On Printers and Ink

By | March 2, 2023
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On Printers and Ink

The other day, I ordered a printer to replace a 2-year-old printer that says it has ink, but prints illegible things. It’s my 7th or 8th printer –  I’ve had so many, I have lost count.

Oh, don’t worry, I don’t have 7 or 8 printers sitting around my house waiting for me to issue the print command – I only have one printer.  The rest are rotting – or not in the landfill. But next time I’ll be more environmentally conscious and recycle my non-functioning, piece-of-junk printers, I promise!

Let me back up. I had no working printers at all until UPS delivered my new printer yesterday – and hopefully, when (IF) I get it set up today, I’ll have one that works.

The printer I was using was only two years old. I replaced the ink in it twice, but it was haunted. It was haunted right from the start. My travails started on Tuesday, I needed to print out a bank statement to see why the bank showed I had $61.26 less than what I showed I had – I’m not too fond of that when that happens. Why can’t the bank show MORE money in my account than I think I have?

I digress… much to my chagrin when I punched the print button, my printer responded by printing four illegible pages that may as well have been Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Yep, I did everything you’d think I’d do. I ran the print-head alignment thing, I did all the “Troubleshooting” things, and I ran the HP Print Doctor. And, of course, I checked the ink levels. The ink levels were low but not empty. I thought I’d try putting in new ink cartridges and see if that would fix things. I hopped in the car and drove to our local Wally World (Walmart).

Wally World just “upgraded” our local store, which means they moved things around -didn’t add anything new or exciting.  In fact, they must have a lot of supply chain issues, since whatever I go there to buy, they’re out of.

Anyway, it took me ten minutes to figure out where they moved the printer ink section.

After sorting though hundreds of different brands and model numbers, I found the correct ink cartridges for my printer. What to my bloodshot eyes should appear – the newer higher prices.  The black and white cartridge was $23 and the color cartridge was $34. In my limited world of math, that equals $57 not including 7.5 % tax. With tax included, even with my limited math skills, I could figure the total cost was going to be around $61… just for INK!

I  was standing there surrounded by printers. Some of them were selling for LESS than the cost of ink for the cheap HP printer I had at home.  For instance this Canon Pixma printer for $59…or this HP DeskJet wireless printer for $59.  And they both come with ink.

This was not the first time I have tossed a printer because it costs more to replace the ink than it costs to buy a new printer.  Big wheels kept turning, my mind kept on burning … if I spent $60 for new ink cartridges and then my printer still printed hieroglyphics — I’d be out $60. I don’t have $60 to throw away. 

I left Wally World without the ink cartridges.

When I got home I decided to do some online shopping for a new printer. After searching Best Buy, Amazon, Target, Staples, etc. I ordered an HP printer from Amazon– online – for $62.43 including tax and free shipping. It is a better model than the cheapie I’m going to toss. For about the same price as it would have cost to replace the ink for my old HP El Cheapo printer, I bought a new HP  – not-so-El-Cheapo printer – that comes complete with INK.

The big day came — the new not-so-el-cheapo printer arrived!

I unplugged and removed the HP El Cheapo printer from its nest and unceremoniously tossed it in the rubbish. Yes,I promise, next time, I’ll recycle, I tells ya!

Then, came the time for the super “easy-peasy” setup HP has promised me.

Ha! Ha!

After 30 minutes of finagling, I finally got it set up —but only after I realized that I had to turn down the “Smart Ink” offer that was on my screen before the printer would actually work.

Instead of spending $60 for two ink cartridges for an old, genuine El Cheapo printer, I’m happy to tell you that for about $60 I have a brand new, not-so-El-Cheapo printer, complete with two full ink cartridges. And it prints pages that I can actually read.

Why does ink cost as much or more than a new printer?

Thanks for reading my RANT.

10 thoughts on “On Printers and Ink


    Take it from someone who once had about 12 printers, four of which worked. In the long run buy the ink. It turns out to be much more practical. Oh, and I’m sure you of all people realize that the ink cartridges that come with the printers does not hold aa much ink as a new cartridge.

  2. Jo

    I did the inkjet printer, with ink seemingly made from “gold”, for several years. Then I took the leap and bought a color laser printer…never been happier!

  3. Sandy

    We bought an Epson printer five years ago and have yet to have a problem with it.

  4. Roz Klaiman

    I have had 3 printers since 1996. I do not work from home and retired in 2002 so my printers have always been used for personal “business”, a lot before I retired. My first printer, a Canon, came as a package with my first home computer in 1996. I donated it to a non profit when it would not work with Windows 7. My next printer, a Lexmark, lasted until Windows 10 came along and was replaced with an HP for the same reason. The Lexmark went to recycling because the cartridge holders broke although I managed to use them until the end. Unlike its predecessors. the HP wanted to die within 2 years when it started to print blank pages despite new ink and following maintenance instructions. HP offered help and I spend 2 hours on the phone while a tech ran tests to no avail and told me I needed a new printer. I went online instead, found some help for my model printer after much seeking, cleaned the printer as instructed, bought non HP ink and once again have a working printer. I also learned that not turning on the HP printer daily causes the ink to clog the jets, so it goes on, uses ink to start (bless HP) and works perfectly when I need it.

  5. Nora

    I hear everyone here! I have had a love/hate relationship with my printer/s over the years. Shame on the brand name ink suppliers! I buy remanufactured cartridges with strange sounding names from Amazon and less than half the price of brand names…and they work well.

  6. kelvin

    The problem I’ve had with remanufactured and cloned cartridges is the ink fades after time, some are ok if stored out of the light.

  7. Terry Bell

    I have used HP exclusively since the mid-90s and have had no trouble at all. I’d be the first to agree that ink cartridges are VERY expensive. When I switched from Inkjet to Office Jet I joined the Ink Club. That was a couple of years ago and I’ve never run out of ink and HP recycles the cartridges for me. They even pay for the return postage. I haven’t had to align the print head or anything else since as the machine goes through a maintenance program every once in a while. I know that’s the printer and not the ink but they are sort of related. I have the HP Print Smart app on my machine but I only use it when I want to check something. Call me a happy HP consumer.

  8. Marie Habbick

    I’ve had a Brother Laser All-in-one printer since 2012, monochrome. It never lets me down! I gave up long ago on ink jets. Waste of time and money …. I so seldom need something printed in color that it’s no issue for me. If I did, I think I would spring for a Laser color printer. Big bucks initially but a money saver in the long run.

  9. Kat

    After I stumbled through the same mousetrap-maze last year with my Canon MG7720 color printer, (purchased new in 2016 for $116 bucks), I finally figured out I needed a new printhead. (Price: $100.) Someone must have realized it was a GREAT printer & bought a large quantity, because even though manufacturing stopped in 2017/2018, the EXACT printer was being sold online (2022) for over $1100 dollars! After coughing up $$$ for ink 1x, I found an excellent source for replacement cartridges. So, if you gag & balk at ink replacements, take a look at LD Products. They have replacements & supplies for many brands. They are COMPATIBLE, inexpensive, & have never caused me or my printer any problems. Kat

  10. Richard McGraw

    I am with you Nora. I have used off-brand named cartridges for years with my Canon printer (5 years old) now that replace a 7-year-old Cannon printer and never had a problem. Knock on wood.


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