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Ink Cartridges: Why Brand Name Ones are so Expensive

2010-02-01

Is it because they use superior ink? No. The ink in OEM printer ink cartridges is distributed onto a page during the printing process. This high quality ink is richly-pigmented, and a huge variety of color shades and tones can be achieved. But here's the thing. The ink in generic ink cartridges is high quality too. It can also produce printouts containing a myriad of shades and colors. So it's not the ink.

Is it because the components are better quality? No. The components used to manufacture compatible ink cartridges are, in many cases, almost identical. In fact, OEM cartridges and compatible ones are often produced in the same facility. So literally the only difference is that one has a brand name sticker on the cartridge and comes in a brand name box.

Is the quality of printouts superior? No. Even sceptics usually change their minds once they try compatible ink cartridges. Most people find that the quality of their printouts is just as good with discount ink cartridges. There are those that swear the quality is superior with OEM cartridges, but there are also a lot of people out there who like paying more for things when they don't have to.

So, what is it? It's a combination of things really. One reason why they're so expensive is that the printer companies have to make money somewhere. The price of printers is so low now that pretty much anyone can afford one. The companies aren't making much by selling them, so they make money by selling ink cartridges. Another reason is because, well, they know people will buy them. Up until a few years ago, nobody really had a choice. Now, they're depending on people to associate a brand name box with better quality and spend more when they don't have to. As more people discover that generic cartridges work just as well, however, those big printer manufacturers just might be forced to rethink their strategy in the near future.

Logos and brand names of manufacturers such as HP, Canon, Epson, Xerox, Samsung, Apple, Brother, Dell, IBM and others are registered trademarks of their respective owners. All references to brands are solely made for the purpose of illustrating compatibility of toner and ink cartridges. Their use on PrinterInk.com does not imply endorsement or association by respective owners.