Why is ink so expensive?

35
Posted 18th Jun
I’ve come here to rant/find out if anyone knows where to buy printer ink that doesn’t cost the earth.....

I’m looking for HP 304 black ink and a single cartridge is going for over £20 online at the moment, which is double what I would usually pay
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Your first mistake was checking the cart prices after buying the printer.
Get a instant ink plan with HP.
Because, for new printers especially that have no "compatibles" available - this is where the money is made. Sell the printer for peanuts and sting consumers for, um, consumables!

This is why, many years ago I switched to laser for mono printing. A cheap laser printer with "compat" toner (around £8 for thousands of prints) and for colour I keep older inkjet printers with compats available below £1 a cart. Just remember to fire up the printer (or just turn it on, and off again) to keep the nozzles from drying out and blocking up.
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Get a instant ink plan with HP.
Same reason why sky and virgin charge what they do, why razor blades costs so much ... Because they know they can get away with it.
Because, for new printers especially that have no "compatibles" available - this is where the money is made. Sell the printer for peanuts and sting consumers for, um, consumables!

This is why, many years ago I switched to laser for mono printing. A cheap laser printer with "compat" toner (around £8 for thousands of prints) and for colour I keep older inkjet printers with compats available below £1 a cart. Just remember to fire up the printer (or just turn it on, and off again) to keep the nozzles from drying out and blocking up.
Ink is expensive because there is no profit selling the printer but a very healthy, and longer term, margin on ink. There are times when buying a new printer with the starter cartridges is cheaper than buying branded ink.
Because that's the business model printer manufacturers use.

Sell the printers at cost price then rely on the printer cartridges to generate all their profit.
Edited by: "spoo" 18th Jun
Your first mistake was checking the cart prices after buying the printer.
It's funny you should mention HP-304. I always see these HP carts in charity shops. Loads of em' and usually around a quid a pop! I've picked up loads of Epson carts - genuine ones too that would; as you say; be £20+ for effectively pennies. Even out-of-date ones are still ok in an old printer.

I would suggest Ebay but they are mainly "bid" items. There is a really dubious "new" seller on there with carts for £9.50 inc. postage. No feedback though, so I cannot recommend from that standpoint. HP are a bummer when it comes to carts. Their "Instant Ink" is certainly an option, as someone pointed out.
Edited by: "Phsycronix" 18th Jun
Ink carts are a massive scam, google refillable ink carts, lots of guides how to save a fortune
Swapped to a laser (HP Colour Laser 150nw £130 at amazon before lockdown) and not regretted it. So much faster, more reliable and smoother than a flaky inkjet. No copy or scan function is the downside
You haven't mentioned what Printer you currently have. If its not Instant Ink compatible change it for an Instant Ink compatible printer, 15ppm for free and you'll never have to buy any Ink....
Edited by: "Uridium" 18th Jun
I guess demand for 304's has increased exponentially during lockdown as I can see "bricks & mortar" shops were selling them for £11-13 a go. Asda - £11 / Argos - £12.99 / Curry's - £12.99 etc. No delivery option available on any of them.

Now shops are starting to re-open, perhaps something local to you may have stock? Even Tesco perhaps?
Most comments are correct, but you are also missing some important information.

The more expensive ones usually have the heads built into the cart which is why they are expensive.

Take-home 1: Always look at the cart prices before looking at the printer price
Take-home 2: Always go laserjet if you can live with the reduced quality
Thanks for the tips, I suppose I didn’t really think it through when buying the printer (Deskjet 2633?) but I only use it to print labels now and again. The cartridges I’ve bought so far have lasted ages and I was only paying around £10 for them until now, the prices have doubled.
They never used to be so expensive - I assumed it was another problem caused by the lockdown situation.

Will look into a laser printer too, sounds as though it would be cheaper in the long run. Thanks
No squids were harmed in the making of this product.
Rebeccamc18/06/2020 13:52

Thanks for the tips, I suppose I didn’t really think it through when b …Thanks for the tips, I suppose I didn’t really think it through when buying the printer (Deskjet 2633?) but I only use it to print labels now and again. The cartridges I’ve bought so far have lasted ages and I was only paying around £10 for them until now, the prices have doubled. They never used to be so expensive - I assumed it was another problem caused by the lockdown situation.Will look into a laser printer too, sounds as though it would be cheaper in the long run. Thanks


The Deskjet 2633 is Instant Ink compatible. You should have a leaflet to sign up in the box.

you can sign up and they will send you the Ink carts through in the post, when they run out they send you some more

If you are only using for occasional label printing you'd be mad to buy Ink and not just use the Free plan giving you 15 pages per month for nothing.


instantink.hpconnected.com/uk/…web




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Edited by: "Uridium" 18th Jun
Rebeccamc18/06/2020 13:52

They never used to be so expensive - I assumed it was another problem …They never used to be so expensive - I assumed it was another problem caused by the lockdown situation.


Absolutely. With the increase in parents "home-schooling" endevours, I would think printing has increased dramatically. This is why the rule of "supply & demand" has taken hold. I can't see anywhere with readily available stock of 304's - unless at craaaazy prices! Printers too are holding value as I suppose many who dusted off their old "clonker" only to find it won't print anymore have rushed to purchase one.

This is where the laser machines shine. You can turn on a laser printer that you may not have used for months or even longer and it will be immediately good to go. I paid £29.99 for my little Dell 1130 and I can get toner for around £8(ish). Very, very cost effective printing.

I recently recommended the following laser printer to a colleague:

argos.co.uk/pro…417

Brother HL-1112. Compatible toner (TN-1050) carts are available (circa £8 a pop - Ebay) and a replacement drum (DR-1050) if needed is also available quite cheaply. Nice little machine which he is very happy with.
Edited by: "Phsycronix" 18th Jun
Instant ink like everyone else said its really good value i pay 1.99 a month for 50 pages so you never worry about ink if it runs out they send one out free of charge
MadeDixonsCry18/06/2020 13:47

Most comments are correct, but you are also missing some important …Most comments are correct, but you are also missing some important information.The more expensive ones usually have the heads built into the cart which is why they are expensive.Take-home 1: Always look at the cart prices before looking at the printer priceTake-home 2: Always go laserjet if you can live with the reduced quality


I'd add....

Take-home 3: If you print less than 15ppm then buy an Instant Ink printer and never spend another penny on Ink or toners etc...
Edited by: "Uridium" 18th Jun
Rebeccamc18/06/2020 13:52

Thanks for the tips, I suppose I didn’t really think it through when b …Thanks for the tips, I suppose I didn’t really think it through when buying the printer (Deskjet 2633?) but I only use it to print labels now and again. The cartridges I’ve bought so far have lasted ages and I was only paying around £10 for them until now, the prices have doubled. They never used to be so expensive - I assumed it was another problem caused by the lockdown situation.Will look into a laser printer too, sounds as though it would be cheaper in the long run. Thanks


Paid £11 for a genuine blk HP304 from Wilko last week; neighbour seemed amazed at availability & price.
Reminds me, parent asked me the other day, they are on this HP £1.99 plan after a free trial, and wanted to go to the free/15 page plan, but logged on and couldnt change it. Anyone had this?
splatsplatsplat18/06/2020 14:23

Reminds me, parent asked me the other day, they are on this HP £1.99 plan …Reminds me, parent asked me the other day, they are on this HP £1.99 plan after a free trial, and wanted to go to the free/15 page plan, but logged on and couldnt change it. Anyone had this?


Imagine they sold the printer to some random, so de-register the printer from the HP account. Create new HP account and re-register printer.
Exactly what has been said above...

Cheaper printers (less than £100) are sold so cheap because the manufacturer then makes up the money in cost of consumables.

However, I tend to stick with brother MFC model printers as cheap compatible ink carts are readily available. I paid £160 for my MFC-J6530DW printer (brother had a cash back offer at the time) its one of the best printers I have ever had, and has all the bells and whistles, including... A3 printers, air print, duplex printing, manual feed for thicker papers and auto feed scanner.

This printer is now roughly £230 however if you compare to a cheap £70 printer plus paying for 4 sets of ink carts you would have already paid the equivalent of the more expensive printer. Shopping around I can get 12 ink carts for my printer for £35-£40 this would last me 2-3 years!

If you do ever invest in more expensive printers, make sure to keep the printer on, it may consume a little power, but it runs cleaning cycles once every couple of weeks to prevent ink drying up and destroying your printer heads.

Depending on your usage, instant ink is a great solution. However for myself, I have a couple of businesses and I print a lot of high ink use media (menus, posters, basic flyers etc) as well as my general paper work. Instant ink would not cut it for me, nor would laser because of the paper quality and longevity of prints I need.
splatsplatsplat18/06/2020 14:23

Reminds me, parent asked me the other day, they are on this HP £1.99 plan …Reminds me, parent asked me the other day, they are on this HP £1.99 plan after a free trial, and wanted to go to the free/15 page plan, but logged on and couldnt change it. Anyone had this?


Seem to recall you can only choose that plan on initial sign up. If you want to sign up you need to cancel enrolment and rejoin.
My mum has an HP sitting at home, hadn't been used for months but printed blank pages, suspected the carts were dry... we tried the usual tricks to get them going again but nothing.

Signed her up to the free 15pppm on instant ink with the view we would cancel if it was the printer at fault to prove either way. Now she can print 15 pages a month, free, and we've proved her printer works fine at zero cost. She'll turn it on and print the odd thing now and again to stop them drying up.

Partner uses instant ink for work too - her business pays, but she can flex up and down as needed which is brilliant.

If you're going to go on to a paid option too you can get referred and get some time free, when we originally signed up we had something silly like 3 months free with the printer, a month of referral and then some promo code for another 3 months or something. I think they've tightened up now.
Compatible ink isn't expensive .
Great thread as it’s just reminded me that I should sign up to the HP plan. Just gone for he free plan for now until I see how many pages the kids burn through
as someone had already said, check out compatible ink cartridge costs before buying the printer. also laser jet printers are better if you don't print that much as the laserjet ink doesn't dry out quickly if you don't use the printer often.
I've had Epson for years as the compatible ink is cheap, but their newer printers don't have cheap compatible ink now. The print head is on the printer rather than the cartridge which I think makes it cheaper. Always look at the price of ink before buying a printer. I may think about getting one of those Epson Ecotank ones although expensive I think the ink is cheaper.
I have a Brother printer and their ink cartridges are very expensive, so I just buy compatible third party ones from Amazon. I'm currently using Zambrero cartidges and have bought OfficeWorld inks before, they only cost about 1/3rd of the price of the Brother ones and do exactly the same job.
Rebeccamc18/06/2020 13:52

.Will look into a laser printer too, sounds as though it would be cheaper ….Will look into a laser printer too, sounds as though it would be cheaper in the long run. Thanks


Not necessarily. Cheap colour laser printers tend to be more expensive to run per page than equivalent inkjets. The main reason to prefer them is if you print so little you're wasting ink because the cartridges are drying out.
Edited by: "EndlessWaves" 18th Jun
splatsplatsplat18/06/2020 14:23

Reminds me, parent asked me the other day, they are on this HP £1.99 plan …Reminds me, parent asked me the other day, they are on this HP £1.99 plan after a free trial, and wanted to go to the free/15 page plan, but logged on and couldnt change it. Anyone had this?


I've had this the other day, the cheapest plan available is £1.99 when downgrading.

If cancelling and re-registering, then the cartridges inside the printer will not work, and any cartridges that are unused and sealed will not work either. Seems a total waste, and I told this to a manager at HP on Tuesday who said that's they way it is.
Printer manufacturers make money on the ink cartridges. I would purchase a laser printer preferably from Brother where the toners are cheap.
Eden003218/06/2020 17:27

I've had this the other day, the cheapest plan available is £1.99 when …I've had this the other day, the cheapest plan available is £1.99 when downgrading.If cancelling and re-registering, then the cartridges inside the printer will not work, and any cartridges that are unused and sealed will not work either. Seems a total waste, and I told this to a manager at HP on Tuesday who said that's they way it is.


If that's true then that is one more hp printer on ebay and no more hp products purchased..
splatsplatsplat18/06/2020 19:35

If that's true then that is one more hp printer on ebay and no more hp …If that's true then that is one more hp printer on ebay and no more hp products purchased..


100% true unfortunately.
Always check cartridge prices before buying printer.

Have a cheap £20 HP printer on the free plan with 15 free prints per month.
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