Ink replacements

Inkjet or ink tank replacements. They have a shelf life. Check the best-before date on the package before you buy. You will sometimes find expired ones on the shelf and sometimes may find widely varying dates on the same shelf. Also check the volume of ink in the tank listed on the package. Some tanks are half full and are far more than half the price. They are usually good for about 2 years, so don’t plan on buying too far ahead of your need. You may find re-filled inkjet or ink tank replacements. For most purposes (other than photos) they are just as good and a lot cheaper.

HP as an entire corporation that sells a huge number of computers, makes something like 70% of their profit on printer cartridges. It is a licence to print money. They control prices tightly and that is why you pay the same price anywhere. All the printer manufacturers do the same thing. The only printer manufacturer who ever tried to break this choke hold was Kodak and they are kaput now.  Epson and Brother now have models that have much bigger capacity ink tanks.  These models are higher priced, but will be cheaper in the long run because of the savings on ink.

Clearly, if you refill the cartridge, you are taking huge profits from them. They are highly motivated to scare the pants off you. HP has embedded electronics in the cartridge that can tell it has been refilled. So, expect the printer to recognize that you are not using manufacturers’ branded ink.

The only risk is to the printer itself and that is in the case that the refilled cartridge leaks. That can get pretty messy, but is highly unlikely to do damage to the printer. They protect themselves against warranty claims if you send them your printer to be repaired under warranty and they discover refilled cartridges in it. Then again, their warranty is only for the first year. So, if you make a warranty claim before then….. In the unlikely event that should happen, you simply remove the cartridges before you return the printer to them.

My advice:

  1. Make sure you take your cartridges to be refilled by a reputable dealer who will guarantee the refill. He/she should be checking the cartridge before and after refill. Refills are typically about 1/4th the price of a new one.
  2. You can buy refilled cartridges that are not your own, but you are taking the chance that the particular cartridge has been refilled too many times and may fail. You also cannot tell how long the cartridge has been on the shelf and if the inkjets are not sealed perfectly, they may dry up and the cartridge may be useless.
  3. Limit your refills to 2, max 3 per individual specific cartridge.
  4. Quality of inks is an issue only if that is critical to you. Generally speaking, the poorer quality of the colours is rarely a problem for most people. If you are routinely printing photos (Like Judy does), you do not want to use refills.