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Ink cartridges

Low-Cost Printers, High-Price Cartridges

You think you’re getting a great deal on a printer, and then you go to replace a cartridge and find the replacement cartridge costs more than $100. Although manufacturers sell laser printers and inkjet printers cheaply, they keep the replacement toners and inks relatively expensive. This business model is how printer manufacturers make their money.

You do have more cost-effective options, though, than buying the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) cartridges. Compatible and remanufactured printer cartridges are much cheaper than OEMs. Let’s say you need to replace the black ink cartridge on your HP OfficeJet 4620 printer. The retail price of the OEM one is $23.99 while the compatible cartridge is only $5.99. You still get the same high-quality printing results and ink level indicator that an OEM would provide.

Misleading Warranty Information

Many printer manufacturers discourage you from using compatible or remanufactured cartridges because of course that disrupts their business model. They’ll claim that your printer’s warranty will be voided if you use a non-OEM cartridge. But according to the U.S. Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act, warrantors cannot require that you only use brand name parts and supplies with their products, as some printer manufacturers imply.

So rest assured that when you purchase a compatible or remanufactured cartridge, it will work just as well an OEM and won’t void your warranty.

Inkjet Printers vs Laser Printers

The printing industry traditionally viewed laser printers as the better option than inkjet printers for large-volume print jobs. Sure they cost more up front, but lasers typically have a lower cost per page. (To find your cost per page, divide the ink or toner cartridge price by the estimated page yield per cartridge.)

However, certain inkjet models have become much more efficient in recent years. For instance, the Epson B-510DN has ink costs as low as 4 cents per color page, color print speeds of 18 ISO ppm, and a monthly duty cycle of 20,000 pages. Those specs suggest that this inkjet printer is just as economical and powerful as some laser printers.

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