Printer cartridges

I’ve spent most of this week explaining to people why they are required to spend a small fortune on cartridges for their printers as amazingly they are genuinely surprised that when you buy a Lexmark machine for £19.99 that the cartridges that come with the machine are not only half filled but also expensive to replace.

It is amazing the hostile reaction I get as usually these people have been referred to my company by a friend with an Epson printer who bought his last replacement for a couple of quid although I suppose from a customers point of view if I can supply an Epson compatible cartridge for £1.49 then why is a Lexmark or Hewlett Packard remanufactured cartridge between 7 to 10 times more expensive?They both look the same…..

I remember Dell offering me a brand new printer some time back for £9.95 including postage.When you consider that delivery on such an item must cost Dell around a fiver this means that you’re essentially getting a printer with cartridges for £4.95 – Fantastic value surely?Unfortunately it doesn’t quite work out this way as the cartridges you get with the machine are not only half filled but also cost around £45 for a pair of replacements.Suddenly your £4.95 printer is looking very expensive in the long run!

This week I’m going to give you all a little bit of buying advice when it comes to choosing a printer so that you can save yourself a huge amount on ink in the long run.Of course this article is also a shameless plug for my cartridge retail company but this I believe is my prerogative as author!

The main thing that we have to understand when we’re buying a printer with the idea of using cheaper consumables is the technology involved and to take things right down to basics it goes something along the following lines:

Dell, Hewlett Packard, Lexmark– These printers almost always have the printhead (the technology that lays the ink onto the paper) built into the cartridge so that every time you buy a new cartridge you have to also buy a new printhead.The problem is that not only are printheads expensive to manufacture but they are also copyrighted meaning that copies cannot be made by a third party manufacturer.When we are working with a cartridge with the printhead built in, because of copyright laws old units have to be collected, stripped down, cleaned out refilled and then individually tested which is a long process and expensive process hence our cheapest remanufactured cartridge is £8.99.

Epson, Canon, Brother– Broadly speaking these printers all have the print head built into the machine itself meaning that when you buy a replacement cartridge you are only really buying a plastic container that is full of ink and the expensive technology controlling the distribution of ink remains inside the printer and is reused when you replace the cartridge.As there is nothing particularly unique about a plastic vessel with ink in it these cartridges are easy to replicate without breaking any copyright laws.These cartridges can be produced brand new in the Far East to the same specifications as the manufacturers originals for very little money hence our cheapest compatible cartridge is £1.49 including postage and VAT.

Bottom line is that unless you have bottomless pockets you should ensure that when buying a printer you get one that can take compatible cartridges (Epson, Canon, Brother) rather than one that requires its cartridges to be remanufactured (Dell, Hewlett Packard, Lexmark).I’m not saying that there is anything inherently wrong with a printer that has the printhead built into the cartridge but rather than they tend to work out more expensive in the long run.When buying do check out the cost of replacement cartridges at before buying the unit as buying a printer that is £10 cheaper will in fact cost you more in the long run if it works out that the replacement cartridges are 10 times more expensive.

About the Author - Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.