Author Topic: How to replace HP inkjet cartridges cheaply?  (Read 6514 times)

decessus

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How to replace HP inkjet cartridges cheaply?
« on: May 10, 2015, 10:38:01 PM »
So I went to Staples today to refill my 950XL  (black) and 951 (magenta, cyan, yellow) ink cartridges for my small home office printer and they no longer refill cartridges.  So I ended up spending ~$100 to replace these. 

1)  Was this the most "mustachian" (i.e., cheapest) thing I could do?
2)  Is there any cheaper alternative to printing I'm not thinking of?  I only print a few pages at home occasionally and try to stay paperless whenever possible.

FIRE me

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Re: How to replace HP inkjet cartridges cheaply?
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2015, 12:23:02 AM »
Assuming your printer will take refilled cartridges (some of the new printers have DRM chips to prevent it), you might try CompAndSave. I've had good luck with them, with two caveats. I get the occasional dud cartridge, but at $5 each for my HP I don't care enough to try collect on their guarantee.

Second, you have to order $50 worth for free shipping. If your order is below $50, you'll pay $4 for shipping.

http://www.compandsave.com/

RetiredAt63

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Re: How to replace HP inkjet cartridges cheaply?
« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2015, 06:08:13 AM »
I get my Epson cartridges refilled at Costco.  It is not cheap, but less than new ones.  The printer gives a warning message but I can over-ride it.

teen persuasion

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Re: How to replace HP inkjet cartridges cheaply?
« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2015, 06:34:44 AM »
We stopped using our home printer, since we print so few pages that the ink would dry up before we used it up.  We do all printing at the library instead - .20/ page.  Not worth buying paper and cartridges at that price.  Of course, I work at the library, so it is convenient for DS4 to email me his last minute AP ENG paper to print and bring home while I work the eve shift.  YMMV.

johnmyster

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Re: How to replace HP inkjet cartridges cheaply?
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2015, 06:50:42 AM »
I've used 123inkjets.com and Inkjetstar.com.  Prefer the former.  I get a combo pack for my 15 year old HP inkjet once a year with two blacks and one color, comes to $40 or so.

Faraday

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Re: How to replace HP inkjet cartridges cheaply?
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2015, 06:57:31 AM »
I buy canon inkjet printers (currently I use a several-years-old MX870) and refill the cartridges myself. I buy ink and supplies off Amazon or ebay. For about $50, I can get about a dozen refills of the color cartridges and maybe 15 of the big black cartridge. I quit refilling the toner carts on my salvaged HP 3015 laser when I realized I could beat the price refilling my inkjet carts.

BTW: My refill kit includes a "chip resetter", so I get no errors when I use the refilled cartridge, it is as-new.

Beware: it's a mess and it's a skill  you have to acquire. It's possible to attempt to refill a cartridge and screw it up, dumping the refill ink on the table. I did this a time or two. I use newspapers to protect the table. I just wanted to mention how I am able to get refills for only a couple bucks.

Having them refilled at costco is a great option, I'd suggest going there first and asking them what their cheapest/easiest carts are to refill, then buy the printer that uses those carts.

Daley

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Re: How to replace HP inkjet cartridges cheaply?
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2015, 07:14:26 AM »
Some Walgreens locations do cartridge refills for $10 a pop.

There's plenty of cheap DIY refill kits on Amazon, but IIRC on the 950/951 cartridges, they're just generic ink reservoirs and the printhead assembly is separate. That's both good and bad with third party ink.

Short term, it makes refills a lot cheaper and far easier. Long term, outfits like HP design their printheads to function optimally with a specific ink viscosity, and ink that doesn't adhere to the design specs for the printheads will clog it faster, eventually leading you to needing to replace the printhead assembly more frequently, which is going to run around $75-100 for the model printer you have. Amazing how that price point is so close to the cost of the printer itself, isn't it?

It's all about consumables and planned obsolescence with printers, that's where the money is... and inkjets are the worst of the lot.

Here's my suggestion. You need to assess needs versus wants. Ask yourself, do you need a printer in your home at all? If yes, then do you need to regularly print in color enough to justify spending upwards of $1500 for a color laser printer, or are most of your printing needs actually just black and white with the occasional color print?

If B&W covers most of your printing needs, pick up a sub-$100 Brother laser printer that uses the TN420/450 toner cartridge and DR420 drum fuse assembly refills, set the default print option to toner saver, and look up how to turn off the low toner alert on the machine itself (it's usually this method) and print until you can't stand the streaks (you'll probably get two reams/~1000 pages out of the starter). Once you get to that point, buy a TN450 for under $50, and find a local place that refills and refurbishes Brother toner cartridges for cheap to have your starter cartridge refilled and retrofitted to a TN450, or learn how to do it yourself.

For any color document printing needs, either go to FedEx Office and pay per sheet, or if it's photos, learn patience and use AdoramaPix. Any local digital photo printers will use dye sublimation, which is okay, but not great long term - Adorama actually uses a setup that does traditional photo paper and chemical development (like with 35mm film) with digital photos, and the results are far superior.

Going this route will be far cheaper per print long term than the cost of ownership for a color inkjet, and all your resulting physical media will be much nicer and more durable than inkjet.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2015, 07:36:21 AM by I.P. Daley »

Nothlit

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Re: How to replace HP inkjet cartridges cheaply?
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2015, 08:52:18 AM »
Daley said it better, but I'll second his suggestion. Unless for some reason you really really need to be able to print color documents at home at a moment's notice, dump your color inkjet and get a cheap black-and-white laser printer.

FIPurpose

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Re: How to replace HP inkjet cartridges cheaply?
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2015, 09:37:50 AM »
I should preface this with saying that I am an HP employee, and I currently work with HP Inkjet printers.

It wasn't until recently that Inkjets have become the lower cost option. HP has been making a big push to change the way that printers and ink are sold, and the currently preferred method is to use a subscription based model.

Last year HP rolled out the "Instant Ink" program. This is where you pay per page instead of per cartridge.

Here are the current plans: https://instantink.hpconnected.com/us/en

You pay $2.99 a month ($36/yr) and can print up to 50 pages a month. You don't need to keep track of your ink levels or worry about when you'll need a new cartridge. HP will monitor your ink usage, and mail you a new set right before you run out. There are several reasons why this is a better system for you:

HP now has a big incentive to make ink as efficient as possible on the page.

You no longer have to worry about printing off heavy color pages since all pages cost the same amount. (~.06 per page)

You do have to have a printer designed for instant ink. You can find an HP Envy 4500 at around $65-$80.

Let me know if you have any questions.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2015, 10:15:27 AM by flyingcircle »

Spork

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Re: How to replace HP inkjet cartridges cheaply?
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2015, 09:40:53 AM »
There is sometimes another option -- and I'll warn you it is dumb and wasteful ahead of time.

Printers are what I call "razorblades".  They sell you an inexpensive printer and then rake you over the coals when it comes to buy ink.  If you shop around, sometimes you can actually buy a whole new printer for the price of an ink refill.  (I warned you this was stupid.)  Now I wouldn't go doing this every time the little "out of ink" indicator lights up on your printer.  But... keep it in mind if your printer is starting to age.

LadyStache

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Re: How to replace HP inkjet cartridges cheaply?
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2015, 11:11:20 AM »
I bought special refillable ink cartridges for my printer and ink on Amazon. I think it was supposed to be enough ink to refill all of the cartidges 4 times, and it cost less than the regular disposable cartridges from the manufacturer. It's also super easy to refill.

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: How to replace HP inkjet cartridges cheaply?
« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2015, 02:36:43 PM »
We got our cartridge refilled at Costco.

Another option for color printing, if you decide to go black and white for the printer, is the public library. Not all offer color printing, but we have it for 50 cents a page in Denver.

KungfuRabbit

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Re: How to replace HP inkjet cartridges cheaply?
« Reply #12 on: May 11, 2015, 02:41:11 PM »
I ran out of ink 5 years ago. My thought I needed it. I didn't.

You figure out ways not to print.

Barnaby

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Re: How to replace HP inkjet cartridges cheaply?
« Reply #13 on: May 11, 2015, 08:02:50 PM »
Last time I bought a printer I picked one that had cheap generic cartridges available. I wound up with a Brother. It's great and the cartridges are less than $1 each.

Faraday

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Re: How to replace HP inkjet cartridges cheaply?
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2015, 09:17:03 PM »
...
If B&W covers most of your printing needs, pick up a sub-$100 Brother laser printer that uses the TN420/450 toner cartridge and DR420 drum fuse assembly refills, set the default print option to toner saver, and look up how to turn off the low toner alert on the machine itself (it's usually this method) and print until you can't stand the streaks (you'll probably get two reams/~1000 pages out of the starter). Once you get to that point, buy a TN450 for under $50, and find a local place that refills and refurbishes Brother toner cartridges for cheap to have your starter cartridge refilled and retrofitted to a TN450, or learn how to do it yourself.
...
I like IP's comments about the Brother laser! I'd come to that conclusion myself a couple years ago, until I realized my refill technique on the canon cartridges was actually so much cheaper than laser, that I decided to keep the canon and refill it as long as I can.

Wife and I actually do have need of a color and B/W inkjet - both of us will use color or B/W to print draft documents for work, spreadsheets where you need to line up the rows and compare data manually or for the odd document that uses color to convey information. However, for photo work, we go with a similar option to what others have mentioned - getting the photos printed elsewhere and paying per-print. In our case, we find Wal-Mart's color printing service to be cheap and reasonable quality.

Daley

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Re: How to replace HP inkjet cartridges cheaply?
« Reply #15 on: May 12, 2015, 06:49:41 AM »
I like IP's comments about the Brother laser! I'd come to that conclusion myself a couple years ago, until I realized my refill technique on the canon cartridges was actually so much cheaper than laser, that I decided to keep the canon and refill it as long as I can.

The last time I ran numbers three years back, I believe I calculated somewhere around 3/page over the estimated lifetime of the Brother for all parts (printer included - paper costs extra) if you service it yourself (rebuild toner and drums yourself - not very difficult if you can follow instructions).

I may need to crunch the numbers again just to get a current cost for academic reasons.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2015, 06:51:35 AM by I.P. Daley »