The Truth About Computer Printers and Ink Cartridges

Today's printers are heads and shoulders above their predecessors. Inkjet printers can produce stunning, photographic quality prints, while laser printers can spit out paper at a rate of 85 pages per minute or more. In fact, there are so many different kinds of printers on the market that's it's sometimes hard to keep track of them all. Here's a rundown of the major categories:

Color Inkjet Printers: While slower than laser printers, color inkjet printers are also a fraction of the price of a color laser printer. Inkjets can produce exquisite color documents and photos, as well as black and white prints.

Color LaserJet Printers: While more costly than color inkjet printers, laser printers are still a bargain, and often come with several paper trays to give you maximum printing flexibility.

Multifunction Printers: The latest trend is multifunction printers, which allow you to scan, copy, fax, and print with a single piece of equipment. This saves space, money, and time.

Photo Printers: Specialty photo printers give shutterbugs another great reason to snap pictures. These peripherals often allow you to print directly from your computer, digital camera, or mobile device.

Black and White Laser Printers: If you don't work with color, black and white lasers have never been more affordable. The emphasis is on speed, high print resolution, and multiple paper trays.

Mobile Printers: Mobile printers are gaining popularity among students and business people on the go. While they're slower than other types of printers, mobile printers have the advantage of printing from numerous sources and often have wireless connectivity capabilities.

What Manufacturers Don't Tell You

If you haven't browsed the printer aisle of your local office supply store recently, you'll be shocked to learn that you can buy high quality, brand name printers for as little as Ј38. Sound too good to be true? Well, in a sense, it is too good to be true. While the price of the printer is lower than the cost of manufacturing it, ink cartridges can cost as much or more than the purchase price. In other words, the manufacturers don't make money on the printers; they make money from the ink. It's as though every time you buy inkjet cartridges or toner cartridges, you're purchasing your printer all over again.

How do printer manufacturers get away with it? Most often by using scare tactics. They convince consumers that the only reliable printer cartridges are those made by the printer manufacturer. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.

Alternatives to OEM Ink Cartridges

If you don't want to buy expensive original equipment manufacturer (OEM) ink cartridges, what are your options? There are two choices: Compatible print cartridges and remanufactured ink cartridges. Compatible cartridges are made from brand new parts and meet or exceed OEM standards, but are a fraction of the price. Buying compatible cartridges is similar to buying a store brand of peaches, rather than a name brand.

Remanufactured cartridges are recycled cartridges that are taken apart, inspected, reassembled, and filled with high quality ink. These are even less expensive than compatible print cartridges.

It the world of printing, you can have your cake and eat it too, simply by taking advantage of low printer prices and pairing them with inexpensive compatible or remanufactured ink cartridges.