Posted by on December 22, 2009

Inkjet ink cartridges can be expensive, especially if you buy directly from your printer manufacturers. You can get refilled or remanufactured ink cartridges from other sources for a fraction of the price. But should you?

A few companies sell decent aftermarket ink cartridges for significantly less than you might pay HP or Epson, and sometimes they even use less ink, lasting longer than their name brand competitors. However, price shouldn’t be your only consideration. There are a few drawbacks to using aftermarket ink cartridges.

Fading – Name brand ink cartridges are expensive. Partly because of the name, partly because they almost always contain better quality ink. If you’re only printing packing slips or memos for use around the office, this is no big deal. But if you’re printing photos, you will almost certainly be disappointed with the cheaper alternatives.

Quality – Many aftermarket ink manufacturers produce good quality printouts, but not all of them. More often than not, you get what you pay for. If a cartridge costs less than half of what your printer’s manufacturer charges, there’s a good chance the colors won’t be as sharp or that the ink will gum up your print heads. I’ve had good results with RhinoTek cartridges, but their color inks do tend to fade over time.

PC World has a good article on some tests they did. Even though the article was published more than six years ago, their conclusions are still right on the money. You can read the article here: “Cheap Ink Probed“.

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