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 user 2006-06-20 at 11:20:00 am Views: 71
  • #15819

    Ink cartridges: Refill or new?

    Cost savings versus quality
    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?
    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.