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The price evolution of OEM INK Cartridges..!

Printer ink costs more than vintage champagne
By Charles Clover, Environment Editor

 Black Gold
  • Ink for home printers is seven times more expensive than vintage champagne and many cartridges say they are empty long before they are, according to an investigation by Which? magazine.

  • A typical replacement cartridge for a Hewlett Packard inkjet printer with a capacity of 17ml costs about £29. This works out at about £1.70 per millilitre, compared with 1985 Dom Perignon at 23p per millilitre. An Epson cartridge costs £21 and holds approximately 12ml of ink, putting it in the same league.

  • Many of the printers tested gave warnings that they were about to run out of ink long before they did. The Epson AcuLaser and Minolta Magicolor lasers said that new toner was needed just halfway through the cartridge's lifespan.

  • Embedded in Epson's ink cartridges are microchips that stop the printer working when the ink runs out. Which? found that by using a £20 tool, it was possible to reset the chips that were reporting themselves empty and to print 38 per cent more pages.

  • "Vintage champagne is hardly comparable," Jamie Gryce, of Hewlett Packard, said. "The consumer will have to consider quality, versatility and ease of use when buying our products."

  • Iain Fryer, of Epson Europe, said: "Our new general-purpose printers will have separate cartridges for each colour - so you don't throw away a colour when one has run out. We are also moving over to low-cost or bulk-capacity cartridges.

About 5 to 7 years ago, HP (and every other brand) cartridges were rather large in comparison to their contemporaries. The cost per ml of ink it held was in the USD $0.50 to $0.80 range. These days the ink cost for new cartridges is close to USD $3.00 per ml.

The ink volume in inkjet cartridges has changed gradually over time, but in the last few years, rather dramatically. Cartridge size has been shrinking yearly and applies to all printer manufacturers. The retail price however, has not decreased at the same rate. We have seen a general shrinking in the size of black HP cartridges, from 42ml to 28ml to 25ml to 19ml to 11ml to 10ml to now 5 ml of ink in each cartridge (a few models contain a little more ink).

True, now some cartridge models currently contain a little more ink and are known as "high capacity" but in general the smaller ink volume trend is clear. The price has not decreased equally when comparing to the reduction of ink, so you end up paying 2 to 4 times more per printed sheet of paper.

 Ink-Jet Cartridge Ink Costs More Than Human Blood...

This shoking graph compares the price of ink-jet cartridge ink to other various fluids, some bodily in nature.

The calculation was based on an HP45 black ink cartridge costing around $30 USD and containing around 42ml of black ink, giving a price per ml of USD $0.71/ml (In Litres USD $710/Lt). Meanwhile, blood apparently costs $200 for 500ml from the Red Cross, pricing out to $0.40/ml. The other liquids where done on the same basis.

This study goes back a few years as the HP 45 is discontinued, but this study still holds true today with an even more astouding discovery that modern ink cartridges only have around 5ml of ink and the cost per ml shoots up to aroun USD $3.00/ml (i.e. USD $3000.00/Lt).