How to Save Money on Printer Ink

When someone mentions changing printer ink cartridges, what thought runs through your mind? How expensive they are? What a hassle it is to change? How you're never sure if you are buying the right one? How they always run out at the worst time? Perhaps all of these things are on your mind when you think about ink cartridges for ink jet printers.

Are Ink Jet Printers a Blessing or a Curse?

People often curse printer ink rather than consider how useful and reliable ink jet printers typically are. The biggest issue people have with ink jet printers is the expensive replacement ink cartridges. It is an accepted fact that printer manufacturers are willing to take a loss on the sale of the printer in order to lock you into buying their brand of ink cartridges. However, now we have alternatives to buying the printer brand ink cartridges at an office supply store. These alternatives can mean big savings.

One alternative is to refill the printer ink cartridges yourself. Refilling cartridges yourself brings the biggest savings. While it can be messy at first, with a little practice you will be refilling cartridges in a flash. Refill kits are available at most office supply stores and online. The kits have a syringe for injecting ink into the empty cartridge, as well as ink, and instructions.

If refilling them yourself seems too difficult, many office supply stores and computer centers offer a cartridge refill service that will still be much less expensive than a new cartridge.

Order Ink Online at Big Savings

Another option that can cut printer ink costs is to order ink cartridges online. Online suppliers offer significant discounts over retailers whether you are buying brand name cartridges or third party cartridges. Many also offer free shipping, and give great multi-pack discounts. So not only do they have the great convenience of delivering the ink right to your door, you buy at a discount and have a supply on-hand so you don't get caught inkless.

Third party ink cartridges come in two varieties. Compatible ink cartridges are new cartridges made by someone other than the printer manufacturer. They are designed to the printer specifications and typically work just as well as OEM cartridges, but at a much lower price. Remanufactured ink cartridges are empty OEM or third party cartridges that have been cleaned and refilled. They cost even less than compatible cartridges, but as expected they have occasional performance issues. However, at 70%-90% savings over OEM cartridges, having a clunker once in great while isn't a big deal.

Some warn that using third party cartridges will void the printer warranty. Realistically, the odds of a (even nonfunctional) cartridge damaging the printer are very small. The significant savings in printer operation costs is worth the risk of the somewhat insignificant price of the printer.

Printer ink cartridge costs do not have to bankrupt you. There are much less expensive options like ordering online, refilling them yourself, or using compatible ink cartridges that can result in big savings.

Updated 5/18/2011 by SuperMediaStore Staff