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The Inkjet Refill Debate

Cheryl from MI asks:

Should I buy those inkjet refills or budget inks?

You want to save some money by buying ink refills? Well, in general, I recommend not using refills.

They are probably OK for printers with ink nozzles that are NOT built into the cartridge (like Canon printers), but I would still be careful. The ink may not be the same quality as what you would get from the manufacturer, and therefore may cause harm to your printer.

If you are using an HP printer, typically the ink nozzle is built into the printer cartridge and is not meant to be run refill after refill. When you replace your ink cartridge, you also replace your old nozzle with a brand new one. This helps keep the print quality good (especially important if you’re trying to print out detailed stuff, like photographs).

Another point to consider is that when you bought your printer, you were probably looking at print quality. Why take a chance on compromising that print quality to save a few bucks?

Those budget ones you get UCE (“Uckie”—unsolicited commercial email) about aren’t that great either. Usually they are made with recycled ink. Better to spring for the factory stuff or a decent generic from your local office supply. I know we all want to save money, but I prefer good quality prints and longer printer life.

I know I’ll probably have tons of e-mail over this from people who refill their cartridges with no trouble – and good for them,by the way – but I get email all the time asking for my opinion.