the full article is only available to subscribers, and there are just a few short blubs [consumerreports.org] summarizi
    • by WNight (23683)
      Are they insane? I've seen a third-party inks cost 1/20th of the regular, and produce amazing photo results.

      Maybe they're going by the cost of having small carts refilled professionally versus buying the ink straight or something.
      • by pavon (30274)
        Well, yeah, if you use a refill kit then the amount of ink in the cartridge is entirely dependent on how much you put in, so what I said wouldn't even make sense. This was talking about buying third party cartridges. They did look at refill kits. I don't remember what the results were - I think they had quality issues with the ones they tested, but I've let my membership lapse, so I can't check.
  • Get a laser. (Score:5, Informative)

    by snarfies (115214) on Tuesday April 29, 2008 @10:42AM (#23237916) Homepage
    I don't print things out from home too often now that I'm out of school, but when I do go to print things out, I expect a printer to WORK. After going through three inkjet printers in as many years, with ink cartridges that dry up, nozzles that CONSTANTLY get clogged and take several minutes to completely clean, blotches on my printouts, and so on, I came to the conclusion that inkjets are poor investments indeed, even with cheap third-party ink.

    Three years ago I bought a laser printer. It cost around $200, quite a bit more than an inkjet, and doesn't print in color. But I am STILL using the original toner cartridge that came with the printer - I have yet to run out. Admitedly, I'll probably have to pay a good $75 for a new cartridge when the existing one runs out, but I'd say $75 for several YEARS worth of ink that won't dry up and/or clog is well worth it.

    Prices have dropped a bit since then. You can buy a laser for around $100, around triple that if you insist on color. And it'll really LAST - every place I've ever worked has had laser printer that have been around forever.
    • I am a big fan of Solid Ink Printers myself they are actually more afordable over the long run over color lasers and much more afforadable then Ink Jets. However, I have seen BAD things from third party ink, Like leaking ink and the such. (A slightly differnt melting tempature can be the difference between liquid and solid, and the speed it becomes solid again. If it is off it could become solid in the jets, or stay liquid and drop off the drum before it hits the paper. 3rd party ink works fine for month
      • by fermion (181285)
        I find the cost of solid ink to be about the same as the cost of third party toner. For instance, my color laser cost about 50% more per page to run. If I refill the toner myself, the cost per page, on average, might be a little cheaper. As a result, I have never had the desire to use third party solid ink.

        What I have found is a problem is that the ink will clog if it is not used enough, and quite a bit of ink will be used to clean the printer, it if can be cleaned at all. I have gone through a stick

  • Well the only useful experience I have with this is with a Kodak G610 printer dock. Which is a film type printer. And the thing I learned almost immediately was ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS use Kodak paper. Nothing else yields a useful result at all. So I have to think that Kodak has engineered their printer and paper chemistry to go hand in hand.
  • ink refill (Score:2, Insightful)

    by grrrlyboy (563045)
    i just refilled my samsung ml1710 toner cartridge with a toner refill kit and i have to say i'm impressed. nearly 1/8th the cost of a full replacement cartridge, i can't see the difference. and replacing the toner was simple. it amazes me that more people don't go this route.
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      i just refilled my samsung ml1710 toner cartridge with a toner refill kit and i have to say i'm impressed. nearly 1/8th the cost of a full replacement cartridge, i can't see the difference. and replacing the toner was simple. it amazes me that more people don't go this route.

      Considering a toner cartridge for my Brother laser printer costs $75, but lasts 2500-ish pages, refills might be cheaper, but it's just easier to buy a new one every so often (usually 2 years or more - we don't print much). The drum is

  • This matches the finding that consumer reports had last year. The CR article went into operational issues with third party ink, and found similar results. That being said, I'd like to see how color laser printers do in these kinds of tests.
  • I just finally ran out of ink in my Canon Pixma MP780 and am looking at buying replacement ink cartridges. I know that a lot of the printers, mine included I'm pretty sure, have counters in the carts to keep you from refilling them. You can (usually) disable the counters through some undocumented voodoo, but then it doesn't watch out for you running out of ink and you can burn up the expensive print head.

    So I'm going to skip the refill. But I'm looking at buying the non-name brand ink carts. Does anyone
    • I have the same printer.

      We moved to 3rd party inks as soon as the originals finished.

      Unless you're printing good photos (and if you were, you wouldn't be considering this question, as the cost saving would be irrelevant), just get the 3rd party inks.

      We use 999inks [999inks.co.uk] in the UK, for what it's worth.
    • by zakezuke (229119)

      Couple of other questions: if I got the above package, would I still need a BCI-6Bk, or could it use the BCI-3eBk for all the black needs? Does anyone have a link to a page the explains the difference between BCI-3, BCI-3e, BCI-6, etc.?

      The bci-3eBK is pigment geared for what is it, 30pl nozzles. The BCI-6 nozzles I believe are 5pl in the mp780 (IIRc only the Cyan and Magenta have the smaller 2pl nozzles & 5pl). Also, it won't fit, it's about 60% larger.

      Pigment ink costs more, so as a cost saving measure some companies will offer BCI-3EBk with dye ink, the same as the bci-6bk. This "works" but there is a marked quality difference.

      You can (usually) disable the counters through some undocumented voodoo, but then it doesn't watch out for you running out of ink and you can burn up the expensive print head.

      This is not an issue in the mp780, or anything else in the ip4000 class. I have an mp760. The BCI-6/

  • At this point, I doubt I'll ever buy another photo printer. For routine, share-then-throw-away stuff, I have a color laser that is far cheaper than any of the inkjets I've ever seen. For pictures I want to frame and keep, I can upload the images to Wal-Mart's website and pick them up at the store an hour later. Advantages:

    • Price. I ran the numbers, and my personal inkjet costs more in supplies alone than Wal-Mart's options [walmart.com], and that's assuming that my home-printed 8x10 comes out perfectly the first
  • I'm seriously considering taking home one of those black ink dot-matrix printers sitting in storage at work, which I could have for free. They're industrial printers that last, and for just black and white printing that will eventually get trashed, it would be cheaper than my HP inkjet, which is the only printer on my small LAN at home. My wife and kids are killing me on inkjet ink. I know I'll need to attach a print server to network it, but it still may prove to be useful.
  • Most everyone knows by now that inkjet printers are not the way to go on a price/performance standpoint. I've seen many people in this thread talking up moving to a laser printer, despite the higher initial costs.

    Multifunction inkjets came out on the consumer market quite some time ago and are pretty inexpensive today (for the machine) yet have all the issues with inkjets. Multifunction laser printers are relatively new on the market and I don't have any experience with them. My injket printer died recen
    • by ratboy666 (104074)
      I have two laser printers at home - a colour model, and a b&w multifunction.

      The b&w multifunction is an HP 3015. Printing? fast enough (15ppm). Resolution? ok (600x600, 1200x1200 w/ RET). Toner? Uses a cartridge, and the entire thing (including the drum) is replaced. Each cartridge runs $56 to $75, and they are available through Costco. You get around 2000 pages (more in "economy" mode) per cartridge, which is around 4 cents a page (or less; not including the price of paper). When printing, doesn't
  • 1) There are different printer technologies than dye that last much longer. I have an Epson 2200 pigment based ink printer and have printed many images on canvas. These have been hanging on my wall for years, plural, with absolutely no fade. Yeah, you pay more for pigment, but if you want long lasting prints, you'll pay more. Newer pigment printers print glossy as well.

    2) Epson (Claria) and HP (Vivera) inks are supposed to be longer lasting, but are insanely expensive. I have the R260 and the results

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