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Printer ink cartridge prices: A rip-off or what?


Printer ink cartridge prices: A rip-off or what?

First I'd like to apologize if this comes off as a rant, but this has been bugging me for quite some time. Recently I went to the local giant retailer to buy some replacement ink cartridges. The colors and black cartridges needed replacing, and in total the four cartridges would cost me more than $60 dollars. While looking at the cartridges I couldn't help but notice that some of the HP inkjet printers on the shelves cost less than my four replacement cartridges. And for $10 dollars more I could just buy a brand-new printer similar to mine with fresh ink and all. I was quite baffled and I struggled to understand this logic. For a while I stood there debating whether I should just buy a newer printer instead of replacement ink, but then I thought what a waste it would be, as my printer at home works perfectly fine.

I just don't understand the logic here; why are ink cartridges so darn expensive? My four cartridges cost as much as a brand-new printer. Why wouldn't you just buy new printers every time the ink ran out? Long story short, I ended buying the cartridges, but I felt cheated knowing that the cartridges cost more if not the same as a new printer. Surely I can't be the only one who feels this way. Are there alternatives to buying those expensive cartridges or am I stuck having to go through this debate again several months down the line? How does everyone else deal with it? Opinions welcome. Thank you in advance.

--Submitted by Marilyn M.

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canon Pixma MG81201

I needed a good printer to work with my IMac and I needed a scanner that also worked with my IMac ..... My old HP printers (2) no longer had any drivers available that would work. So I bought the beautiful bulky Canon Pixma MG8120. I soon discovered that when one ink cartridge was out, I could not scan...period. I was not scanning to printer, I just needed to scan to the computer. That nearly drove me crazy as I also discovered that this model has a gray cartridge also, that was harder to find. I went searching for the best prices and decided on ebay, got the first replacement set of new canon and was good, then without printing much of anything, the ink was out in 2 colors this time. So I opted for refills from a guy on Amazon.....what a nightmare. The ink of one color soaked into the print head (which is separate) and so nothing would print or scan.
After researching, I decided that the print head needed to be cleaned...another $15, and all began working properly (oh, and I tossed the ink and bought a new set). Now I had decided to try one more option and that is New non-oem ink cartridges which are very cheap on ebay.
Yep, ink cartridges are a total rip-off....on my old HP printers, I could refill them myself and those two printer still work great....but I can't use them on my IMac or my newer computer....only on my older XP laptop.
Ink is a rip off but worse is the printer rip-off.

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It sucks !

Yeah It really sucks. You can fix up one retailer who might give you some discount. Hope it helps.

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Replacement Ink Cartridges

Marilyn -- YTHis is a classic razors & razor blades scam. They ONLY sell printers to sell the ink, which is where the huge (obscene!) margins are. Can you imagine the markup on those $20-$40 cartridges? Probably several thousand percent. How much can it cost to squirt some ink into plastic containers in mass quantities. OK, it includes a chip, but that b/c the ink cartridge is actually the print head in many printers, which is how they can afford to sell us an all-in-one printer/fax/copier for next to nothing so we'll buy the ink. The most expensive part on low-level inkjet printers these days is probably the power cord!

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Trustworthy suppliers of printers, ink and cartridges

Hey Oncfari, there are many suppliers who would only sell what you asked for. If you want I can refer you some. These are really trustworthy.

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yes, ink for ink jet printers are a joke

I agree that the cost of ink is out of control. yes, it can be cheaper to buy a new printer than the ink. it's just that every time one needs ink, it's crazy to keep buying printers. you'll end up having a huge inventory of printers. I suppose you could sell them.
It's a rip-off about the cost of ink cartridges. The companies that sell the printers make 40% of their profit just on ink. so it's very profitable for them to sell the ink at whatever price that sell it for.
They could actually give away the printers for free because they know without ink, the printers are worthless. it's kind of like giving away a free car and charging you $30,000 for tires because obviously every one knows that a car is worthless without tires.
but as far as i know, there is nothing you can do about the ink. you could get the compatible ink cartridges, but they just don't work as well as the actual original ink.
I would never buy an Epson printer. I would stick with an H.P. printer. my brother-in-law gave me an Espson printer.
If so much as 1 out of 4 cartridges is out of ink, it renders the printer useless. you can't do any function with it unless you get that cartridge that is out of ink. That's got to be a built-in ploy by the manufacturer to sell more cartridges. also, because I didn't use the printer for a while, the ink jet heads sort of dried up so when I used the functions to clean the printer heads, brand new cartridges that I just got for $55.00 for 4. were practically out of ink. This also once happened to me even on an H.P. printer. the companies must love when we use that function.

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I always use Epson.

I get my four inks for £5.00 with great results for photos etc. Never had a problem with the site I use.


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I see they use a new type of ink..

Can you attest whether it tends to dry up from not printing often. Or maybe you are talking about 3rd party inks?

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3rd party inks.

Not had a problem with drying up.


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drying up ink heads

yes, I can attest to the ink heads drying up for lack of use of the ink jet printer.
It has happened to me twice. One with H.P. printer and one with an Epson printer.
You could check the internet and I'm sure they will also confirm this.

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The information I see in the internet is generally too old or previous to the new ink Epson is going to. I suppose I just need to read some Amazon user reviews, as they are usually up to date. Happy

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Buying ink cartridges have never been a problem

Likewise... I never faced this issue of over budget cartridges. Did you get from greenhaven ?

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Cost of ink

I don't really think they are in the business to sell printers. They more than likely make more money selling ink.

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correct about that

you are exactly correct.

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I agree about ink cartridges being a rip-off

The reason why they're so expensive is because these companies that make the printers earn 40% of their profit just on the ink alone.
It's very profitable for them to sell ink at those high prices.
they could actually, if they wanted to, give away the printers for free, and of course you would have to buy ink to make it work.
I like to use the analogy of giving a car away for free and charging $25,000 for tires. Obviously the car is useless without tires.
The compatible ink cartridges don't do as good a job as the original ink cartridges.
So, unfortunately they have us whether we like it or not. We need printers.

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Why not try compatible ink

Well, because the OEM company they spend lots of cost in marketing and R&D, if you are looking for cheaper and u are not aiming for quality then I will suggestion you to use the compatible ink cartridges, you can get it cheap from site like or for compatible inks

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From sindbad. Without spam link.

The one bad thing if you do not buy the brand name ink is that it will void your warranty. Found this out not too long ago when my printer failed.
Also the off brand ink is not 100 year archived. If you sell a piece of your artwork and the ink is cheap then the word gets around and you will not sell any more. Now besides buying the brand ink I have a printer who prints my work from my web site. No more worries.

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Cross reference


I also got a bit frustrated with the high prices so I started to collect alternative toners and ink cartridges (refilled etc) in a database. Only have about 10000 so far but I will add more.
This will hopefully be useful for you in the future as I will add a lot of data in order for people to find cheaper (and still high quality) alternatives.
If you have any opinions, other then the obvious one that I need to add more toners and cartridges : ), then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind regards

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Try alternatives!

Printer companies actually take a loss on their printers because they know the money is in the ink. Even if you buy a new printer every time you need to replace your cartridges because the new printer is cheaper, you're not saving money in the long run. New printers are outfitted with starter cartridges that typically carry just a fraction of the ink of a regular cartridge so you are essentially fighting a losing battle. A great alternative to pricey genuine brand cartridges are compatible and remanufactured cartridges. Aftermarket cartridges have come a long way and if you purchase them from a reputable supplier you'll find that aftermarkets are just as dependable as the original. For more info on the differences between original cartridges and aftermarket check out this blog post!

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While interesting that site is spammed.
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It is what it is

Not much you can do about it except to make sure your printer settings are on B&W and draft mode and use only high quality and color when you really need it. This is the razor blade theory of economics (or film back when cameras used film). Some people have had success with third-party ink but often it is messy to use and it will not be recognized by all printers. Furthermore, there is usually no quality control for viscosity, which can cause clogged printer heads. On the other hand, it is probably not much more expensive to get the printer head replaced than the ink cartridges!

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Ink-for-earth cheap printer ink with free shipping

I started a company that sells re-manufactured ink at wholesale costs because it is honestly obnoxious how expensive ink is. I found a way to get it wholesale and only sell to make a few dollars profit. It is a much cheaper alternative than refilling and buying retail. check out We have all major brands. Send me an email at if you have any suggestions and ill send you a coupon code for your next order, just ask.

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