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Generic Ink Vs. OEM Ink
Date: May 28, 2010
New York, NY – As the first part of a series examining printer ink, PrinterComparison.com’s staff has decided to take a look at the ongoing debate in the printer industry between generic ink versus original ink. More specifically, this piece examines generic ink from an online retailer. Many stores do not offer the same selection of ink that is available online, so in the testing…
There are great many deals and bargains to be had concerning inkjet printers, but as anyone who owns a printer knows, the less you pay up front, the more you will pay for the ink it takes to run your printer. Depending on the model and brand of your printer, you may only get starter cartridges in the box which will generally last no more than two-thirds as long as a standard capacity cartridge.
When faced with the problem of a printer with low ink levels, choices must be made. A writer from PC World suggested a while back that buying a new printer was cheaper than replacing the ink for some printers. If you are not willing to go to that extreme, the choices are to buy generic ink from an office supply store or the like, buy a refill kit, have your cartridge refilled in a shop, or to buy brand new cartridges.
PrinterComparison.com encourages its readers to try all of these possibilities to see what works for them. Keep track of what money you spend on each method and how it effects your printing. Many manufacturers warn about the dangers of using generic ink, and using it will likely invalidate any warranty you have on your printer, so be warned.
For the purposes of this first part examining generic ink versus OEM ink, the PrinterComparison.com staff selected six printers: the Brother MFC-6890cdw, the Canon Pixma MX870, the Epson Stylus NX515, the HP Photosmart Premium, the Kodak ESP 5250, and the Lexmark Prestige. We are a little puzzled by the inclusion of the Lexmark Prestige, as the standard black cartridge only costs $4.99 and yields 510 sheets and even the high-capacity return program color cartridges for cyan, magenta, and yellow only run $17.99 apiece.
The staff first checked to see if any generic cartridge were to be had at Office Max, Staples, or Office Depot. Finding none, they moved onto online resellers. Part of the problem they found is that it is harder to find generic ink with newer printers. Of the six, the ones they found with generic equivalents were the Brother MFC-6890cdw and the Canon Pixma MX870.
To test the quality of the cartridges and perform a comparison, they ran their standard tests which involve printing (in standard mode) until the point where no more quality pages are possible without a replacement. The printing is done at a 3:1 ration between text and color to simulate user behavior as closely as possible.
As an example, the first printer tested was the Canon model which uses five individual ink cartridges: pigment black and dye-based black, cyan, magenta, and yellow. The pigment black is the cartridge primarily used for text printing. That was the cartridge that gave the first low-ink warning at 341 pages. After ignoring the error message and letting it print further, it produced another 19 pages for a total of 360 sheets. The generic cartridge lasted for 240 sheets before the low ink message appeared. After continuing, it printed an additional 40 sheets for a total of 280 sheets. Doing some simple math (, that works out to be almost 29% more pages with the Canon cartridge.
While the ink reseller they chose only had two of the cartridges, here at Castle Ink we have the cartridges for not only the Brother and Canon models, but also the HP and Epson models. Below you will find tables with the original and corresponding ink cartridge prices at Castle Ink:
BY ADAM HAIGH, Editor