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Let’s talk about printer ink cost

Posted byolena

Printer ink cost is an uncomfortable question that no manufacturer wants to address. But at Smart Ink, we believe that there should be no mysteries or hidden truths when it comes to communication with our customers. For this reason, today we are going to reveal why the cost of printer ink can be so high and how to benefit when choosing and exploiting cartridges.

How much does printer ink cost?

Depending on the model and capacity, printer ink prices may vary from around $10 to several hundred dollars. However promising the minimal price, in most cases, you will end up paying much more for the cartridges than you have given for the printer itself.

According to Business Insider research, the cost of a gallon of printer ink is around $12,000, which sounds absolutely insane. Just think about it, you can get 4,000 gallons of regular gas or conventional whole milk at Walmart at the same price. You may even organize a trip to Europe with your loved ones instead.
Here are the average ink cartridge prices around the web compared to the cost of the related printers. 

Even now, you may see that when it comes to color printing, it may be much more beneficial to buy a more expensive printer and save up on the ink price in the long run. But we’ll get back to the lifehacks and advice on how to save some money on printing a bit later. First, let’s try to understand the reasons for the aforementioned high ink pricing.

Why does printer ink cost so much?

Printer ink cost grounds on a lot of factors and varies depending on the printer and cartridge models. Here is a short list of all the major factors that influence ink cost.

1. Printer model. Obviously, the more popular printer model you choose, the more you will pay for the original cartridges. But there is a lifehack as you have already understood. If you buy a pricey but high-quality printer, the consumption of ink will be lower, thus, the price per page will also be reduced. Just take a look at the pic, and you will get how it works.

2. Printer release date. If your printer has just been released, it may be hard and quite expensive to find a suitable cartridge. You may face the same problem when it comes to the old, outdated printers that have been discontinued by the manufacturer.

3. Cartridge type. This is another substantial factor leading to expensive ink. Most printer users tend to choose original cartridges, neglecting more affordable alternatives available in the market. The thing is that some remanufactured and compatible cartridges are almost of the same quality as the original ones, but they cost much less.

4. Cartridge characteristics. Cartridge capacity and print ink quality are probably the most easy-to-understand factors that influence the cost directly. Of course, the bigger the cartridge, the more expensive. But at the same time, it is much more convenient and expedient to buy XL printer ink or special packages containing several cartridges of different colors.

5. Packaging and shipping. The packaging is always included in the cost of the printer ink, so the simpler it is, the better. Besides, some manufacturers and retailers do not provide free shipping. That’s why you should check carefully before ordering your next cartridge as you may later be surprised by this hidden cost when it comes to payment.

There is another reason for the high ink cartridge cost, which all the conspiracy theory fans will like. The thing is that printer manufacturers are also the main providers of suitable cartridges. They don’t mind selling printers at a low cost as they can control the ink price. 

“This is a classic razor-and-blades business model where the manufacturer sells the goods at a low price to help increase the sales of accessories, where the money is made,” says Wing Lam, associate director of cost benchmarking at IHS Markit.

How can you reduce printer ink consumption?

There are several tips and tricks on how to use less printer ink. We are going to disclose the most efficient ways to do that.

  • Don’t turn your printer on and off all the time. According to Consumer Reports research, more than 50% of the purchased ink won’t be used for printing as it will be affected by printer maintenance cycles. Keep your printer turned on, and voila – problem solved.
  • Print in Black & White instead of Color. Admit it, we don’t always have to print in color, especially when it comes to office needs. That’s why, think twice next time and switch your printer settings to Mono if it’s possible.
  • Choose the right font. Some of the most popular fonts use more printer ink than others. Consult the following table when choosing a font, and you’ll be able to save up a bit of ink.
font ink printer
  • Print in draft mode. If you don’t need to have the highest quality of the printed pages, try using a draft mode. It will still allow you to enjoy the printouts but, at the same time, consume much less ink. 
  • Replace cartridges only when they are empty. The printers always send notifications when they start running out of ink. Yet, there is no need to buy a new cartridge right away as you still have some time until your old one will be completely empty.
  • Choose compatible or remanufactured cartridges. Don’t be afraid to try out compatible and remanufactured cartridges as most of them may offer the same high-quality print but for a much reasonable price. Besides, it is a great idea to check if your future printer has any alternative cartridges even before buying it.

Where can you find the best printer ink prices?

If you want to feel the actual difference and save up substantial amount of money, the best option is to start using compatible or remanufactured cartridges. One of the optimal manufacturers is Smart Ink as they produce high-quality ink cartridges that are no worse than the original ones but cost much less. Besides, they provide a 2-year warranty for all Smart Ink products and ensure free shipping to any part of the US, Canada, the UK, and Europe.

To give you the idea of how much you may save by using remanufactured or compatible cartridges, we have conducted a brief research. We decided to compare the prices for the most popular cartridge models produced by the original manufacturer and the same compatible cartridges provided by Smart Ink. You may take a look at our findings in a table below.

Printer ink price comparison table

Printer and cartridge modelOriginal cartridge priceSmart Ink compatible cartridge priceHow much you can save per purchase
HP 63 BK + CRColor – $41,89 
BK – $39,89 
Total: $81,78
BK + Color = $29,99
HP 952XL set of 4 (BK, C, M, Y)С/M/Y – $35,89 x 3 = $107,67 
BK – $46,89 
Total: $154,56
BK/C/M/Y = $33,97$120,59
HP 950XL/951XL set of 4 (BK, C, M, Y)С/M/Y – $34,89 x 3 = $104,67 
BK – $44,79 
Total: $149,46
BK/C/M/Y = $19,99$129,47
HP 902XLС/M/Y – $23,89 x 3 = $71,67 
BK – $42,89 
Total: $114,56
BK/C/M/Y = $32,99$81,57
Canon 280/281XLС/M/Y/BK (XL) + BK (XXL) = $108,95C/M/Y/BK/PGBK (XXL) = $32,99$75,96
Epson 252XL С/M/Y + BK (XL) = $64,85C/M/Y/BK (XL) = $17,99$46,86

From this table, you may clearly see how much you can save by switching to compatible or remanufactured cartridges. This way, you will not lose the quality of your print but save up a substantial amount of money.

Don’t think hard, think smart with Smart Ink!


10 thoughts on “Let’s talk about printer ink cost

  1. Hp is the worst when it comes to cost for ink cartridges. The ink cost double the price of the printer. The next time I run out I’m going to buy a different printer.

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