Computer Printers: Which one has the cheapest ink cartridge refill?

  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Feb 06, 2012 3:48 PM GMT
    I'm in the market for a new computer printer; looking for one that doesn't make me want to kick furniture everytime I need to buy an ink cartridge refill for it.

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    Feb 06, 2012 3:55 PM GMT
    Laser printers!
    They use toners which basically never run out. It's more expensive to buy the printer, but consider the ink cost to be included, and you're not contributing to the piles of old printers in junk heaps that weren't worth the cost of re-inking.
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    Feb 06, 2012 5:27 PM GMT
    Seriously, depending on what your needs are, and OLD B&W laser printer from craigslist may be the best way to go. They can be had cheap from refurbishers, and cheap refills are readily available from generic sources. I've got a couple of them humming away in the lab.

    I did spring for a color HP laser printer for the office a couple of years ago that still has me steaming. It is literally cheaper to go back to staples or office depot and buy a new printer every month than it is to buy a set of refill cartridges. icon_mad.gificon_mad.gificon_mad.gificon_mad.gif Which are ridiculously small and last only a few weeks. icon_mad.gificon_mad.gif The generics are only a little cheaper, and they just don't work. icon_mad.gif

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    Feb 06, 2012 7:51 PM GMT
    I think most Wal-greens do refills. The one around the corner charges 10 or 12 bucks and I usually refill each cartridge 4 times before I have to buy a new one.
  • Sk8Tex

    Posts: 738

    Feb 06, 2012 8:05 PM GMT
    Golden rule for computer hardware: If the hardware if cheap, expect the accessories & necessities to have an extremely high markup.

    I learned this while working for a major computer retailer years ago. We sold printers that could print great photo quality pictures at a cheap price, but REAMED the customers on the ink and USB cables (which were not included at the time) at a near 300% markup. So your essentially paying the same thing for ink on a regular basis that you paid for the entire printer in the first place.

    Laser printers on the other hand are more expensive faster and do require substantially less refilling, but isn't always going to be cost effective for the average user. (not to mention there's that whole cancer thing tied into the dust they produce) I guess what it really boils down to is what your using your printer for.
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    Feb 06, 2012 8:26 PM GMT
    Samsung black and white laser printer goes for around $100. Their color laser printers are under $200. If you're not printing photos , there is no real reason to buy an inkjet printer these days.
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    Feb 06, 2012 8:27 PM GMT
    SkinnyBitch saidLaser printers!
    They use toners which basically never run out. It's more expensive to buy the printer, but consider the ink cost to be included, and you're not contributing to the piles of old printers in junk heaps that weren't worth the cost of re-inking.


    Took the words right out of my mouth!
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    Feb 06, 2012 8:52 PM GMT
    mindgarden saidIt is literally cheaper to go back to staples or office depot and buy a new printer every month than it is to buy a set of refill cartridges.

    Probably not. Aside from the fact that you likely don't use all colors at the same rate, HP will put "baby" starter cartridges in their printers. The regular capacity cartridges usually end with the letter "A" while high-capacity cartridges have an "X" suffix. Some of the starter cartridges have a "G", are not available for purchase, and are smaller than the regular capacity cartridges.

    If you do a lot of printing, the high-capacity cartridges can bring down the cost significantly.
    There are also Dual pack cartridges for printers that don't have high-capacity cartridges.
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    Feb 06, 2012 8:54 PM GMT
    It really depends upon printing volume.

    For example, the $100 Samsung laser may have a 3000 page toner cartridge that sells for $80. But the $200 model may have a 5000 page toner cartridge that sells for $100. And the $300 model may have an 8000 page toner cartridge that sells for $125.

    If you print 100 pages a month (if that), you may be better off with the cheap model (it'll take you maybe 3 years to use a cartridge). If you print 100 pages a week, or day... you'll want the higher up model.


    For inkjets, the really cheap models have a black and RGB cartridge.
    If you do a lot of color printing, they'll be more expensive in the long run.
    Spend a little more to get a printer with separate color tanks.
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    Feb 06, 2012 9:07 PM GMT
    Wolverine4 said
    mindgarden saidIt is literally cheaper to go back to staples or office depot and buy a new printer every month than it is to buy a set of refill cartridges.

    Probably not. Aside from the fact that you likely don't use all colors at the same rate, HP will put "baby" starter cartridges in their printers. The regular capacity cartridges usually end with the letter "A" while high-capacity cartridges have an "X" suffix. Some of the starter cartridges have a "G", are not available for purchase, and are smaller than the regular capacity cartridges.

    If you do a lot of printing, the high-capacity cartridges can bring down the cost significantly.
    There are also Dual pack cartridges for printers that don't have high-capacity cartridges.


    Wrong. I said literally. Today's price on HP CP2025n - $349.99
    Cost for a set of replacement cartridges - $499.96

    There are no "starter" or "high-capacity" cartridges for this model - I've checked. The regular cartridges are absurdly small. They last about 4 or 5 weeks.

    There are third-party replacements on the market for as little as $50. I've gone around and around with them and most of them don't work. They either have the wrong electrical connection (don't work at all) or produce streaks and smears on the paper.
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    Feb 06, 2012 9:24 PM GMT
    Well, that goes to what I said in my 2nd post, if you print high volume you need to get a printer with high capacity cartridges.

    Are you sure a new printer comes with "A" cartridges (2800 pages in this case) and not even smaller ones?
    (I'll be happy to learn that HP has moved away from this; I gave up on their low end [<$600] printers years ago.)

    Lastly, odds are you aren't using all colors equally, i.e. you don't need to replace all 4 cartridges at once.
    Not even 3 (which is the break even point).
    But I see your point.
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    Feb 06, 2012 9:36 PM GMT
    Laser FTW
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    Feb 06, 2012 9:52 PM GMT
    I am going to help you, not only because I want your big hairy legs wrapped around me, but because I had the same concerns as you: cartridge cost.

    Before you buy a printer, check on http://www.4inkjets.com to see if they have refill cartridges. I gave it a shot about two years ago and SO glad to be saving about $10 a cartridge with no complaints. And man they ship fast. Seriously, I look for every way to cut costs and they are super.

    I'll take those legs any time.

    P.S. I pay $5.99 for a cartridge with them instead of $15.99 at Staples.
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    Feb 06, 2012 10:45 PM GMT
    Wolverine4 saidWell, that goes to what I said in my 2nd post, if you print high volume you need to get a printer with high capacity cartridges.

    Are you sure a new printer comes with "A" cartridges (2800 pages in this case) and not even smaller ones?
    (I'll be happy to learn that HP has moved away from this; I gave up on their low end [<$600] printers years ago.)

    Lastly, odds are you aren't using all colors equally, i.e. you don't need to replace all 4 cartridges at once.
    Not even 3 (which is the break even point).
    But I see your point.


    Before I bought the printer, the store manager assured me that it came with full-capacity cartridges, and I checked the numbers. I foolishly assumed that they would be like the old LasrJet4, which prints 50-100 pages a day and goes through a cartridge once or twice a year.

    Of course, I can't print out the stats page right now, because it's run out of magenta. The other two colors are not far behind. I'm pretty sure that they put less toner in the color cartridges than in the black, in order to make them all run out at about the same time. Because they do. And most of the time, the only color that I'm printing is a small logo at the top of the page, and a few numbers or words highlighted in blue or red.

    - or maybe not. The printer never actually "runs out" of toner. It's just programmed to automatically stop printing whenever the chip in each cartridge counts some arbitrary number of pages. They might actually be 3/4 full. Some printers have a menu option in the diagnostics to override that, but as far as I can tell, this one does not.
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    Feb 06, 2012 10:51 PM GMT
    I don't know that I'd trust a store manager about something so mundane.

    The black cartridge on that model is good for 3500 pages.

    If you are printing so little color, I'm surprised you're not mostly just replacing the black toner.

    Or maybe your software isn't sending true black and its mixing colors to get some off-black color?
  • NerdLifter

    Posts: 1509

    Feb 06, 2012 10:54 PM GMT
    Just invest and get a laser printer. You'll waste your money refilling those inkjets.
  • rnch

    Posts: 11524

    Feb 06, 2012 11:42 PM GMT
    rnch saidI'm in the market for a new computer printer; looking for one that doesn't make me want to kick furniture everytime I need to buy an ink cartridge refill for it.

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    still waiting for an answer, pls.........
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    Feb 07, 2012 7:05 AM GMT
    If you need colour another alternative is solid ink printers, like the Tektronix line from Xerox. They are cheaper than inkjet, have near-laser quality and speed, have less packaging waste (the ink comes in blocks that has less wrapping than laser cartridges), and the ink is non-toxic.

    The downsides are laser-like up front cost, slightly higher power use due to the fact that the ink is melted and kept at a particular temperature in the reservoir, and the fact that there is a "cool down" cycle that wastes ink if you need to move the printer from one location to another.
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    Feb 07, 2012 7:32 AM GMT
    i bought a brother laser printer 2170-w for 50-75$ which has wifi capabaility and it's a quality power horse never runs out even though i print entire units from my correspondence textbooks! the extra capacity/high yield toner is 45 bucks (approx 3k papers by manufacturer thought i suspect its a LOT more) which ive never bought in the last 2 years ive owned this printer.. still on the stock toner which is smaller than standard

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    Feb 08, 2012 3:18 AM GMT
    mindgarden saidSeriously, depending on what your needs are, and OLD B&W laser printer from craigslist may be the best way to go. They can be had cheap from refurbishers, and cheap refills are readily available from generic sources. I've got a couple of them humming away in the lab.


    My printer is an HP LaserJet 6L that I bought in 1998. I do so little printing that a laser is really my only option because ink jet printers get gunked up, sitting there for months on end, not being used. That ancient HP is ridiculously slow compared to newer printers, but it is 100% reliable.
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    Feb 09, 2012 3:04 PM GMT
    I have a HP that I outfitted for 40 bucks with a CISS ink system. Basically its external tanks of ink with tiny micro tubes that connect to cartridges that go inside the printer. Each external tank is worth I think like 20 cartridges So in 3 years of heavy printing I have yet to buy refill ink.... you can buy these on ebay too( where I got mine)..... It makes printing BEYOND CHEAP...

    Example:

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