Buying replacement ink for your printer? You should know the difference between “OEM” and “non-OEM” ink. Essentially OEM comes directly from the original manufacturer, and “non-OEM” is the generic equivalent. Here’s a full explanation:
So, What is OEM ink?
OEM stands for “original equipment manufacturer.” It’s just a fancy and confusing way of saying that it is “genuine brand name ink.”
OEM ink comes directly from manufacturers like Canon, HP, and Epson. OEM ink is always more expensive than it’s “non-OEM” equivalent.
Then, what is a “non-OEM” ink cartridge?
A non-OEM ink product is a generic, or “compatible” version.
Compatible ink is essentially ink or toner manufactured by a third party that is designed to work with specific printers. The concept is very similar to that of generic drugs, as name brand compatible ink is much cheaper than what is known as name brand “OEM” ink.
Compatible ink has been a thorn in the side of big brand names like Canon and Lexmark, as it has grown to a multi-billion dollar business; commanding about 25% of the replacement ink and toner market. This has spurred a number of lawsuits from large brands claiming copyright infringement and unfair competition against companies like 123inkjets and 4inkjets.
The result of a 2007 lawsuit against 123inkjets brought by Epson reaffirmed that these “compatible” inkjet cartridges must be labeled as such (or as refilled, or remanufactured) so as not imply that they are being sold or endorsed by the original company. It also restated that a number of regulations be enforced against compatible ink including manufacturing, quality, and import laws.
How is compatible ink different than recycled ink?
The two products are actually similar in a lot of respects, but the main difference is that compatible inkjets are made with all new parts and materials, whereas recycled, refilled or remanufactured” ink is sold in the reused containers of name brand ink.
10% off + free shipping at 4inkjets.com!
Reusing these mostly plastic containers allows purveyors of recycled ink to make the claim that their product is friendly for the environment.
Is Generic (Compatible) ink as good of a quality as name brand ink?
Most third party tests show little difference between compatible and OEM ink, but there is debate among some customers as to whether they are equals.
Although most compatible ink performs to high quality standards, (known as iso 9001 standards) a number of the negative reviews that I have found claim that the color prints and copies from compatible ink are not as bright and durable as OEM inkjets and toners.
OEM Ink: Our conclusion
I think that it is a personal choice whether to buy name brand or compatible ink the same way there is often a choice between name brand and generic at the drugstore. If you are printing photographs or high quality glossy images, I think you should lean towards paying extra for the real McCoy, aka, “OEM,” even though they are excluded from coupons.
If you are like me and mostly print out things that won’t be scrutinized for quality, you should lean towards the cheaper compatible inkjet alternative.
Also, if you run a small business or print a large volume of pages each month, the cost difference becomes more of a factor, as that 20-50% that you save with generic ink could mean hundreds of dollars.
Vistaprint Postcards – My Real Review + Today’s Best Coupon: If you are looking to use postcards as part of your marketing strategy, you might want to consider Vistaprint. They have some of the best pricing & highest quality custom postcards, and when you use a coupon you save significantly more.
Vistaprint Postcards for Marketing? Here’s My Review:
I’m building an online shop to sell t-shirts and posters, and looking to stretch my advertising dollars wherever possible. So, I saw the recent promotion from Vistaprint offering 50 small (4×6) postcards at 25% off. This lowered the price to only $8 + shipping, so I had to give this a try!
Postcards for marketing: An important factor that led me to postcards in the first place is that I’m looking at a relatively small profit margin from any t-shirt sales that I make. If each sale nets $5 in profit, I have to be careful where I spend my money.
Postcards for Profit: The other use I’m getting out of these cheap little postcards is to print my artwork on them and resell them as small “prints.” The quality is good enough to do so, and while they only cost me a quarter each to print, I can resell them for $3 each. Not a bad profit margin!
*Tip: If you want to read more reviews, there are actually customer reviews under every popular product, including postcards, at Vistaprint.com. These aren’t filtered, either, as some of the reviews are negative.
50 Postcards for Under 20 Cents each!? Even Cheaper When You Buy More – My REVIEW
In the last few years there has been a mad rush to spend advertising money online through sites like Google Adwords and Facebook. This is certainly understandable, as never before has technology allowed you to target niches of people online so quickly and easily. So, is there still a place in the marketing world for the barbarous relic that we call the postcard? Of course!
So, before Igo on, here’s my review: These look great and have me really excited about their potential uses. The annoying thing was that none of their postcard sizes (small, standard, or oversized) corresponded to the proportions of my design, so I had to take some off the top.
I chose a matte finish to make these postcards look vintage (the glossy finish would spoil that effect) and I chose small, 4×6 size so that they could fit in a standard frame. (more on that below)
You can cut the cost per piece in half pretty quickly if you are ordering a large number, but for my purposes I’m estimating their cost at about a quarter each, including shipping, as I’m only printing 50. Ok, I have these great cheap postcards, now let’s put them to use!
Vistaprint: People Like Holding Things Like Postcards, Dollar Bills, & Coupons (And Baby Bunnies!)
Here we are in the 21st Century, but still not lost in a world of virtual reality, or even virtual currencies. Even though digital money makes more sense than costly paper and metal currency, we still use it. Not only that, but the value of gold and silver has risen steadily since the invention and popularity of the internet.
This is because there is still great value in things that are tangible. Even though a Google ad serves a valuable purpose, it is not tangible, and disappears into the ether the moment you click, or move on to a different page.You’d also think that with the wide-spread use of of smartphones we could stop chopping down trees to print coupons, right?
Nope, people use those annoying coupon mailers you get every month because they are tangible. You just can’t replace that quality. Try petting a photo of a baby bunny on your iPhone… See, it’s not the same as the real thing!
So, let’s see how we can use this old-fashioned marketing medium in today’s digital world.
Vistaprint Postcards: Tack Them Up, Mail Them, or Hand Them Out
(Not to be confused with “smack it up, flip it, rub it down!” lyrics for “Do Me, Baby”) Since I’m only printing 50 postcards and investing about $15 here (including shipping), I can’t afford to festoon entire cities with my postcards. But, let’s see if I can make that meager $15 a good investment.
First, I’m going to tack one of these postcards on every free bulletin board in town. There’s one at Starbucks, the local library, pizza place, and hardware store, which happens to be next to a PetSmart. I figure a lot of people will see these postcards, so ideally the web address of my online store would be prominent on the front.
That may have been my first mistake, but I did print the back of the postcard for an extra $2.25 as well, (see below) prominently showing my URL. In this case, I figure if someone likes the design on my postcard enough to take it off the bulletin board and home with them, they are at least going to check out my website. At a cost of about a quarter per postcard (the same price I was paying for a click from Google) this isn’t a bad option.
Idea: Consider framing & Selling The 4×6 or 5×7 Sized Vistaprint Postcards of Your Art, Designs, or Photos
The postcards I had printed through vistaprint.com are nice enough to frame, or sell on their own. There is no annoying Vistaprint logo on the back, (like Shutterfly has) so, as a customer these look more like “small prints” than “postcards. At a cost of a quarter each, you have nice room for a profit margin, even if you sell them for $1 each.
If you are at a trade show or event, you can frame one or more of these postcards, as they are a standard 4×6” size.
If you print your artwork on them, it’s almost like a little handbill like the ones they used to give out for concerts. Add a cheap black (wood?) 4×6” or 5×7” frame from your local Michael’s store, and the framed postcard might only be a total investment of $5 or so.
Their oversized postcards are at a 8×5 x 5.5 size, so while they are great as a “print”, framing them may be annoying at this non-standard size.
I’ll bet that as an artist or photographer you could easily resell a framed postcard of your art or photos for $10 each! I imagine if you are paying to have a little space as an artist in a market somewhere this is actually a pretty good option for selling your designs. Vistaprint lets you choose the finish of the postcards, so you can decide on matte or glossy during the design / checkout process.
If you don’t want to resell these postcards, then at least display one of the framed ones for people to look at.
A small “postcard” of your design(s) would be a welcome, low cost addition to any Etsy store as well. Maybe your full-size prints are $20, but these can be added to an order for $2 each. Or, have a lot of them printed, and sell them as “postcards” in groups of 6 or more.
Idea: Vistaprint Postcards as Leave Behinds
(that’s my attention-grabbing back of the postcards; you know, like everyone rallying for Chairman Meow?) I have a framed poster up at a local coffee shop, so I’m going to leave about 20 of these postcards on the little table next to where my artwork hangs, along with some of Vistaprint’s free business cards coupon. This way, people interested in my poster can take something tangible home with them to check out the URL. We all have short attention spans, so with a business card or postcard they won’t forget to go checkout my shop.
Once again, the postcards are about a quarter each, so I feel good that at least 1 in 20-30 people who takes one will buy something from my site. Actually, the investment looks better on paper for the cheap or free business cards, (only 3 cents each) so I can leave a hundred of those behind and feel even better. If you want to leave a stack of postcards somewhere, I suggest printing many more than 50 to bring the price per piece down. Otherwise, at 20 cents each your return on investment may be too low. Here’s some postcard design ideas on Pinterest.
Be sure to use a coupons or promo code towards postcards!
Never place an order at vistaprint.com without looking for a good coupon or promotional link! There is currently an ongoing marketing sale on Vistaprint’s coupon page that applies a 25% discount towards any postcard order. There is also a site-wide promotion for new customers that offers 20% off + free shipping on your first order. (free delivery requires a minimum order size)
Inexpensive Custom Flyers from Vistaprint: Marketing flyers are like the infantry of the marketing world; simply getting the job done without glamour. Whether you’re advertising a coupon for your beauty salon, an upcoming concert, or letting the neighborhood know about a new house for sale, flyers can get the job done. Here are the best Vistaprint flyer coupons available:
Inexpensive Marketing Flyers from Vistaprint: Spreading the Word
While technology has changed vastly in the last couple of decades, nothing has replaced the effectiveness of getting something into people’s hands. We’re still tactile learners and observers, and while we can ignore over 99% of banner ads online, we usually notice postcard-sized ads that are handed to us or appear in our mailbox.
That’s where flyers can help; they are an inexpensive, versatile form of marketing that has passed the test of time.
Vistaprint Flyers: 101 Marketing Uses:
Vistaprint real estate flyers
Should flyers be a part of your small business marketing plan? If you are a brick and mortar business or restaurant owner, you’ve probably had to step up your marketing efforts in recent years. Not only do you need to focus on social media and customer reviews like never before, but if a site like Amazon sells similar products, you’re going to have to separate yourself from the crowd.
sample flyer design vistaprint
Here Are Vistaprint’s Flyer Sizes
There are 5 flyer sizes available including:
Quarter Page Flyers: At 5.47″ x 4.21″ this is the most popular size of flyers. Great for handouts, you can distribute these small flyers in high-volume
Half Page Flyers – (8.52″ x 5.47″) Great for special events, sales, coupons, this size of flyer can really attract attention
Long Flyers – (3.74″ x 8.27″) Use for menus, price lists, or promotional take-aways
Full Page Flyers – At 8.5″ x11″, these large flyers are the size of a standard cheet of paper. Leave these on the counter, or tack one up to a bulletin board
Infamous bed bath beyond flyer coupon
Some popular uses for flyers:
Flyer Coupons – Give potential customers an incentive to come to your store, and the satisfaction of saving money. A majority of consumers say they are more likely to make a purchase if they have a coupon, so use flyers to create new customers, or bring back those who you haven’t seen in a while
Restaurant Special Promotions – Two words: happy hour. Ok, beyond that, flyers are a great way to advertise specials, events, and music at your restaurant or store
Realtor / Real Estate Flyers: A great way to for realtors to promote themselves and houses for sale or recent sales
Holiday or Seasonal Event Flyers – In December hundreds of people are wandering around town like Capitalist zombies, looking for a reason to part with their money. Use flyers to get on their radar, and get them excited about what you are offering this season
Community Event Flyers – You don’t have to be selling something to mail or give out Vistaprint flyers. Pass them out or leave a stack of them at schools, events, or even the public library. As Princess Anna once said, “Why have a ballroom with no balls?” Flyers help give balls to your marketing campaign!
Trade Show Flyers – Trade shows are a whirlwind couple of hours; make sure potential customers have something in their hands of yours when they leave so they don’t forget you
Advertise a Competition – Generate interest in your business with a competition or contest. *Tip: While a costume contest for Halloween is a fun idea for a restaurant, nix the idea of a pie-eating contest in your barber shop or funeral home. It’s just not in good taste
Promote a Party or Concert – Are the kids still having raves these days? How about sock-hops? Are those still cool? Whatever rhythmic ceremonial ritual you’re hosting, consider advertising it with Vistaprint flyers
OK, so which Coupon for Flyers is Best?
If you are considering placing an order for flyers at vistaprint.com, definitely take a couple of minutes to find the best available coupon or promo code. There is always a promotion that includes flyers, so consider site-wide promotions as well as flyer-specific coupons.
New Customer? Consider the Free Shipping Promotion for Your Flyers
Vistaprint reserves their best coupons for new customers, so look to get both a percentage discount andfree shipping on your first order. You’ll probably have to meet a minimum order size for free delivery, but it’s usually only about $50. Most serious orders of flyers can easily exceed that.
Vistaprint Flyers: Bad Reviews?
In reading through the many reviews for Vistaprint flyers, there were two complaints that seemed to be most common:
Photo(s) are blurry – Make sure you use high resolution photos on your flyers. Photo’s taken with your own camera should be imported at full size; probably at least several hundred “k” in file size each, and very sharp
Photos are dark – While most customers report a product that looks the same as the preview, a number of reviews say that the images in the printed flyer are darker than expected. Not a bad idea to brighten your images slightly before uploading
Note: Customers who did post bad reviews of flyers on Vistaprint.com were offered a credit on their account for the entire purchase, giving them a second chance to get it right.
Printer ink price per ounce is insane: Do you realize just how much name brand printer ink costs?
“very elegant on the palate, with rich, ripe but tightly wound cassis and chocolately flavors nicely framed by silky tannins. Finishes lively, floral and long…”
Ah, yes; Chateau Petrus, which has a reputation for being one of the best, and most expensive vintages of wine available.
In fact, silly humans can pre-order a bottle of it for about $1600 online, although don’t plan on bringing it to dinner next Friday night (to compliment Mom’s meatloaf?) as it might not ship for a few months.
“Wow, I would never splurge on something that decadent,” you say! Something so extravagant is surely only bought by fat cats who wear monocles and light their cigars with $100 bills, right?
Name Brand Printer Ink Can Cost $70 Per Ounce!
Actually, depending on how you price it, you might already be buying something just as lavish. As you can see in the graphic above, the price per ounce of printer ink is actually more than this legendary wine.
For the more expensive name brand inks, you could be looking at over $70 per oz.! (and, it doesn’t have a lively, floral finish)
Printer Ink: The Most Expensive Liquid You’ll Ever Buy?
Anyway, the point being illustrated here is that printer ink is probably the most expensive liquid that you are ever going to buy.
Companies like Epson, HP, and Canon are willing to actually take a loss when they sell you the printer itself, because when you need replacement ink, they know you’ll be back. (This is the same business model as the razor industry, which is built on you needing replacement blades.)
Stick it to The Man, Buy Generic Ink Instead
One way to stick it to The Man is to consider opting for “name brand compatible printer ink,”(aka “generic”) which can cost less than half as much as the “OEM” genuine ink. The market for it keeps growing, and it has become a billion dollar industry, to the dismay of those big printer companies.
Don’t just buy generic ink anywhere though. Like that ink you see displayed in the window of that stereo shop in Chinatown? (with a crudely drawn “Tony the Tiger” on the packaging) Skip buying that brand.
To ensure quality, you’ll want to be sure to buy ISO 9001 certified ink (meets quality standards) from a reputable online store like 4inkjets (coupons) and 123inkjets.
Vistaprint Posters Coupon + Review: So, a lot of the reviews out there were written in haste by people who never used Vistaprint, but will make a buck if you click on their site. I decided to put my money where my mouth is and have a poster design printed through Vistaprint, and share the results.
If you are just here looking for a coupon, and don’t care to read my review, no offense. Here’s the best available coupon for posters:
This year I was once again tasked with the job of creating an 11×17″ poster design for our town’s annual “Music In the Park” fundraising event.
This is what you’d call a “labor of love” as designing and printing the poster usually takes me three days of work, and I always exceed the $100 budget that I’m given to print 50 posters. Any money spent above that comes directly out of my pocket, so it’s in my interest find the best price and quality for 11×17″ posters.
Instead of using the guy at the print shop down the road who does me a favor to only go $50 over budget, I’m using Vistaprint this year.
Using Vistaprint for Printing Posters
So, the hard part was designing these things, which can take me a long time. I’m not a perfectionist in many areas of life, but I truly invest myself in anything that I call my “design,” especially when it’s displayed publicly all over town. So, that’s one of the reasons I can’s mess this up.
My first thought was to have my poster design printed at the Staples down the road. One quick call, and I realized that printing 50 of these color posters at 11×17 inches was going to cost me over $250 dollars. Not an option.
Next thought: Vistaprint. I’ve had a number of things printed by them, and have always been happy, so here goes.
How Much Do 11×17 Posters Cost at Vistaprint?
A quick search through this week’s Vistaprint coupons and I found a code for 40% off all poster printing. Woo hoo! A quick estimate, and I realized that with shipping and premium poster cardstock these 11×17 posters would cost me about $2 each if I printed 50. If I had only needed 20, they would have cost about $3 each.
Larger sizes cost more, smaller posters cost less. The more you have printed, the lower the price per piece.
My Review for Vistaprint Posters: 11×17, 16×20, 18×24, or 22×28″
Here’s my poster design: (digital file)
music in the park newtown pa 2016
So, I had a complete design, so I ignored the design templates that they offered and chose the “upload your own design option.” Be sure to download their free poster design template for the best results.
The design templates ensure that you have the correct color setup (CMYK) and a high enough resolution design. (175 dpi)
Vistaprint offers full-bleed printing, which means they print right up to and over the edge if you’d like ensuring that you don’t have an unwanted white border anywhere. Their design template (Photoshop) inculdes guides that show you where the safety zones are so that a tiy shift in printing doesn’t give you unexpected results or cut off your design.
After the easy file upload VIstaprint walks you through a few screens including a virtual preview of your design which you have to sign off on. (look for misspellings or unexpected cropping here) Looks good on-screen, but as you can tell, my poster has a lot of little details like a vintage effect (fine scratches) as well as color gradients, which made me nervous.
A poorly printed gradient can print out in ugly bands of color, like my cheap inkjet printer would do. Let’s hope this goes well!
I chose to upgrade to premium 80-lb cardstock instead of the thin glossy paper that is the cheapest option. I’m hanging these posters around town, so I want them to be sturdy! The premium cardstock added about $1 per print.
Ok, all looks good. Time to choose my shipping option.
Vistaprint Poster Shipping: How Long Does It Take?
Normally I am a procrastinator, but I didn’t need these posters in my hands for another 2 weeks, so I chose economy shipping which was estimated to take almost 2 weeks, but it’s much cheaper.
*Tip: If you are a new customer, there is often a coupon available for free shipping!
Turns out the posters arrived exactly 7 days after I placed the order and used economy shipping! Maybe shipping speed varies by location and product, but I got my posters in half the time estimated. Glad I didn’t spend twice as much for expedited delivery!
Using a Promo Code at Checkout for Posters
I had copied down a coupon code for 40% off posters before starting my order, so now is the time to enter it at checkout. As promised, the code delivered and gave me a 40% discount. Wow! That’s now much less than half the price of printing 11×17 posters at Staples!
If you have any issues using a promo code, make sure it’s not just for new customers, or try another code. I update the Vistaprint coupons on this site every day or two.
*Tip: After I placed my order, Vistaprint gave me the option to double the number of posters printed at an 80% discount. That would mean I could add 50 more for a total of $19 more. I didn’t think I needed another 50, but it was tempting!
Vistaprint 11×17 Poster: My Review – GREAT Discount Custom Poster Printing Online!
WOW! My crappy iPhone 5 photo doesn’t do these posters justice. Bright colors and sharp lines! I’m so happy with how these posters turned out!
The premium 80 pound glossy paper(cardstock) is really sturdy. I originally wanted to print these with a matte finish, but that wasn’t an option. I’m really happy with the glossy result!
As I mentioned, these shipped really quickly, and I got them in a week (6 business days) even with the cheapest shipping available.
Vistaprint posters Are Not Exactly the Stated Sizes / Dimensions
*Note: The Vistaprint 11×17 posters are not exactly 11×17. They are slightly larger, measuring about 0.25 inches larger on each dimension. (About 11.25 x 17.25″) If you are just tacking these up somewhere, this probably doesn’t matter. However, this was annoying when I bought 11×17″ frames and had to trim about 1/8 of an inch from all 4 sides!
Some Vistaprint Poster Samples:
Vistaprint Poster Review Conclusion
I will be using Vistaprint again for 11×17 posters, as this is a great size for small business marketing, advertising events, concerts, etc. _ The same process and quality is, of course, available at larger sizes like 16×20, 18×24, and 22×28.
You can also check reviews directly on the Vistaprint site for other people’s experience with printing posters and honest reviews.
Why the negative reviews on Vistaprint.com? From what I can tell the most common reason for bad reviews was that people probably didn’t use their design template. This resulted in low resolution photos and text, or posters being cropped in unexpected ways. If you don’t use their template, your also likely to have saved your design as RGB(red, gren, blue) instead of the recommended CMYK(cyan, magenta, yellow, black) color setup, which it is printed with.
Keep in mind that when someone has a bad experience, they are much more likely to write a review! But, doing your homework and reading all the reviews that you can will help you to not make the same mistakes. Vistaprint seems to always offer disgruntled customers credit to redo their order, regardless of who is at fault.
Here’s my final printed 11×17 poster one more time. I threw a quarter in there for scale.
Free stuff from Vistaprint for your business – If you’re a small business considering printing marketing materials,it might help to get samples in your hands before putting together an order. In fact, a number of online printing services offer free samples, including Vistaprint.
*Note: These samples can’t be customized, as they are intended to demonstrate sizes, print quality, and paper stocks so that you make a better informed decision about future orders.
More About their Free Stuff for Businesses
The most helpful thing about the marketing materials from Vistaprint is that on the back of each item you’ll see the paper stock and printing options including paper weight and finish like this:
So, They Replaced Their Free Business Cards Offer?
You might remember seeing Vistaprint’s famous offers for free business cards and other free stuff. Basically, you’d have to pay for shipping, and they would try to up-sell you on a number of items before you could checkout, and it was annoying.
They’ve decided it makes more sense to try to get ongoing customers who have a myriad of marketing needs like postcards & brochures, so this free sample kit for small businesses is a better solution. Also, unlike the previous offers it includes free shipping!
Here’s what the free sample business cards look like:
The “10 free postcards” promotion is also extinct, (here’s their current coupon for postcards) but with this kit you get postcards of various sizes and finishes. In my free sample kit I got 5 postcards in various sizes, paper stock, and finishes. (see above)
Q: Can we mail these awesome free postcards to friends and family?
A: No, please don’t. That would be sad.
HP Video Explaining How Inkjet Cartridges Work: So, you thought that an ink cartridge was basically just a little plastic box that holds ink until it’s magically transferred onto paper by tiny elves? (Well, that’s what I always assumed)
Turns out that those little things are complex mechanical systems with mind-blowing accuracy. Did you know that each of the hundreds of nozzles on a typical cartridge is only about 1/3 the width of a human hair?
In this informative video, a hipster scientist (I think he’s from an 80’s British rock band?) from Hewlett Packard walks you through an inkjet cartridge works: (I’m wondering if a possible theme park is in the works?)
How Ink Cartridges Are Made (Video)
For those of you who have been raised on soda and video games, you may not have the attention span to site through a video that lasts almost two minutes, so here are some highlights:
An inkjet cartridge contains about 500 tiny nozzles, each of which is only 1/3 the width of a human hair
When you hit, “print,” instructions are sent to these tiny nozzles
Pulses of energy create a super-heated vapor bubble that forces ink droplets through the nozzles and onto the page at up to 31 miles per hour!
This process can occur over 35,000 times in one second
The accuracy of this ink delivery is like standing on top of a 30 story building, and dropping a nickel into a bucket on the sidewalk. (Can’t imagine that? An easier analogy would be like trying to use a medieval trebuchet to launch a kilogram of Landjäger sausages 300 cubits into a medium-sized harvest jug)
It can take 1000 prototypes before a new inkjet cartridge is perfected
HP Ink Scientists Are Cooler Than You
As you can see, the ink scientists over at HP are not only cooler than you, but they know a lot of interesting things too. It almost makes you forget how expensive ink is per ounce!
If you are looking to save money on ink, consider buying generic instead of OEM ink; it still exceeds ISO 9001 quality standards for ink and costs a lot less. (Plus, you can use a coupon) Find this magical cheap ink at online stores like 123inkjets.com and 4inkjets.com! (click for coupons)
Anyway, we can’t do much about how the government wastes our money, so let’s look closer to home. In fact, let’s look at your inkjet printer.
We’ve already mentioned how expensive printer ink is, so at least it’s being used efficiently, right?
Wrong! According to Consumer Reports, about 50% of that printer ink never hits the page. In fact, the worst offenders only output about 30% of their ink to the pages! So, why are inkjet printers so wasteful? It seems that the culprit is the intermittent use of our printers.
Print Less Frequently, Waste More Ink
Basically what that means is that most people don’t buy an ink cartridge and use it all up in one week. More likely, people print a few pages here and there, and this is where the waste begins. The printer uses much of the ink in self-maintenance and cleaning, and ends up sitting in a reservoir inside the printer. (What a little diva!)
Printer companies are well aware of this, and on HP’s website states that, “Some ink must be used to maintain the health of the print head; some ink is residual; and some ink evaporates.”
How many pages can you get out of an inkjet cartridge?
What this means is that a manufacturer might imply that you can print 400 pages from one OEM(genuine name brand) inkjet cartridge, but in reality it’s going to be closer to 200 pages because of the intermittent use of our printers.
Consumer Reports also found no correlation between the amount of ink used in maintenance and performance, and no correlation to the price paid for ink and quality. In other words, (unlike a sweet 1970’s muscle car) it isn’t really necessary for them to waste that much fuel, or to pay for the high octane.
What can an honest taxpayer do? Well, as far as the government waste, we’re all stuck, but consider buying generic name brand compatible ink instead. Want to save even more money? Grab a coupon for 4inkjets or 123inkjets and save an extra 10-20%!
Want to save on custom printing online for business cards and more? Check out the latest coupons here.
Inkjet or Laser Printer? There are a plethora of printers on the market for home-use, but which one is right for you? The easy answer is this: If you print mostly black and white text, go with a laser printer for speed and savings on the cost of ink. If you print out graphics, you’ll want an inkjet printer.
Having said that, here are some considerations before you finalize that all-important decision:
Should You Buy an Inkjet or Laser Printer? (Video)
When I think of a printer for home use, I instantly think of inkjet printers. They’ve become kind of the “Renaissance man” of your home office. After all, they can print out emails, address labels, stickers, t-shirt transfers, or even photo-quality prints from your digital photos.
As if that’s not enough, many of the “all in one printers” throw in scanner, printer, and fax machine capability.
Inkjet or Laser Printer?
So inkjet printer must be right for me then? Maybe; consider the following before buying:
If you primarily print text, then a laser printer might be best for you. Laser printers are best for handling black and white text, (like emails, Word docs, and your taxes) and they are faster and less expensive. I know someone who prints out almost every email he gets for his records, and he must save hundreds of dollars a year by having a laser printer for this task. They can also handle address labels, which is nice around the holidays, or for bulk business mailings.
If you print a decent amount of photos, graphics, or color text, then an inkjet printer is best. I recommend not going with a color laser printer, as the costs of ink are significantly higher than black and white laser printers. Color laser printers use four toner cartridges, which can make the cost of ink even more than an inkjet
Don’t try to print photos with a laser printer. The quality will be marginal, and they aren’t meant for printing on glossy, or special photo paper. They also might not be able to print on sizes of paper other than 8.5 x 11
Do You Print Graphics or Photos?
So, if it comes down to whether or not you print photos or graphics, most people are going to choose an inkjet printer for their home. So, you’ll probably want to decide whether you need an all-in-one inkjet printer so that you can copy, scan, or even fax. Consider this:
When one component of these printers breaks, you’ll have to replace the whole thing. In our throw-away society, nobody repairs inkjet printers
The cost of replacement ink is high. If you bought a printer for $99 with a coupon, then that ink manufacturer has you on the hook for future ink purchases, which you’ll have trouble finding a coupon for. Recent tests from Consumer Reports confirm that many inkjet printers use less than half of the ink in the inkjet cartridges! (Canon had one of the worst ones tested!) Initially it looks like you save money by printing your own photos at home, but if you only print sporadically, much of that printer ink is being wasted in the “maintenance” mode of the printer.
Consider an inkjet printer that has 4 separate tanks for each color of ink. (CMYK) Over time this will save you money, as when one color runs out, you aren’t replacing the entire “color” inkjet cartridge.
Don’t buy less than 20-pound (weight) paper with your inkjet printer, or it may lead to paper jams. (Not as fun as strawberry, or other varieties of jam)
Big Print Job? Maybe Outsource It
Tip: Consider a discount online printing company to handle some of your color printing. Regardless of which printer type you go with, consider having your custom printing done by a discount printing company online.
It actually may be more expensive for you to print photos, invitations, and business cards at home, and you may not get the professional quality that you are looking for.
*If you have a Staples nearby, maybe they can print what you need?
Photo services like Shutterfly and Snapfish can bang out beautiful 4×6″ prints for as little as a 10 cents each now, while a sheet of the same photo paper will run about 25 cents. (add cost of ink, too!) They also offer weekly coupons, saving you money and even free shipping on many orders. You can also find coupons for sites like Vistaprint here.
Tip: Consider “name brand compatible ink” instead of what they call, “OEM,” or genuine name brand ink or toner. You can save up to about a third of the cost of printer ink when you go with the generic version. On top of that discount, you can also use a coupon or promo code for sites like 123inkjets, ClickInks.com, and 4inkjets.com (see coupons) for an extra discount.
What are ISO 9001 standards for ink? How do you know that the quality and performance of that remanufactured inkjet cartridge you are about to buy is really as good as the more expensive name brand ink?
The process that ensures quality for remanufactured and compatible ink is known as ISO 9001. Most ink that meets these tough standards will actually have an ISO 9001 seal on the packaging, meaning that they have been manufactured under ISO 9001 standards.
While all of your top ink brands like Epson, Canon, HP ink, and Lexmark (genuine ink directly from the manufacturer is known as “OEM ink”) comply with these standards, you’ll want to make sure any generic ink cartridges that you buy comply as well.
The coupons for generic ink that we feature on this site (click for 4inkjets.com coupons or 123inkjets.com coupons) all comply with these quality standards.
History of ISO 9001 quality standards:
In 1978, a Swiss organization known as the International Organization for Standards (ISO) created a set of quality standards, known as ISO 9000. This set of stringent quality standards are universally accepted and were created to ensure that a specific product or service will consistently meet their expectations every time.
ISO 9001 is a specific set of standards under the broader global standards (known as ISO 9000) that monitors the quality of design, development, and production. In this case, the ISO 9001 standards apply to compatible inkjets and remanufactured inkjets.
The ISO 9001 certification process
The process for obtaining ISO 9001 certification is a very rigorous process. With the end result guaranteeing that you, the customer, are getting a very high quality product. Some of the requirements in ISO 9001 (which is one of the standards in the ISO 9000 family) include:
a set of procedures that cover all key processes in the compatible inkjet cartridge manufacturing process
monitoring all manufacturing processes to ensure quality of inkjet cartridges
checking inkjet cartridge for defects, with appropriate and corrective action where necessary
regularly reviewing specific individual processes as well as the quality system itself for effectiveness
facilitating continual improvement for inkjet manufacturing process
In general, a company or organization that has been independently audited and certified to be in compliance with strict ISO 9001 standards may publicly state that it is “ISO 9001 certified” or “ISO 9001 registered”. (as seen on the side of many inkjet cartridges) Certification to an ISO 9001 standard certifies that formalized business processes are being applied for consistency.
Buy generic ink that is iso 9001 certified for quality
Some of the top names in generic, ISO 9001 certified name brand-compatible ink online are: 4inkjets, 123inkjets, and Clickinks.
Although the ISO 9001 standards originated in manufacturing, they are now employed across several other types of organizations. A “product”, in ISO vocabulary, can mean a physical object, (such as inkjet cartridges) services, or software. Learn more about ISO 9001.