Is Refilling Better than Buying New Printer Ink?
Some people have taken to the idea of refilling their ink cartridges for their printers rather than purchasing new ones. It's easy to see why they would consider doing so. For example, if you look at the ink cartridges HP produces for its printers, they can be a bit pricey for some models. Generally speaking, however, pricier HP ink cartridges – or pricier ink cartridges from any other manufacturer, for that matter – are usually high performance cartridges that are designed for demanding environments. If you're considering refilling, remember the following.
You'll want to keep in mind that the quality of the printing you get out of the cartridge that has been refilled is sometimes much less than you would get from a new cartridge. For example, HP ink that is fresh and from the manufacturer will also be in a new cartridge, rather than a cartridge that has been used already. Ink cartridges are plastic and they do wear out after a time. The material that holds the ink in a reservoir within the cartridge also wears out. This means that, for instance, if you purchase an HP 364 ink cartridge fresh from the manufacturer, it will likely have more ink in it than will an ink cartridge that has been refilled.
Colour ink cartridges can demonstrate some rather dramatic differences between refilled cartridges and new cartridges. If you're looking for cheap HP ink, for instance, you might be tempted to refill your colour cartridges. The problem with this is that colour rendering is a rather precise endeavour. An ink cartridge HP produces for colour imaging will have ink in it that has been tested to make certain that it renders colour appropriately relative to what the user sees on the screen. Refill ink is not necessarily the right kind of ink, even if it is of the same colour.
Because there are third-party cartridges that are very affordable, it's generally a better idea to purchase fresh ink for your printer. Aside from all the other issues that have already been mentioned, ink cartridges will get dirty with use. Recycling dusty, worn and otherwise contaminated equipment in your printer can potentially affect the longevity of the machine. Fresh cartridges will be clean, filled with ink and ready to go and you don't have to worry about whether or not there is as much ink in the cartridge as you think or performance issues in general.