How Does the Cost of Printer Ink Stack Up?

by Pete on October 23, 2009

A common complaint among small business owners and consumers in general is the cost of replacement ink for their computer printer. Often, ink costs more than the cost of the printer, and there has been more than one computer user that has purchased a new printer based on the cost of the ink replacement. But is ink really that expensive? A number of comparisons have been conducted concerning the cost per gallon of a variety of liquid substances. One such study, featured at, shows the true cost of ink per gallon, compared to a variety of other liquids.


Weighing up the Cost of Ink

Some surprises appeared on the list. A complaint heard regularly is that of the cost of gas. In reality, per gallon, gas is one of the lesser expensive items on the list. At approximately $3.00 per gallon, it is about twice the cost of Kool-Aid per gallon and only slightly less than auto-antifreeze. The problem is, a gallon of antifreeze lasts a lot longer than a gallon of gas, prompting people to feel the squeeze at the gas pump sooner than they would with the antifreeze.

Coming in at about double the price of gas is Evian bottled water. This gourmet H2O bottled from the French Alps costs $6.40 per gallon. This may be pricey for something that flows from the faucet and makes up rivers and lakes all around us, but it is still just a drop in the bucket compared to printer ink. Also in this range is domestic beer, coming in at right around $9.00 per gallon.

While you may think that you use a bottle of shampoo far quicker than you go through a printer cartridge, consider the fact that it is only about $35.00 per gallon. Over time this adds up, but it would take approximately three bottles of shampoo to equal a gallon. This means it will be a good four or so months before you use an entire gallon of the stuff to wash your hair.

A few of the more expensive liquids may surprise you. Vanilla extract, often bought in bottles that are less than six ounces is $128.00 for an entire gallon. You could bake quite a few cakes for that price! Penicillin clocks in at $302, very reasonable considering it may save your life. Speaking of life, human blood is about $1500.00 a gallon. Again, a very reasonable price to pay for life, but it really puts the per gallon cost of printer ink into perspective.

The study showed that the average cost of black and white printer ink is $2700.00 per gallon. Since most people use colored ink in addition to black and white ink, I estimated the cost of a color cartridge. Per gallon, the approximate cost of an average quality ink was $5500. It costs nearly four times as much to refill your printer as it would to keep your heart pumping.

Obviously, the amount of the liquid required to perform its assigned task plays a role in its cost. This is precisely the reason why Chanel #5 perfume is a hefty $25,000 per gallon. Few people are going to use a gallon of the popular scent. Purchased in a tiny amount suitable for its intended usage, the price is suddenly far more reasonable. However, if you are printing a great deal, a gallon of ink may add up pretty quickly. The next time you are at the gas pump, consider how you can reduce your printing costs. Afterall, that may be where the real damage is being done!

Tweet This Tweet this or Stumble ThisStumble this or Delicious ThisDelicious this

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jason October 24, 2009 at 6:40 am

The only way to REALLY save money on ink is with a Continuous Ink Supply System (CISS)….

2 Pete October 26, 2009 at 11:32 am

Continious Ink Supply Systems are certainly an economical way of printing if you are using an inkjet printer to print large volumes.

Although I have heard mixed reports about their reliability and of course there is the difficulty in ensuring that the ink is suitable for your particular model of printer.

3 Eric October 28, 2009 at 10:35 pm

The reliability issue you typically hear about is with the imported Chinese systems. Our systems is made in the USA and is a far better quality system.

But, don’t take my word for it, you can compare for yourself.

4 rojerpedric November 3, 2009 at 12:18 pm

People always want that they will get good quality Printer Ink Cartridges at cheap price and its true also.Some time a cheap ink cartridges is cheap in quality also so this time people have to take care of this thing.

Leave a Comment

Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: