Cost of Living

Is it actually cheaper to buy a new printer rather than replacing ink cartridges?

Are printers cheaper than print cartridges in many cases? Spoiler alert - yes. Even the cheapest ink cartridge is comparable to the cheapest printer, price-wise.

Spoiler alert - sometimes!

In this file photo from Feb. 2010, a customer looks over Hewlett Packard ink cartridges for his printer at a Best Buy in California. (Paul Sakuma/The Associated Press)
Listen5:27

Are printers cheaper than print cartridges in many cases?

  • CBC Radio's business and economics show, Cost of Living, moves to a new timeslot on CBC Radio One starting FRIDAY, JANUARY 3, 2020 at 11:30 a.m.

Spoiler alert - yes. Even the cheapest ink cartridge is comparable to the cheapest printer, price-wise.

Producer Falice Chin explains what's going on – and what it has to do with razor blades.

Update: HP responds

Since the broadcast of this story, HP Canada has contacted the Cost of Living with some comments:

  • Aftermarket imitations: HP spokeswoman Chantelle Anderson says the company invests heavily in recycling toner cartridges and ink cartridges. "This stands in stark contrast to imitation cartridges, which can use 16 times the paper for reprinting due to poor quality [...] and have a 55 per cent larger carbon footprint," wrote Anderson.
  • Printer firmware: HP recommends updating your printer firmware to protect yourself against cyber attacks. Cartridge chips feature smart card technology, according to the company.   

Click "listen" above to hear the segment, or download the Cost of Living podcast.

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