Bob Rankin: Should You Buy Discount Ink Cartridges?


By Bob Rankin

It’s hard to ignore the big price difference between OEM ink cartridges (an “original equipment” product supplied by HP, Canon, Epson Lexmark or another manufacturer) and the alternatives. Compatible off-brand cartridges or remanufactured inkjet printer cartridges typically cost 15 percent less than OEM cartridges at OfficeMax, Staples, and other physical stores.

Online, you may find discount ink cartridges costing 30 to 50 per cent less than brand-name goods. Nonetheless, many people hesitate to buy no-name or remanufactured ink cartridges.

There is a persistent rumor that using anything other than manufacturer branded OEM cartridges will void a printer’s warranty. That is not true, at least in the United States. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act (15 U.S.C.A. 2302) forbids the conditioning of a warranty upon the purchase of any product or service “which is identified by brand, trade or corporate name.” In other words, your printer’s warranty cannot be voided just because you used a non-OEM ink cartridge.

Whether an off-brand compatible or remanufactured discount ink cartridge will perform as well as an OEM cartridge depends, of course, on how well it is made. A fly-by-night outfit may use inferior inks that don’t produce vibrant, non-fading colors; skimp on cleaning print nozzles and other parts; and skip quality control testing to save money. Shoddy cartridges can leak and ruin the electronics of a printer.

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This excerpt is shared with permission from Bob Rankin.

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1 thought on “Bob Rankin: Should You Buy Discount Ink Cartridges?”

  1. I can appreciate your opinion on non OEM inks.
    I spend about $400 to $600 a month on inks and the only one I have found to be reliable and true to color is a place here in Baltimore. I have 3 printers 2 canon 1 HP and if I were to use OEM my costs would be twice of what I spend right now. I print color artworks and have tried many, with comparing them to the OEM and for the past 3 years, using this company, I have been totally satisfied. doing Giclee prints, I have to be really fussy with the outcome. And Yes, I do agree that 90% of the non OEM’s are not good, certainly not good enough to do Giclee printing..

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