Why Printer Ink Is So Expensive?

If you value it by drops, printer inks are amongst the costliest liquids in the world. They cost even more than some of the premium champagne brands. This is especially true for ink used in inkjet printers. If you own an inkjet printer, you will know how costly it could be to buy new ink cartridges. It’s always a scary moment when the printer starts flashing the ‘low ink’ warning message on the screen. If you are wondering why printer ink is so expensive, here are some possible reasons.

High-end engineering – If you ask printer manufacturing companies, they will tell you that printing technology involves hi-tech engineering. Millions of dollars are spent in developing the right type of ink. The print head of inkjet printers squirts out ink at thousands of drops per second with superb accuracy. Moreover, it does this with four ink colors simultaneously.

The nozzle of the print head is around one-third the size of human hair, so the ink really needs to be free flowing. While it’s inside the cartridge, the ink should not dry up and when it’s squirted on the printing paper, it has to dry out almost instantly. This is why developing the right consistency of printer ink requires millions of dollars of investment in R&D. Eventually, its customers who have to pay for the advanced engineering involved in printers and printer ink.

Razor and blades model – Some people argue that printer manufacturing companies follow the razor and blades business model. You sell a razor to someone at cheap rates and then make them permanent customers for the blades. Similarly, companies sell inkjet printers to customers at affordable rates and then make them pay huge amounts for new ink cartridges. If you have been an inkjet printer user for long, you will mostly agree with the razor and blades theory.

To protect the environment – If printer ink was cheap, people would obviously be printing a lot more than they do now. This might lead to wastage of paper, creating an environment issue. It is argued that by charging more for ink cartridges, manufacturers are actually helping reduce paper wastage. However, it’s difficult to determine if this argument is really true. But it’s possible, nonetheless.

Before buying a printer, you should consider not just the cost of the printer, but also the cost of new ink cartridges. Many people go for ink cartridge refills from local shops, but the print quality with these is usually not as good as the original ink. The other option is to choose inktank printers that have much lower cost of printing per page. However, you will have to pay a higher initial amount when you choose inktank printers.

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