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I saw this image on reddit, I really hope we’re not at the point where more and more people are just going to buy new printers each time they run out of ink…

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. shabadu says:

    It just makes for more discarded parts to hack into other things. :)

  2. Doctroid says:

    Exactly what kind of idiot actually buys name brand ink cartridges at name brand ink cartridge prices?

  3. world peace. says:

    does anyone still print even?

    Wonder what this means for world peace? Just testing my network lamp.

  4. zak says:

    Buy a laser printer and you’ll just be happy. I never bought a toner cartridge, and it’s been 2 years so far with no toner refills. Inkjets are a pita.

  5. RG says:

    Sometimes, if not every time, the cartridges that come with the printer aren’t full.

  6. Gregory says:

    I don’t know if you’re aware, but most printers sold don’t come with full-sized ink cartridges, so it’s not actually a better deal to buy a new printer. However, since the printer and ink companies don’t exactly make this known, they’re not exactly going out of their way to discourage wasteful printer purchasing.

    1. Richard says:

      They also claim that the seperate tanks are better since you can save ink by only changing what you need, when the opposite is true, changing just one will cause a prime in all the carts, so that if you change them one at a time, you waste 6 times more ink than doing them all at once (assuming a 6 cartridge printer).

      I get my ink off ebay from budget store since they are one of the few that have proper pigment ink rather than dyes

      1. Andy L says:

        I’m not sure I follow that logic.

        Sure, with individual tanks you waste six times as much *in printer head charging*, but that could be dwarfed by the ink *thrown in the trash* with multi-tank cartridge.

    2. Sean says:

      The HP Combo packs that come with 4×6 photo paper. The cartridges in these packages have 1/3 – 1/2 the ink contained in the full combo packs.

      As a side note, open up an Epson inkjet sometime to find out where most the ink goes. That charge/cleaning cycle pumps most of it into the discharge tray and I’d estimate that probably half the ink you buy over the printer’s lifetime is discarded.

  7. ARAWARAW says:

    this is a big issue for environmental awareness, authorities must act to check and set measures on marketing companies in public encouragement of choosing to buy printer instead of ink. our environment will suffer much for unnecessary electronic waste.

    1. wedeclare.wordpress.com says:

      I know you mean well, ARAWARAW. But “…authorities must act?” Please stop that. If political stimulus really stimulated (like tax subsidy of professional sports, fiat money, big banks, abortions in China…), we’d all be stimulated past Pluto by now. Most likely, the “authorities,” after substantial campaign contributions, and using their typical broken-window-economics, would use your tax money to offer rebates on cheap printers to stimulate the production of more cheap printers, because all the waste generates jobs (and campaign donations)…right?
      Please, no more politcal solutions. They’re killing us.

  8. Nick says:

    you could just build a rapid prototyping machine with all the parts (^^^)

  9. Zodus says:

    as a matter of fact I have the said printer (Canon IP2600) Damn thing has an attitude (spits the paper at me as if to say it is disgusted with me bothering it) It’s really hilarious!

  10. charlie says:

    i never liked printers. that said, inkjets suck especially hard. i’ve always just used the one at work. luckily it’s almost always been a decent laser printer for my toner transfer needs. ;)

  11. Stirling says:

    It’s the same business model as Gillette with their razors. Give them the razor the gouge them on the blades.

    Ink for inkjet printers are a complete rip-off. I refuse to believe that they truly cost anywhere near what they charge.

  12. SKaReCRoW says:

    OP said “I really hope we’re not at the point where more and more people are just going to buy new printers each time they run out of ink”… Sorry to tell you, but we’ve been at that point for about 6 or 8 years already.

    To the person who said the companies don’t make it known that the starter cartridges aren’t full, that’s wrong. They do tell you if you read the manual. It’s still usually cheaper to buy a new printer when those run out than to buy quality refills. Give me my Epson JX-80 color dot-matrix back! I made a custom re-ink kit for my 4 color ribbon and used the same one for YEARS!

  13. rbean says:

    Here’s a second vote for laser printers. I rarely print anything, and my inkjet cartridges were drying out before I could use them up. Then I had a project that required printing out about two reams of paper all at once– no way I was going to do that on an inkjet. So I bought a used Laserjet 4, and a roller kit (fixyourownprinter.com). I’ve only bought one toner cartridge since then.

    The low-end laser printers from Brother get good reviews, and they’re affordable. The toner cartridges are expensive, but you don’t need to buy them very often, and they have a long shelf life.

  14. Peter says:

    This has been an ongoing joke the last seven years or so, ever since the inkjet printers became really affordable. But come on, It´s not like someone actually does this? Buy a good printer that you like and then keep that, it´s not always about what is the cheapest, quality is more important.

    And who prints that much anyway?

  15. anachrocomputer says:

    I can highly recommend the following strategy:

    Find an HP LaserJet 4+, on FreeCycle or somewhere, that has the usual paper-crinkling problem due to the rubber drive rollers getting slippery.

    Fix aforementioned paper-crinkling problem by roughening up the rollers with lighter “petrol” (actually Naptha).

    Upgrade printer memory by installing recycled 72-pin SIMMs.

    Find an HP JetDirect ethernet module and install it.

    Acquire an inexpensive duplexer unit for the printer (or a 500-sheet feed tray) and install it.

    Configure computers to print via network (hence no need to swap cables).

    Benefit from double-sided printing of data sheets, pinouts, etc., from downloaded PDF files. Plus, use the fine HP printer as the basis of a toner-transfer PCB setup.

  16. zzzdude says:

    How is this new?
    Buying new printers have always been cheaper, for as long as I recall. Unless you have a top-of-the-line printer, or a printer that functions more than printing, then buying ink is a complete waste of time.

  17. shan says:

    It’s cheaper to buy new printer than ink, BUT if you check before you buy, 80% of the new printer comes with starter cartridges (less than 50% of ink in the cartridge). That why they’re cheaper. Even the laser printers have this shit. the only one to get full of int is the Brother 4040-CDN (Color Laser)

  18. antoine says:

    Why is it that only one person wrote that this attitude has catastrophic consequences to the environment and for human kind? I seriously hope all of you are aware of this problem and only discussing this in theory…

    Otherwise, I completely agree with anachrocomputer. There are plenty of old but very reliable laser printers around. Mine dates back to 1994, took several beating during the many moves since then, but is on track for serving me for as long as printer ports will exist…

  19. techpops says:

    If the public were educated enough to know that when buying a printer, the first thing they must do is look to see if compatible inks are available, the con going on where printer makers sell ink at crazy prices and almost give the printers away would stop happening.

    The problem as I see it is knowing you’re getting quality ink in those compatibles. They aren’t often reviewed and usually were left as consumers to ask what worked from friends or take risks looking at comment threads that could be fake.

    Still, if you do find a reputable compatible ink company, you’ll get the best deal buy having a cheap printer and cheap ink.

    I’m surprised that some companies haven’t started selling printers with compatible ink and offering assurances of quality. I’d sure buy into that.

    Maybe a better question to ask in an article then is which compatible ink companies do you use and for which printer and leave the OP’s original point as a joke where it belongs.

    1. Chris G says:

      Having fixed printer problems in the past, the throw away mentality is not just for printers, I have more than a couple printers that refused to be recognized because of the following:
      1) No new drivers (for Windows)
      2) No parallel port available
      3) No ink available (at Walmart, etc…)
      I have an HP PSC 500 all-in-one that works great and is built like a tank, but printer ink is hard to find. I have windows drivers for XP, but probably not for Win7.

      In other examples:

      People would rather trade in their cars than maintain them…(yes, over 4 years, nothing but gas, strange but true)

      Houses that are 15-25 years old (mortgage age) need all basic systems replaced, (roof, windows, siding, heat, a/c) and people would rather build new. Home repair people discourage repair except by ‘crowbar’.

      I know the Maker community (myself included) consider this strange, but it seems that our political and business leaders like this ‘churn’ of making things.

      More dumpster diving stuff for me!

  20. MysticX says:

    I got myself a Epson CX7400 for like $15 a few years ago. It is normally a nightmare on ink, because it has print count chips that tell you it is empty when it is half full and prevents refilling. You can buy a reset device, but it isn’t full proof. That’s why I bought clear refillable cartridges for mine. When it runs out I just pop of the plug and inject some more ink. I spend less than $20 on them and a few more bucks on ink, but it was still about the same cost as replacing a set of OEMs.

  21. Simon says:

    I did the cheaper printer upgrade once then learned my lesson when that one stopped working too since it hadn’t been used enough and the ink all gummed up. I ‘fixed’ that one with my oxy-acetylene torch and have never bothered to buy another printer again! I very rarely need to print things so can get away with the odd small job at work. If I need to do more I can go to a printing place I guess.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I agree that ink prices are crazy, but it’s either that or $1,000 printers. Some of these printers are getting complex (wifi, touchscreen with special software, etc.) and they’re still a hundred bucks. If printers were built off the printer model as opposed to the ink model then hardly anyone would have printers because only rich people would be able to get them (like 3d printers are now). If you think that the printer model is better than the ink model then just get a laser printer. They’re much more expensive, but toner is not only cheap but it lasts forever.

  23. Andy Johnson says:

    I worked at OfficeMax in the early 2000′s. We would get this complaint a lot. And a lot of people to our much chagrin would buy new printers. However, the manufacturer puts inks into the new printers that are half full. They call this “Factory Ink”. If your printer software comes with ink level detection software (as Epson does) you can verify this for yourself. People also got mad that they had to buy a USB cable separately and the printer no longer came with the cable. This was during the Parallel to USB transition days, and to my knowledge, I think most printers come with cables again.

  24. Alfred says:

    If you want to buy a new printer you might want to look at this baby :)
    Coolest new printers and printer features for 2009 = http://www.myofficeportal.org/coolest-new-printers-and-printer-features-for-2009.htm

  25. Anonymous says:

    Ink price of printer is not more less than printer price. It’s price is nearly to printer price. So it is better to buy new printer instead of ink. Because if we need to buy ink 2 or 3 times than it’s price reaches nearly to printer price. 

  26. Anonymous says:

    Ink price of printer is not more less than printer price. It’s price is nearly to printer price. So it is better to buy new printer instead of ink. Because if we need to buy ink 2 or 3 times than it’s price reaches nearly to printer price.