Printer & Cartridges

What Printer and Cartridge Manufacturers Won’t Tell You


What Printer and Cartridge Manufacturers Won’t Tell You



    – Presentation and characteristics of the cartridges

    – Price of the printer cartridge

    – Advice on printer cartridges

Indispensable, printer cartridges have a decisive impact on the cost of printing!

There are 2 main types of consumables for printers:

    – Cartridges for inkjet printers and thermal printers;

    – Toners for laser printers.

Cartridges for an inkjet printer

First of all, you should know that not all commercial cartridges are compatible with all printers; each manufacturer sells its cartridges for its range of printers, which it imposes or strongly recommends in its product sheets.

Good to know: there are cartridges called “compatible”, “universal,” or “generic” that can be adapted to several printer models. They are still rarely of excellent quality. On the other hand, if there is a malfunction, the printer manufacturer’s after-sales service can invalidate the warranty.

When you buy an inkjet printer, it is essential to determine the number and price of cartridges compatible with it: these criteria directly influence the cost per page.

The cost per page of an inkjet printer is still higher than that of a laser printer. It averages $0.21 per page, about $0.15 for a black and white print, and $0.28 for a color print.

Black ink cartridges are always separate and can be purchased separately from other cartridges.

Depending on the model of the inkjet printer, the color cartridges are grouped or separated: one cartridge for the 3 primary colors; or one cartridge for each primary color: cyan, magenta, and yellow.

With separate color cartridges, you only change the color used up; however, the 3 color cartridges are more expensive than one cartridge containing the 3 primary colors.

Note: some photo inkjet printers, sometimes mid-range and often high-end, have more than 4 cartridges (6 or 8). In addition to black and the 3 primary colors, there are other shades of color: light magenta, light cyan, etc.

Once again, your choice must consider your use: office, graphic, photo, etc.

To compare the different cartridges, also check the capacity of the cartridges. This can vary between 7 ml and 25 ml for single cartridges. To make your choice easier, check the price per liter of the different cartridges.

Note: each time you turn on your printer, the print heads of your inkjet printer are cleaned. The more time spent between 2 uses of your printer, the more ink is consumed during this step. It is, therefore, necessary to regularly switch on and use your printer: 1 to 2 times a month is sufficient. This also prevents the ink from drying out.

Cartridges for a thermal printer

Printer and Cartridge (1)

Because they are dedicated to printing photos and are generally of outstanding quality, the cost per page of thermal printers is the highest of all printer types.

On the other hand, contrary to the 2 different types of printers (laser and inkjet), this cost is easily calculable and verifiable: the great majority of the manufacturers or retailers propose sets of consumables: cartridges + photo paper.

A thermal printer’s average cost per page is between 0.40 and 0.60 $ per photo.

Price of the printer cartridge

Depending on the inkjet printer manufacturer, single cartridges can vary between $19 and $30.

The ones you will find for less than $19 are the so-called “compatible”, “universal,” or “generic” cartridges that can fit many printer models but are of lower quality.

For a thermal printer, you can find packs (ink + 100 photo pages) for about $50.

To reduce the price, some manufacturers sell their cartridges:

    – In so-called XL sizes (> 25 ml), black or color ink;

    – In a pack: black + color.

The cost per page of an inkjet printer is, on average, $0.21.

The cost per photo of a thermal printer is, on average, $0.50.

Note: a $100 inkjet printer will be more economical than a $400 laser printer because it is cheaper. On the other hand, from the fourth ream of paper onwards, you can be sure that you will no longer save money because the cost per page of an inkjet printer is much higher.

Tips on printer cartridges

Printer and Cartridge

Below are some tips for choosing and using your inkjet cartridges and printer:

    – Before you buy your inkjet printer, be sure to ask about the manufacturer’s cartridge prices.

    – Even if an inkjet printer is cheaper to buy than a laser printer, calculate the total cost over the long term, depending on the use you plan to make of it. Indeed, you will pay less for your consumables, but you will often change them.

    – Group your cartridge purchases (color + black packs) or opt for large capacity cartridges, called XL.

    – There are cartridges called “compatible”, “universal,” or “generic” that can save you money. Be careful; find out about the quality and compatibility with your printer.

    – Depending on your use, choose “Draft” printing in the printer driver: this option extends the life of the cartridges and the text, which is a little clearer, remains precise and readable.

    – Turn on your printer regularly to print 1 page, once or twice a month, even if you are not using it: this trick prevents the ink from drying and saves the ink used each time you turn on the printer to clean the print heads.

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