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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Inkjet Printer Ink

My posts have been nil all last week for a reason! I was in Nashville Monday morning through Wednesday afternoon and again Thursday morning through Saturday evening working with a Future Preacher's Training Camp there. It was a great week, but very tiring.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFor today's frugality post, I ask that you consider how you purchase ink for your printer. My brothers buy a cartridge, then don't print anything else for months, and so when they need to, they go buy another cartridge since the first has dried up. On the other hand, with both of us in grad school and me printing Bible class materials, sermons, etc., at home, we go through an above average amount of ink. Below I'll consider a few different ways of meeting your printer ink demand, and consider which is most cost effective. We'll consider this for four different printer models: an Epson R200 (my current printer, about $100), a Canon iP4300 (about $100), and an HP C5180 all in one printer ($180 after rebate) and for the budget purchaser, a Lexmark X1270 all in one printer (less than $40 after shipping from Wal-Mart's website).

Ink Options Available
  1. OEM Cartridges - Cartridges made by the Printer Manufacturer
  2. Remanufactured or Compatible Cartridges - Remanufactured cartridges are OEM cartridges which have been professionally cleaned and refilled; Compatible cartridges are made by other manufacturers to fit these printers.
  3. Refill Kits - Refill your own cartridges - very messy, I don't recommend this.
  4. Continuous Ink Systems (images below)- These systems are made to feed ink from large containers on the desk into your printer through tubes. The large containers can be refilled, thus ink is purchased in bulk.
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Epson r200 Stylus Photo
- Uses 6 ink cartridges
  1. OEM Cartridges - $69.98 from Wal-Mart - 13 ml per cartridge
  2. Compatible Cartridges - $14.49 from eBay merchant - 18 ml per cartridge
  3. Refill Kits - $55.20 from eBay merchant for refillable cartridges, 118 ml black and each color, effectively yielding 9 cartridges each for $1.02 per cartridge, $6.12 per set. Additional ink $27.50 for 6x85 ml, or $4.23 per set.
  4. Continuous Ink Systems - $42.84 from eBay merchant with 100 ml each color pre-installed, effectively $5.71 per set. Additional ink $27.50 for 6x85 ml, or $4.23 per set.
Canon iP4300 - Uses 5 ink Cartridges
  1. OEM Cartridges - $50 from Canon (Wal-mart is more) - 13 ml per cartridge
  2. Remanufactured Cartridges - $50.95 from 4inkjets.com (most cheaper sets do not have the chips on the cartridge, causing more problems)
  3. Refill Kits - $10 from eBay merchant but doesn't include the photo black single use
  4. Continuous Ink Systems - $70.34 from eBay merchant with 110 ml each color pre-installed, effectively $8.79 per set. Additional ink $41 for 5x118 ml, or $4.56 per set.
HP c5180 - Uses 6 ink cartridges
  1. OEM Cartridges - $57.98 from Wal-Mart - only about 5 ml per cartridge
  2. Compatible Cartridges - $26.98 from eBay merchant - 12.5 ml black; 7.5 ml colors
  3. Refill Kits - $65.44 from eBay merchant for refillable cartridges prefilled, plus 100 ml of all six colors to use in refilling, thus $3.30 per set. Additional ink $29.20 for 6x100 ml, or $1.46 per set.
  4. Continuous Ink Systems - $74.19 from eBay merchant with 100 ml each color pre-installed, effectively $3.71 per set. Additional ink $29.20 for 6x100, or $1.46 per set.
Lexmark x1270 - Uses a black cartridge and a color cartridge
  1. OEM Cartridges - #16 and #26 OEM - $61.62 from Wal-Mart - 10 ml black; 12 ml color
  2. Remanufactured Cartridges - $27.80 from eBay merchant
  3. Refill Kits - $11.34 from eBay merchant for 120 ml black, 60 ml three colors - effectively yielding 12 black cartridges and 15 color, for $0.667 per cartridge, $1.34 per set
  4. Continuous Ink Systems - $122 from eBay merchant with 85 ml each color pre-installed, effectively $8.20 per set. Additional ink $32 for 4x100 ml, or $1.83 per set.
Looking at these four printers, I recommend the continuous ink system. HOWEVER use of such a system does void the printer's warranty. I use a CIS (continuous ink system) on my Epson r200, and have loved it! It hasn't caused me any trouble, and after a year of printing on dvd's and cd's, papers for school, sermons, etc., I've had to refill the black once, and have about 1/5 levels in my color spots. So it's a very cheap option. The Refillable cartridges can be almost as cheap. However, these have to be refilled much more option, creating the possibility of a mess much more often. That's why I completely recommend the CIS instead. It isn't available for all printers, though, and I realize that. It just happened to be available for all of these. IF you cannot get a CIS for your printer, or if you don't want to void the warranty, at least be frugal enough to purchase remanufactured or compatible cartridges and save a lot of money there! Also, I strongly encourage you to look into what options are available to you before you purchase a printer. Purchase a printer which will give you the option of cheap ink, instead of being forced to spend $25 per cartridge for ink to go into a $20 printer!

Hope this information helps you to be more frugal in purchasing a printer and printer ink!

9 comments:

Neeraj said...

Hi! I think u should buy only when u need, otherwise these cartridges get dried up. I,Usually prefer refilling instead of buying new one.
I m using a most common Epson R200 printer.

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Neeraj

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Anonymous said...

This is fantastic. I like it very much. I want to buy it.
_____________________
george
Ink Cartridges

Epson Continuous Ink Systems said...

The best solution to this is to buy a continuous ink supply system. Granted the supplier provides quality ink, it's much cheaper than buying genuine ink and you don't have the problem of blocked and clogged print heads.

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