Printers are like razors – the razors are cheap and bought from time to time but the blades can be expensive and are replaced periodically.
Laser jet toner is expensive but lasts many hundreds – thousands of pages. For ink jet printers, the price can be from $20 – $50 or so dollars, pretty expensive when you print all those color presentations.
If you buy name brand printer cartridges for HP, Lexmark, Xerox and etc – expect to pay more money than if you buy from “off brand” vendors.
Startup Journal writes a very good overview of these alternative sources of ink jet cartridges – Computer users world-wide spend $22 billion a year on ink cartridges. The price of ink per milliliter from the big printer shops such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and Lexmark International Inc. has been steadily rising, at about 1% a year, according to research from Lyra Research. At the same time, the big companies are getting stingier with the amount of ink they are putting into each cartridge. For example, when H-P eliminated one cartridge that had 42 milliliters of ink and cost $29.99, it replaced it with another that costs $19.99 but has only 19 milliliters of ink.
During the past few years, however, entrepreneurs and mom-and-pop manufacturers have started offering ink cartridges compatible with the brand-name printers that cost 20% to 50% less than new cartridges from H-P, Lexmark and others. The new options include everything from do-it-yourself kits so consumers can refill empty cartridges themselves to used cartridges from the big names that have been refurbished to work as though they are new.
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