Refilling Ink Cartridges – The Good and the Bad Revisited

Wired’s Michael S. Lasky reviews refillable ink cartridges, both the good and bad. The good is lower ink costs, the bad is a messy refilling process and sub-par, muted color image quality.

Our own experience testing refilled ink cartridges has been similar – the refill process is messy and image quality isn’t as good. Plus, today’s ink cartridges incorporate chips that monitor ink levels. Once the cartridge is out of ink, an electronic switch is flipped, so that if you try to re-insert the cartridge, the chip will indicate that the cartridge is empty, even if it’s been refilled.

Our Take

In lieu of messy refilling and substandard image quality, we recommend the following in order to minimize ink costs:

  • Compare cost per page (cost of the ink cartridge divided by page yield). Among the lowest cost per page models are Hewlett-Packard’s Officejet series and Epson’s WorkForce series. These business-level All-in-Ones are typically more expensive than consumer-level counterparts, but their Total Cost of Ownership (acquisition price plus cost per page at various monthly volumes) will be lower.
  • Use the draft setting whenever possible – you’ll use less ink, and in most cases, image quality will be acceptable for most in-house uses.
  • Whenever possible, make sure you check the setting so that all black output – typically black text – is printed using only black ink, as some printers use a combination of cyan, yellow and magenta colors to print black, something you don’t want to do.

You can read Wired’s review of Silo’s refillable ink-cartridge system here.

Other Resources

1 Response

  1. Karen says:

    All good points. A lot of people get messy with the refill kits or mess up their inks, but its not because the ink is bad. They don’t know what they are doing.

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