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Why Some Brands Of Printer Ink Cartridges Are More Expensive

2011-11-09

The typical household still relies heavily on printouts, even in today's digital environment. Photos, student papers and presentations add up over time and you have to replace up to four expensive ink cartridges if your printer requires that many. Though some printers sell for as low as $20, all the brand-name printer ink cartridges needed for those printers can run $50 to $75 or more. The prices depend on several factors: the purpose and quality of the ink, the technology employed in developing the ink and in the printing process and the ink manufacturer's financial objectives.

Inks used for printing excellent pictures and specific media have different ingredients and formulas that will change their prices. For example, pigment-based ink is generally more expensive than dye-based ink. It resists fading much better and creates richer blacks for crisp black and white documents and graphics applications.

Some manufacturers use dye instead of pigments in their ink to create vibrant colors and a smooth, consistent high gloss finish on photo paper. Though dye is less expensive than pigment, dye-based ink has a tendency to bleed through paper and requires solvents and extra ingredients to keep the bleeding from happening. Dye-based ink also fades quickly in light. The manpower, time and technology involved in formulating light and bleed resistant ink, whether dye-based or pigment-based, factors into the product's final price.

Consumers expect higher quality with each new offering from ink manufacturers. To create the clearest prints possible, manufacturers have designed printers with more nozzles and smaller droplets from those nozzles. The smaller the droplets, the better the picture. Researchers also have to formulate inks that vaporize well and withstand upwards of 300 degrees in the printer's heating element. In addition, the ink should flow without clogging the cartridge and dry quickly without smearing on the paper. Not surprisingly, these proprietary ink blends require significant research and testing before they make it to your local store.

Some people believe that ink manufacturers inflate the prices simply because they can in order to recover the losses incurred by printer production, stiff competition and market volatility. Financial concerns and anger over price inflation have prompted some customers to abandon expensive ink cartridges and purchase generic yet compatible ink cartridges, at-home ink refill kits or refurbished ink cartridges from discount vendors. The savings usually vary depending on the item purchased and the condition. Read product reviews and consider your printing needs, budget and product availability before purchasing printer ink cartridges from any source. Whether expensive or reasonable, the right printer ink cartridges will help keep your printing projects looking great and your printer performing well for years to come.

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