$10 billion wasted on ink?

I know it is a rip off, but yikes!


There are times I consider a color laser for the reduced printing costs. But we also need a scanner. So we just keep buying all-in-one inkjets. Once we tried one of those eco tank printers (Epson) which have large, refillable cartridges and promises lower printing costs. Problem is I had a nozzle plug and the process to clean it used a lot of ink (no surprise). That led to the “spill pad” becoming saturated. Which led the printer to brick itself. And, as you might guess, replacing the spill pad is not possible.

I think the high cost of ink is a consequence of manufacturers selling printers at low cost. Give away the razor, sell the blades mentality.


I have a Brother “tank” inkjet that actually keeps working reliably using off brand inks, but its control software is not the best and its wireless printing mode is almost useless.

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But wait, there’s more. Epson, for one, designed it’s printers to shut off, when they decided the ink tanks were empty. A class action suit discovered that Epson had designed the system to cut the printer off when a significant amount of ink still remained in the tank.

I used to have an Epson, gave about $20 for it, new, at Staples, some years ago. Used generic ink off of eBay, because it was spectacularly cheaper than the Epson tanks…until one of the generic carts was full of ink that had coagulated, and clogged the non-replaceable nozzle.

HP puts an expiration date on it’s ink carts. I learned from experience that expiration date is real, as I tried an outdated cart, and the nozzle clogged within moments. The expiration date makes buying ink on eBay, at a deep discount to stores, viable, as it is easy to make sure a particular cart will work.

Currently, I’m using a Canon I found in the neighbor’s trash. (when I found it, it worked, but I already had an HP. Then the HP committed suicide a week later, so I started using the Canon). Unlike the cheap Epson, the Canon’s nozzle head is removeable, cleanable, and replaceable. That makes gambling on generic ink a better risk. Discovered that Office Depot’s refilled tanks work well enough, and are a bunch cheaper than Canon tanks. Additionally, OD gifts me a steady stream of coupons offering anywhere from 25% to 40% back in OD “rewards” bux, making the ink even cheaper. OD also pays me $2/ea in rewards bux, for every empty tank or cartridge I bring them. Used to do very well when I worked, as I had everyone in the office trained to bring their empty laser carts to me for recycling.



I remember an Epson inkjet, and as it died, I took it all apart to find that saturated spill pad inside, with all the frustrating cleaning ink… Sickening… I’d been buying refilled carts online, but the clogging, lost time was a PITA…

Over the years, various others, HP, canon portables where the ink carts would dry out, but needed out on road trips… An HP LaserJet lasted best, an Apple LaserWriter nt was a workhorse, toner carts were easy to find, but in the end it’s rollers dried up, so feed became erratic…

In the end I went to a brother monochrome laser printer, an HL-L2396DW series all-in-one… It’s been great, I find the refilled toner carts online, they last forever, I don’t miss the color at all… Tough to justify a color laser, any photo, color/b&W printing is done online, Shutterfly…

No more inkjets here…


All in one color lasers are out there. You’re not stuck with ink. I’ve had one for several years.


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Now searching Best Buy, etc. … :slight_smile:

The replacement cartridges for AIO color lasers are quite expensive!

Do you need color? I got sick of the ink screw job and went with a laser B&W. Also, mobile devices have gotten so good in recent years my printing/scanning needs have gone way down.

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Philosophical question: is that $10B “wasted”? It is being transferred from the pockets of the consumers, to the pockets of the “JCs”. Shiny economic theory says the “JCs” are entitled to all the money. so is the ink cart scam “waste”, or correcting a misallocation of money?



I will never buy another printer. It has been seven years. I have long thrown the piece of junk out. Even before you buy more ink cartridges the printers can break down permanently.

I just go to my local library or Staples. Much less expensive.

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Your choice. I bought a Canon multifunction laser B&W printer with scanner, fax, copy functions. I think it is now over ten yrs old and going strong. I use maybe one generic laser toner catridge every 2-4 yrs. I think they run about $35 for two generic cartridges (so I never run out). A friend has a color laser printer (uses it for work as he does DTP and related areas), so I could send something to him to have it printed if I really needed it. As of about 10 yrs ago, color laser printers and the color laser toner are not that expensive any more, but I still don’t really need color printing.


In one decade that cost has to be over $200. That is getting off light.

I can not substantiate printing that much at home.

Canon rules!
I bought an MX870 multifunctional inkjet when my son was applying to various colleges during senior high school year. Needed a fax for that back then. He’s now 31 and I still have the printer.
Canon won’t let me download the software anymore, basically saying it’s too old and time for a new one. But there’s plenty of sites to find the software needed when we acquire new computers.
Ink still expensive but we don’t print that much. Often use it for scanning to PDF and copying documents.
Occasionally print financial statements or agendas for reference.
I expect to use it for many years to come (probably windows only though).

That is why I went with a B&W laser printer (etc), not color. I go through 1-3 reams of paper per year (varies widely). Now, I print (parts of) instruction manuals when I get a new electronic device and need to reference “how to” info for when I use the device the first few months. Otherwise, I mostly use it for scanning (flat bed and autofeed), so a lot of paperwork gets scanned, stored, archived, and the originals shredded.

As an artist I have a very different sort of Epson scanner. Turned out how I constructed my art I did not need it. I do not like buying all the toys.

At $20/yr ($200 divided by 10 yr), who cares? I figure $30-$40/yr and don’t sweat the small stuff.


I have 1300 sq ft, I care.

As my mom in a smaller house used to say about gifts, “no thanks. If I take that I need to throw something else out”.

Massive space. I haven’t had a space over 600sf since the early 1970s.

It is small here in CT. It is also very inexpensive.

Of course anyone from the southern states will blow that out of the water.