Do you change printer ink when you're told? If so, it's costing you

Summary:A superb bit of gadgety investigative work done by PC World reveals that if you listen when your printer tells you you're out of ink, you may be wasting up to 40 percent of the cartridge.Wondering just how far a user can push it when it comes to ink, PC World weighed new catridges and compared them to the weight of cartridges that the printer considered "spent" -- the point when the printer actually shut down, after preliminary warnings appear.

Inkblot Skull
A superb bit of gadgety investigative work done by PC World reveals that if you listen when your printer tells you you're out of ink, you may be wasting up to 40 percent of the cartridge.

Wondering just how far a user can push it when it comes to ink, PC World weighed new catridges and compared them to the weight of cartridges that the printer considered "spent" -- the point when the printer actually shut down, after preliminary warnings appear. By calculating the remaining ink weight, they found that a Canon Pixma MP610 left 24 percent of an OEM's catridge's ink unused.

What's worse, using an aftermarket G&G cartridge, the Canon printer shut down with nearly 45 percent of the ink left.

Canon wasn't the only company/printer tested. Here's the breakdown:

Canon Pixma MP610: OEM - 24 percent unused; aftermarket - 45 percent unused.

Epson RX680: OEM - 8 percent; aftermarket - 41 percent.

HP Photosmart C5280: N/A (didn't shut down - ever.)

Kodak EasyShare 5300: OEM - 43 percent; aftermarket - 36 percent.

The bottom line? Watch for page yield figures rather than amount of ink left to accurately gauge how much you're getting for your money's worth. Amusingly, none of the companies in the test disputed the findings - only gave a list of reasons for the disparity.

Do you comply when the printer demands a new cartridge? Do you refill your own cartridges? Tell us how you save money printing in TalkBack.

In the meantime, I'll be printing on my Samsung ML-3051ND laser printer...until it won't print no more.

Topics: Hardware, Printers

About

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.