Liquid printer ink is considered one of the most expensive liquids on the planet! It can be more expensive than vintage champagne or, yes, even human blood when in a cartridge.
But what makes printer ink so expensive? We have looked at some factors that affect the cost of ink cartridges.
What are the main things that determine the cost of printer ink?
The technology of printer ink
Consumers seem to underestimate the work required to optimize ink. The technology and research needed to create the ink are really expensive. This results in a more expensive product.
Printer ink is a complex formula that has over 25 years to perfect. To achieve the best print quality on an inkjet printer, the ink must be completely free of impurities and released at an exact flow rate.
And also, inkjet printers use a small amount of ink in specific locations when printing. Due to that reason, ink should be water and smudge resistant without clogging or breaking the jets. Not only that but also, safety and environmental sustainability also come into play when creating these ink products. Due to these reasons, the printer ink is really expensive.
The profit margins
The basic principle of most low-end printer pricing methods for consumers is that the more affordable the printer, the more expensive ink. Since purchasing a printer is a one-time purchase, companies may sell the machines at a loss of their profit. To keep devices affordable, companies are increasing the price of ink cartridges.
This leaves a space for third-party generic ink manufacturers to step in and create a cheaper product for the consumer. However, manufacturers have made a few steps to ensure that printers only use official cartridges, such as each machine’s proprietary microchips.
It is highly recommended to purchase ink cartridges from the printer manufacturer. Unbranded or generic ink cartridges may not work in your device due to firmware settings. Third-party products may be less reliable and produce lower-quality materials. Over time, it may cost more due to frequent ink replacement or any issues.
Monopoly power in the sale of compatible inks
When a company has sold a printer, it has some monopoly power over the sale of ink cartridges. As an example, Epson printer can only work with Epson compatible cartridges. Due to this, there is no real competition to lower the price of cartridges. Like a monopolist, the firm can set a price where marginal cost equals marginal revenue and maximize profits. Although ink cartridges are compatible with printers, manufacturers complicate the task by installing a chip into the printer and a cartridge to prevent alternative competitors from entering the market.
How much does printer ink really cost?
In fact, the price you pay when you buy printer ink covers the costs of its research and development. A 2013 Consumer Reports study found that inkjet ink costs between $13 and $75 per ounce, equating to $1,500-$9,500 per gallon. This price range is usually more expensive than expensive champagne and perfume bottles.
What are the solutions to expensive ink?
Using Non-OEM (original equipment manufacturer) inks
Printer technology is constantly evolving. Just as original equipment manufacturers are advancing ink technology, so are non-OEM ink manufacturers. And just as some OEM brands offer better products than others, non-OEM brands offer better generic cartridges than others. Fortunately, customer reviews are everywhere.
Find out what other consumers are saying to get an idea of the most reliable and longest-running non-OEM brand. More established brands have gained a more stable reputation and more experience in the industry. You can also expect higher quality products from established non-OEM brands than those have less experience in the field.
Do your research first
Another way to make sure you’re not spending a lot of money on ink cartridges. You have to find the best type of printer for your needs; and how much it actually costs to get your printer up and running. Finding a printer that uses affordable printer cartridges can take a bit of research. Printer manufacturers release new printer models every few months, and most of them can print quality text or photos.
Looking for a laser printer instead
Laser printers are definitely better than inkjet printers if you don’t need to print in colour. Why? Laser printers tend to be more expensive than inkjet printers. In contrast, laser printers use toner instead of ink, which is less expensive.
Over a month, you may not notice the price difference. But over the years, you’ll likely save a lot by using a laser printer instead of inkjet printer (probably enough to offset the cost of the printer).
Purchase and ink tank printer
Another way to reduce overall printing costs is to purchase a refillable ink tank printer. Although they are more expensive initially, they can save you a lot of money in the long run. Ink tank printers are generally gaining popularity as users try to find a way to minimize office expenses each month. They can cost less than 50% of the price of using a standard ink cartridge, so it’s pretty easy to see why they’re famous.
Are there cheap printer inks available in the market?
Now you know why printer ink is so expensive. You’re probably upset of all this nonsense and think there must be a better way. Fortunately, there are some options. They are available as remanufactured and compatible ink. Compared to expensive OEM inks, compatible and remanufactured ink cartridges offer an affordable alternative without sacrificing quality and performance.
These affordable options deliver the exact page count and print results as their branded counterparts, but up to 75% or less. Whether you are looking for cheap printer inks for HP, Brother, Canon, Epson, Kodak, Lexmark or other brands, you can easily buy them online from a reliable source.