Where To Go For Cheap Ink For Your Printer

Your laser or inkjet printer just ran out of ink! Again! You could run down to your neighborhood office supply store and buy another cartridge. That's probably easiest, but probably also the most expensive. While you can now buy printers far cheaper than they were 10 or 15 years ago, there's been little change in the cost of most toner and ink cartridges in that same time frame. But did you know there are now some alternatives to buying OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) ink or toner cartridges from the office supply store that should save you money? This article will cover the types of ink and toner cartridges that are on the market today, their good and bad points, pricing, and whether you should consider using these. We'll point you to places you can go to purchase ink and toner cartridges that will save you money, yet give you quality ink or toner for your printer. And we'll give you information on refilled and third-party ink and toner cartridges, which can also save you money. Read on!

Ink and Toner Cartridge Pricing and Alternatives

Most people are often surprised at the cost of printer or toner cartridges when they go to the store to purchase them, especially since they probably got their printer at a great price! Twelve years ago when I bought my first printer, I paid $255 for the most up-to-date HP model at the time, and still had to buy the color and black cartridges, at close to $30 each. Today a comparable printer is often less than $100, while the inkjet cartridges are often still in the $25 to $30 neighborhood unless you can find them on sale somewhere. That's because printer manufacturers expect to make their real profits on the ink cartridges rather than the printers themselves. At best, they break even on the sale of their printers, but profits are big for ink and toner. Now there are alternatives to purchasing ink and toner cartridges at the retail level. Here is information on the alternate ink and toner possibilities.

  • Refilled or Remanufactured
    This process allows you to take your empty ink or toner cartridge to a dealer specializing in this and having the empty cartridge refilled at a cost far less than buying from retail sources. You can also buy remanufactured cartridges, usually from the same sources.
  • Refill Kits If you are particulary dextrous, you can buy your own ink kits and refill your cartridges yourself. This saves quite a bit of money, but can be messy until you get the hang of it. These kits are often available at office supply or computer stores, as well as online.
  • Off-Brand Cartridges
    There are manufacturers who make compatible alternates to the name brand ink and toner cartridges. We've been used to store brands in other areas, such as groceries; so off-brand ink and toner cartridges should come as no surprise. These can save you money as well.

While some of these alternatives may not do as good a job as the "real thing," most people find them suitable for their purposes. It pays to ask friends and co-workers who may have used the brand or type of ink cartridge that you are considering. Fortunately, ink jet printers are cheap enough these days that should you encounter damage from one of these types of cartidge, printer replacement shouldn't break the bank. But even though laser printer costs have come down, these will be a little more expensive to replace if necessary. If you are worried about damage to your printer or you're not using one of the cheaper printers, it's probably safest to go with OEM ink or toner cartridges. Even if you go this route, there are still places where you can buy these for less money.

Sources For Ink and Toner Cartridges

Following are some sources, both online and retail, for cheap ink and toner cartridges. We'll tell you the type of product that is sold and where to go.

Office Supply Outfitters
Located on the Internet, this company provides ink and toner cartridges for virtually every brand of printer, at savings from 10 to 30%, and sometimes as much as a 50% saving. For example, retail for HP's 1600 series color laser toner is about $75 for the black cartridge and $83 for each color cartridge, you can buy the real toner from this web site for a dollar or so less, or the off-brand alternative for $62 (black) and $65 (color).

Carries ink and toner cartridges for most printers on the market. Their pricing for manufacturers ink and toner is comparable to buying direct from the printer maker or your local office supply store. Your savings come when you by the compatible off-brand ink or toner cartridges, $20 and sometimes more for the models we looked at.

InkSell carries ink and toner cartridges for such printers as HP, Epson, Lexmark, Dell, Brother, Xerox and more. Sample prices for HP color laser printers: $66 for remanufactured black laser toner cartridges and $72 for the color ones (savings of $11-20); $75 for black and $82 for color OEM ink cartridges (comparably priced to the remanufactured cartidges).

Printer Ink Warehouse
Offers both ink and toner cartridges at great rates. Supplier for Brother, Canon, Dell, Epson, HP and more. They also offer refill kits for both ink and toner.

If you're in a hurry and don't want to wait for your toner or ink cartidges to be shipped to you, there are local retailers who deal in refills or refill kits, third-party inks and toners, etc. Island Ink-Jet has more than 230 retail locations throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. They will refill your empty cartridge or sell you a refilled cartridge if yours can't be refilled. Cartridge World is another company with locations throughout the US. They'll take your empty cartridges and refill them at a good savings, or can sell you an ink or toner cartridge which has been refilled.

In Conclusion

If you don't want to spend more money on toner or ink cartridges than you spent on your printer, or just want to save money in general on printing costs, check out these alternative sources for printer ink and toner. But even if your printer is an expensive one and you don't want to chance ruining it, you should still be able to realize a small savings by ordering online through your printer's manufacturer, over what it costs to buy locally.

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