It’s not your imagination: printers really do tell you to replace your ink cartridge long before they are out. Sometimes it is weeks ahead, sometimes months. We have experienced it with both ink jet and laser printers.

PC World magazine recently also ran tests on this subject. They discovered that printers tended to give “out of ink” messages when they still had anywhere from 8-45 percent of their ink remaining. A Canon MP610 inkjet shut down with 24 percent of its ink still remaining in the official Canon cartridge. Using a cartridge made by LD Products, a third party supplier – meaning not from Canon, the tests found that 45 percent of the ink remained. We once used a Konica Minolta laser printer for three months after getting an “out of ink” warning.

Why do printer makers do this? Because, as serial bank robber Willy Sutton once said to a judge who asked him why he kept robbing banks: “Well, your Honor, that’s where the money is.” If you add up the tiny amounts in cartridges, liquid printer ink will cost you about $5,000 a gallon. In ordinary business use, printer ink replacements will cost nearly a thousand dollars over a three year period, making the low initial cost of the printer itself a trivial consideration. Replacement ink cartridges are so profitable to some companies that just a few years ago they accounted for all of Hewlett Packard’s profit. It still accounts for most of the company’s profit, making Hewlett Packard primarily an ink company.

On the plus side, Hewlett Packard (H-P) inkjets fared best in using nearly all of their cartridge contents. On the minus side, their laser printers fared worst in tests in the emission of fine particles, according to a study by the Queensland University of Technology in Australia. Twelve of the 13 printers with the highest levels of fine particle emissions were made by H-P. The company so dominates the printer market, however, that 18 of the 22 models that emit no particles, were also made by H-P. You can get a list of all makes and models at The H-P’s spokes-people have said there is no significance to whether or not a printer emits fine particles but numerous studies have found that such particles seem to be linked to a number of health problems. A search on the Web found several sites with commentary on printer emissions and even had a video on the subject from the Canadian Broadcasting Company.

One Response to “THINKING ABOUT INK”

  1. Thank you for the great article post. I agree about it, this is a very informative information on printers and using the cartridge ink. Hope to hear from you soon. Cheers.