Which cheap printer ink is best?

If your business relies upon printing thousands upon thousands of documents, you are all too aware of just how painfully expensive printer ink can be. Despite essentially being nothing more than water and glorified food dye, printer ink can be more expensive than gold, so don’t get fooled into paying more than you reasonably should. By ditching your expensive factory bought ink cartridges and going with a Canon PGI-280 XXL Pigment Black Ink Tank that’s compatible with a wide range of models, you can enjoy sharply defined text without breaking your budget. 

What to know before you buy cheap printer ink

Consider your brand of printer if you want cheap printer ink

To elaborate on just how expensive printer ink can be, a 2013 analysis from Consumer Reports found that printer ink was more expensive by the gallon than champagne and more costly by weight than Russian caviar. Unless you happen to have an ample printing budget, you should consider purchasing a printer that can accept cheap printer ink without significant issues.

For example, some more cost-friendly manufacturers include Epson, HP, Canon and the lesser-known Brother InkVestment brand of printers. When compared to the vast majority of other inkjet printers on the market, these four companies offer units that work well with both OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and aftermarket inks to help you cut costs.

Go with ink that offers low cost-per-page ratios and sufficient supplies

Given that you are most likely in the best place to determine whether a given brand of printer ink is affordable, you need to determine your overall cost per page before seeing if savings can be made. In order to determine your cost-per-page ratio, you will need to divide the price of the cartridge by its overall page yield (the overall number of pages a cartridge can print). 

As an example, if a cartridge of cheap printer ink can produce at least a thousand pages at a cost of $13 per refill, each page will only cost a little more than a single cent. However, if you normally need to print at least 3,000 pages of documents a month, you will find that one cartridge is an insufficient amount of ink. In order to avoid paying too much for printer ink, a little bit of math can save you an awful lot of money.

Help balance the budget working from home, in college or for business

Many individuals, such as students and office workers, find themselves unable to rely upon office or library printers to accomplish their work, assignments and other printing needs. 

Since the purchase of a printer of suitable quality for a home office can be somewhat expensive, there is no reason to burden yourself with ridiculously costly ink replacements. Thankfully for you, the selected models of cheap printer ink will ensure that you can enjoy hundreds and thousands of quality prints without breaking the bank.

What to look for in a quality cheap printer ink

When it comes to cheap printer ink, cartridge size matters

While it may be fairly obvious that larger printer cartridges tend to hold larger amounts of ink, you should absolutely look for ink refills that come in either XL or high-yield options. For those who are unfamiliar, users can print roughly double the standard amount of documents that are capable of being produced by a conventional cartridge with high-yield cartridges.

As mentioned previously, your decision to acquire a printer capable of using such larger cartridges is a key factor in reducing your overall cost of printer ink. Before you get locked into expensive factory-produced ink replacements, you should always check whether your preferred model is capable of accepting high-yield cartridges.

Remanufactured and otherwise compatible ink cartridges are ideal

Since the production, usage and distribution of printer ink is such a closely guarded and developed industry secret, you might have heard a lot about how aftermarket cartridges will cause endless problems for your printer. While you should always observe the wisdom of “let the buyer beware” when shopping for cheap printer ink, learning a little more about other types of cartridges could be well worth your trouble.

As their name implies, remanufactured cartridges are assembled using genuine component parts that are refilled and recycled after an inspection process, wherein compatible cartridges are closer to aftermarket car parts. Since both types of cartridges are specifically made to be compatible with your given printer, using them can save you considerable amounts of money.

Do you need a color printer or can you get away with monochrome?

While it’s always nice to have and not need than need and not have, you should carefully consider whether you actually need a color printer or whether black and white would be sufficient. While all printer ink is certainly expensive, colored ink tends to be that much more pricey than conventional black ink.

Thankfully for you, many manufacturers of both color and monochrome printers offer deals like low-priced subscription services or bulk discounts on orders of ink. Regardless of your particular purchase plan, unless you happen to be regularly pumping out copies of color photos, there is a decent chance you can get away with a monochrome model.

How much you can expect to spend on cheap printer ink

Depending on the brand and the overall amount of ink, cheap printer ink can cost between $13- $41.

Best cheap printer ink FAQ

Why is printer ink so ridiculously expensive?

A. The explanation given by printing manufacturers is the amount of research and development that is supposedly gone into the development of printer ink. Whether or not this is true, printer companies sell their devices chiefly with the intention of making money off your ink purchases in the long run.

How long will a cheap printer ink cartridge last in storage?

A. Assuming that the cartridge has been stored in the original packaging and in a safe location, it is reasonable to expect the cartridge to last at least two to three years before drying out.

What’s the best cheap printer ink to buy?

Top cheap printer ink

Canon PGI-280 XXL Pigment Black Ink Tank

Canon PGI-280 XXL Pigment Black Ink Tank

What you need to know: An excellent cheap printer ink cartridge that is compatible with many models of printers.

What you’ll love: This unit features exclusive free access to Creative Park Premium content, and it delivers excellent performance while extending time between refills. In addition, this unit is compatible with a wide variety of PIXMA printers.

What you should consider: Some users have reported issues with the cartridge properly distributing ink and causing leaks.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top cheap printer ink for the money

EPSON T522 EcoTank Ink Ultra-high Capacity Bottle Black (T522120-S) for Select Epson EcoTank Printers

EPSON T522 EcoTank Ink Ultra-high Capacity Bottle Black (T522120-S) for Select Epson EcoTank Printers

What you need to know: Extremely affordable cheap printer ink cartridges from the Epson company itself.

What you’ll love: This unit features up to 80% savings with ink bottles vs. the cost of ink cartridges and it provides reliable performance and results. In addition, the product contains genuine ink from the Epson company to ensure full compatibility.

What you should consider: Some users have reported issues with having to buy black ink separately.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

HaloFox Remanufactured Ink Cartridge Replacement for HP 952 XL 952XL with Updated Chips for HP OfficeJet Pro

HaloFox Remanufactured Ink Cartridge Replacement for HP 952 XL 952XL with Updated Chips for HP OfficeJet Pro

What you need to know: A remanufactured cartridge of cheap printer ink compatible with many types of HP printer.

What you’ll love: This unit features genuine recycled HP printer cartridge parts, including chips to ensure compatibility with a wide range of HP and HP Office Jet Pro printers. In addition, users can expect up to 2,000 pages per black cartridge and up to 1,600 pages per color cartridge. 

What you should consider: Some users have reported issues with the cartridges failing after a few dozen prints.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Daniel Martin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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