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Archive for November, 2009

Why is Printer Ink so Expensive?

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Most computer users know firsthand that the cost of printer ink is painfully high. New cartridges regularly cost a significant fraction of the cost of the printer itself. What most people don’t know, however, is exactly why the cost of this necessity is so high — what exactly makes printer ink so expensive? Is it held to exceptional quality standards, or is it expensive to produce?

The reality is that quality standards and production costs are certainly a part of the cost. However, the biggest factor playing a role in the high cost of printer ink involves the containers that hold and dispense ink to printers. These containers, or cartridges, are usually made of plastic and other substances that aren’t exactly environmentally friendly. And, they may not cost much to make. The reason that these low-cost cartridges inflate the price lays in the carefully guarded patents that printer companies hold for each new container design. This prevents competition. If you want to buy printer ink, you’ll have to buy it from the printer manufacturer and from another company offering it to you cheaper. Otherwise, you won’t get a product that’s guaranteed to work with your printer. This forms a sort of monopoly, and printer companies can charge almost anything that they want. Most consumers evaluate new printers by the cost of the actual printer, not the ink for the printer, so a common strategy for manufacturers is to offer new printers at a loss and then make up the money by charging a lot for the printer ink cartridges.

The strategy isn’t unique to printer manufacturers. It’s an old idea that they’ve made quite profitable. The high cost is understandably quite annoying to many consumers, and some printer manufacturers have even been accused of holding monopolies on printer ink. Nevertheless, it seems unlikely that companies will charge less for printer ink cartridges at any time in the near future.

If you’re interested in buying printer ink for less, you might choose to comparison shop online. Comparison shopping can lead to great deals, and sometimes surprising discounted rates. Printer ink refill kits can also be purchased and used at a fraction of the cost of a brand new cartridge. Generic cartridges are available for some older printers, and are less expensive than their big-name counterparts. Before doing this, make sure to read your printer’s warranty information. Often times, using generic or refilled ink cartridges may void your warranty. You can also cut down on your ink usage by using the print preview button on your computer and condensing printable text where possible.

While ink prices may be high, with a bit of common sense, you can keep the costs very manageable.

What is the Difference Between Dye and Pigment Inks?

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Have you ever wondered what printer ink is the best to buy for your important documents and photos? If you’ve ever contemplated this sort of question, you will find this article a helpful tool in guiding your printer ink buying decision –– and making your memorable photographs and important documents last for years to come.

There are two types of bases that are found in the printer inks you can buy at the store or on the Internet: dye-based inks and pigments. Each type reacts differently according to its chemical properties, and the paper you use, along with its porosity, water and contact with sunlight. Here are the differences.

Fading effects –– Dye-based inks fade more quickly than pigments because the molecules in dye ink are more open and spread out. This makes them more sensitive to chemicals and the effects of sunlight, which can cause fading. Dye-based inks dissolve quickly in water, so when water touches the paper, the dye dissolves and the ink spreads across the paper. On the other hand, the molecules contained in pigment inks are hidden and more difficult to penetrate. They will take longer to dissolve because they settle on the tiny fibers in the paper, and adhere to the fibers while the ink dries. They are more water-resistant than dye-base inks. This makes prints last longer because they are more resilient to the effects of sunlight-reactions and chemicals. According to, “[pigment inks] can last more than 100 years on some paper types under ideal display conditions.”

Drying time and quality –– Dye inks dry quickly, but the quality is compromised. Dye ink will make a more durable photo, however it will take more time to print, and it could take up to a week to dry. On the other hand, pigmented inks can be printed on any kind of paper without compromising quality — and they dry fast. According to, “Each of the color cartridges contains five inks that can be used for documents and photos. And the exceptionally small size of the pigments accounts for a color gamut that far exceeds dye-base inks, so the colors . . . are much richer and brighter. [Plus] pigmented inks can be used with any kind of paper.” Since the quality is better with pigmented inks, they are more expensive. But spending a few more dollars can preserve the longevity of your prints.

The answer to the question of which ink to buy depends on the value of what you’re printing. If the documents you print will later be discarded, you can save some money with dye-based printer ink, but if you’re looking for something to last for generations, you may opt for pigment ink.

Is there any Form of Environmentally Friendly Ink?

Friday, November 13th, 2009

It seems that everyone is looking to become more “green.” One way to do so is by altering the way we use everyday items in our household. One of these items is our printer. Are there inks that are environmentally friendly? Can we help the environment by reusing ink cartridges? These valid questions put us on the path to being earth friendly.

Traditional printer ink is of some environmental concern because it is petroleum based and emits polluting emissions. Low quality printer ink tends to have a strong odor, which is an indication that it is toxic. Some professional printers use eco-friendly, vegetable oil-based printer ink. This printer ink claims to contain a low level of VOCs, or volatile organic compounds. With VOCs of less than 2 percent, they produce lower emissions, making them better for the environment and less toxic to consumers. Unfortunately, vegetable oil-based inks are not yet available for ink cartridges used in the home. Soy ink is anther environmentally friendly option produced from soybeans. The soy-based printer ink is less toxic and produces brighter colors. Soy printer ink is also better for the environment because it extends the life of printers and makes recycling printed paper easier. Unfortunately, the soy ink takes longer to dry, due to its lack of VOCs and requires specialized equipment to aid in the drying process. Neither the ink, nor the specialized drying equipment, is available for most home printers.

Though it seems impossible right now to change the ink we use, people can rethink the way they dispose of their ink cartridges in an effort to become green. Ink cartridges can be recycled to reduce waste. There are numerous ways to do this. Some manufacturers will pay you to send back your ink cartridges using a mailer system. Other chain stores will also accept your used cartridges. The cartridges you recycle are then refilled and can be bought by other consumers, minimizing the amount of cartridges that go into the landfills. This is good, considering some of the toxic chemicals that go into the manufacturing of ink cartridges.

Or, instead of giving up your cartridge, you can opt to refill it. One way to do this is to purchase a refill kit online. These come with detailed, rather easy instructions you can use to repeatedly fill your ink cartridges yourself. If this idea doesn’t appeal to you, some chain stores allow you to drop your cartridges for them to refill for you. The refilled printer cartridges can then be picked up when it is convenient.

There are little things, all around us, that we can do to help the environment. Adjusting how we see printer maintenance is just one.

How to Clean Up Printer Ink in the Event of a Spill

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Cheap printer ink cartridges can save you a lot of money, but they’re sometimes more apt to sudden breakage and spills. This can be a big issue if you’ve got nice carpeting or are using an expensive printer. When you spill ink from the cartridges of your printer, or when the cartridges leak or burst, it’s important to act fast. You need to minimize the possible damage to your printer components and anything around the printer.

If the ink cartridge bursts in the printer, the first thing you’ll want to do is remove everything on and around the printer, leaving the cartridges in their place for the moment. You want to avoid moving the printer ink at first, as you’ll just end up spreading the toner around and making it more difficult to deal with. If there’s an active leak in the cartridge, put a piece of printer paper or a paper towel below it. It’s important to immediately deal with any ink that has spilled outside of the printer.

The best idea to clean up this spill is to use a hand vacuum or an attachment on your floor vacuum to deal with the printer ink. This will pick up the big blots of ink without spreading them. For surfaces like wood, you can then use a paper towel followed by a second paper towel dampened with water or rubbing alcohol, if possible. If the printer ink is on a carpet, you’re in some trouble, so act fast. First dab the ink with a paper towel, then spray it with WD-40. This prevents the ink from setting in. Afterwards, use towels drenched in very hot water to treat the stain as quickly as possible. The WD-40 trick works especially well on cheap printer ink. The hotter the water is, the better.

After this is complete, move back to the printer itself. With a paper towel in hand, carefully lift the printer ink cartridge out of the device. Make sure there’s something to catch ink from every side, especially if you don’t know where the leak is located. Clean the print heads, and use rubbing alcohol to clean any printer ink off of the tray and other components of the printer. Don’t forget to clean in the area where the printer ink cartridge hooks into the printer; otherwise, you might end up with a printer that only prints smudged or blurred pages. When you’re finished, print a few pages on Draft to make sure that your printer still operates correctly.

If you’ve acted quickly and you didn’t do anything to spread the printer ink, you’ll be able to handle the mess without any permanent stains or printer damage.

Do Different Printers Use Different Ink or Is It all the Same?

Friday, November 13th, 2009

If you’ve got a computer printer, you’ve probably wondered at some point what elements are in the printer ink cartridges that make them cost so much, and why they’re so different from model to model. You may have heard from a friend or read in your printer’s manual that third party or generic inks won’t work with your printer. Is there really a different type of printer ink for every computer printer developed, or are different printer inks fairly interchangeable?

The same companies that make home printers make printer ink cartridges, and they actually do differ from model to model. The ink inside each cartridge can be extremely different in constitution, even within the same manufacturer’s product line. That’s not to say that there’s a specific advantage to each ink. It just means that they tend to be different — printer companies don’t want competitors mimicking their design, and they certainly want to make it difficult for ink cartridges to be refilled. When people refill the cartridges themselves, it cuts into their profits handily. The different inks used in separate printer models are often closely guarded secrets.

Not only do different printers use different ink, they tend to use very different printer ink cartridges. Printer companies often copyright the individual designs of each printer cartridge that they create, which gives them a sort of monopoly —they’re the only ones who can make the cartridges, so they can charge whatever they’d like. Because of this, many printer manufacturers sell their printers for a very low profit or at a loss, then make up for it by selling the cartridges for those same printers at extremely high profit margins. This is distressing to many consumers, since it makes it harder to find cheap ink. In addition, it can make it a hassle to get new cartridges if a person doesn’t live very close to an electronics supply store.

If you want to find cheap ink, your best bet is to look into ink refilling kits. Unfortunately, your printer’s manufacturer decides the terms of your warranty, so using one of these kits will void your warranty if the printer ink should happen to burst and damage your printer. However, when done correctly it’s a very safe and very simple process, and it saves big on money for you. It’s also more environmentally friendly than buying new printer ink cartridges. If you’re apprehensive about printer ink refill kits, do a search in your area to find a local company that can refill your cartridges for you, or find a mail-in company that you can use.

Being knowledgeable about what kind of ink and cartridges your printer uses could ultimately save you money in the end.

How to Choose the Right Generic Color Printer Ink

Friday, November 13th, 2009

With recent advances in printing technology, flawless color printing is no longer confined to high tech laboratories. With a good laser or inkjet printer, you can great prints even at home. In addition, the best part is that the printers that can produce such superb print are not extremely expensive.

However, within a few days, you realize that these prints are not as cheap as they seem to be. This realization sinks when you have to buy the cartridges for your printer. You do not want to have your cartridge refilled by local suppliers because you are afraid that your sophisticated device will be spoiled if the best ink is not used. You also realize that the prints in draft mode do not look quite good. Therefore, you cannot really cut down on ink usage.

If this sounds familiar, you think along the lines of thousands of other people who are in the same predicament. After purchasing expensive printers, they find out that they will have to spend much more on ink. This keeps some consumers from buying the device that they need.

However, it is actually not so difficult to manufacture printing ink. With adequate research, it is possible to make ink that will not damage laser or inkjet printers. Smaller manufacturers who concentrate solely on research and production of ink manage to keep the prices of ink surprisingly low. If you find such a supplier and get your cartridges from it, you will save a lot.

While there are some dependable manufacturers of ink, many dupes try to take advantage of people who wish to use generic products. Since no brand image is built through expensive advertising campaigns, unscrupulous dealers take advantage of the anonymity and sell sub-standard supplies in the market. These products harm printers and spread fear amongst common people.

To save yourself from sub-standard products, you must identify the reputable manufacturers who back their products with adequate customer services. Since it is not possible for consumers to try out many dealers before settling for one, some websites are reviewing the products and services of these companies. The deals and bargains are also listed on these sites. Therefore, you can go through the options and choose the right company and deal according to your printing needs.

With generic color printer ink, you will get great print quality and save money at the same time!

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