*NEWS*INK CARTRIDGES CAN GET VERY COSTLY

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*NEWS*INK CARTRIDGES CAN GET VERY COSTLY

 user 2006-07-12 at 12:20:00 pm Views: 81
  • #15964

    Ink cartridges can get very costly
    If
    you think gasoline is expensive these days, imagine the price for a
    gallon of ink for your home inkjet printer.The price of printer ink may
    be the only liquid besides gasoline that infuriates consumers so much.
    It doesn’t take long for the cost of ink-cartridge replacements to
    exceed the price of the printer.You can choose among money-saving
    alternatives, and the best value is not clear-cut. But the decision is
    based on an age-old trade-off: price versus quality.Studies show the
    printer’s manufacturer makes the best-quality inks. But think about
    what quality you need. A child’s grade-school project printed on
    regular copy paper doesn’t need high-quality ink.Or maybe you take lots
    of photos of a child to put on the refrigerator, only to replace them a
    month later with newer photos. “In that case, you might want to go with
    an aftermarket ink because you’ll be chewing through the cartridges,”
    said Charles Brewer, managing editor of The Hard Copy Supplies
    Journal.If you’re worried about a printed photo fading after a few
    years, ask yourself whether that’s a big deal. After all, if it fades,
    you could print it again from the digital image on your computer.Or if
    you seldom need superior quality, you could use cheap ink at home and
    just pay for commercial photo finishing for those few important photos.
    For snapshots, a commercial photo finisher online or at a retail
    discount store may be cheaper than doing it yourself anyway. Consumer
    Reports found photo finishers charge 15 to 25 cents per 4-by-6-inch
    print, while printing at home costs 25 to 40 cents.
    If you will be printing at home, which choice of cheaper inks is right for you?
    Brand
    names are costlier but are tops at rendering accurate colors and
    resisting fading. They include Hewlett-Packard, Canon and
    Lexmark.Comparison shop for the best deals on name brands, but compare
    apples to apples. Some brand-name printer manufacturers are offering
    lower-priced cartridges that simply contain less ink and need to be
    replaced sooner, Brewer said.Store-brand cartridges include Staples,
    OfficeMax, Office Depot and Rhinotek. The print quality will likely be
    quite good, but they are more susceptible to fading, according to a
    recent study.Refill shops are franchised retail stores, such as
    Cartridge World and Caboodle Cartridge. You bring in your old cartridge
    to be refilled or swapped with a different refilled cartridge. Because
    these are stores dedicated to only one task, they develop expertise and
    use a variety of different ink sets that will match your printer,
    Brewer said.There are cartridge-refill machines in such stores as
    Walgreens and OfficeMax. Brewer said they use a limited number of inks
    that may or may not match your printer well, and the employee doing the
    refilling is likely to be less knowledgeable than someone at a store
    dedicated to refills.The ink quality of some do-it-yourself refill kits
    can be good, but it’s a messy chore to transfer ink from a container to
    your cartridge. Also, an ink cartridge can only be refilled four to 10
    times with any of these refill methods. After that, the print head
    could burn out, Brewer said.At the lowest end, if a generic replacement
    for your $45 cartridge costs $7 online, there’s a reason, Brewer said.
    You just can’t count on the quality of the ink and the cartridge, which
    may leak. Batches of the same cartridges might differ in quality.But
    you might stumble on an online store selling generics that work well in
    your printer.Don’t overbuy on cartridges. Cheap printers break easily.
    If you have to replace it, you could be stuck with a lot of cartridges
    that won’t fit current models.