A Two-Minute Comparison Between Compatible and Genuine Ink Cartridges

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Published: 13th August 2012
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In the printing industry, doubts over the ink quality of compatible ink cartridges still prevail. That these third-party inks produce the same quality of prints as the genuine ink cartridges doesnít pull much weight. Thatís because independent testing done by PC World in 2003 revealed the vulnerability of compatible inks to fading. The worst of the lot were the Epson compatibles, whose inks faded after only 6 months. Ironically, genuine Epson inks had the highest rating for color fastness, which could last up to 92 years.

Printing Costs for Epson and Canon Genuine Ink Cartridges: Then and Now

As previously mentioned, photo prints that used genuine Epson ink from Thriftyink may last up to 92 years. The 2003 PC World study also included results for Canon genuine ink, which may last for 27 years in print. They tested a genuine Epson ink cartridge designed for the Epson Stylus C82 printer. As expected, its retail price has now doubled from $33 to $66 per box. Now, the conservative estimate for the output is set at 870 pages. Thatís around 240 pages fewer than the actual yield of 1,113 prints in 2003.

Nine years ago, the printing costs per page for both Epson and Canon inks were $7.10 and $7.80 respectively. Today, the approximate Epson ink cost per page is $7.60 for the Epson T0321 Black Ink Cartridge. Meanwhile, we have the genuine Canon BCI-6BK Black Ink Tank thatís designed for the Canon S900 printer. It supplies ink for printing 280 pages max. If the present retail price is $20 per cartridge, then the printing cost for Canon genuine ink cartridges by Thriftyink is now $5.625 per page.

Good and Bad Qualities of Compatible Canon and Brother Printer Ink Cartridges

If youíve experienced using dot matrix printers in the past, then you might have been using a Brother printer. The company broke into the printing industry with the worldís first high-speed dot matrix printer in 1971. Later, the company started manufacturing electronic typewriters in 1985. In 2003, Brother became known for All-in-Ones, such as printers that also function as fax machines and scanners.

Unfortunately, Brother printer ink cartridges from Thriftyink were not included in PC Worldís printing tests in 2003. Instead, we refer to the prints comparison test, which Allion.com did in 2011, on three compatible Brother Printer ink cartridges against the original. Their findings revealed that most of the compatible inks yielded more pages than the genuine Brother ink. However, they all performed poorly in tests for yield stability, cartridge cleaning frequency, ink streaking, and color mixing.

As to the performance of Canon compatible ink cartridges, the PC World test results in 2003 showed all compatibles displayed poor print quality when compared to the genuine ink. The test also predicted that the prints from these compatible inks would likely fade after 4 or 5 years. As expected with all Canon compatibles, they yielded more pages and cost less than the genuine ink. At that time, the Canon compatible ink from Amazon Imaging delivered results that were comparable to the original.

In terms of ink costs, Amazon Imaging yielded 680 pages at $6.70 each. If we were to compare that with another compatible brand today, then Thriftyink's compatible ink for Canon serves well for this purpose. With a special price of only $1.71, this compatible ink for Canon yields 280 pages at most. And so, its printing cost is now only $0.61 per page.

A Reason Why More People Buy Compatible Ink Cartridges

Rather than purchasing the original product, most people opt to buy a compatible version thatís priced lower than the genuine. The ridiculously low prices of compatible ink cartridges remain the primary reason for their high demand. The fact that these after-market products meet the quality standards of the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) could be another factor. Perhaps, the only difference between the original and the compatible products is that only OEM products have that distinctive packaging associated with the brand.

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