Ink refill kits -- are they it worth it?

Dennis Faas's picture

Last week, I wrote an article which listed Xmas Gift ideas for under $50 bucks.

In the list of suggestions, I mentioned that I've used ink refill kits with my Canon BJ-200 for about 10 years now and have had great success. The same day I posted the article, a received an email from Derek M. who disagrees with the use of ink refill kits.

Derek writes:

" One of the things you recommended in your list of inexpensive tech-related gifts was ink refill kits, and you cited refilling a Canon BJ-200 series printer. Many of the other ideas (optical mice, keyboards, speakers, etc.) were very good recommendations, but an ink refill kit might open up a can of worms for some people.

I worked for two years in a Canon call center, answering support calls from customers. Use of ink cartridges made by other companies, and kits to refill cartridges, was an issue that came up frequently. In many cases, use of "third-party ink" would void a warranty.

Canon's ink cartridges were not designed to be refilled; anyone who chooses to use s refill kit also runs the risk of damaging the cartridge in the process. Furthermore, any other brand of ink (other than the manufacturer's) is likely to have a different chemical formula, and thus may react differently when heated and sprayed onto the paper.

At this point, I have no connection to Canon, but I am still asked on occasion to troubleshoot printer issues. To this day, I strongly recommend that people avoid using ink refill kits because of the potential problems they can cause. "

Interesting point of view!

In last week's article, I also mentioned that my particular printer (the Canon BJ-200) has the print head built onto the cartridge. Whenever I purchase a new cartridge (I've only had to purchase two of them in the last 10 years), my print head is renewed and print quality is as good as the first day I bought the printer.

Ink refill kits vs. purchasing a new printer

Where I'm from, economy-class printers are less than $50 bucks. I think the reason why printers are so cheap now-a-days might be due to 2 reasons:

  • Many economy printers have the print head built onto the printer and not the cartridge. As with all machines that suffer from wear and tear, the print head will need to be replaced in about 2-3 years. By that time, it would be cheaper to go and buy a new printer than it would be to send the unit in for repair. I'm sure that the printer manufacturer is well aware of this fact and hopes that in 2 or 3 years you'll go and buy a new printer, anyway.
  • Economy printers are built cheap because printer companies can recoup costs through ink sales. I've noticed that (in many cases), the price of an ink cartridge made by the manufacturer is about $10-20 bucks less than the cost of the printer. Go figure!

Moral of the story

Ink refill kits work great for me. If I need to purchase a new print head, all I need to do is buy a new cartridge.

Some of you may not have the option to replace your print head quite so easily. As I've already iterated, economy-class printers are cheap enough these days that it would justify buying second-class refill kits -- even if it shortens the life of your printer.

With the money you save from buying an ink refill kit, you can buy a new printer which utilizes better technology and undoubtedly will have a higher printing resolution than your old printer for about the same price.

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