Most big manufacturers like HP and Canon actually sell printers well below cost. This means that they don’t always make a profit on the printers themselves. So where does the money come from?
Ink and toner cartridges, of course. Countless printer manufacturers look to branded ink cartridges to make up the money they’re not making on printer sales. After all, they don’t need to charge as much on a one-time purchase when they’re getting a regular cartridge customers in exchange. With ink already selling at $13-$75 an ounce and about $9,600 per gallon, they need to stack the prices fairly high to make a profit, hence the hefty cost to consumers.
Unfortunately, their tactics don’t stop there. According to Consumer Report, many ink and toner cartridges deliver half or less of their ink to the page. A few of the models examined only delivered 20%-30%. This isn’t an accident. Many manufacturers design their cartridges so users will have to replace them more often, leading to more profits for the manufacturers.
So now that we know why ink and toner cartridges cost so much, what can you do about it?
There are a few options for the savvy consumer who doesn’t want to pay exorbitant prices for their ink cartridges. You can find plenty of cheap ink cartridges if you look at options other than the original manufacturer. Many retailers sell remanufactured cartridges, which are cheaper because they’ve been refilled after a use or two. They work just as well and often deliver more of their ink to the page.
You can also look into ink and toner refill kits and services. Often these options, which let you reuse the plastic cartridge component, are cheaper than purchasing new cartridges. With either replacement option, it’s important to make sure you choose the right ink for your printer to keep it running smoothly.