Why You Shouldn't Refill Your Ink And Toner

JAMES CAI | Aug 01, 2017

Why You Shouldn’t Refill Your Ink And Toner


Let me guess.


You’re not excited about the hefty price of replacement ink cartridges. Ink from an OEM cartridge costs on average $3,482 per gallon!


There aren’t many liquids on the entire planet that are this expensive.


To give you an idea of just how much money ink can set you back, that’s the equivalent of 387 gallons of gas.


Shocking, right?


It’s likely that you’ve considered a more budget friendly option that can fulfill your printing needs.


For many people, refilling their own inkjet cartridges is that solution.  


The benefits are undeniable. Inkjet refill kits are cost effective and very convenient. If you have significant printing needs and don’t have time time to make it to a store, refill kits are a good option.


There are the major benefits of refilling your cartridges yourself. They sound convincing enough, but these advantages don’t tell the whole story.


The kicker is, there are just as many downsides, if not more.


Do the cons cancel out the pros?


Let’s explore.  


If you’re considering refilling your cartridges, consider these disadvantages:

1. Refilling your inkjet cartridges is insanely messy.


It sounds like a surface problem, but is it?

Ink is a rich pigment that can do some real damage to your property. It if were to get spattered on your belongings, the cleaning process would land you with a hefty bill.


Of course, you can always take precautions by placing protective coverings on your surfaces. If you don’t mind that extra hassle, then the mess won’t be a problem for you.

2. Inkjet refill kits are time-consuming.


Taking precautions for the mess coupled with the refill process will set you back some time.


How much time?


It depends on how competent you are in the process.


It’s worth noting that compared to toner refills, inkjet refills take way less time.


In any event, it will still consume some of your day.


Naturally, this won’t be a problem for everyone. If you’re trying to save on cartridge costs, this may very well be an efficient use of your time.


But if you’re someone who has a dollar value on your hours, this may not be what you want to spend it on.

3. Inkjet refill kits can be complicated, technical, and prone to error.


It’s a technical process to refill your cartridges by hand without the help of a professional.


This means that there’s a lot of room for mistakes to be made.


If the cartridge is not sealed and inserted correctly, it will affect the way that the printer distributes the ink on a page.


If you were to go to an ink supply store to get your cartridge refilled, the process would be a bit different.


They would typically check for parts that are no longer functional and replace them if necessary.


You may not have the trained eye to determine that.


In that case, it’s worth considering if you want to go through the hassle of refilling your cartridges.

4. Ink cartridges are not as simple as they use to be.  


This is a real problem to consider.  


More complexity means more potential for mishaps.  


As cartridges are now manufactured with more intricacy, refill kits have also become a bit more particular.


Why the evolution?


Some people speculate that manufacturers want to hinder consumers from refilling their own cartridges.


After all, it cuts into their bottom line.


What are some of the changes that have taken effect?


Well, cartridges now have specialized digital chips that may cause the printer’s firmware to get pesky. The purpose of the chip is to keep track of ink levels.


The problem is, when your cartridge empties out, the chip automatically sets to “empty.” This means that some printers won’t accept your refilled cartridges because that setting will still be there by default.


Also, these chips also keep track of incompatible cartridges by taking a note of the unique serial number on each cartridge.


If that number is repeated, your cartridge may be rejected.  


There are, however, a few solutions.


You can either:


  1. Purchase a replacement computer chip that won’t get in the way of you using refilled cartridges


  1. Purchase an electronic tool which changes the settings on the cartridge chip. Instead of showing up as “empty,” it will read as “full.” This will allow you to use your refilled cartridges.


So while there are solutions, you need to consider the extra cost and hassle of putting them into use.

5. DIY refill kits put unnecessary risk on your printer


Printer damage is not uncommon with refilled cartridges.


When you refill your cartridge, you have to pour the ink into an opening at the top of the cartridge.


If that opening isn’t sealed completely airtight, you risk ink being leaked into your printer. If you printer head gets clogged, you’re putting extra wear on your device.


To top it off, damage caused by refilled cartridges may void the warranty on your printer.


Before you decide to refill your own cartridges, consider whether it’s worth your printer having a malfunction.

6. Refill kits provide a lower quality ink job


That’s a given.


There’s a reason by refill kits cost less. They won’t give you the same quality print job as OEM cartridge.


Why?


The ink in refill kits is usually sourced from a third party supplier. More often than not, that ink will be of a low grade.


Now, you may decide that faded ink, and a few blobs of ink on your paper may not be a problem.


If you’re only handling regular print jobs for your personal use, it’s not that big of a deal.


However, if you constantly have to print business documents, presentations, and other high-resolution documents, it will be a problem.

Should you refill your own cartridges?


If the downsides listed in this article don’t phase you, then go ahead.


But if these problems are more trouble than they’re worth, you may want to consider another a solution.


There are other ways to save money on ink without having to deal with these annoying issues.


Need some ideas?


Here’s what you can do:


  • Purchase compatible and remanufactured cartridges. These are cheaper than OEM cartridges but far more reliable than refill kits.

  • Take your cartridges to an ink supply store to be refilled by a professional. It takes the convenience out of it but at least, you’ll have a better refill job.

  • Purchase unused recycled OEM cartridges from a third party. Individuals, as well as companies, have quality ink supplies that they’d love to get off their hands at a competitive price.


Now that you understand both the pros and cons of do-it-yourself refill kits, the decision is yours.


You can always use the alternatives above if you decide that the downsides aren’t worth your time and money.