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For a long time, printers have been essential for many companies and businesses around the world, especially with technological advancements making them more accurate, faster, and more cost-efficient than ever before. However, one of the biggest problems and complaints customers constantly have is the high cost of ink cartridges and how often they need replacement due to their low yield per page. What you might not know is that in the last few years, printer and ink manufacturers have come up with several solutions to these problems which come in the form of printer ink subscription plans and a few similar alternatives.

Consumers no longer have to constantly think and worry about running out of ink or taking on the tiresome chore of having to restock them all the time and at a frustrating expense too. Thanks to the subscription and non-subscription initiatives, individuals also no longer have to carry the burden of completing these tasks on their own since many of these solutions offer delivery services as well.

However, you might be wondering if these alternatives are as cost-efficient as manufacturers claim them to be. Well, if you are considering using any of them but are still unsure of the benefits, here are some things you should know that might help you decide.

Subscription Services

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Hewlett-Packard (HP) is the pioneer of printer ink subscription services and they are the only company currently offering them as well. Known as HP Instant Ink, the solution provides plans on a monthly level that allow customers to subscribe for a fee in order to get a supply of necessary ink whenever and wherever they might need it.

The program works on the principle of choosing a plan based on a predetermined number of printed pages and each package, understandably, comes at a different price. This means customers can choose a plan that best suits their needs and get new cartridges sent out whenever their current ones are near being empty.

What is great about this solution is that it is a month-to-month service so there is no need to sign any long-term contracts. This also means that there is no lengthy commitment one needs to make since the subscription can be canceled at any moment and customers can also choose a bigger or smaller package if their needs ever change.

Currently, the offered plans include 50, 100, 300, and 700 printed pages per month and a free option if your monthly needs are only 15 pages or less. Another perk is that HP Instant Ink allows users to transfer unused prints to the next month but only to a certain number. So, depending on the package, one can transfer up to 100, 200, 600 or 1400 unused pages respectively.

If you are interested in learning more about HP Instant Ink, here’s a more in-depth review from BlueDogInk.com.

Non-Subscription Alternatives

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If the subscription service is not really suitable for you or if you are looking for something that is a bit more budget-friendly, here are some solutions that might be a better choice for you.

Brother

The company offers INKvestment – high-yield cartridges targeted towards companies and private businesses alike. Most of these low-cost solutions carry a yield of 3,000 printed pages for black ink and half of that when it comes to color. However, there is a smaller version that is catered towards home offices and smaller businesses and that offers a 2,400-page yield for black and 1,200 for colored cartridges.

Moreover, Brother also provides an XL version that includes extra cartridges with some models carrying additional 12 while others provide 20. If you opt for these printers, keep in mind that not all of them are suitable for INKvestment. Make sure you verify that they are compatible before purchasing.

Epson

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Epson’s EcoTank and SuperTank all-in-one models offer a unique and cost-efficient alternative in the form of reusable tanks that are either attached to or built into the device. Subsequently, the manufacturer offers ink in bottles that can be separately bought and poured into the tanks when necessary.

This might sound like it is a messy process since there is a risk of spillage, however, once you get the hang of it, you will see just how much you can save using one of these devices. Moreover, certain models use ink bags that simply need to be attached to the clips on the printer and placed securely, meaning that no pouring is needed.

Canon

The company’s MegaTank models offer similar services as Epson. However, they are mostly designed for home offices and small businesses. The features are quite limited and modest compared to other brands, however, they come at an extremely low price and have excellent print quality, especially when it comes to photography printing.

Do Any of These Options Really Save Money?

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The answer truly depends on your needs, how often you use the device, as well as whether you only print in black or use color too. HP Instant Ink is a great solution if you are sure you can stay within your chosen plan’s monthly limit.

If not, some of the other alternatives might be more suitable for you. One thing is certain though – all of them can save you money in the long run, as long as you choose wisely.

What About Toners?

Although many people use the terms ink and toner cartridge interchangeably, they are two completely different things. Toners are powdery substances, typically used in laser models and are perhaps cleaner and more user-friendly compared to ink.

However, high-quality ink cartridges are not only a cheaper option but they also provide better results and last much longer than toners.

Conclusion

Even though people still complain about how expensive cartridge replacement is, the reality is that their prices have drastically dropped in the last few years. What is even better is that they will probably get even cheaper in the future.

Until then, the alternatives mentioned above are a great way to save money, especially if your business relies on using the printer a lot. Choose a program carefully and based on how often and for what you use these devices for and see for yourself just how cost-efficient they can be.

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