It sounds counter-intuitive that printer ink or ink cartridges are more expensive than the printer itself.  So, when a printer runs out of ink or the ink cartridges stop working, people think twice about whether they should replace the printer or buy ink. They must think about which one is a cheaper way to continue the work within the budget. 

But still, the question arises, why is printer ink so expensive? 

There are many reasons for the high cost of printer ink. These are:

  • OEM Ink Technology 
  • Research and Development 
  • Monopoly power 
  • Vertical restraints 
  • Low price of printers 
  • Profit Margins 

Let’s move further to know the details of how the following factors take part in increasing the price of printer’s ink: 

OEM Ink Technology 


Labor-intensive work and expensive ink! 

When the ink is manufactured with OEM technology, the pricing automatically gets higher. Making ink for an inkjet printer is not an easy task. It requires high efficiency and technology. Other than this, ink should be:

  • Free from impurities
  • Released with an exact flow
  • Water and smear-resistant
  • Maintain safe and sustainability 
  • Maintenance and longevity of the printer 
  • Good in the cleaning of printheads 
  • Doesn’t clog or break the jets 

Hence, if the ink is made focusing on the above points, it automatically reaches high sales and more cost. 

Research And development 

More money on Research!

There is an estimation made by HP that they spend $1 billion in research and development of ink. Different types of inks are made for different types of printers and different brands. Those made with OEM technology require ink of high quality.

Hence, the simple companies cannot make their replacement. In turn, it increases the pricing of the ink. For example, for laser printers, toner cartridges are used. No other company or printer firm can use another because it will not be compatible with that. 

Monopoly Power 

Epson cartridge for Epson Printer! 

The manufacturers design a printer in a way that its compatible parts are not available in the market easily or if they are available, they are not compatible with the printer. This is called monopoly power in that spare parts of the products only get compatible with the original brand.

Hence, in this way, the monopolist sets their prices for both the printers and the inks of the printers and you’ve to buy from them in case. And in the end, the price of ink gets high. 

Vertical Restraints 

High competition!

When one company manufactures ink and wants to sell it at low prices, another printer’s company manufactures a technology with an electronic chip and new coding with the increased prices. Hence, people prefer more advanced technology that can last longer.

Also, when a small firm cannot be able replace the technology or the innovation made by the bigger company. They lag behind the competition and the bigger companies set the rates higher. This causes the consumers to pay for that rate. 

Low Price of Printers

low printer cost

Cheap printers, and expensive ink!

This rule is followed now in the market. So, the printer manufacturers design a printer that costs low for the printers. Hence, by selling printers at a low price they usually attract the customers, and the customers without focusing on the ink of the printer readily purchase it.

In the long haul when the ink dries up, they pay attention and when they want to buy ink, they see it’s more expensive than a computer. A perplexing stage for the customer to make a decision.

Profit Margins 

High demand and more supply! 

When the demand increases, supply increases and this is the time when the market makes more profit. Printers are in use everywhere and the work done on the printer is extremely high, using a lot of ink. Hence, ink is the main part of the printer. If it gets to an end, you cannot do the printing. This thing increases the demand for the ink and in turn, increases the profits of the sellers. 

If you have unused printer cartridges that you want to sell, click here!

How much does Printer Ink Cost? 

The price of the printer depends upon the 3 factors given below: 

  • Printers

If you buy a cheap printer the cost of the cartridge will be high to give a good result of printing. Hence, the ink will also be expensive. For the costly printer, the price of ink can be affordable.  

  • Ink cartridges.

Buying black ink cartridges will cost less money than the colour cartridges and use more ink. Such as the price range of the former can be between $60-$120 and later can be $75-$150. 

  • Cost Per Page 

For a cheap printer under $200,

The cost for black ink is: 5.5 cents

The cost for coloured ink is: 8.9 cents

For an expensive printer of more than $200,

The cost for black ink is: 3.9 cents 

The cost for coloured Ink is: 8.3 cents 


Hence, you have to know the reasons why ink is expensive. Before buying a printer check will this printer and the filled cartridge fulfil your printing needs? How much will they last? Know the per-page price of the ink of the cartridge.

Another pointer is to do research before buying a printer and an ink cartridge. These pointers will help you to save a significant amount of money in the long run.


Is there a way to reduce printer ink expenses?

Yes, consider using third-party ink cartridges or refilling cartridges to save on costs without compromising print quality.

What factors contribute to the high price of brand-name ink?

Brand-name inks often include research and development costs, proprietary technology, and printer warranties, making them pricier.

Can using compatible ink cartridges void the printer warranty?

Using compatible ink generally doesn’t void warranties, but it’s essential to check the manufacturer’s policy for specific details.

Are there alternative ways to economize on printing costs?

Duplex printing, selecting draft mode, and previewing documents before printing can help minimize ink consumption and save money.

Does the type of paper affect overall printing costs?

Yes, using the recommended paper type for your printer can enhance print quality and reduce the likelihood of ink wastage.

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