Shopping for printer ink could be such a chore most times.
The price tag on these little cartridges is an endless source of frustration. It leaves anyone who owns a printer with the question “why is printer ink so expensive?”
The expensive nature of printer ink can be tied to some factors. One of which is the complexity involved in its manufacturing. This article examines this and a few more of these factors.
Most people usually undervalue the manufacturing process of producing printer ink.
They often don’t know the complexity of the science behind printer ink.
In the past, printer inks were a mixture of water and food dye. This mix often fades in a matter of months.
Printing companies hence were saddled with the responsibility of improving this technology. Upgrading it to what it is today.
How is the Engineering Complex?
Now, you might ask “How is the engineering complex?” Here’s a brief explanation of how a printer ink works.
After being manufactured, inkjet cartridges are preserved in a stable liquid form. They could stay in this form for at least 18 months.
This is because they have to stay awhile on the shelves before they are bought. Even after that, they remain in their stable liquid forms when the printer isn’t in use.
Printer inks immediately changes from its stable liquid state once the printer is in use.
The cartridge has hundreds of nozzle that rapidly fires out ink. Each nozzle shoots out as much as 36,000 times per second.
The ink has to drop on the precise spot on the paper. Anything short of this would ruin the result.
When all these details considered, it’s amazing that any of these even works.
All these were achieved through years of research. Today, we are blessed with printer inks that are quick-drying and resilient to smear.
Printing companies have invested a lot of money on research. These researches are done to guarantee excellent photographic quality and longevity.
The researches typically cost quite a sum of money hence the price of the printer inks.
What Are Your Options?
At this point, you are probably wondering if you have alternatives. The good news is yes, laser printers!
Laser printers, unlike inkjet printers, do not use inks.
They instead use dry toner, and they do not need any toner for maintenance. This makes them a lot more affordable in the long run.
However, there is a catch. In terms of quality when printing pictures, lasers are no match for inkjet printers.
Another downside is that color lasers are somewhat high-priced. But, some black and white laser printers are not necessarily expensive. Like the Samsung Xpress M2020W .
You can find out more on laser printers here.
Not a One-Time Investment
Buying a printer is not all there is to owning a printer.
The price of the printer is considered a sort of down payment. Later on, the owner would have to make periodic payments.
Inkjet printers are often either sold at cost or loss. The manufacturer either makes no profit or might even lose money.
The strategy of selling a product for less than its cost is a widely used market strategy.
Goods are sold at cheap prices with the hope of increasing the sales of its components.
The profit is subsequently then realized from the sale of the parts. It is this strategy that is used by printer manufacturers.
The initial cost of the printer is much cheaper than the amount spent on printer ink afterwards.
The manufacturer makes up for the printer sales loss from their printer inks.
As a matter of fact, some printer manufacturers go as far as imputing microchips in their authorized ink cartridges.
They do this to make sure that third-party inks do not function with their printers.
This therefore stops their customers from depending on third-party inks.
Some printer models are expensive but use inks different from regular inks. These types of inkjet printers recently came into the printing scene.
These inkjet printers are aptly called reservoir printers. In place of cartridges they make use of reservoir inks that could likely last for as long as two years.
Getting a reservoir printer is an effective way to avoid spending so much money in the long run.
An impeccable example of a reservoir printer is the Canon Pixma G4210
Although printing companies try to monopolize the printing market, third party ink is an option available to customers. Printer users can get their used cartridges refilled.
Refurbished cartridges are also sold by some companies.
Printer users can get third party inks in order to save cost. This is usually not advisable due to their inconsistency.
A lot of third party inks cannot match the quality of the manufacturer brand. User may also experience difficulty in getting them to work.
Due to all these, it is important to be careful when choosing a third party ink.
Details like your printer model should be considered as some third party inks are more compatible with some models.
For instance, E-Z ink is very compatible with Canon PGI-250XL, PGI 250 XL, CLI-251XL, and CLI 251 XL.
A lot of customers are unaware of the versatility of the inkjets. The printer typically uses inks for two things.
The first and obvious function is printing of documents. The second and not so popular use is the maintenance purpose.
The major maintenance done with printer inks is the cleaning of the printheads.
Inkjet printers normally use as much ink for printing as it also does for maintenance. This is why printer inks do not last as long as you would want it to.
Although the maintenance feature is common among inkjet printers, the quantity of ink used differs in models.
This difference would consequently count in the amount spent on printer inks.
Some printers use less quantity of ink for their maintenance. Getting a model like this in favor of a regular printer can help reduce the extra charge on ink.
A perfect example is the Brother MFC-J775DW XL .
Not switching off your printer can also help in reducing ink spent on maintenance.
Maintenance round is usually initiated once the printer is switched off and then back on.
Keeping printers in cool environments would also reduce the likelihood of blocked heads. This will lead to a reduction in the maintenance cycle.
Watch the video below for a visual explanation.
The cost of printing inks is undeniably frustrating for every printer owner. However, it is a necessary evil if the desired quality is to be achieved.
It is almost impossible to have printer inks sold at cheap prices. Considering all the procedures involved in its production.
In spite of all these, it is possible to achieve the required print quality without breaking the bank. You can invest in reservoir printers.
You can also get printers that require less quantity of ink to run its maintenance.
If you have any questions, please let us know in the comment section below.