Inkjet printers are sophisticated technological devices that are typically sold at or below cost. On the other hand, ink for that bargain printer is downright expensive. That 2 ½ teaspoon cartridge of black ink for your HP inkjet printer priced at S17.89 extrapolates to $4797.00 per gallon. If you typically print only a few pages a week, more than half of that pricey ink may be consumed by print head cleaning and other maintenance cycles.
Printer manufacturers assert that ink research and development is complex and expensive, justifying the seemingly outrageous prices. They have devised multiple methods to persuade customers to buy only original manufacturer’s ink, including monitoring programs that estimate ink consumption and urging prompt ordering; Amazon Dash and HP Instant Ink programs now enable your printer to auto-order ink in anticipation of need. Some manufacturers imbed electronic chips in ink cartridges to detect and reject refilled cartridges, or to refuse to continue using “outdated” cartridges with remaining ink, or to reject ink intended for non-USA markets. Refilled cartridges from third parties are generally much cheaper, but printer manufacturers sternly advise against this practice, asserting that generic inks may damage your printer and void any remaining warranty. Quality does vary between refilling shops; Costco is highly rated.
Over one or two years, you will spend much more on ink cartridges than the original printer purchase. Choosing an ink efficient printer can result in substantial savings – annual ink expenses can vary tenfold between the most and least efficient printers. Printing in draft mode and using high capacity cartridges conserve ink and thereby reduce costs. Always leave your inkjet printer on to avoid triggering a cleaning cycle each time you use it. Most printers automatically clear the print head periodically to prevent clogging, but this uses far less ink than a cleaning cycle, which can use 10% of an ink cartridge each time it runs. Dry or clogged print heads can only sometimes be cleared. If the print head is built into each ink cartridge, a new set of cartridges will usually get you going again if several cleaning cycles fail. If the print head is imbedded in the printer, you will likely need a new printer. A visit to a repair shop will cost more than a new printer.
Monochrome laser printers are affordable and the toner cartridges do not clog or dry out – they print by fusing a dry electrostatic powder to paper. The overall cost of ownership is usually less than inkjet printers. If you don’t need color printing or if you are away from home for extended periods of time, a monochrome laser printer is probably your best option.
“Inka Dinka Doo”, a hit song in 1934, was composed and performed by James Francis “Jimmy” Durante aka “The Schnoz”. The song debuted in the 1934 movie “Palooka”, a film about the comics character Joe Palooka. It became Durante’s theme song for the rest of his career. When he performed it on his radio and television programs, Durante would frequently interrupt it with the line, “STOP–da music, everybody!”