Oct 09, 2012

How much difference is there between new and refilled ink cartridges?

Printer manufacturers always warn against using refilled, third party ink cartridges. No surprise there. I've refilled my own printer cartridges for home use, and it seemed ok, but I'm not printing anywhere near the same volume that we do at work. If we can save some money at the office, I'm all for it, but I don't need any headaches. Are the refilled cartridges good enough to use in an office? Any issues that people have experienced with them?


What are compatible ink cartridges?

Compare with OEM  ink cartridges, the compatible ink cartridges can offer same functionality as OEM one, they can work well with the OEM printer. But they are at much lower price.

What are OEM (original)  ink cartridges?

OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer)  ink cartridges is coming from the original maker, which represents good quality and guarantee, but, the price is normally higher that compatible one.

I always purchase ink from http://www.britanniainks.co.uk/

I think the refilled quility is very good.


I've refilled my own ink cartridges and bought commercially refilled ones as well.  I assume you are thinking of the commercially refilled ink jet cartridges for your office.  I found no difference in reliability or longevity between the refills and new, expensive OEM cartridges.  For black and white printing I would not have a problem using refilled cartridges.  My experience with color wasn't quite as good.  While the quality was ok for casual use with the refills, the colors weren't as bright and there was often a lot of "banding," with lots of either vertical or horizontal lines noticeable in images.  So, in short, I would use black ink refills, but I probably wouldn't use the color ones.    


I remember reading this article a few years ago when I was asking the same question.  There are some photos that show the banding issue I was talking about.  The article is about commercially refilled cartridges, not the refill kits that you do yourself.  To sum up, their results mostly mirror my experience.  The refilled http://www.pcworld.com/article/147267/ThirdPartyInk.html

Here's an article that gives some pros and cons:

Pros and Cons of Inkjet Refilled Cartridges

"The main benefit of using a refill kit is the savings. The average price for these kits is $10–$20 and they usually yield about three refills. Based on that, a person could be getting a new cartridge for about $5, versus the $25–30 they would pay at the store for a new one. There is also the environmental benefit, as you are reusing a cartridge that would have otherwise been thrown away after one use. [1]

The downside to refill is the time associated with it and the unpredictability. Refilling a cartridge can take 10–15 minutes for those unfamiliar with the process, and some may prefer buying a new cartridge to the effort it takes to refill. Also, ink cartridges usually last for 4-5 refills, but there are those that can only be refilled one time before they are worn out."

Nearly everything I've read online ranges from "if you're not too concerned about print quality, refilled ink cartridges are fine" to "stay away, refills aren't worth the trouble."


If most of your printing is for internal use, and quality really isn't an issue, and you can save a lot of money (as defined by you), it might be worth trying refilled ink cartridges -- assuming they can't mess up your printers.


But if the savings are minimal, why go through the bother and angst?



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