Buying printer ink cartridges can be expensive. I know first-hand what it’s like. Whenever I’ve needed printer ink, I wound up spending a fortune. 

But now, though, companies like HP have begun schemes that help to keep the cost of ink cartridges down. It’s helping people and businesses save money and get better rates. 

The Premium On Branded Cartridges

Most printer companies charge a premium for their branded printer cartridges. 

There’s a reason for this: they need to recoup their costs. 

Whenever I’ve bought printers in the past, I’ve been astonished by the price. Printers are remarkably cheap. Most cost less than a day’s wages for an employee. 

I soon realized, however, that there was no such thing as a free lunch. Printer prices were low, but ink cartridge prices were high. It was yin and yang. 

There is a good reason for this. The printer companies need to make back the money that they lose when selling their printers. Printers effectively lock people into buying a specific kind of ink cartridge, allowing vendors to charge more. 

I found myself in this situation many times. I would buy a printer, thinking that I’d gotten a great deal, only to get slapped with high printer prices later on. It wasn’t good. 

HP Instant Ink And Low-Cost Printer Ink Programs

I knew, however, that there had to be a better way of doing things. It didn’t make sense to me that printer companies could charge so much without annoying their customers. After all, businesses need cheap ink. 

Now HP has decided to break the mold and begin a program that cuts the cost of printer ink. 

Like many companies, HP wants to get customers on a subscription. I found out that I could pay the company a set amount of money every month and, in return, get all the cartridges that I need. 

HP calls the subscription service HP Instant Ink. It is meant to be a low-cost solution for businesses that need to do a lot of printing. 

I found out that I didn’t have to pay for each cartridge that I used. Nor did I have to pay per month and get a certain number of cartridges in return. 

Instead, all I have to do is tell HP how many pages I want to print in a month. Then, the company works out how many cartridges I need and how much it will cost. 

HP offered me a variety of plans. I was able to choose a policy that started at $2.99 for 50 pages per month. I then had the option of upgrading to $4.99 for 100 pages per month or $9.99 for 300 pages per month.

What was interesting was how the price depends precisely on how much I intend to use my printer. The more I need it, the more I pay. 

Business users can get the cost down even more. HP provides a deal that cuts the price of printer cartridges when people print at high volumes.

Other Low-Cost Ink Programs

HP isn’t the only printer company looking to sell printer ink subscriptions. A host of others are at it too. 

Brother – one of the most successful printer vendors in the world – has INKvestment.

INKvestment printer cartridges that use exclusive technology to increase the number of pages you can print. 

I have heard some businesses claim that they can print more than 3,000 pages from a single black cartridge. Other companies report that they have managed to get 1,500 pages out of one color cartridge. 

Brother sells its INKvestment cartridges in XL sizes, too, for particular printer models. 

Epson EcoTank

I always imagined that it would be impossible to get the price of ink cartridges down, but Epson is working on just that. 

I discovered that the company recently introduced something called EcoTank. 

The idea here is to buy printer ink refill bottles. Customers buy small bottles containing the company’s ink and then pour them, by hand, into the cartridge. 

The manufacturing of cartridges is expensive. Some are intricate pieces of machinery. Epson, therefore, thought about the problem from a different angle. 

Now all I have to do is buy EcoTanks full of ink, pour them into my cartridge, and I’m ready to go. Epson says that the method allows companies to get the cost of printing a black page down to 0.3 cents and a color page to 0.9 cents. 

The ink price though still expensive, especially when you buy it directly from printer manufacturers like HP, Canon, brother. However, remanufactured ink cartridges are much cheaper, it’s half the price and deliver the same quality. 

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