Incredibly expensive coloured water - the inkjet printer conundrum

What are you paying for petrol right now?

Somewhere around $1.40 per litre.

So petrol costs 0.14 cents per ml.

How much is a bottle of brand name soft drink?

Around $1.50 to $3.00 for a 1.25l bottle depending on the state of the supermarket discount battle.

Choosing the expensive end, coke costs 0.24 cents per ml.

What's a cup of coffee cost?

Say $4 depending on your level of hipsteration.

A coffee is maybe 150ml, so it costs 2.66 cents per ml.

Are you feeling ripped off yet? Consider how these liquids are made.

Now let's talk about printer ink.

The cheapest HP (Hewlett Packard) printer ink I could find on Officework's web site was $18.28.

There's a reason for picking on HP but I'll get to that a bit later.

In such an ink cartridge there averages 8 to 10 mls of ink.

But in this case there's only 2.93 mls of ink.

2.93 mls of coloured water costing $18.28.

That's $6.23 per ml...

...or $6,238.90 per litre...

...for coloured water!

...if you can get every last drop out of the cartridge! it doesn't evaporate between printer uses. Oh yes, the ink just disappeares too!

We haven't even consider how many pages that can print for us either (hint: it is always fewer than the published estimated number).

Our example above estimates it will print 315 sheets. But of course this is because it is assumed to be a tiny part of an overall printed page. If you printed the whole page one colour I reckon you'd be lucky to get 2 pages. Think about smearing 2.93 mls of coloured water over an A4 page. 315 pages seems very optimistic in that light.

This isn't an HP specific problem.

It is an opportunistic business model that sells us below-cost printers in an attempt to trap us into paying stupid money for coloured water.

HP comes in for special mention as their anti-competitive practices, in the disguise of caring about product quality and reliability, have recently gone to a new level.

HP are changing their own printer cartridges so that their own printers will no longer be compatible with them in the near future.

Read it for yourself here:

I find it very ironic that the document purports to be protecting us from fraud!

So how do you protect yourself from this?

The only real answer is to stop printing...especially with inkjet printers.

You can buy generic / compatible inks but, as you can see, companies like HP are making this harder or impossible.

But practically you need to buy your next printer with your eyes wide open.

It is tricky to compare all the variables in-store while you are trying to find a printer that does what you need... you need to do the maths and prepare your options BEFORE you get to the store.

Talk to someone who knows and is across the market. Someone like Kirk from Tassie Toners.

Kirk is more than happy to steer you away from a printing choice that will end up being painful and costly.

For me, all I have to do is remember the per litre cost of ink and I am always careful with buying printers and ink :-)

[hint: I use laser printers now, that's a whole other article].


More food for thought here:

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