How printer manufacturers make money:
Inkjet printer companies borrowed heavily from the loss leader marketing plan made famous by Gillette in the 1920s. Gillette gave away its handle for free and made their money on the consumable razors. Similarly you can pick up a color inkjet printer at dirt cheap prices and then pay a lot for replacement cartridges. I purchased my last inkjet printer for $49 and with refills costing $60. I was only able to print 300 to 400 pages per refill making my cost between $0.16 and $0.20 per page.
To artificially keep the costs of replacement cartridges high inkjet manufacturers do the following:
- Modify the dimensions of the cartridge for every new printer so that its harder for 3rd parties to copy them. Seriously the US Treasury has nothing on the guys who design these cartridges. Have you been to Costco or Staples and seen the amount of printer cartridges?
- Then they implant a microchip such that the "replace toner cartridge" message does not go away if you buy a third party cartridge or refill the ink yourself.
- Lastly they threaten to void the warranty if you use third party cartridges.
- I need a color printer so I can print out photographs. Ask yourself when you last printed a color photo? I did this last in 2008 or 2009.
- My kids need to print in color for their school projects. Not true. They have options to print in color at school, can print in monochrome and color with crayon or felt, or they can simply print the job at a local Fedex Kinko's or other store. 24 hour printing facilities let you print from home and then you can pick it up at your convenience. http://fedex.com/us/office/cloud-printing.html
- Laser printers are too big and expensive for the home. It turns out that manufacturers have significantly reduced both price and size and you can buy laser printers for as little as $100.
1. Monochrome laser printer
2. Let's me print from both PCs and Macs.
3. WiFi printing.
4. iOS printing for my iPhone and iPad.
5. Printer cost of less than $200
6. Replacement toner costs of less than $40
Note that it's not a brand new model; it was released in 2011 and has established a track record of performance and reliability. Brother has released newer models but I found the 2270DW reviews to be the highest on average.
Best Value: Brother HL 2270DW Laser Printer
Options to save money if you want to stick with your color inkjet
- Even if your life depends on it, do not purchase a printer that requires four separate ink cartridges.
- Costco has an ink refill program but its not so great; ink quality is not as sharp. These cartridges are built to not last forever so refilling results in diminishing quality. Secondly many of these cartridges have to be reset which sometimes the Costco guys forget to do. So you end having to go back every so often.
- Thinking about refilling cartridges yourself? Forgetaboutit! Refilling a cartridge requires the precision of a jeweler and the patience of a monk.
In summary consider how important it is for you to print in color at home, explore online printing solutions and seriously think about ditching your inkjet for a laser.