I put a lot of faith in “Consumer Reports Magazine”… that is until I read an article about non-OEM third party ink and cartridges. Long story short, the “report” said that it wasn’t worth the money to venture into off brand inks and cartridges. The main reasons they site for avoiding 3rd party inks are
- The ink doesn’t match the brand name ink.
- Cheap ink will clog your nozzles more often.
- Off brand ink won’t last as long.
To this I say HOGWASH! In my 8+ years of refilling experience with all of the major brands of printers, and with ink from many different third party sources I’ve NOT ONCE had an ink so bad that I felt I should throw it out and go back to OEM / brand name ink. My answers to these concerns:
- I’ve never had a problem with ink being less than a 95% match to the OEM ink. If I have a problem with the match I can adjust the color settings in the printer profile. I’ve actually heard that many people “profile” their OEM inks. A couple times I did receive some ink that wasn’t as good as I had expected, but I simply found a different supplier. That being said, the “bad ink” was still pretty darn good.
- OEM causes plugged nozzles too. This is why all inkjet printers come with printhead cleaning cycles and nozzle check patterns. If you get the correct ink for your printer you shouldn’t ever have any more plugged nozzles than you would with OEM ink.
- Unfortunately I haven’t really tested this. I don’t have the equipment to do a simulated test and I don’t have the patience for a 3 year real world comparison. What I do know is that paper is just as much a factor (if not more so) than the ink. I had some old HP paper that I printed on and after a few years the prints had faded a bit. The great thing about refilling… just print it again. Honestly, if I need photos that will last forever then I’ll just go to Costco and get them printed cheap. For the other 98% of my personal use, off brand, third party, non oem inks last plenty long enough.
With some printers, especially the Canon line, third party cartridge prices are pretty low, but personally, I like the savings and satisfaction of refilling.
But isn’t refilling a mess? Well, sure, I must endure the occasional inky finger, but this is a small trade-off for one of the best feelings in the world… the ability to say:
I CAN PRINT ANYTHING I WANT IN COLOR… ANYTIME I WANT!
Long gone are the days of selective printing in boring monochrome. Gone are the moments of frustration with the wife when she forgot to change the printer settings from color to B/W.
Now at our house we hear things like, “Honey… any more pictures of the baby that we can print?” Or “That document looks so boring in black and white… why don’t you add some color and then print it?”
Yes, refilling and non-OEM inks have set me free! I’m actually frustrated that I don’t have more things to print in color. I often find myself looking through my photo albums for something I can print in color. Not because I need to, but because I want to.
I love searching Google Images for pictures of animals for my baby girl and printing them full size on some scratch 8.5 x 11 paper. When she’s all done dragging it around and folding / tearing it I just throw it in the recycling bin and look for something else to print.
Check out some of the third party ink suppliers on our inkjet forum and for a few bucks give them a try.