Why is Printer Ink so Expensive?


We got a new printer and it seems we’ve been replacing the expensive cartridges way too frequently. I had to call Epson to because though the ink had just been replaced, the screen insisted we needed to replace the ink. How maddening!

Anyway, while I was waiting for the call to be answered, I did a search on the costliness of printer ink, a product that should be relatively cheap, but sure isn’t.

I found and read three articles and learned the following:

  • Ink can cost from $13 to $75 per ounce. Mind you this is more than gasoline, milk, whiskey or champagne. A gallon of ink could run you $9600.
  • While the size of the exterior of the cartridge looks the same, producers like Epson and HP are making the space inside where the ink is held has gotten smaller. So you’re purchasing less ink than you did a few years ago. Talk about deceptive.
  • When you print in black and white, the printer will use some colored ink as well as the black. That’s not necessary.
  • Printer/ink companies have sued office supply stores like Office Depot and the makers of generic cartridges to make them stop offering cheaper ink refill options. (I’m getting sickened.)

I’m sickened by the deception. Just conduct business above board. I’ve linked the articles below and posted them on social media.

Screen Shot 2017-12-29 at 5.32.02 PM

Source: Consumerreports.org

Once a representative got on the line, I mentioned these facts and asked that the rep to forward my request that Epson start to sell ink at an ethical price. I mentioned that I felt bad for the clerk because it wasn’t their plan to fool consumers. The clerk suggested I save money by purchasing ink at Best Buy, where ink is over $53 with tax. Not a bargain. Wouldn’t it be great if ink was priced fairly? That’s what I’d like to see. It should be $10 or $12.


Consumerreports.org (2013). The High Cost of Wasted Printer Ink. It’s pricey, yet tests show much of it may never hit the page. Retrieved on Dec. 28, 2017.

Forbes.com (Oct. 2006). Why does it Cost so Much to Print? Retrieved on Dec. 28, 2017.

Robinson, D. (Feb. 2013).  Printer ink cartridges: why you’re paying more but getting a lot less. Retrieved from Guardian.com on Dec. 28, 2017.



6 thoughts on “Why is Printer Ink so Expensive?

  1. In general in the USA manufacturers have been reducing product size and then selling the product at the price of larger (former) size. This deceptive practice has been more noticeable in the food industry in the past few years. For example, tuna cans are now 5 instead of 6 oz. and orange juice is in 59 fluid oz. container rather than half gallon. So welcome back to full time living in the Good Old USA!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember Andy Rooney doing a piece on this long ago (maybe in the 70’s) about coffee. What galls me is that ink is so cheap to make. There’s no getting around this since if you go to a print shop or library, it’s still expensive. I wish an inventor would produce a printer and offer affordable, reasonably priced ink.

      Liked by 1 person

    • That’s because over years and decades things have raised prices- you know, inflation. Just like how minimum wage is increased- when we increase the average pay, prices have to go up as well. THEN, when companies did marketing research, they found that customers responded negatively to raising prices, and less negatively to buying the same price they’ve always paid but with a smaller value. I learned this in Intro to Marketing. It’s not exactly deceptive..it’s just the rise of minimum wage and subsequent pricing over time.


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