Have any of your friends encouraged you to just buy a new printer instead of wasting money on replacement ink, now that printers are often dirt cheap? There is a variety of differing opinions concerning this issue, and it is important to take other things into consideration, in addition to cost. The printers that are up for debate are inkjet printers. Inkjets are the ones that are often deeply discounted, and most of them require both a color and black cartridge in order to print properly. Replacing both ink cartridges can often cost more than $50. When those who print frequently can find rebates and sales on inkjet printers, they are often sold for as low as $25 or $50. Most include the needed cartridges in this price, which means that for as little as half the cost of the replacement inks, you get a new printer, new warranty, and new cartridges.
Now, any knowledgeable printer enthusiast will note that this discount ink trick depends on the brand of printer you use. Some printer manufacturers include only starter cartridges with their printers which means you will get only a portion of the printing from the new printer you would from the replacement cartridges. The other issue is how frequently these cheap printers are available. Granted, if you are a bargain hunter, you are sure to find cheapo printers during Black Friday sales or around the start of a new school year. However, these printers are going to be rock bottom quality, along with their rock bottom price. Remember though, you will only be using it for as long as you use the ink, so it may not make a difference if it breaks within six months. If you are after high print quality though, you are not going to get it with the cheapest printer on the market.
The problem most printing enthusiasts have with this problem is it is an environmental disaster. Even those who would not consider themselves earth conscious or “green” shudder at the thought of tossing a piece of technology in the garbage every three months. The inconvenience of filling your garbage with a printer may be enough to convince you this is a bad idea. Then again, most of these “disposable printers” are no bigger than a supermarket shopping bag full of cans, so it may not be a big deal.
Even those convinced throwing the baby out with the bathwater is really cheaper may still be more comfortable choosing other cost saving options. Printer companies are beginning to catch on to how infuriated customers are having to spend a load to replace printer cartridges, and many of them are now selling more expensive printers with cheaper ink.
Another option is using off-brand ink and ink refills. This will require a bit of research to pick the cartridge compatible with your printer, or to choose a printer initially that allows this off-brand option. However, in the long run, you may find the cost savings is worth your time. You can also try those old tried and true techniques of printing in draft mode or using a lower quality print option for your existing machine. All of these are more environmentally friendly and will allow you to hang on to your current printer.