HP might start making ink cartridges more affordable

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

It was so bad, in fact, that I know of at least one person that would simply buy a new printer whenever he ran out of ink because it was cheaper than buying replacement cartridges. And at the local computer shows I used to attend in the early 2000s, I can recall several vendors offering “custom” printer solutions that would bypass traditional printer cartridges in favor of tubes that fed into giant bottles of cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink.

This sort of sales strategy isn’t exclusive to the printer industry, either. Razor manufacturers are more than happy to sell their handles to customers at a reasonable rate then turn around and charge an arm and a leg for replacement cartridges.

Fortunately, there might be some relief in sight.


According to a recent research note from Morgan Stanley, HP is considering moving away from the model as 20 percent of their customers don’t buy enough ink or print enough to be profitable. The bad news, conversely, is that the initial cost of printer hardware might climb as a result.

For many, it may be worth reconsidering your needs. I know that once I got out of college, and especially once smartphones took off, my need for a printer dropped significantly. Now, I’m able to get by with a simple laser printer. It may not print in color, but that hasn’t been a concern for close to a decade now.

Masthead credit: Ink by pticelov

Permalink to story.

 

Vulcanproject

TS Evangelist
This may not be a bad thing. Especially in terms of waste.

I always felt the quality of printer hardware has been on a downwards trend for the past 20 years. The technology has obviously improved in terms of the print result, but the build quality itself has just plummeted.

The business model they use means they want to shift a lot of printers and are willing to make no money or next to no money on them. So they built ever cheaper, crappier plastic nonsense. The worst culprit for me was Epson, HP aren't far behind though.

A large majority bought the cheapest printer, it worked for a couple years and then it's broken and scrap waste. Since repairing it far outweighs the cost and hassle of just buying a new one. The amount of friends and family that come to me with clogged up broken printers is ridiculous. I usually have a look to see if it can be salvaged. Then most of them end up smashed with a sledgehammer in my garden, Office Space style. They irritate me.

I'm with the author, I hardly use a personal printer at home these days. Plain text letters is about the most I want, I'll do anything else for better quality with online services. So I have a 15 year old HP inkjet that serves me well. I can leave it for months at a time and the inks do not dry up and the heads do not clog. Honestly it's way better built than anything new. :joy: :joy:
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: cliffordcooley

Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
It was one of several reasons I dumped HP many years ago. High ink prices, poor support for older printers, and declining quality issues. They had THE best plotter in the market, but for the same reasons we got rid of all those too. HP has yet to do anything significant to win back their customers, I'm just surprised they haven't folded ......
 

Evernessince

TS Evangelist
This may not be a bad thing. Especially in terms of waste.

I always felt the quality of printer hardware has been on a downwards trend for the past 20 years. The technology has obviously improved in terms of the print result, but the build quality itself has just plummeted.

The business model they use means they want to shift a lot of printers and are willing to make no money or next to no money on them. So they built ever cheaper, crappier plastic nonsense. The worst culprit for me was Epson, HP aren't far behind though.

A large majority bought the cheapest printer, it worked for a couple years and then it's broken and scrap waste. Since repairing it far outweighs the cost and hassle of just buying a new one. The amount of friends and family that come to me with clogged up broken printers is ridiculous. I usually have a look to see if it can be salvaged. Then most of them end up smashed with a sledgehammer in my garden, Office Space style. They irritate me.

I'm with the author, I hardly use a personal printer at home these days. Plain text letters is about the most I want, I'll do anything else for better quality with online services. So I have a 15 year old HP inkjet that serves me well. I can leave it for months at a time and the inks do not dry up and the heads do not clog. Honestly it's way better built than anything new. :joy: :joy:
I've had the same Epson printer for the last 7 years and use it to print nearly daily. It accepts non-1st party cartridges, which I can buy a pack of 20 for $12.

It's not an entry level model though so that might be why.
 

Vulcanproject

TS Evangelist
I've had the same Epson printer for the last 7 years and use it to print nearly daily. It accepts non-1st party cartridges, which I can buy a pack of 20 for $12.

It's not an entry level model though so that might be why.
The key is 'nearly daily' printing. If you print that often, it'll probably be fine. If you leave it more than a couple of weeks it'll get clogged heads and dried ink. That leads to further issues.

I would say most people at home are not printing anything like as frequently as you and much more likely to have problems.

That and the fact yes, the more expensive Epson models are naturally better than the lower end ones that are very common. That's the cycle of waste; don't want to print much, don't want to buy a higher end model because of that, cheap printer has more issues when infrequently used. Rinse, repeat.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3volv3d

Danny101

TS Evangelist
And then there's the aftermarket cartridges and refilling. I've used aftermarket cartridges with success and lately I've been looking at refilling. I do mobile estimates and use lots of paper and ink. I would be fine with a more expensive printer with cheaper ink, though I suspect that there will be even a greater emphasis against aftermarket ink. HP has pulled driver update shenanigans before that stop these other ink cartridges from working.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Godel

GeforcerFX

TS Evangelist
Ahh yes printers, been selling them for 10 years now. Overall the market has stayed pretty much the same, small office home lasers are dominated by Brother and HP, Inkjets are dominated by HP and Epson, and Canon is great at making printers but damn does owning there machine cost a lot (like all them of course but they are consistently 10% on CPP). The new tank printers are a interesting concept a there is definitely people that fit the profile but having to explain to the person that prints 3 things every 5 months that a eco tank won't work for them is getting tiring (HP has some great very small B&W laser printers on the market atm). The market for printers (especially home) is definitely dropping, but business printing has been pretty steady. I run a B&W laser lets me print documents and files I need and shipping labels for when I sell stuff can sit dormant for years (I'm on year 4 of my toner cartridge) and still work fine, if I want color there's 5 or 6 copy centers available (plus the one at the place I work). As far as HP goes they just launched a tank printer to directly compete with the ecotank system and before that all there network printers have the instant ink program available which is decently affordable ($36 a year for ~500 prints).
 

Danny101

TS Evangelist
Ahh yes printers, been selling them for 10 years now. Overall the market has stayed pretty much the same, small office home lasers are dominated by Brother and HP, Inkjets are dominated by HP and Epson, and Canon is great at making printers but damn does owning there machine cost a lot (like all them of course but they are consistently 10% on CPP). The new tank printers are a interesting concept a there is definitely people that fit the profile but having to explain to the person that prints 3 things every 5 months that a eco tank won't work for them is getting tiring (HP has some great very small B&W laser printers on the market atm). The market for printers (especially home) is definitely dropping, but business printing has been pretty steady. I run a B&W laser lets me print documents and files I need and shipping labels for when I sell stuff can sit dormant for years (I'm on year 4 of my toner cartridge) and still work fine, if I want color there's 5 or 6 copy centers available (plus the one at the place I work). As far as HP goes they just launched a tank printer to directly compete with the ecotank system and before that all there network printers have the instant ink program available which is decently affordable ($36 a year for ~500 prints).
When I'm not on the road and the printer sets up, the ink drys up. So if I keep running the cleaning process, it will clear it up. I've done it once before after a month and it took about four times. I was concerned that this isn't good to do all the time. Would removing the cartridges and putting them in a container help?
 

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
When I'm not on the road and the printer sets up, the ink drys up. So if I keep running the cleaning process, it will clear it up. I've done it once before after a month and it took about four times. I was concerned that this isn't good to do all the time. Would removing the cartridges and putting them in a container help?...[ ]....
Keep in mind this is a barely educated guess, but I think it would actually make the problem worse. In that most of the drying occurs in the nozzles themselves.

Leaving the cartridges out of the machine, (ostensibly) would expose the nozzle inlet to air, along with the obvious outlet.end of the nozzle. (I sincerely doubt there are back check valves in the lines to the nozzles which would still leave both ends open.

The ink in the tanks doesn't dry out, at least not in the near term.

As an aside, I had an Epson R-200 which was so fond of cleaning itself, it left puddles of ink on the bottom of the case, and I got maybe 20 pages out of the turd before any given "ink low warning".

It's long since been recycled. (Or being played with by children at a Chinese dumpsite).
 
  • Like
Reactions: Danny101

captaincranky

TechSpot Addict
Yo guys, IIRC HP were the clowns that did a firmware update to prevent the use of aftermarket ink cartridges in the first place.

I had an HP printer that I got at Best Buy on a Blaqck Friday. It sat for a couple of years or four, (not sure).

When my Canon ran out of ink, I got it up and running. At the install it was blowing up all kind of messages when I refused to install the updater, to tell me how much "I'd be missing out on". Um "thanks but no thanks", HP.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Zorak and Danny101

bviktor

TS Booster
"that I know of at least one person that would simply buy a new printer whenever he ran out of ink because it was cheaper than buying replacement cartridges"

Then that person wasn't too bright as everyone knows starter cartridges always contain like 1/5th of the ink that of a full cartridge.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Godel

netman

TS Evangelist
"And at the local computer shows I used to attend in the early 2000s,"

I missed those computer shows as well in Bay Area...! Not any more...!

This won't help me because I use a Brother printer...Hopefully Brother follows the suite...
 

Theinsanegamer

TS Evangelist
The machines are still programmed to stop printing regardless of whether you still toner. Laser printers have the same issues as inkjet.
Source? I've never heard of or seen a lasterjet printer doing that. Including 100+ HP laserjet printers of various makes and models at work.

Inkjets stop printing because the ink dries out in the cartridge. Toner does not dry out. My current HP color printer has 5+ year old toner cartridges in it, still prints perfectly, and our HP 4100 series still print perfectly fine from 10+ year old cartridges.
 

GeforcerFX

TS Evangelist
Y'all galaxy brained geniuses still buying crap inkjet printers like its 1998.

Just buy a laser printer, they dont cost that much and last forever, so does the toner.
Until you want to print color then high end inkjet is cheaper CPP and the machines are usually $100-200. Until you get back into the $1,000 color lasers than they pull ahead on CPP.
 

GeforcerFX

TS Evangelist
When I'm not on the road and the printer sets up, the ink drys up. So if I keep running the cleaning process, it will clear it up. I've done it once before after a month and it took about four times. I was concerned that this isn't good to do all the time. Would removing the cartridges and putting them in a container help?
If it's a two cartridge system (HP and lowend canons do this) then you can try it since the cartridges have the print heads on them. If it's a 4+ cartridge system then no it will as Cranky said make it worse.
 

p51d007

TS Evangelist
As someone that has been in the copier/printer (dry toner) industry for almost 40 years, it's ALWAYS been a scam. The only difference between black toner(ink) and the cyan, magenta, yellow...is the pigment.
In the dry process, we use carrier, mixed with toner, called developer. If you took all the toner out of any of the developer, got it to the carrier...it's all the same. In some machines, they sell a bag or cartridge of black developer for 197.00, but the color one sells for 475 bucks! Or more!