Buy A New Printer When You Run Out Of Ink

If you’re sick of the high cost of toner, and don’t want to deal with messy refill kits or off-brand versions, here’s a great way to save cash and help struggling manufacturers at the same time: Just buy a new printer every time you run low on ink. Sure, you’ll have a house full of printers in no time, but you can always donate those to Goodwill, or to the local landfill.

Reddit commenter residentskitz needed some ink, and found that a refill of black and color cartridges for a Lexmark printer would come to about $42. And two cartridges for a new Canon would run about $38. But a quick trip to Walmart yielded a new Canon printer, with two ink cartridges included, for $30. “Then I remembered why I have 3 other printers sitting at home with no ink,” residentskitz posted. “It’s cheaper to buy a new printer than to buy new ink.”

We’re not sure this is the case across-the-board, and we know that some printers come with “sample” ink cartridges that don’t print as many pages as the full-price ones. But this may be the right excuse to ditch that old inkjet sitting in the home office and get a shiny new model without the guilt.


Edit Your Comment

  1. diasdiem says:

    I’ve actually heard that the cartridges that come with the printers aren’t as full as cartridges you buy separately.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      That would be the smaple ink catridges mentioned in the article. You, FTL.

    • fantomesq says:

      I’m yet to see anyone actually verify that. That sounds MUCH more like a retail sales ‘technique’ to try and attach more replacement ink cartridges. It doesn’t make sense to setup two different production lines – one for just starter cartridges. You wouldn’t save enough on the ink to make up for the extra production costs.

      • trentblase says:

        It doesn’t need a new production line, they probably just change the “fill amount” parameter every other day. And the point isn’t to save money on ink, its to make you buy an expensive replacement cartridge sooner.

        • ChunkyBarf says:

          This correct. The filling of the ink is just slightly smaller.

          To add an additional point (I used to sell the things), there was a law passed that said that the amount of ink must be declared conspicuously at purchase. This is why on some of the old LexMark printers they would include a #16 cartridge and you would replace it with a #26 cartridge. The #16 cart had a small amount of ink, but the #26 had a lot more (even though the physical cartridge was the same size). So, at the time of filling (in the case of some LexMarks), the amount of ink was smaller and the subsequent sticker was different. If one were hip in marketing lingo, this could be spun to say that the printer came with a ‘full’ #16 (as opposed to a ‘crippled’ #26).

          You can confirm this relatively easily by reading the side of a given printer box. It will generally say that the ink included has 30mL of fluid. If you check the replacement cartridges, their boxes will say something like 50-60mL.

          Of course, most manufacturers don’t like to make this point glaringly obvious though.

      • starrytrekchic says:

        I don’t know if it’s true for personal printers, but when the company I worked for a few years ago bought a new fax/copy/printer, it only came with a half-filled ink cartridge (at most). When it ran out a few weeks after getting the new printer, the manager had a fit. He contacted the salesperson who confirmed new printer/fax/copiers only came with partially filled toners.

      • TheUncleBob says:

        It makes more sense to pack in starter cartridges than it does to pack in a full cartridge and sell it bundled with the printer for less than the cartridge by itself…

      • midwestkel says:

        From what I remember when I was working computer sales at *cough* Best Buy *cough* they told us that Lexmark and Epson came with full cartridges but HP didn’t. Now I looked on HP’s website and there is a small difference with the color that comes with it compared to the replacement, 15 sheets.

        Epson list the part number for the ink that comes with them and they are the retail ones so I can’t see how they would have demo ink in those.

        Lexmark is the same way.

        • Kitamura says:

          Dunno bout inkjets, but I know HP’s laserjets come with toner cartridges that are basically half full compared to buying a new one. I think for my printer, the cartridge with the printer is rated 750 sheets and a full one is rated 1500 sheets. Fortunately I don’t print much, so I haven’t had to replace any yet.

        • gatewaytoheaven says:

          From my retail place of work, our Epson and HP reps told us that their printers don’t come with full ink tanks.

      • econobiker says:

        ah, but you are wrong about the “two production lines” comment. It is the same production line with just a different volume of ink injected into the same cartridge assembly and a little tiny bit of extra administration via the separate part number plus label changes. Not enough to quash the mega savings (profits) they get by issuing starter volume cartridges…

        ergo starter volume cartridges and retail volume versions…

    • Nighthawke says:

      I can verify the veracity of that.

      Several HP AIO’s have had “Evaluation” cartridges packaged with them with chips telling the printer what they are.

      A couple of HP color and B&W LJ’s were packaged with partially full cartridges under the same guise too.

    • karan1003 says:

      My friend bought an HP printer that specifically said the included cartridges were demo only.

    • tbax929 says:

      That’s true. My gf just bought an HP all-in-one, and the ink cartridge included was a demo cartridge. It only lasted a couple of weeks, and she hardly ever prints anything.

    • Batmanuel says:

      Depends on the printer. I just bought an HP OfficeJet 8500 Pro and it came with a set of full 940 model cartridges which are rated for a good number of pages (the black does about 1000 pages), and the same size as the ones that you buy to replace it. They do make 940XL cartridges that do around 2200 prints for the black cart, however, so you could argue that the ones I received were only partial capacity.

      Of course, that’s only because I bought a high end professional quality MFC. The lower quality ones generally come with lower yield demo carts. The new lasers are particularly bad because you buy an HP color laserjet thinking you’re saving a bundle, only to find out that it comes with start carts with 750 page yield, so after a ream and half of paper you’re spending $300-$400 on a new set of laser cartridges.

      It really pays to do some research. Sometimes it is worth it to spend a little extra to get the better model with the full carts.

      • Kitamura says:

        It depends what you need in a printer though, sure if you want a full up colour laserjet a full set of replacements is going to cost way more than a black only laserjet. And even if you aren’t getting the same initial value from a consumer home laserjet compared to a business class one, you’re still saving toner cost compared to an inkjet in most cases.

    • gatewaytoheaven says:

      Canon printers actually come with FULL ink tanks. It makes selling Canon a lot easier at work when I make mention of that fact.

    • Taed says:

      I’ve done this for a two different laser printers, and in both cases, the printer comes with a “demo” toner cartridge that prints 1000-1500 pages, where as a full toner cartridge prints about 3000. Note that the cartridges are exactly the same, but with less initial toner in the “demo”. I have then bought toner (and in one case a small plastic part as well) via eBay for about $8 to fill up the toner and convert it into a full toner cartridge.

    • MaximusMMIV says:

      This is true. The best way to save on ink is to find a printer that has two things:

      First, individual color cartridges for yellow, blue, and red. Why throw out a color cartridge that has three colors in it when only one of them runs out?

      Second, a high capacity black ink slot. I have a Canon MP620 that has this, and the high capacity ink cartridge has approximately double the amount of ink for a $2 increase in price.

  2. PanCake BuTT says:

    I like generic cartridges for my cheap-0 printer. But consider the odds the OP is facing, buying another printer seems favorable. Maybe you can put your other printers on Ebay or Craigslist and someone can buy them from you.

  3. Laura Northrup says:

    I got tired of this particular retail dance, and I bought a laser printer in the summer of 2006. I don’t print excessively, but I’m still on the original toner cartridge that came with the $120 printer. I need to buy one in the next few weeks.

    I do miss printing in color, though.

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says: sells good-priced toner for your laser printer. And it supports, like, monks and orphanages and stuff.

    • henrygates3 says:

      On my third toner cartridge for my laser my $50 laser printer died. I’m back to inkjet for now (had one anyway so I could print in color) but my next printer will be a color laser. Those prices have come down quite a bit.

    • Zclyh3 says:

      Yup same here. Bought a Dell 1600n laser printer, used the same toner in the unit for just a little over 2 years. A new toner is only about $60 as well. Not bad for a printer I paid $300 for. Still works like a champ.

    • The Cheat says:

      Could always buy a color laser, they’re cheap enough now. Course you get the same cheap printer expensive ink issue if you buy wrong. My company bought someone a $500 Samsung color laser a while back. The toners are about $150 each and it needs two now. It also needs a developer which is $300. So, buy a new printer for $500 or spend over $500 on supplies for an out of warranty printer? Neither, since we’re in bankruptcy so the printer is being chucked.

    • Wrathernaut says:

      Did the same after getting sick of $60 inkjet cartridges drying up without barely getting used and the machine squiring a tiny bit every night to keep the nozzles clean.

      I did go through the demo/sample toner cartridge, but the $60 replacement high-volume one has a lot of life left, and doesn’t waste any when I don’t print anything for months at a time.

    • wrjohnston91283 says:

      I have a Samsung B&W laser – $100 a few years ago, and $70 for a new toner cartridge since then. I also have an all-in-one Canon that no longer prints- I think it’s the printer, since I put in a new cartridge recently, only to have it stop working shortly. I would go months without using the Canon since everything I printed out was in black and white so I used the samsung, and I think that killed something.

      I’m hoping to get a new Canon all-in-one shortly, and will have to remember to print both color and black and white documents out every week just to keep it working.

    • Julia789 says:

      One way I avoid wasting the expensive ink is the print a PDF instead of a hard copy, when it is not “critical” to have the paper version.

      For example, I had a friend who printed every online bill payment confirmation. She was using a lot of ink printing these payment confirmation pages. Now she prints them to PDF, and saves them in a folder on the desktop. It also saves a lot of paper and cleans up your file cabinet.

    • Bohemian says:

      We got a laser printer from a business contact at our bank. They were out of warranty and the bank wanted them gone. Giving it to us was cheaper than paying to recycle it. We recently got another almost new laser printer from a friend who works at an insurance company. They replaced anything that was out of warranty. Same issue, cheaper to give away than pay to get it recycled. The old one cost $20 for toner cartridges on ebay and lasted about two years. The new one is still running on the toner that was in it. So $20 for printing in about eight years isn’t bad.

  4. andyross says:

    Unless you buy the same model, you run the risk of messy driver conflict issues, especially if you use different manufacturers. Consumer printer drivers are stuffed full of OS hooks and extra software that is hard to clean out.

    It’s also not very environmentally responsible.

    • dohtem says:

      My wallet (in this economy) or the environment… hmm… ?

    • your new nemesis says:

      If we recycle everything, then the guys who work at landfills will be out of a job. That’s just poor economics.

    • Donathius says:

      Who’s fault is that though? Consumer printers are garbage, and the issue of ink price is not a small one. I feel lucky that I found a good color printer that fits my needs and I’m able to print about 750 pages on a $15 cartridge (black). But when the printer with ink is $30 and the refills are $40 how can we blame the consumer for not being environmentally conscious?

      If HP, Canon, et all want the consumers to be environmentally friendly they need to start by offering a product that we might want to keep for more than six months. I paid $200 for my printer a year ago and I plan on keeping it for a while longer – even though it crashes if I leave it turned on for more than a day.

  5. kaptainkk says:

    Yep let us just continue to rape this planet of it’s natural resources and filling it’s landfills for the sake of saving a few dollars and teaching a lesson to those evil printer manufacturers. Welcome to the human race! I agree that the price of a cartridge is ridiculous but there should be a viable alternative. Actually with the way technology has advanced, why does anyone even need to print anything except at a minimum?

    • ninja-meh says:

      “I agree that the price of a cartridge is ridiculous but there should be a viable alternative. Actually with the way technology has advanced, why does anyone even need to print anything except at a minimum?”

      There SHOULD BE a viable alternative, the problem is that there isn’t. The guy needed to print, his cheapest option was to buy a new printer, so he bought a new printer… A lot of people can’t afford to be environmentally conscious and a couple bucks means a lot. Again, things shouldn’t be that way but the way things are run, this is just how they are.

      People do print at a minimum, but that doesn’t mean they don’t print at all. We still use paper and even if op was printing at a minimum, they would still need to print something. Personally, I don’t have a printer but I can see the conundrum here haha

      • PTB315 says:

        I understand that people think we’re moving into a “paperless” society at a rapid rate, but, and this is just a guess, I believe the older business owners of the world have the idea of having a printed copy of everything for filing and evidence of transactions so ingrained in them that they would never consider trying to ditch paper. I see evidence of it myself working with my Dad and from my vendors and customers, as well as my competitors.

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          I think you’re right to some degree; my employers are still doing everything on paper. It makes my job harder because in addition to everything else I have to do, I have to file a ton of crap every week. If they would just use .pdf files the world would be a better place and we would have more storage space!

    • Xerloq says:

      The landfills are ours, not the planets. They don’t occur naturally. But humans occur naturally, and humans made them, so I guess that means they’re ultimately the planets. Does that mean that ultimately the planet is polluting itself? Perhaps it’s offspring (humans, or us) haven’t made enough anti-depressants in to leech into the water yet, thereby pulling it out of the slump it’s been in for the last billion years.

      Oh, never mind I’m over thinking it. Just don’t pollute people. Give a hoot.

    • ludwigk says:

      In grad school, I’ve pretty much gotten to the point where I’ll print out anything and everything that I’ll need to read more than once or twice, the reason being that sometimes I’m reading 12+ hours a day, and with all the eyestrain, my eyes will just “give out” if I try to do it all on an LCD display. My ocular muscles won’t perform near-field focusing any more and I just need to stop. So yeah, when I get assigned a big pile of cases to read, they all get printed out on westlaw or whatever. Personal limits on the amount of eyestrain I can bear has lead to the need to print out documents.

      • Syncop8d1 says:

        I agree with you. I can only read so much on my screen. Besides, when I’m editing my work, there’s something satisfying about actually marking on paper.

      • SkuldChan says:

        I used to think this was just fine, until I started working for the IT department for a small Oregon school – 140,000 dollars a year on just paper, and another 40,000 on just toner cartridges. Wonder why they laid off 4 IT employees?

        Some of these labs can spend one cartridge a week. The one I ran used anywhere between 10,000 and 15,000 sheets of paper a week.

    • EllenRose says:

      Well, I’m a writer. And you can edit for spelling and grammar on a screen – but if you’re trying for an overall impression of what you’ve done, it has to be on paper. They both have their place in the scheme of things.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        Yep. Also editors and agents can’t grab a few pages to take with them at the end of the day if it’s electronic.

        • PølάrβǽЯ says:

          Yes they can. Most smartphones and all laptops will display MS Word and other text/document files just fine. And what editor wouldn’t have a laptop?

          There is very little necessity for paper documents at all anymore. The only reason they are prevalent is because of old habits and society’s inability to quickly adapt to new technology. And because it would shut down the USPS pretty damn quick.

  6. shepd says:

    Or, you can buy a laser printer and refill the toner yourself (you may need to buy the reset chips as well, although in those cases they are often included with the toner refill kit). You’ll have nicer looking output, you won’t have the hassle of blocked heads, and you can print thousands of pages on one cartridge. As a side bonus, your printer will last at least a decade or two (I gave my still working HP LaserJet 4 to my parents the other week because I was tired of futzing about with their crappy inkjetS, yes, multiple inkjets).

    You can even do colour now with laser printers, although you’ll be buying 4 times the toner, natrually. I stick to black and white for everything but special output, myself, and have one good monochrome laser (with duplexer–HP LaserJet 4050), and one okay colour laser (cp1518ni).

    One added bonus from using decent laser printers is they often have network interfaces built in. All mine did, or I bought jetdirect interfaces for them. It makes using them on multiple computers an absolute snap.

    • diasdiem says:

      A coworker of mine bought a bunch of old laserjets as part of a municipal auction. He got like 20 of them for all of $50, gave me one that still had a toner cartridge, it works like a charm.

    • tonsilpool says:

      I bought a HP Laserjet 4L with my first computer about 18 years ago and it is still going strong!
      I bought a Kodak ESP-7 and use it as a copier, scanner and color printer, besides, it is wireless and works with everyone’s laptop.
      I hate Best Buy but it is cheaper to get the Kodak ink there than to order thru Kodak.

    • ecwis says:

      I do this. I eventually had to buy a new printer because I abused my old one. Got a monochrome printer for $54 and refilled the toner with a $10 kit from eBay. It’s messy to do if it’s your first time. Do NOT squeeze the bottle. I did that and it kind of made the toner go everywhere. :-/ Printing is same quality as before refilling the toner though and with my usage, it should last a year or so.

      Refilling toner is definitely the way to go!

  7. Kerov says:

    Don’t. Just don’t.

    Don’t reward printer manufacturers for their transparently exploitive pricing schemes.

    And unless you know which vendors sell full-size cartridges with their printers, you’re just playing into their hands with no upside to you.

    • yasth says:

      It is hardly rewarding to the printer people. They pay a lot more money to make a printer than a cart.

      Instead buy a (used) business grade inkjet printer (not one marked for business, but one actually meant for business output) those tend to have very low operational cost ($.02 a page with full price OEM carts, much less for third party. ) HP’s business inkjet line is fine.

      • ecwis says:

        Is there actually such thing as a business-grade inkjet printer? I thought businesses have been using laser printers for years.

        • ChunkyBarf says:

          Yes, you can generally tell my the fact that they have separate printheads and they have higher duty cycles. If you check the manual to a printer that costs
          As a general rule, inkjets should always COMPLEMENT a laser printer in a business environment as opposed to REPLACE one. Inkjets still have an edge for high-quality color, quick warmups, printing labels and printing to glossy brochure paper. A laser printer should be the default print option, but having a quickie inkjet on the network can be quite versatile as well.

        • SunnyLea says:

          Heck, I still need a dot matrix printer for a few business reasons, so I guess someone out there prolly finds an inkjet handy.

  8. StatusfriedCrustomer says:

    Buy more monitors and hang them all over your office, so you can look at all your screen pages at the same time without having to print them. Monitors are cheaper than ink cartridges in the long run.

    Or, how about those services where you email your stuff to them and they snail mail it back to you? That’s probably cheaper than printing, if you don’t need to see your printouts immediately.

  9. misterfweem says:

    Without the guilt? I suppose, then, that we ship our old printers to Nigeria or China to let the children there burn them to sort out what tiny bits of metal may be in there for the recyclers?

    Here’s what my wife and I do: nigh on 15 years ago, she bought a HP laser printer. We’ve had to buy a total of three troner cartridges in that time. Yeah, they’re spendy — but they’re also recycled. It’s an old printer but a workhorse. I’m getting a new computer that doesn’t come with the serial port this printer needs, so I’m getting one of those $40 serial to usb cables. And I don’t have the guilt of filling landfills with inkjet printers because I’m too cheap to buy the ink.

    I also use a laser printer at work. I’ve been running it a year (on a moderate print load) with the “low toner” warning, and I’m only getting minor loss of print quality. Laser printers are more expensive, but they save money in the long run. If our HP printer ever dies, we’re investing the money in another laser printer. none of these cheap printers for us.

    These companies should be ashamed of selling printers at cut-rate prices then charging prime prices for the ink. But that doesn’t mean we need to be sheep — or cheap — and fill the earth with unused printers just because the companies “make” us do it.

    • wcnghj says:

      That printer probably uses loads of energy, please tell me you shut it off when it’s just sitting there.

      • wrjohnston91283 says:

        My laser printer goes into sleep mode after about 10 minutes of no activity and draws only a watt or two.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      HP computers may blow but their printers last FOREVER. My inkjet is an 842C and it still works just fine.

      It won’t handle a 500-page document, though, which is why I bought the HP 4050N.

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      $40 serial to USB cable? Is it made out of pure gold?

      These can be had brand new from NewEgg for $10.

  10. Tim says:

    Such unnecessary consumption and waste is great for the environment …

    • Inglix_the_Mad says:

      Not only that it’s patently foolish. Let the idiots of the world buy ink jet printers. I’ve got my trusty B&W HP 1100xi (new toner, ~$45, ~3500 pages) and Samsung CLP-550N (4 toners, ~$400, ~4000 color / ~8000 black pages) and I buy toner once every 3 years for each printer. Incidentally, I often don’t have to buy the color toners for the Samsung.

      Yeah, the printers cost me more up front (~$400 each) but I’ve gotten so much use out of them, and paid so little for the prints I’m guessing about a penny per page for the black off of the HP and maybe 10 cents per page of the color. The closest ink jet is a minimum of 20 cents per page.

      Oh, and they’re fast and the Samsung is network capable so it’s available for anyone in the house to use. Technically so is the HP, but that’s a share off of the server not it’s own network connection.

  11. r081984 says:

    “If you’re sick of the high cost of toner”

    Toner is very cheap. You can buy a box full of tubes of toner for $80 that will last you decades for a home printer.

    • fantomesq says:

      Toner is dry and transferred electrostatically – think photocopier or laser printer. What you’re taking about here are ink refills.

  12. fantomesq says:

    Only if your time and trouble are priced at zero. Getting a new printer up and running can take some time.

  13. unpolloloco says:

    Or you could buy a laser printer for twice the price of an inkjet and have the toner last 10 times as long.

    //that is, if you can do without color printing (and even then, there are some color laser printers that have been in the sub-$100 range recently).

    • tonberryqueen says:

      You can always get a cheap color printer to supplement the laser one if you aren’t printing color much. Then the expensive color cartridges won’t hurt as badly.

      That’s what we did when I was growing up. I think that we had the same B&W laser printer for about 10 years, if not more, and we had a cheap inkjet for color–and we almost never used the color one.

  14. henrygates3 says:

    I think almost all printers come with sample ink. And buying printers every time you run out of ink seems like an awful thing to do environmentally.

  15. Beef Supreme says:

    So yeah…we did a variation on this recently.

    We were out of ink. We had also discussed networking our printer so that we could print and fax wirelessly.

    So, we bought a new wireless All in one. And we donated the 2 old printers and 1 old fax machine to the USO.

  16. Zclyh3 says:

    I do this when I buy those laser printers for $25-$30. Don’t blame me. Manufacturers want to rip me off by the high cost of toner so as a consumer I will find ways to get it cheaper even if that means throwing out the old printer and getting a new one. Besides, just recycle the old one.

    • Taed says:

      Same with me. I first bought a Samsung ML-2510 (from memory) for $40 and refilled it once for $10, so I got about 4500 pages printed for $50 — about 1 cent per page. I then sold the printer on CraigsList for $40, so it really only cost me $10 to print those 4500 pages, about 0.2 cents per page.

      I’m on my second printer now, a Brother MFC-7220 fax/copier/scanner/printer for only $25. I really like it — the copier/scanner is useful for my son and his drawings. I’ve refilled it once for $8. So, I’m up to $33 for about 3000 pages printed so far, so that will end up less than 1 cent per page.

      Of course, paper is the “big cost” at about $4 per ream (500 sheets), adding about another $0.01 cents per page.

  17. Powerlurker says:

    I’ve got a cheap, monochrome, laser printer from Brother that cost me about $60. The toner refills aren’t more than the printer ($40 for a 2,000 page cartridge, the printer comes with a 1,000 page starter), but if you ever need to replace the drum unit, it costs about twice what the printer does. That having been said, I’ll likely have gotten rid of this printer well before I ever print 20,000 pages on it (the lifetime of the drum unit.)

  18. Leria says:

    This is a big waste…. the government should make this illegal, because it is just putting more JUNK into our landfills.Just make these printer companies charge a REASONABLE price like Kodak does for their ink.
    Oh, and that thing about the ink cartridges that come with the printer not being ‘as full’ as separately bought ones is true, even for Kodak printers.

    • ecwis says:

      I think you forgot the tag. Let’s at least hope you don’t seriously think they government should ration the sale of printers…

  19. rondalescott says:

    This just in: Popular consumer rights and advocacy blog The Consumerist bought out by Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp, to be relaunced as The Consumerismist! News at 11.

  20. iamlost26 says:

    I really don’t think this is a good idea, especially now that so-called “e-waste” is starting to build up. It really isn’t smart to keep buying new printers just to get cheap ink (if it comes with added speed, clarity, etc, then it’s up to you, but just for ink, that’s terrible).

    What is wrong with the generic/off-label ink? There’s dozens of websites where you can type in the name of your printer and it’ll pop out the equivalents. These cartridges are made from OLD cartridges, just refilled and a different label slapped on. For the price of 1 regular priced ink container, I can buy 7 generic ones. Even if one doesn’t work, so what? I still have 6 more. And though there’s stories about people getting ink everywhere, if you read the directions, it almost always comes out well. I’ve done this for at least 6 printers (including my parents’ and a work one) so far, and in all cases I was able to get printing at a FRACTION of the cost.

  21. james says:

    Need I mention that the responsible way to save money would be to REFILL one’s ink cartridges? If you lack the skill or will to do this yourself, the national drug store chain “Walgreens” will do it for you for far less than the cost of a new cartridge.

    • chocobo says:

      THANK YOU! I was waiting for someone to mention this. $10 ink refills at Walgreens are by far the best option for everyone involved.

  22. DeadPlasmaCell says:

    I bought a Samsung Laser printer back in 2001 and only had to change the toner once in 2005. Then recently I decided to go with a Kodak ESP 3 AIO printer because my wife likes to print pictures out and figured a color printer would be a nice change. The refills are super cheap and last for a few months with normal use. Black ink is $10 and Color is $15 or you can buy a combo pack for about $22. Not bad for an $80 printer

  23. lawnmowerdeth says:

    The Goodwill closest to where I live wouldn’t take my old inkjet printers. I don’t know if that’s a nationwide policy or not, but the guy said “no computer equipment”.

    So I tried to be good, but into the landfill it went.

    • lockdog says:

      I run a thrift store. We don’t want your old inkjet printer. No one wants your old inkjet printer. They don’t sell, because no one wants to spend that kind of money on new ink on a possibly broken printer. That leaves us having to pay for proper disposal/recycling, which isn’t cheap. I will sell old laser printers for ten bucks when I can get them.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      the county i live in has an e-waste drop off point that’s open 6 days a week, free. they recycle and salvage still working computers and equipment to sell or for use in schools

    • katia802 says:

      It depends on the area you’re in. Your local Goodwill is an independent entity working under the GW International umbrella. I know for a fact that GW of Southwestern PA and the GW in Austin TX have computer recycling programs that are groundbreaking for what they do. And, very expensive to start up and get on a paying basis. If your local can’t recycle the computers, they have to pay the waste managemet company to take them. And most charge extra for computer equipment.

  24. Mariushm says:

    People should just get a monochrome laser printer.

    A cheap Samsung one is around 130$ and prints about 1200 pages with the starter toner, after that it’s about 15-25$ for 3-5000 pages worth of black toner.

    (you also need a small chip that resets the printer’s page counter so that you don’t have to replace the printer drum but this chip is also a few dollars and easy to install)

    • wcnghj says:


    • Rena says:

      It’s kinda sad that we need to install modchips in our printers to make them function as expected.

    • r081984 says:

      You can get a cheap samsung laser for around $60 on sale or refurbished on ebay.
      You just need to make sure you get one that has a refill port on the toner cartridge.
      You can then buy a network attachement for around $20.

      Mine has lasted 5 years and only needed 1 refill.

  25. Joseph S Ragman says:

    Paid $129 for a Samsung laser printer two years ago … now I need new cartridges … total cost: $129 … imagine that!

    • Mariushm says:

      you can buy refill toner and a reset chip, total should be less than 30$ and gives you more printed pages than the original.

  26. c_c says:

    Or better yet, buy a cheap but decent laser printer like a Brother (especially if you don’t really need color) .. you get a lot more mileage out of a toner cartridge.

    • colorisnteverything says:

      I have a Brother because my crappy Lexmark conked out last year. So, for school this year, I compared laser vs. ink jet. My laser jet and one extra cartridge (5000+ pages) was $170.00. An ink jet was something like $150.00 and $70.00 for extra cartridges that would only print 150 pages or whatever. I didn’t need a color printer, so it was an easy sell. I have been using my Brother laser for lots of research work and have had no issues!

    • u1itn0w2day says:


      Is there any way to edit out alot of the advertising on many a page . I can’t seem to eliminate the spam on alot of articles in particular . Not everything lets you cut & paste . The spam is what eats alot of the color inks .

  27. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    Does anyone know of any good companies to purchase “generic” ink jet cartridges from? My old Epson C68 is out of ink (again) and I don’t want to spend more for cartridges than a new printer costs. A quick Google search shows lots of companies that sell them…but…I don’t want to give out my credit card info to just anyone.

    If I can’t find any, I’ll just buy a new printer and this one will go to our landfill’s electronics recycling section.

    • wcnghj says:

      Find a cheap place and buy it there. If you use credit(not debit) and your card # is stolen, you aren’t liable.

    • quail says:

      Check into your local OfficeMax store. They have instore inkjet cartridge refilling stations. They put one in our store about 3 months after I bought my B & W multifunction laser printer. Haven’t had the chance to try it out, but the cost if I remember is about 1/3 the cost of a new cartridge.

  28. awer25 says:

    Pick up a color laser when they’re on sale around $100 and be done. I don’t print THAT much, and have been using the same toner cartridges in my Lexmark C534n for 2 years. Inkjet cartridges dry out in 6 months or so as well – so double savings.

  29. bornonbord says:

    I shop for new printers in the ink section.

    I look for the cheapest ink cartridges that I can easily find at a B&M store (because you always run out of ink when you least expect it), then I find the printer that correlates to that ink. Even if the printer ends up being $20-$50 more than what I’d want to spend, it ends up saving me money on the long run.

    I never, EVER get those “free printer with a computer” deals because the ink is invariably more expensive than it should be.

  30. flugennock says:

    Jesus H. Bicycle-Riding Christ. Who’s idea was this?

    Besides all the wasted resources, doesn’t this doorknob know there’s a goddamn’ depression going on?

  31. Corporate_guy says:

    Doesn’t anyone with a brain proof this stuff?

    The cartridges that come with the printer are starters with less ink or toner in them.

    The correct advice is to research and find a printer that is easy to refill and more importantly allows refilling. Then you can refill it yourself or go to a walgreens and have it done cheap.

  32. attackgypsy says:

    This is the biggest unprosecuted racket there has eer been. It costs these companies 10-15 cents to make a cartridge, and they have the nerve to charge 40 bucks for it. And with some printers, you CAN’T buy the generic cartridges for them, because they have a chip in them that they don’t allow the generic companies to reproduce. These people should be in jail for ripping people off.

    • wcnghj says:

      I refuse to buy those printers with chips. Lexmark even says the cartridge will stop working while ink is still in the tank.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      I believe it was ruled that this is illegal, the manufacturer of the printer has to allow aftermarket inks, there may have been printers like this in the past but probably not off the shelf ones today.

  33. squirrel says:

    I’d like to follow up on the Brother printer comment.


    Brother has had some really nice budget laser printers and they don’t skimp on the toner either. Yes, they have a normal and high yeld cartridge, but the normal yield in the box is the same as what you buy in the store. We refilled once after three years of use (5250DN). We liked it so much we bought one of the smaller all-in-ones. It is also lasts quite a while, but they use much smaller toner cartridges with less toner in them, too. The larger the laser printer, the better the cost per page it seems.

    The Epson we recently purchased (Artisan 810) came with regular ink cartridges. Two high-yield blacks and one set of “normal yield” colors. It’s too new for us to figure out the ink costs and yield, but putting in regular color ink cartridges and high yield black ones was a very nice touch.

    Perhaps the issue is the really cheap-ass bargain basement printers? None of the mid to upper-mid priced printers I bought cheaped out on ink.

  34. donovanr says:

    After years of fighting with photopaper, tiny expensive ink carts and printer drivers from hell, I have switched to a good laser printer that I picked up with a full 7500 page toner cart for $35 used. All color printing is now done at the grocery store kiosk for $0.19 per print. For kids projects I print at Kinkos where you can get a 17×11 color page printed for a few bucks. This outsourced printing will never add up to the money I would otherwise waste having a color printer at home. Plus, to match the output of the kiosk I would have to get a many hundred dollar printer and an eleven inch wide color printer would be quite expensive and bulky.
    Even if I were to Kinkos my childrens’ projects as 30″ posters at around $30 a pop I would still probably save money and definitely save many headaches while getting a great end product.
    I don’t foresee ever getting a color printer back into the house unless the whole printer business model changes for consumers. Things I would need to get a color printer in the house way less crappy drivers. The last HP drivers I installed were over 200M. They should be under 1Meg. Ink that doesn’t dry out in 6 months. Ink that is good for thousands of pages (not 5% but like 25%), a printer that takes larger paper. A tiny foot print. I can’t see why a printer is any bigger than a loaf of Italian bread. Oh and don’t gouge me for the ink. Putting the chip in the ink is not for my benefit. The printer people might say the chip in the ink carts is to ensure that I get the ink that was meant for my printer but that is crap. If I buy new red ink and it comes out pink I won’t blame anyone but the people I bought the ink from. But I want to chance it. I don’t want to pay more for my ink than I did for my wedding champagne.

  35. TurboWagon00 says:

    Worst case of this happened to me – newegg had a Xerox 6180N color, networked, PostscriptL3, laser printer…. $200 shipped. Replacement “standard” cartridges (2000 pages) are about $90, “high capacity” (6000 pages) are closer to $200. So to replace all four C, M, Y, K = $800 on a $200 printer. Ooof. Luckily about 1200 prints in, still going strong with factory cartridges.

  36. PencilSharp says:

    Okay. All y’all settle down.

    Yeah, the Green Weenies are gonna whine about the oh-so-nasty “e-waste” and there are the ultra cheapos who always weigh in with a nasally “but they only come with starter cartridges!”

    Fine. Truth is, this strategy makes a lot of economic sense, and is fully self-correcting, to boot!

    Consider: Idiot printer manufacturer (*cough*Lexmark*cough*) sells printer super-cheap to get people to buy their gourmet-crack-level-priced inks and toners.This is known as a “loss-leader.” IPM loses money on every printer they sell, but makes the money back on the first ink/toner sale.

    But… if they lose more money on printers than they can make from consumables because customers “game” the system by just buying the printers, within 3-4 horrific quarters, IPM will shift its pricing strategy… by charging more for the printers… and the ink/toners!

    Let the market sort it out, and let the criers go cry in their pablum…

  37. donjumpsuit says:

    This is ridiculous. Everyone knows this is true (printers are cheaper than buying a replacement cartridge). The onus should be on printer manufacturers, not on consumers. Its true they may be placing a starter cartridge in them, but they still print near as many pages. Talk of it being difficult to set up a printer is also ridiculous. Hopefully one day, with e-paper, and tablet devices, printers and the trees that are destroyed to make their partner in crime, paper will be reduced to minor levels. Until that day, items like printers (and alot of other replaceable/disposables) should have a core charge affixed to them and be delivered right back to the manufacture for reuse/reconditioning. How am I the villain in this, “you irresponsible land-filling consumer” scenario? I don’t come up with these pricing schemes, these recharging techniques, and the non-renewable materials from which these products are designed. We are the victims and suckers it seems. Imagine if cellphones or other electronics required you to purchase a battery everytime yours ran out? Now imagine if the product was cheaper than the new battery? You be the judge

  38. Duckula22 says:

    Thumbs down! This tip sucks in the “Environment Friendliness” department.

  39. KTK1990 says:

    Another option for when you are done with the printer, is to sell it to someone. That way you get a little cash back.

  40. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Color laser printers are so cheap these days. Samsung makes a nice one for around $100. Actually, it’s $250, but Fry’s Electronics usually has them on sale for $100 ever other month.

    One thing laser printers can’t do well is print photos. So I still like to have an inkjet for that purpose.

  41. Cant_stop_the_rock says:

    Better, less wasteful solution – buy a laser printer. Cost per page is about 1/10 that of an inkjet, you won’t have issues if you’re a light user (I went through way more inkjet cartridges than I should have because my printer would sit idle for long periods of time), and color laser printers can be had for pretty reasonable prices if you watch for a deal. I think I paid $150 for my networked color laser printer. A B&W can be found for $100 if you watch for deals.

  42. Hitchcock says:

    For my laser printer.

    $99 when I bought it new
    $70 for a refill toner
    $30 for a refilled/refurbed toner
    $10 for a refill kit

    Or I can buy a brand new printer, that has the same brand/specs as mine, just a bit faster, for $90.

  43. XTC46 says:

    this method is flawed for several reasons.

    1. They are only half full cartiges in the box.
    2. It is a huge waste and places like goodwill wont take them becasue its a huge waste of space.
    3. You will gunk up your computer with all the addon software that come with most home printer setup disks.
    4. Buying a laser printer is a hell of a alot more efficient if you dont need photo quality prints.

  44. u1itn0w2day says:

    DEAD ON !

    I have a Canon that devours ink. It was cost upwards of 60$ to replace the ink cartridges from a store or about 35$ on line . I am currently sizing up the new Kodak printers which supposedly give you double the prints AND lower priced cartridges .

    That’s the gotcha with computer bundles-every one goes ‘free printer yiphee’ not knowing the replacement cost of the cartridges . And that’s where the manufacturerers get you .

    Unless you have special needs with a printer I would look at the replacement cartridges costs and availability FIRST then the actual printer . I found my Canon isn’t even available in generic refills in many stores including Ink Stop and Staples .

  45. tnayen says:

    I have one of those “all in one” Cannon MP610 (about 3 years old). It came with 5 ink cartridges (3 color, 2 black).

    What I learned as an owner:
    1. Printer uses smaller cartridges first (which cost more), regardless of driver settings
    2. Original cartridges are half filled
    3. Printer cleaning cycles use up ~3-5% of the smaller ink cartridges
    4. Cleaning cycles happen anytime it looses power and approximately once every 2 weeks otherwise (basically you will buy new ink every year or so, even if you never print)
    5. Printer invalidates cartridges accusing them of not being legitimate* and refuses to print and scan

    * While I understand their need to protect themselves from the ink refilling industry. Due to the implementation “can not print anything” vs “can’t use this cartridge”, I can’t recommend Cannon to anyone.

    I’ll probably buy a commodity printer which can be easily replaced. You get the benefit of newer technologies and avoid the burden of the ink cartridge market.

  46. Outrun1986 says:

    I don’t understand why people don’t just buy remanufacturered cartridges like I do. I can get a color cartridge that will last 2 years for like $12 and a black one that will last at least 6 months for like $6. I don’t exactly consider that expensive and my HP printer that was purchased in 2006 is still kicking. The remanufactured carts work perfectly in my printer and I have never had a problem. Some people say these carts even contain more ink than the originals. You could also go to walgreens and have your carts refilled for $10 each, there are other refill shops around too.

    • Leria says:

      Because remanufactured cartridges are KNOWN to leak. That is the reason why I refuse to buy them, after seeing the horror stories from Consumer Reports about them and experiencing it one time myself…. I wouldn’t buy those things remanufactured.

  47. copious28 says:

    Heh…my wife and I have done this for the last three laser printers. Samsung has been cheaper to buy new. We have been giving them to friends and family.

  48. ecvogel says:


  49. killest says:

    I’ve never had any luck with inkjet printers.

    after my 5th, that stopped printing even when it still had ink, I bought an HP Laserjet 1300n from the university I attended.
    seems the printer had about 1200 sheets printed through it, but they were starting a new contract… blah blah blah.
    to make a long story short, I paid $25 for this network printer in brand new condition, along with enough toner to print 500 pages.
    I used that up over the next 2 years, when I had to purchase another toner cartridge.
    Now, working with computers and printers, I knew not to purchase a 3rd party toner cartridge, and I ended up spending $80 for a new HP cartridge.
    Yeah, it was $80, but I have enough toner to last me 4 years!

    And if I wanna print pics, I just take a thumb drive over to kinko’s.

  50. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    Buy a cheap Brother / Samsung laser printer, or a Kodak inkjet printer. Honestly, Kodak’s inkjets aren’t very good printers, but their replacement ink is reasonably priced, and you can still buy dirt-cheap generic ink for Kodak printers, because their cartridges don’t have computer chips in them.

  51. Batmanuel says:

    Staples is offering $50 off the price of a new printer if you bring in the old one, plus $3 back in rewards for each of the cartridges in the old printer. I upgraded my old 6-cartridge MFC for a new HP Office 8500 Pro over the Thanksgiving weekend because Staples had the normally $300 machine for $150 off (plus I really wanted to ADF for copying receipts for my expense reports). Add up all the discounts and rewards, and my net cost for the upgrade wound up being $82. Since it had a full set of carts were included, I basically got the new MFC for free. It’s one of the new HP inkjets which are supposed to be close to a low end laser in terms of cost per page, so I may wind up saving money on new carts in the end.

  52. HogwartsProfessor says:

    No thanks; I spent around $300 to get a commercial laser printer for manuscripts. The cost per page is much less than an inkjet, and it’s only black and white so I only have one toner cartridge to replace at a time. It also prints lightning fast compared to the little one. I kept the old inkjet for any small color jobs I might need.

    The cost of cartridges is arbitrarily high. They’re like concessions at the movies. You spend the money on the printer (ticket) but the cartridge (candy, popcorn and soda) is where the profit is. Even the remanufactured ones or generics are expensive.

  53. Sandaasu says:


    The cheap printers that tend to make this look worthwhile have “starter” cartridges, which contain quite a bit less ink, less than a half if I remember right, than the ones you buy. If you’re worried about the price of ink, buy a printer that actually costs as much as it takes to make the thing plus a little profit and you’ll find that the ink for it comes a good deal cheaper.

  54. Fred E. says:

    Just refill the cartridges with a kit. I can’t believe Consumerist is advocating treating printers as disposable, the wealthy nations have such a disproportionate harmful effect on the planet already.

  55. OtakuboyT says:

    Good Lord NO!

    15th Rule of Technology: cheaper the printer the more you pay for it in ink.

    4 Printers I “sell” at work with largest carts in black

    F4480 – $80 – $35/600 pages
    J4680 – $130 – $32/700 pages
    6500 Wireless – $200 – $32/1200 pages
    8500 Series – $300/400/500 – $35/2200 pages

  56. kryptonianjorel says:

    How about refilling the inkjet yourself? I bought a kit with 120mL of black ink, and all the tools needed to refill my HP psc1350. It cost under $30, and for $40, I could have bought twice the ink!

    Theres nothing wrong with generic ink…black is black!

    Its much cheaper and saves a lot of waste

    • Leria says:

      Those ink-refilling kits are a waste of time and energy, and on a lot of the cartridges, they don’t work anymore because they are ‘chipped’ with a chip that shorts out or does something when they are emptied, so the printer won’t even recognize them.

  57. MJ Dick says:

    I’ve been saying this for about 8 years now, since I bought a used laser printer from a dealer for $35, with a 75% full toner cartridge, and the refill is $75. so when it got low, I just started buying new printers, and DAV gets my old ones.

  58. Geekybiker says:

    A model close out enterprise class laser is really the way to go. They tend to have full toner cartridges. I had a cheap mono laser that lasted for years and years on one cartridge and was still going strong when I decided to upgrade to color. Found a HP 3600n that was on closeout for about what the consumer ones were going for and it came with 3000 page cartridges valued far more than what I paid for the toner. Plus its blazingly quick and has a network port built in.

  59. MrAP says:

    This is definitely true for cheap laser printers. A cheaper color laser printer can be had for about $100, while the black toner alone costs $150.

  60. Stuey says:

    Great idea if you want to pollute the environment and are willing to settle for mediocre or even poor printing performance.

    I’ve found that many mid-level printers have much better ink economy than cheap combined-color cartridge printers.

  61. quail says:

    Their business model is fashioned after the razor industries…sell the initial components cheap and rake in the cash on the subsequent, necessary refills. I actually stopped lugging a portable printer ages ago for business. Instead I stop by Wal-Mart and buy whatever inkjet is in the $50 to $75 range. When I’m done with my trip I drop the printer off at a Goodwill or something.

    This I only do with trips involving trade shows, where my need for convenience outweighs the benefits/risks of a hotel’s business office or the nearby Kinko’s.

  62. larkknot says:

    I actually have a cheaper and easier solution – buy a good inkjet that doesn’t need all 4 colors to be full. Then only fill the black ink after the other colors run out. This suits my college student “print essays and notes most of the time, every few months print several dozen 8×10 full-color photos at once” usage pattern a lot better than buying a laser printer.

  63. quail says:

    Back in the early 2000’s I heard about an order of monks that dealt in refurbished ink cartridges. And after a quick search I found that they’re still out there: I think that this is there website?

  64. Chargeback says:

    Every printer under $200 that I’ve bought I’ve been lucky if it lasted a year. Cartridges I don’t care about since I refill my own, but make a printer that does not strip feed gears etc and I’ll be happy.

    HP = Junk
    Canon = Junk
    Epson = Junk
    Kodak = Junk

    What’s next?

  65. krunk4ever says:

    Not sure if you heard, but Costco does ink refills now (for a rather reasonable price):

    They don’t mention it online. I first saw it on my Costco Connection magazine they mail me once a month, but here’s more details and the pricing:

  66. From the cubicle of PGibbons says:

    Another vote for Brother. Paid somewhere between $100-150 for the networked HL5250DN four (?) years ago. 2 kids in school printing plenty, and I probably outdo them both. Original toner that came with the machine dried up late last year and I bought refill toner on Ebay for $25 bucks total. For TWO. Popped off a cap, emptied out the remaining dregs and filled it up to the brim. Printing good as new for the last year.

    I’m a bit of a gadget lover, but I’m absolutely sick of manufacturers creating all the low-end Walmart waste machines just to churn the earth into extinction. HP has gone this route the past few years since Fiorina and their reputation is paying a heavy price – wouldn’t touch their computers or even printers anymore.

    Make a durable device, price it and your consumables fairly, and I’ll recommend your company to others and buy my next one from you when it finally gives up the ghost. Do the opposite and you will only have my contempt and wrath.

  67. From the cubicle of PGibbons says:

    Another vote for Brother. Paid somewhere between $100-150 for the networked HL5250DN four (?) years ago. 2 kids in school printing plenty, and I probably outdo them both. Original toner that came with the machine dried up late last year and I bought refill toner on Ebay for $25 bucks total. For TWO. Popped off a cap, emptied out the remaining dregs and filled it up to the brim. Printing good as new for the last year.

    I’m a bit of a gadget lover, but I’m absolutely sick of manufacturers creating all the low-end Walmart waste machines just to churn the earth into extinction. HP has gone this route the past few years since Fiorina and their reputation is paying a heavy price – wouldn’t touch their computers or even printers anymore.

    Make a durable device, price it and your consumables fairly, and I’ll recommend your company to others and buy my next one from you when it finally gives up the ghost. Do the opposite and you will only have my contempt and wrath.

  68. chadraytay says:

    Not, “Some” cheaper printers come with a sample low yeild cartridge. ALL, cheaper printers come with one. And its usually on the order of 1/10th normal capacity. I’ve had stupid people come in to work saying ooooh I’ll save money buying this printer instead… Never takes long to make em use their heads…

  69. competentgirliegirl says:

    Laser groupies, these printers may perform nicely BUT they can cause or exacerbate asthma and other serious pulmonary diseases. Studies show about half emit too many microfine particles that get into the lungs and …. well, read this:

  70. shufflemoomin says:

    I’m sure many others have pointed it out, but the cartridges that manufacturers ship with new printers generally hold way less ink than a new cartridge. This is well known. It might look like a new cartridge in the box, but it’ll run out pretty quick. Maybe some manufacturers don’t do it this way, but it’s my understanding that most do. They’re not going to sell you a printer that cheap and throw in a full cartridge too.

  71. Torchwood says:

    I have always preferred laser printers. Last year, I replaced my old Laserjet 4 (15 years old) with a Samsung 610ND which does both Color and duplexing. In addition, it is networked. I did set up the B&W mode as a default instead of color just to save on toner costs. What I really wish for is a paper tray that holds 500 sheets (which is a standard ream) instead of 250 sheets.

    Inkjets? I keep telling people they are the biggest rip-offs around.

  72. Verucalise (Est.February2008) says:

    My father is a big advocate of “buy a new printer whenever you need ink” policy. (not that I mind, I get really nice printers for freeeeeee) Then I just refill the ink myself, or buy it dirt cheap online. Got 3 printers just sitting in my back room, in case someone needs one.

    Our local supermarket Price Chopper now refills ink cartridges… I hear it’s pretty cheap, $10-$12. I don’t print a LOT, but enough and I will not pay these companies what they are asking for. I’d rather buy a few cartridges on Ebay, bring them all in to the local place to fill and keep them on hand. I agree with what everyone else says- If a company came out with an honest program or price for their printers and ink refills, I would buy it.

  73. winstonthorne says:

    Buy cheap knockoff ink online for like $3/cartridge+USPS shipping.

    OBJECTION: But it will look crappy! – The colored jobs don’t look AS good as they would with the OEM stuff, but for what you’re probably using the printer for, it’s fine (and text looks good no matter what). If you have a big important printing job, go to Staples and have the copy center do it for you. It’s probably cheaper doing it that way in terms of cost per-page anyway.

    OBJECTION: Won’t it break my printer? – No, the OEM wants you to think that so they put scary stuff in the manual, but even if it did – would you care? Weren’t you planning on throwing the printer away and buying a new one anyway?

  74. JohnDeere says:

    ive been doing this for years.

  75. vastrightwing says:

    I save money on ink by buying on eBay. Many people sell inks with “chips” on them so the printer will work with $1.50 ink tanks vs. $15/ink tanks. Sure the ink fades faster. But at $1.50/ink, it’s well worth it. The manufacturers (I’m talking to you Canon, HP, Lexmark, Brother, etc.) all chip the consumables so you can’t use them past a certain point. There is no reason for this except to sell more consumables than they would otherwise sell. Sure, they’ll claim it’s for the “quality” but the sad truth is this is forcing consumer to buy inflated consumables. I know for sure HP limits the laser image drum to a low number of uses. I’ve re-chipped the image drum at least 3 times (@ $8/chip) rather than spending over $75 for a new image drum. Sure, the quality fades a little. But not much. My Epson chips the ink so I can’t refill it or buy after market inks. But thankfully, there are clever people who get around the Epson limitations. Canon and Lexmark and all the other manufacturers do the same wasteful thing. So, yea, buy that cheap printer for $30 and toss out the old one. That’s the way the printer companies are playing the game.

    • Leria says:

      And they should be stomped on for playing the game like that…… it’s totally anti-customer to do bunk like you mentioned.

  76. NarcolepticGirl says:

    I do the same thing with razors.

  77. h2osmiles says:

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one appalled by this post. Is the part about donating the old printers to the “local landfill” supposed to be facetious? If so, it failed miserably! I’ve come to expect way better from the Cosumerist and I’m surprised and disappointed such “garbage” was made public.

  78. kexline says:

    Ugh, no! This is an excuse to ditch that old inkjet and get a shiny new LASER model without guilt. A nice laser printer can be had for $100 (or $0, if you have space for an older one and are willing to lurk Freecycle and Craigslist for a while.) Brand-name toner refills are prohibitively expensive from the manufacturer but it’s not hard to find generics for about $30. And, unlike liquid ink, they don’t go bad.

  79. BrandonW says:

    Kodak gets my money. They cap their ink at $9.99 for black and $14.99 for color. I haven’t had any problems at all with mine, either.

  80. Javin says:

    Am I the only one here who read this and understood that they’re not saying you should seriously go out and buy a new printer, but that they’re pointing out the absurdity of the cartridge pricing?

    And what about places (I’m looking at you that attach free printers to your orders with no way to remove them? I’ve got a printer in the mail I don’t even want.

  81. Javin says:

    Am I the only one here who read this and understood that they’re not saying you should seriously go out and buy a new printer, but that they’re pointing out the absurdity of the cartridge pricing?

    And what about places (I’m looking at you that attach free printers to your orders with no way to remove them? I’ve got a printer in the mail I don’t even want.

  82. Javin says:

    Am I the only one here who read this and understood that they’re not saying you should seriously go out and buy a new printer, but that they’re pointing out the absurdity of the cartridge pricing?

    And what about places (I’m looking at you that attach free printers to your orders with no way to remove them? I’ve got a printer in the mail I don’t even want.

  83. ladyw says:

    As much as I hate the printer/ink racket, the idea of filling landfills with more crap makes me want to weep.

  84. baristabrawl says:

    I’ve been saying this for over 5 years. I only buy ink based on the price of the cartridge. So if the cartridge costs $6, that’s the printer I buy…from Canon. It’s how I’ve done it for years. I’m almost positive the next time I go to buy a printer they will have changed the way it works and I’ll be screwed.

  85. tele59 says:

    Why would you put something like this on this site. Totally irresponsible! Bad for the environment, wont save you money as the cartridges are usually smaller than the ones you actually purchase and you just end up feeding the monster.

    Shame on you guys….