INK CARTRIDGES:REFILL OR NEW …?
INK CARTRIDGES:REFILL OR NEW …?
2006-06-20 at 11:18:00 am #15787
Ink cartridges: Refill or new?
Cost savings versus quality
You’re strolling through the mall and see one of those stores that refill printer ink cartridges for up to 60 per cent less than it costs to buy one from the printer manufacturer.For example, Island Ink-Jet, which has 53 locations in Ontario, will replenish your empty cartridges and also sells brand names. An HP 45 cartridge costs $19.99 when refilled versus $39.95 for a new cartridge.
That’s quite a savings, but is it really worth it?
Printer manufacturers say it isn’t. They report they’ve spent lots of money developing the best inks to go with your printer. They say the quality of prints can never be equalled with a generic cartridge. They also argue generic inks can clog and damage the printer and are unreliable.”Printers and inks have to work together to get the best quality,” says Neil Stephenson, manager of the technical marketing group at Canon Canada in Mississauga.”People want their prints to last, so if you use our inks and printers, those prints will be in an album for 100 years or on a wall in a frame behind glass for 30 years. But you only get that stability and quality with genuine inks and paper.”If all you’re printing is black text then I’m sure there’s not much difference. But not many people these days are buying printers to just print out emails. They’re doing other things with them.”The generic ink cartridge manufacturers say their products are guaranteed and undergo the same stringent quality controls that brand-name cartridges face.”At Island Ink-Jet, we use over 125 formulations of ink to deliver to you superior print performance,” says Ontario division president Alex Schulz. “Our inks are tested for excellence by our research and development department to ensure that we bring only inks of the best quality to our customers.”Manufacturers also claim that refilling may void your warranty but Schulz disputes that.”Most printer warranties state that if the cartridge is mutilated and that mutilation damages the printer, the damage is not covered,” Schulz says. “Our refill techniques do nothing to affect the shape and composition of the cartridge. We simply refill the manufacturer’s cartridge. How can a cartridge designed to be used in the printer damage it?”Hewlett Packard commissioned testing organization QualityLogic to compare HP ink-jet print cartridges versus refilled brands. The 2005 testing, which covered markets in North America, Europe and Asia, found that nearly one out of every six refilled ink cartridges tested was dead on arrival or failed prematurely and 70 per cent of refilled cartridges had some form of reliability problem.Schulz says there are other services with a high return rate but “our return is about 2.9 per cent whereas the failure rate on a brand name is 3 per cent.”A recent New York Times article compared the cost of buying a new printer ink cartridge against refilling, and found that refilling is up to 50 per cent cheaper.But the article found that “the more important consideration is the price per page printed, a number that is affected by the quality of a refilled cartridge,” and that yielded a lesser advantage for the refillers.It found that you wouldn’t have much of a problem with refilled cartridges from reputable refillers if you were printing documents with black ink on standard paper. You also won’t have many hassles if you’re using colour inks to print your kids’ homework.But for high-quality colour printing of digital photos, you may be better off with the new cartridges.