HP Ink Costs More Than Human Blood

As this graph shows, printer ink is rather expensive, and costs more than things like human blood or a barrel of crude oil. [via ReflectionOf. Me]

Printer Ink Costs More Than GHB


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  1. thisistobehelpful says:

    Well human blood is made pretty much for “free” and manufactured constantly AND automatically. I mean no one’s found an animal that poops out ink cartridges and set up an inkpoop farm or something yet.

    • tbax929 says:

      Exactly. Of course blood is cheaper than ink. Even I can make blood!

      • thisistobehelpful says:

        I make my own blood at home with stuff I grew myself.

        • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

          God, you’re such a snob. I just buy my blood at Wal-Mart and I resent your suggestion it’s inferior just because SOME of us have to work and don’t have the TIME to manufacture our own bodily products!

          • thisistobehelpful says:

            And it’s ORGANIC. :D

          • Esquire99 says:

            But your Walmart blood was likely made by someone working in a crappy factory in a third-world country. You should be ashamed of yourself for buying Walmart blood. Everyone knows that you should be buying your blood from your local mom and pop blood retailer, not from the nameless, faceless big-box stores. Geez.

            • Con Seanne-BZZZZZZZZZZZZ says:

              I import my blood. I know a great online store with good prices and good customer service. Shipping might be a little more, and I don’t get it right away, but it’s a great bargain!

              • subtlefrog says:

                I just order mine from Amazon and use my Amazon Prime account to get second day air for Free! Although, usually UPS screws it up, warranting frequent blood rants here at Consumerist.

      • pop top says:

        I love you guys.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      That and lots of people will donate blood. Not a lot of people are going to donate ink to HP.

    • Coelacanth says:

      Except for the fact, the costs associated with “harvesting blood” are probably quite high and intrusive.

      I don’t imagine the machines which produce black ink having vasovagal syncope (or otherwise being squeamish) when extracting the desired product, having their own moral objections against blood donation, or having QA staff to screen for infectious disease.

      Why exactly is black ink so expensive?

      • thisistobehelpful says:

        Well it does depend how ethical you want to be about it. Blood does keep pumping as long as the heart is going. Six liters in the human body and if you hang them upside down gravity would help. “Harvesting” blood is cheap. It requires cheap plastic bags, tubes and cheap needles. The proper storage and the “farmer” are the expensive stuff.

        Daily dose of macabre right there…

      • StatusfriedCrustomer says:

        //Why exactly is black ink so expensive?//

        –>Think about it. Black is every other color mixed together, so it’s the cost of blue plus the cost of purple plus the cost of brown plus the cost of green plus…etc.

    • mythago says:

      We’re all still trying to track down that cat that poops dollar bills.

    • mikehtiger says:

      Squids poop out ink lol

  2. Thorin78 says:

    Not only do they charge an arm and a leg for printer ink, my HP printer just told me that my still 50% full ink cartridges are now expired and that I need to replace the cartridges. And if I don’t, and continue to use the expired ink, I void the warranty. This just ain’t right.

    • hankrearden says:

      That’s fuc%$d up. It literally states that failure to comply with their price gouging will void the warranty? Damn.

      • Rena says:

        Not to mention the chips to introduce artificial expiry dates, anti-refill mechanisms, etc. Can someone *please* explain why these tactics are legal?

    • thisistobehelpful says:

      And just think of all the blood you could get in an arm or a leg?

    • brokebackwallet says:

      Time to get a laser printer.

      Inkjets are obsolete if you ask me. Their primetime is long gone. Lasers have much lower cost per page and if the prints start to have streaking, just shake the cartridge sideways and you’re good to go again. Well, for few dozen or maybe hundred pages atleast.

      Heck, I do tech support to supplement my lowly student income. Everytime someone asks me about ink related printing problems the first thing I tell them is to get a laser. Grandfathered inkjets are very common and general populace is simply afraid to cough up for newer technology.

      My parents bought a laser on my advice and are still amazed how it prints perfectly (well, a shake now and then) after two years on same cartridge (they really don’t print that much, bank statements and that occasional must-have-on-paper document). Same goes for my neighbor who really loves to print. Estimated savings per year on BW laser instead of color inkjet are enough to pay a month’s rent.

      • TechnoDestructo says:

        What’s the cost-per-page if compared to DIY refilled cartridges?

        And are there toner refill kits yet?

        • Dondegroovily says:

          Toner refills are rare, but they do exist, and, unlike inkjets, sometimes straight from the manufacturer. They are also less than necessary, considering that a single toner cartridge can last three months in a copy shop, and years in your house.

      • Raeth says:

        I got a (decent) HP Photosmart inkjet printer for free and it’s primarily sat in my basement. It’s over four years old and still on the starter cartridges that it came with. I use it maybe 5-10 times per year to print out important receipts or coupons. It still works just fine despite abusing it and storing it inadequately. If I hunted, I might be able to find a good color laser printer for $100-200 that doesn’t have a horrible DPI and it still wouldn’t be able to print as high of quality. If you walk into a store, they start at around $400 unless they’re on sale, and around $300 if they are. Divide by zero error.

        Inkjet still exists because of newer features, higher photo quality, low initial cost and smaller size. I used to sell printers and those factors were the primary reason why inkjet sold ten times as frequently as laser. Most people went for small, compact multi-use HP or Brother all in ones that cost $100 or less. For those who print up to (around) 50 pages per month, the cost often doesn’t even add up in the lifetime of the product. Granted, laser is a good alternative for anyone who prints 50+ pages per month and doesn’t care about printing photos or having a tiny all in one unit. But compound this with the fact that newer features like wireless connectivity, portable memory integration and LCD touchscreens (these user-friendly features are important to those who are not technologically inclined) propogate much slower to reasonably-priced laser printer equipment and the cause becomes clear.

        To make an analogy, it is like cutting paper. For around $50-75 you can buy a good paper trimmer which will quickly and easily cut paper in half with a perfectly straight line and allow you to in fact cut many pages at once. Not many people have a paper trimmer, though, as they do not cut paper in such volume. While vastly inferior (however much more flexible and cheaper), almost everyone has a pair of scissors.

        Anyway, as we’ve digressed, the end all point is that ink is overpriced.

    • webweazel says:

      You can’t void the warranty by using “expired” ink. That’s just a scare tactic to suck more money out of you. Here’s some points copied & pasted from the net:
      To prevent users from jumping ship and using re-manufactured ink cartridges, printer manufacturers attempt to use scare tactics. They stick warning stickers all over the printers, claiming that the warranty may be void if original cartridges are not used. But in reality, it is illegal to void the warranty because when a consumer buys a piece of hardware, he or she is free to use any compatible ink cartridges. So it’s certainly not true that the warranty will be void if re-manufactured ink cartridges are used.
      Another trick is to render the cartridge useless. This means installing an expiration date on it, so that even if there’s ink inside it can’t be used after a few months; another favorite is to install a chip in the cartridge which registers itself in the printer’s memory, supposedly to measure the level of ink in the cartridge. In fact the user will often have to throw out a cartridge still containing good ink as soon as one color runs out (color cartridges usually contain separate tanks for the three colors necessary to print in color). One chip also tries to block
      attempts by users to refill the cartridge and reuse it in the same printer. The result is a guerrilla war by frustrated power users trying to hack past these restrictions.
      The manuf. COULD not honor the warranty if you bought a refilled cartridge and its use DIRECTLY damaged the printer, like if one leaked out inside the printer. But nowadays, buying a new printer is dirt cheap, and good luck getting any help with a warranty repair at all from the manufacturer anyway. Check on the net for ways around their cartridge garbage. And don’t sweat it.

    • The_Legend says:

      Back in the day, HP used to give a rat’s ass and warrant their printers for 3 years. Now it’s 1 year if you’re lucky. Void the warranty and run to Walgreens. Mark Hurd is too busy screwing his workforce to send the inkjet police after you.

  3. Quatre707 says:

    HP 45 ? The 45 black & 78 color cartridges haven’t been used in any new HP printers since about 2005. The newer machines are quite a bit more economical, especially with all the new anti-refill countermeasures.

    Look at the 88XL cartridge yield: 2,450 pages based on 5% page coverage, $40.99 at Staples.
    Compare: 45 Black: 830 pages based on 5% page coverage, $36.79 at Staples

    It’s still a rip off, especially at Staples prices (88XL was $34.99 back in summer 2008!), but people should really understand that ink cost is based on the brands cartridge series. Not to mention the many ways to slow down ink consumption.

    • redwall_hp says:

      My printer is from 2005, and the aforementioned cartridges are readily available still. I don’t think most people buy a new printer every two years…

    • segfault, registered cat offender says:

      HP’s consumer level printers still have exorbitant ink costs. The business class printers tend to be more economical with ink.

  4. admiral_stabbin says:

    Squids dispense ink. Anyone up for Squid ink farming?

    Excluding bottled water, most of the other liquids have substantial manufacturing costs (well, I can’t speak for 3M PF-5030, that sounds like the name of a Go-Bot). They need to take a hint from HP and start selling their juices in 0.2ml bottles.

  5. WalterPotts says:

    Ds ths mn cn thrw tgthr jst bt nythng n xcl, xcld rlvnt src nf nd th Cnsmrst wll lnk t t?

    • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

      Depends on what your data says

      This is a silly article, because I’m pretty sure other Consumerist articles have mentioned that printer manufacturers sell their printers for low prices and make the profit on the ink. If it hasn’t been mentioned in previous articles, at very least it’s really obvious.

      Remember when basic inkjets cost $200?

      • The_Legend says:

        Yep, and I remember when printer warranties were 3 years. I could buy Epson knockoffs for 2 bucks a pop from the web. Now it’s turned around. You get the printer for next to nothing, and they screw ya for the ink if you want to print. Hell, some of the manufacturers only put the color cartridge in the box and force you to spend more than the printer for the black cartridge to make the damn thing work! And don’t forget they don’t want to give you a cheap ass USB cable to hook it up.

  6. sirwired says:

    I think the real surprise here is that the blood is so expensive! ~$250/pint isn’t cheap (not even including what it costs to actually administer.) Especially given that the raw material is, by law, virtually free.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      But the raw material is a bio-hazard. It can’t be cheap to make sure that it’s safe and that it is handled, stored, and transported properly.

  7. pdxazn says:

    How come HP can get away with monopolize the ink business by implementing the anti-refill countermeasures???? I think I’ll refill my inkjet with my blood from now on.

  8. John Howard says:

    Ink is way too expensive, but I’ll never figure out why people think it’s clever to compare the prices of various liquids when the only thing they have in common is that they are liquids. We don’t do that with solids. No one gets upset that a gold bar costs more than a chocolate bar.

    • Coelacanth says:

      Your grocery store might do that with solids. My local grocer marked the “per unit” (lb) cost of breath mints at near the checkout counter. The $90/lb pricetag for some of them was quite shocking.

      • Kitamura says:

        Yeah, but at least it’s standardized, you’re supposed to compare it with other brands of breath mints. If this graph were comparing different brands of printer ink it might be relevant in showing that HP sells the most expensive ink of all the printer companies or something.

    • xCarsonx says:

      Thank You! You are amazing.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      See, now I DO want to know how much a pound of Oreos cost vs a pound of spinach.

      Seriously though, I’ve always hated the gas/coffee/milk comparison. Up until recently any time gas prices went up there was always someone saying people shouldn’t complain about gas prices because milk and coffee were more expensive per gallon and we don’t complain about that.

      No we don’t complain about that because we don’t buy 10 – 15 gallons of milk or coffee at one time.

    • pop top says:

      Of course it’s not just meant to be a simple joke or something like “Hey look how crazy this is.” Everything must be over-examined and complained about.

    • Blueskylaw says:

      While drilling one fine spring day, Exxon discovered a 10 billion barrel field of printer ink but HP paid them to keep it off the market.

    • kaceetheconsumer says:

      I’m annoyed that a diamond costs more than any other semi-precious stone, on account of it all being a marketing campaign by De Beers.

    • TechnoDestructo says:

      Whoever made this graph is displaying their atrocious taste in cocktails.

  9. naosuke says:

    I’m surprised that no one linked to Cockeyed.com’s Price of a Gallon page http://www.cockeyed.com/science/gallon/liquid.html
    Printer ink has nothing on Chanel no.5, or scorpion venom for that matter.

  10. DJ Charlie says:

    Speaking of printers, I’m in the market for a new one. Any suggestions on a low-cost printer for the home?

    • Michael Belisle says:

      Get a laser. The startup cost may be higher, but if you do it right the price-per-page is less than an inkjet.

      After a few thousand pages, at least. If you’re like me and print

    • Me - now with more humidity says:

      A pencil? 8-)

    • ChuckECheese says:

      Kodak printers have the cheapest ink among inkjets – less than $10 a cartridge.

    • Batmanuel says:

      I’m a bit gun shy on using printer brands besides HP after going through a couple of horrible Epson inkjets, so I haven’t tried out the Kodak yet. I grabbed an Officejet Pro 8500 over Black Friday weekend, and I’ve been really happy with it. The cost per page is good, 2200 page yield for the $36 black cartridge, and the unit has a lot of cool toys. It usually runs around $299, but I’ve seen it as low as $149 if you can catch a deal (Staples had an extra $50 instant discount when I bought mine for recycling my old printer, so I go mine for $99). The ink on the 8500 Pro series is also pigment based, so it doesn’t smear when it gets wet.

      The downsides to the color lasers I’ve seen is that even if you get a good deal on the unit, you’re usually out $300-$400 in replacement supplies. When you do the math, the reasonably priced color lasers are almost as expensive per page as the least expensive inkjets. It’s even worse with some of the cheap HP color lasers, which ship with starter cartridges, so you wind up spending the $300 on new carts within a ream and a half of paper. If you’re doing any color printing at all, be sure to run the math on the cost per page of a cheap color laser and a high quality business class inkjet. The TCO on a good inkjet may be better.

    • ryan89 says:

      If you just need black and white, go for a laser printer. You can get a decent one for around $100 and the toner lasts a long time.

  11. Charlie says:

    These are all cheap. Want a really expensive liquid? Get a shot of Neulasta to boost your immune system during chemotherapy. My wife’s doctor charged $5900 for a 0.6ml dose. That’s just a hair under $10,000 per milliliter. I know of nothing more expensive by volume.

    • Raeth says:

      That is then approximately $37,223,214.60 per gallon. Scorpion venom is $38,858,507.46 per gallon, a full $1,635,292.86 more per gallon. However, that is pretty close!

  12. npage148 says:

    Penicillin is a white solid so I’m not really sure what a mL will represent. A cc of the powder compressed at 10tons, a cc of loose powder, a cc of some other form? Maybe after it’s heated to melting? Also, is it penicillin G or V?

    • DrRonster says:

      Probably Pen VK 125mg/5ml which some of us prescribe for kids. I’ll let you do the math to figure that out. Especially since Meijers gives Amoxicillin and other antibiotics away free and Walmart has the $4/$10 deals.

  13. searonson says:

    So the natural response to this is to invent a printer that uses vodka.

  14. spamtasticus says:

    Something is only as expensive as some moron is willing to pay for it. People have to stop buying the stuff. Buy a laser printer the next time. Toner is considerably cheaper and does not dry up the jets when you don’t use it regularly. The printer may be twice as expensive to buy but the second you need to buy replacement pigment the equation evens out. From that point on it will be considerably cheaper.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      Yeah, but you can’t put fabric sheets in a laser printer; it’ll burn it. (Not that it will matter for most people…)

      • spamtasticus says:

        To be sure a laser printer is not the answer for every use. If you are printing high end photos then a hexachrome inkjet is the way to go.

    • The Cheat says:

      And please be careful you don’t buy a laser printer that has the same bad qualities of ink printers!

      Someone bought a Samsung CLP-510 color laser printer at work that requires a new drum and transfer belt at 50,000 pages that costs more than the printer itself when they go at the same time.

  15. halothane says:

    So HP printer ink is over 3 times more expensive than the bottle of Dom Perignon I’ve got in my fridge for New Years, but (as far as I know) nowhere near as tasty.

  16. Eldritch says:

    Blood is cheaper than ink?

    Tell that to the vampires.

  17. maximus says:

    arguably giving blood is less painful than PAYING for HP ink.

  18. B says:

    This is why I refill my ink cartridges with my blood. Plus, it gives my correspondence a nice, personal touch.

  19. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Oh for Pete’s sake, wait until the bean-counters at HP see this.

    How long will it be before HP ink *IS* made from human blood???

    • lincolnparadox says:

      I couldn’t find a patent for blood-based ink. Mayb you should look into it?

      • Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

        Hey, it’s cheap, and 10 billion-trillion mosquitoes can’t be wrong! I also predict fairly strong sales among vampires.

  20. ben las vegas says:

    Instead of us complaining about printer ink costs — how about people post with the best printer / ink/toner combinations to use that wont hurt the pockets as much? I’d love a guide on the good printers WORTH buying if there are any left! :)

  21. phonic says:

    Personally, I prefer MonsterBlood. It has a higher gold content and the white cells are triply insulated, so it’s much more conductive and gives better oxygen circulation. At least that’s what the Best Buy guy told me when I bought it.

  22. Noir says:

    Well, if the US would’ve taken control of the ink market instead of invading irak there would be enough money to bail out everyone without asking money to the chinese.

  23. Bort says:

    imagine how much blood and sweat are in the ink…

  24. MikeM_inMD says:

    Fun, but meaningless as it’s an apples and oranges (and lemons and grapes …) comparison. What is the relative price of black ink between the different manufacturers? Compare HP to Cannon to Lexmark, etc. to get a meaningful chart.

  25. bananaboat says:

    Ways to save money! I now have an I.V. running to my printer and just tell people I use red font only. But I do get dizzy when printing anything over 10 pages.

  26. marcywrites says:

    I can go on and on about this forever, and I’m not saying ink is cheap, but I am saying that you spend less (a lot less) on ink than you think you do. Most people buy between 2 and 4 ink cartridges a year. Nielsen (the same people that measure TV programs and other consumer products) shows that HP printer owners spend on average $70 on HP ink per year. Think about that on a monthly basis, $6 a month. I spend more on coffee per day! more on my internet bill, more on my mobile phone, insert your comparison here. Not only that, HP has actually reduced the cost of printing over the past decade, while at the same time increasing print quality, speed, printer features, etc… Did you know that since 2006 HP has offered ink cartridges for as low as $9.99, or offered a cost per page for as low as 1 penny?

    And why HP? HP ink is now LESS expensive than other companies. Not fair to call them out…Should just say “Printer Ink.”……

    Okay I am done. Just had to say something…

  27. eltonwheelock says:

    Bottled water costs more than oil…heh

  28. Danielle says:

    Yes, toner and laserjet printers are more economical in the long run. The cartridges last longer, and make it worth it. Also, you don’t have to buy HP original cartridges, whether ink or toner buy the environmentally friendly remanufactured cartridges from a place like http://www.Clickinks.com to save significantly.

  29. Rena says:

    I’ve seen this graph a number of times, but is there any source to back it up?

  30. The_Legend says:

    The printer manufacturers are not any worse than drug dealers. They sell you a printer (crack pipe) for 30 bucks at WalMart (head shop), and when you run out, you have to go to “the Man” to pay up for your cartridges (crack). Note to all: Set your printer to default black printing so your little spawn children won’t be wasting your color cartridges printing their facebook pics, or yet buy one of those crappy laser printers they give away at Staples. When the 50k pages hits and they want an arm and a leg for the service supplies, recycle it and buy another.