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Last post Author Topic: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?  (Read 23049 times)

mouser

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I've always been skeptical of the 3rd party ink refill stuff..  I guess mainly because I do so little color inkjet printing that it seems hardly worth the bother.

But recently I had to buy a new inkjet printer (canon ip4820, $80 dollars cheap) and the extent they are going to gouge you on ink is getting insane -- cartridges getting smaller and smaller, getting chipped and opaque to make it harder and harder to tell whats going on, etc.  I feel like i'm getting fed up with this and am ready to investigate 3rd party ink, maybe the refillable stuff.  And maybe time to stop being such a sucker and embrace more the spirit of tinkering and hacking these things.

So my question is not about price or the steps involved.

What I'm wonder is about ink quality and shelf life.  I print very rarely -- so when i do i want a good quality glossy print.  Does anyone have any good experience comparing original vs 3rd party ink who can let me know how they compare in terms of color/appearance/smudging/longevity.  Lest i give the wrong impression -- i don't use these prints for serious stuff, and my sense of color is not very good, so i'm not likely to notice or care about tiny differences.  And then lastly, anyone have any idea what the shelf life is on this 3rd party refillable ink? Will it go bad after a year or two?

mouser

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2011, 02:19:49 PM »
Just found a nice article here:
http://www.consumers...m/printer-ink/review

nudone

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2011, 02:35:04 PM »
For everyday use, I always use cheap compatible cartridges - they are a too cheap not to use - less than a quarter of an original's cost, maybe less than a fifth. You can't tell me an original will last five times longer when printing.

Maybe the original's ink will survive longer after a nuclear holocaust - which I'm not too concerned about.

Printing seriously for photography, then you'll need to worry about your paper too - but that doesn't sound like your issue.

Stoic Joker

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2011, 02:59:30 PM »
Independent inks and a user replaceable print head on that ain't such a bad deal. Many of the ink printers require a service center to (reset the code...) replace the print head - So they get junked most often.

If you really print that infrequently, have you ever considered a small laser printer? Cost per page is much cheaper, and toner doesn't dry out Ya know...

I bought an HP C4680 (Print/Copy/Scan) for (about $85) the wife - 'cause she had to have one - And have only had to buy ink for it once in a year and a half. It's a tri-color cartridge ($30), but the print head is built in. So If I went generic and it clogged the print head it don't matter.

Either way, if you go generic the only thing on the printer that can get "damaged" is the print head (Yours is $30 - $50) ... So it's not really going to scrap/brick/destroy the device to experiment a bit. ;)

mouser

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2011, 03:06:54 PM »
i use a laser printer for daily printing and it gets lots of use.  the inkjet is only for color photo stuff.

Ath

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2011, 03:20:39 PM »
I have bought refilled color and black cartridges for my Canon printer, but I've been so unsatisfied with them, that I never bought them again.
My complaints had to do with poor printing quality, shorter then expected lifespan and even non-working cartridges (though for someone other's HP printer, not mine), and on the subjective side with bad smells (I'm quite picky about 'chemical' smells :o) of the fresh output pages and really brownish-grey 'black' printed areas. And this was from one of the major 3rd party suppliers in W-Europe!
I've now returned to the original (expensive) cartridges, as my low printing volume doesn't justify the purchase of a color laser printer (yet), and I really hate 'funny' smells in my home work-area.

mouser

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2011, 03:31:19 PM »
i must say the color lasers are starting to look nice these days.  not for photos but for other stuff.

Stoic Joker

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2011, 05:26:17 PM »
i must say the color lasers are starting to look nice these days.  not for photos but for other stuff.

HP LaserJet Pro CP1025nw Color Printer $179.99

OEM Cartridges are $55.99 and good for 1,000 pages, which works out to about 6 cents for a color page (assuming 5% coverage). Full blead/Edge-2-Edge photo prints will be closer to 20% coverage but it's still cheaper than ink for the rough draft stuff...(Paper type makes a big difference)...Actually the quality is getting better these days.

I doubt we can beat the online price for that model, but I'll check with the sales manager if you like.

MilesAhead

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2011, 05:49:26 PM »
Don't know about Cannon. A guy I knew who wrote Windows printer drivers told me if I wanted photo quality on the cheap, to get Epson Stylus. I've had a couple. I don't use the photo paper, just plain paper.  But as nudone mentioned, the compatible cartridges have worked well for me.

I can't see paying $30 for a printer cartridge to stick in an $80 printer. It didn't take me long to try some online stores.  Tried 123inkjets and can't complain. I think out of almost 100 cartridges purchased over time I may have had 2 dry ones. I just chuck 'em as for around $5 it's not worth the hassle to try to get a refund.  Seems as good as OEM stuff to me. The dry cartridge was the only problem I can recall. Never had one that leaked in the printer or did anything else weird. If it had ink in it, it worked as expected.

« Last Edit: April 22, 2011, 05:51:01 PM by MilesAhead »

Stoic Joker

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2011, 06:06:11 PM »
A guy I knew who wrote Windows printer drivers told me if I wanted photo quality on the cheap, to get Epson Stylus.

True, our (recently retired) production manager loves his, and has had it for several years. The Out-Of-Box drivers sucked (print quality wise), but he downloaded an updated one from Epson...and the prints then looked just as good as a photo.

cranioscopical

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2011, 06:27:15 PM »
One of my printers is a Canon all-in-one and I really like it.
I stuck to Canon ink for a few years and then decided to try cheap stuff.
Everything went well and I congratulated myself for being astute… until cheap-ink change #4 clogged the print head.

I can't buy this model now and, like almost everything else on the market today, the newer model has an increased shoddyness factor.

That experience will probably persuade me to stick with brand-name ink in future.

It's possible to take the view that printers are themselves so cheap that it's more economical to run with off-brand ink and dump any printer that's harmed by it. The trouble is, it really goes against the grain for me to see another lump of nasty hardware going into landfill. I just can't bring myself to do it.

JavaJones

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2011, 08:16:57 PM »
It's interesting to me actually that people take the view that with printers so cheap, the ink should also be cheap. We all know the ink price subsidizes the printer cost. With actual hardware cost coming ever downward, are we not supremely lucky to have home printers that for $80 or less can print photos of a quality unheard of 10 years ago at 10 times the price? My perspective tends to be, with the printers as cheap as they are, the ink just balances it out over time. I don't *like* it, but I understand and ultimately don't begrudge it too much. Crappy drivers, ink drying out, and clogged print heads bother me more. Which is why HP is out in my book (bad drivers), and I'm still a bit wary of Epson (old clogged head problem).

All that being said I'm not a person who does a ton of printing. I print the occasional paper document in black and white and seldom color, and then the occasional photo print. So I don't use a ton of ink.

- Oshyan

MilesAhead

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2011, 08:28:09 PM »
Quote
It's interesting to me actually that people take the view that with printers so cheap, the ink should also be cheap.

Nope, we're just hip to the Gillette Razor Trick(tm).  Put everything in the blades and snap them into a plastic handle instead of that metal chunk of machinery they used to sell.  Anyone too young to remember search Blue Blades and the razor they were used in.

Speaking of which, I remember when Schick came out with a double bladed bonded blade to compete with Gillette, that had a white plastic insert between the blades.  I could make one of those blades last about 2 months(and I don't mean by not shaving or using an electric razor.)  Every 5 shaves or so, push the plastic tab and all the stubble is forced out.  The thing is practically new. As long as you shook it dry to reduce corrosion it would last so long you forget when you put it in the razor.

Later they changed it so after 2 or 3 pushes on the plastic insert, it deformed to make you throw the blade away.

I bet there are people on the Riviera with cases of those blades in storeage.


« Last Edit: April 22, 2011, 08:32:49 PM by MilesAhead »

JavaJones

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2011, 08:32:37 PM »
Oh believe me I know about the "Gillette Model" and how it has changed things. I'm not a fan. But I suspect razor (hardware) prices have not changed so dramatically as printer (hardware) prices have, and it's also somewhat different because in the case of the razor, really all you have is a handle; it's not only useless without the razor (as is a printer without ink), it's not even an expensive or particularly complex thing. Printers are not like that, they *are* complex, potentially expensive, etc. The fact that we have technology as complex and powerful as in modern printers at such cheap prices is a nice enough thing to me that I can look past the ink prices generally speaking. But again I'm not a heavy printer.

- Oshyan

mouser

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2011, 08:34:36 PM »
I can appreciate the fact that the printer is cheap because they are making a profit on ink -- if i had a good option to buy a printer that wasn't part of this twisted system.  I know I'm once again drawing connections to larger trends, and I wonder if it's always been this way or if we are just living in an age where the costs of things are getting more and indirect and convoluted, and what the repercussions of that are.

Everything on the internet is free, and yet somehow people are making massive money on it by getting paid not from their direct consumers.  Printers are dirt cheap because they can make a profit by doing all these convoluted things to keep you from buying 3rd party ink for it.  My gut feeling is that this kind of convolution is not healthy -- that it distorts the way we view and interact with the stuff we consume, and poisons the well for companies that do not want to do business this way.  It makes it very hard for consumers to truly compare prices and know what they are getting.

A similar thing happens with banks and credit cards -- we no longer expect to pay for services -- we expect them to be free but for the banks to make massive profits by tricking us with fees we know we have to try to make sure we don't fall into, or charging extra for "services" (like accepting an electronic payment instead of a mailed in check) which actually save them money.

You could argue that whether you pay for the printer or the ink it's all the same -- maybe you're right, i don't know.  But my gut tells me that there is a real "cost" to living in an age where so much effort is being put into disguising the real costs of the things we consume.  And a penalty we are going to pay for accepting it as just the way things are done.

Interesting article related to this:
http://motherjones.c...meet-new-hidden-fees
« Last Edit: May 06, 2011, 09:59:33 PM by mouser, Reason: Added related article »

MilesAhead

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2011, 08:35:53 PM »
The Printer is a "loss leader."  The cartridges are in effect, "keys" to the ink. IOW, if there was a snap open bin for each color of ink so you could pour the ink in, there'd be no way to "lock" you out.  So all the electric mumbo-jumbo with the cartridges.  If it wasn't for cheap clone cartridges I'd have chucked it a long time ago.

MilesAhead

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2011, 08:40:17 PM »
@mouser, on the bank thing, when I was a kid home mortgages were typically 6% and the local bank paid 5 1/4% on passbook savings accounts.  When I tell people under 40 that they tell me I'm nuts since you can't even get 5% on a CD now.  But that's how it was.  Sure it's great you can manipulate your checking account online "for free" but then even without fees they are using our money for nothing.  I think the bank where I have my checking had the nerve to try to sell me a 1 1/4% CD the last time I was in there.  But when they lockstep there's not much you can do about it, unless you have your own bank in the family like maybe Chase or something.

JavaJones

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #17 on: April 22, 2011, 08:42:43 PM »
Everything on the internet is free, and yet somehow people are making massive money on it by getting paid not from their direct consumers.  Printers are dirt cheap because they can make a profit by doing all these convoluted things to keep you from buying 3rd party ink for it.  My gut feeling is that this kind of convolution is not healthy -- that it distorts the way we view and interact with the stuff we consume, and poisons the well for companies that do not want to do business this way.  It makes it very hard for consumers to truly compare prices and know what they are getting.

YES. And I agree with this wholeheartedly. I feel like *I* can still compare prices and make reasonable judgments and purchase decisions, but agree that the overall market is severely distorted by these kinds of tactics. I wish they didn't exist. Ultimately all I'm saying though is that the end result for me may not be that different as far as total cost. If a printer that could do high-speed photo and black and white printing like I have on my desk here was $500 (instead of the $89 I paid), how many ink cartridges is that? How many years will it take me to use $500 worth of ink, and how much would those years of use have cost in some older system where presumably ink may have been cheaper? Or have we ever had such a time?

- Oshyan

mwb1100

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #18 on: April 22, 2011, 08:50:19 PM »
But my gut tells me that there is a real "cost" to living in an age where so much effort is being put into disguising the real costs of the things we consume.  And a penalty we are going to pay for accepting it as just the way things are done.

FWIW, I think you're right about this.

JavaJones

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #19 on: April 22, 2011, 08:51:21 PM »
I suppose my question is what does *not* "accepting it as just the way things are done" look like?

- Oshyan

mouser

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #20 on: April 22, 2011, 09:42:25 PM »
Yeah honestly i don't know what a normal person can do other than whine and always look for ways to undermine and hack the system.

MilesAhead

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #21 on: April 22, 2011, 10:12:39 PM »
Yeah honestly i don't know what a normal person can do other than whine and always look for ways to undermine and hack the system.

I've got the whining down.  Hacking seems too much like work.




Stoic Joker

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #22 on: April 22, 2011, 10:16:57 PM »
One of my printers is a Canon all-in-one and I really like it.
I stuck to Canon ink for a few years and then decided to try cheap stuff.
Everything went well and I congratulated myself for being astute… until cheap-ink change #4 clogged the print head.

The thing to remember about print heads, is that they are classified as consumables. So if you ran that printer "For a few years", on the same print head - You're quite lucky - It's demise had nothing to do with the cheap inks, and everything to do with the fact that print heads eventually do fail ... Some even (time out) do it according to a schedule.

MilesAhead

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #23 on: April 23, 2011, 04:02:06 AM »
My Epson Stylus C66 probably would have lasted another 3 years except I made the mistake of putting a few of those business card blanks through it. Messed up the paper handling mechanism.

The one thing I didn't like is it had a black cartridge and a triple color. One color goes dry you toss the whole cartridge.  Stylus C-88 has individual cartridges for each color and only uses 4 cartridges total. It's a cheap way to go and I rarely do any photo images anyway. The thrill of printing album cover art is gone.  Uses way too much ink. :)

nudone

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Re: What's your experience with 3rd party color inkjet ink replacement?
« Reply #24 on: April 23, 2011, 06:17:39 AM »
As MilesAhead said, Epson, with individual cartridges for ink. I've only had Epsons, and they were all the stylus photo range. Yeah, there are a few compatible cartridges thrown straight into the bin when they are found to be dry on opening - but at around £2 each, I'm not upset.

The biggest factor I've found when trying to print out nice photos was the paper - this was using "photo quality" paper of various weights. Many allowed the ink to bleed quite heavily - even though this was "special" paper. The colours can shift dramatically too depending on the brand of paper.