Advertisement for ink cartridges doesn't do all the math


I saw an advertisement for manufacturer-authorized ink cartridges. It said, approximately, "Our ink cartridges print up to 2× longer than third-party refills."

"For only 4× the price" the advertisement somehow forgot to mention.

Comments (25)
  1. xcomcmdr says:

    Ink jet printers and Ink cartridges... What a pain !

  2. Joshua says:

    It could still be cheaper after the gallon of gasoline used to pick it up.

  3. DWalker07 says:

    Yes, I hated the few ink-jet printers that I ever used. I don't have a color printer of any kind at the moment. I'm glad that color lasers and all their various cousins are so much better than they were a few years ago.

  4. Medinoc says:

    Then you get the HP printers, that often don't even recognize you're using manufacturer-authorized ink cartridges...

  5. alegr1 says:

    After years of buying ink cartridges, I bought a color laser (or more likely LED) printer (four letter brand), bought high capacity toner cartridges for it, and enjoying savings ever since.

  6. morlamweb says:

    My problem with ink cartridges was that they would dry up long before we had occasion to print something. We'd print maybe two things per year, and unfailingly, the ink would be completely parched. We realized a couple of years ago that we'd be better off in many ways by not buying cartridges any more and printing only what's necessary through our office printers. We pitched the printer and all of it's supplies two years ago and haven't looked back.
    Obligatory reference to The Oatmeal's "Why I believe printers were sent from Hell to make us miserable" on theoatmeal.com. I have many horrible memories of inkjet printers over the years, which in no small part influenced my decision to pitch them a couple of years ago.

    1. smf says:

      >My problem with ink cartridges was that they would dry up long before we had occasion to print something.

      Yeah, I had that problem. Until I was given a kodak printer. The ink is pretty cheap & it lasts me a couple of years.

      Maybe that is why they couldn't afford to keep going?

  7. Antonio Rodríguez says:

    Ink jet printers: look how cheap it is! We even include with the printer a couple of cartridges worth more than the printer itself!

    Capsule coffee machine: look how cheap it is! We even include with the machine a box of capsules worth more than the machine itself!

    Then you find that coffee capsules are up to 3x more expensive than regular ground coffee, and that ink jets' cost per page is up to 10x more expensive than comparable laser printers. And you realize that either they are selling the machine at a loss, they are selling overpriced cartridges/capsules, or both. Either way, you have been ripped.

    When will people learn?

    1. Darran Rowe says:

      Interestingly, where I worked at last, it was mentioned that it is cheaper to just buy a new printer than to buy the ink cartridges.
      That in itself really hasn't changed.

      1. Sander Weerdenburg says:

        Except for the fact that they no longer provide full cartridges anymore with a new printer, but 'setup' cartridges.
        My experience with aftermarket ink cartridges however, it that those dry out faster if you don't use your printer often. That has cost me a previously very reliable printer...

  8. Tymme says:

    Kinda like the oil industry's ad during the Super Bowl, except they don't reprogram your car to only run on premium gas

  9. smf says:

    >"For only 4× the price" the advertisement somehow forgot to mention.

    It's called marketing. People withhold facts all the time, the world would be a much different place if they didn't.

    1. xcomcmdr says:

      Generalization much ?

      1. smf says:

        Yeah, I could give examples but that would dilute the conversation. It's not dilbert.com.

        1. xcomcmdr says:

          Or rather, you have no examples. and the ones you do have can easily be refuted. :)

    2. anai says:

      The 'up to' is unnerving a bit, buts lets assume it is 2x for now.

      It is a little known fact (2x as long) in response to a well known public fact (4x the price). Accentuate the positive, implied message is actually they are 'only' 2x as expensive (for actual use) and are genuine.

      Yes, marketing but it is adding a fact (if it is so) to the public domain...

      1. smf says:

        I thought everyone knew that "up to" was marketing for "you definitely won't get this & you probably won't get close" while most people think it means "you will almost certainly get this".

        Up to 50% off sales mean that there is no point going into the shop if you want more than 50% off, while the items in the store will probably be 10% off at best.

        1. anai says:

          10% off at best...except the one item that is 50% off but:

          a) no-one wants it
          b) there is limited stock (like only 1)
          c) it was originally put on sale at 200% of its actual price

          1. Joshua says:

            I've gotten good deals on such ads. It's not quite as scammy as that.

  10. cheong00 says:

    The A3 printer of one of my ex-companies uses ink-cartridges with pipe connected to large ink tanks. I wonder how that cartridge can print "up to 2× longer than third-party refills".

    That configuration adds the benefit that you'll never print only 6 out of 7 colors because one of the ink cartridge runs out. :P

    1. smf says:

      Most printers can't use external tanks. I assume it was talking about a specific cartridge for a specific printer against third party cartridges that they tested, not a theoretical official printer and cartridge vs a theoretical third party cartridge.

      1. cheong00 says:

        Newer printers uses chips on the cartridges to "protect" it from 3rd party inks (say, although Epson Stylus Photo 810/830 uses the same cartridge models, 810 don't process chips based verification therefore can use all 3rd party inks that can fit, but 830 will reject ink without chips), while older printers don't have that limitation. As long as the plastic tubes don't affect the print head movement, it's usually quite usable.

        P.S.: I assume since I'm talking about 10+ years ago model, it shouldn't matter. If it does, feel free to remove the brand and model info for me.

    2. Simon Farnsworth says:

      Note that not all inkjets with external tanks are using aftermarket adapters. My employer has a few A3 inkjets around which have external ink tanks from the factory - a check with Google shows that they're about 10x the price of the cheap consumer A4 inkjets
      , but that one of the selling points for these printers (from a famous printer brand who's been producing printers since the 1960s) is that you can see the ink levels in the tank, and just pour more ink into the tank when it runs low without interrupting printing.

  11. Richard says:

    My printer is over ten years old, yet complains that damage caused by using non-manufacturer inks won't be covered by warranty.

    It also prints faster and costs less per page than any inkjet currently on the market - even in max-quality photo mode.

    Using 3rd party ink brings down the costs to colour laser, with much better quality. (B&W laser is of course cheaper.)

    Unfortunately it's irreplaceable now. Nobody has made a comparable printer for years.

  12. Mark says:

    There's still more to balance. Most third party ink will kill your printer twice as fast as the official stuff...

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