Inkjet printers are found in almost every household that has a computer. While laser printers are thought to be superior, they are also much more expensive and tend to be more along the lines of “business” printers. That said, inkjet printers do a fine job at home and are wonderfully easy to work with. The downside to inkjet printers is that cartridges do not last very long. Depending upon how often you print, it is completely feasible to go through an ink cartridge in a very short amount of time. Coupled with the fact that ink cartridges can be very expensive to buy new, the inexpensive printer you thought you had can wind up costing you a fortune. That is, unless you learn to refill the cartridges yourself.
Just about any ink cartridge can be manually refilled. The idea is that instead of purchasing a brand new cartridge, you can purchase the toner alone and fill the cartridge that you already have. Many people swear by this method as it can save the user quite a bit of money. However, there are pros and cons to everything, and refilling your inkjet cartridges has plenty of them.
Let’s start with the pros. Perhaps the number one pro that can be said about filling your own ink cartridges is that it will save you a boat load of money. Toner itself costs a fraction of the price of a new cartridge, and if you are doing a lot of printing, this can be a very good thing. Many businesses that still print with inkjet printers will op to fill their own cartridges for this very reason as it saves on expenses more than just about any other move you can make.
Another pro to refilling your ink cartridges is that it puts you in control more so than if you were to just purchase already filled cartridges. Many people enjoy this feeling and also get quite a bit of satisfaction out of the do it yourself, hobby-like work that refilling ink actually entails. In some cases, this is reason alone to refill your ink cartridges.
Now let’s look at the cons. First of all, depending upon the cartridge you have, refilling can range from moderately-easy to quite difficult. In many cases, you will actually need a soldering iron to basically burn a hole through the cartridge in which you will refill the toner. This can turn a lot of people off, as it is extra work that they may not exactly want to do. As stated above, however, it can be enjoyable if you are a hobbyist, as it is similar to building a model in some ways.
The main problem with refilling your ink cartridges is that it is very difficult to get them filled to full capacity through this method. Often times you will think you’ve put as much toner into the cartridge as possible, only to find that your computer says it is only filled to half capacity. This can be very irritating to some folks, and reason alone to buy a brand new cartridge, as they will typically last longer than those that are refilled by hand.
Lastly, refilling your own ink cartridges can make an absolute mess if you aren’t careful. Toner is basically powdered ink, and it stains like crazy if you get it on material like clothing or carpets. Refilling must be done with extreme precision in order to make sure that the toner doesn’t leak out all over the ground. Also, if the job is not completed correctly, your cartridge may even leak toner inside the printer after you’ve replaced it, which can cause some fairly severe damage to the printer itself. If this occurs, you may need to have a professional deal with cleaning the machine out or your printouts will not be adequate.
To sum things up, there are many reasons to and to not refill your own ink cartridges. It really all comes down to what kind of person you are, where your priorities lay and what your finances look like. The best advice is to try refilling a cartridge once and see how you make out. If you enjoy it, you have a new hobby and can save some money. If it isn’t for you, you don’t ever have to do it again.