OK we have all done it. Bought a cheap inkjet printer after seeing a too good to miss deal. But the cost of the printer is only the beginning. When you go to buy replacement ink cartridges that is where the trouble really starts.

Inkjet Scandal

Cheap As Chips

The costs of inkjet printers is now stupidly low. With models like the Epson SX130 available at just £24 and the Canon Pixma MP250 at £49 why would you stop to think before buying one? Well you should! Have you ever wondered how the manufacturers can make money from such low prices? Well the answer is they don’t. The profits come from the ink you buy afterwards.

Sales Trick

Some printers even come with a set of ink cartridges to make the deal seem even better, but beware! These items are often starter cartridges which are only partially filled and so after you have printed just a few pages off you go to buy some more!

The Cost of Ink

Ink cartridges vary greatly in cost. A set for the afore-mentioned Epsom SX130 are roughly £32, yes that is more than the printer cost in the first place and so it is tempting to just run out and buy another printer. A set for the Canon MP250 are about £20 still nearly half the cost of the printer but surely better value. Here’s the thing, quite often the cheapest printers have the most expensive cartridges. No surprise there then! It is quite likely that by purchasing a more expensive printer to start with you will ultimately save money. Ink can cost north of £1000 per litre, it makes petrol look cheap!


So how do select the best printer for you? Firstly it depends how much printing you do. The higher your usage the more important the cost of the ink is as opposed to the cost of the equipment. Be careful about checking out the capacity of ink cartridges, they are not all the same size. Smaller cartridges produce less prints. Also check online surveys to find out how much ink the printer uses, some are thirstier than others. Combined black and color cartridges can also be a problem as once one part has run out the other part is wasted.

Helpful Hints

There are some other ways to limit your costs. Obviously compare the price of ink across several retailers, prices can vary considerably. Consider compatible cartridges which are cheaper than the manufacturers’ own but be aware that some printers block the use of compatible products. Consider a printer that affords the use of high capacity cartridges. These are usually marked XL and, although more expensive, give you more prints and can be better value. Think about using a lower resolution for printing where quality is not important and use grey instead of black where you can.


The real cost of printers varies dramatically. It is a pain but in order to get the best deal you will need to do your research and the information is not always easy to find, but it will be worth the effort. Recent surveys have shown that the lifetime cost of an inkjet printer with average usage can vary from under £500 to over £1100. You could make a very expensive mistake.printing screen


Finding a great online retailer such as Cartridges Direct UK can really help you save some money.  Cartridges Direct UK not only stock official ink cartridges but also re-manufactured cartridges like Canon mp250 ink, all at excellent prices.  In addition to these types, Cartridges Direct UK also have available XL high capacity ink cartridges for selected printer models, a further way to save cash when looking to top up your ink levels.