Cheapest ink cartridges and where to buy them
The office printer has long been the biggest nuisance in the workplace and, if recent reports are to be believed, also a source of great expense.
That’s right, printer ink is more expensive than champagne and similar comparisons have been made in the past, namely to the price of gold. In an increasingly paperless world, the time spent tinkering and figuring out the office printer has drastically reduced, but the price of ink remains as high as ever.
As with any other tech company, vendor lock-in is a real concern for printer owners, as manufacturers often ensure that it’s much easier to buy their own proprietary ink in their own ink cartridges than it is to research where to buy a compatible product for less money be able.
But like other areas of technology, there are savings you can make by looking around third-party websites and retail stores — small savings that can add up over time, especially if your business uses a lot of ink. Cheap printer ink can be found in many places on the net, and even greater savings can be achieved if you take a risk with third-party brands that are still compatible. These brands often sell cheaper printer ink than can be found direct from a manufacturer, but quality can suffer.
Can I use cheap printer ink in my printer?
Part of the reason printer ink is so expensive is due to the manufacturer lock-in mentioned above. Printer manufacturers often sell their hardware – the printer itself – at a loss and make a profit by buying additional ink and ink cartridges.
This business model is now pervasive in technology as more companies recognize the value of a subscription model, such as cloud companies that are capitalizing on the “as a service” model of delivering products and services.
The short answer is yes, you can use cheap printer ink, but if you choose to refill your own cartridges it can be difficult to find the right ink that is cheaper than what the manufacturer already offers.
Refilling your own printer ink cartridges can be an inexpensive way to manage a company’s expensive ink budget, but requires a little more hands-on maintenance effort. This process involves purchasing the official printer ink cartridges from the manufacturer and also an official refill kit. Both the ink and the ink cartridge must be compatible with the printer to ensure smooth operation.
To refill printer cartridges from certain manufacturers, such as Canon’s Pixma printers, these printers and cartridges are chipped to avoid using third-party products, although Canon has recently resorted to chipless cartridges due to the ongoing chip shortage. Therefore, when refilling these types of cartridges, the chip must also be reset, which can be done with a chip reset device available on the Internet.
What are cheap printer cartridges?
If refilling your own cartridges sounds like too much work, you can buy cheaper printer cartridges. Third party suppliers of official printer ink cartridges can be cheaper than buying directly from the suppliers themselves. There is also a kind of “grey market” where some third-party manufacturers make their own cartridges that fit any printer. Investing in these products carries risks that can be tempting given the price, including poor print quality and voiding the manufacturer’s warranty. Businesses may find that short-term savings on such products translate into more expensive longer-term spend.
There are essentially only two options when it comes to buying cheap printer cartridges, and neither is a “perfect” choice. Proprietary cartridges guarantee compatibility and optimal performance with your specific printer, but are expensive. Third-party cartridges are available for some printers and are cheaper, but risk sub-optimal performance and compatibility issues.
Which printer ink is the cheapest?
Of course, when choosing the right printer for your business, you only want to make the decision based on each manufacturer’s ink price. But there’s more to the decision than ink price, the printer itself will perhaps have a bigger impact on the company’s overall ink usage than the type of ink itself. When buying a printer, look for features like low cost per page and the Ink cartridge capacity – larger sizes can result in greater savings.
Again, when it comes to which printer ink is the cheapest, it will always be the third-party aftermarket ink sold by unofficial manufacturers. These cartridges are often much cheaper than the official supplier’s printer ink, but the original manufacturer will say that their own cartridges are more reliable and last longer. Common complaints with third-party cartridges are often related to poor compatibility, ink leaks, and poor print quality.
Choosing to buy from official manufacturers who offer ink subscriptions that ship new cartridges every month, like HP’s Instant Ink offering, can also result in savings without risking compatibility or performance issues. HP says customers can save up to 50% on ink or toner by subscribing to Instant Ink, depending on the number of pages printed per month. Therefore, it is worth considering such programs in your purchasing decisions.
Where can you buy the cheapest printer ink?
So-called “Subscribe and Save” initiatives such as HP Instant Ink can be purchased directly through the manufacturer and in some cases can save companies money. You also have the option to purchase individual cartridges directly from the manufacturer, but this is often not the cheapest option.
The most popular e-commerce sites in the UK such as Amazon and Argos offer a range of popular printer ink cartridges but again these are rarely cheaper than the third party suppliers who can offer small discounts and offer the cheapest printer ink cartridges overall.
There are a number of third party suppliers that claim to offer the cheapest printer ink and many offer both official and unofficial ink cartridges at lower prices than you can get directly from the manufacturer.
Examples of UK companies are Cartridge World, Stinky Ink, Printer Inks, Cartridge Shop, Cartridge Save, Cartridge People, Printerland and Ink Factory.
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