When To Change The Ink or Toner Cartridge In Your Printer – Why Is Cartridge Replacement So Costly?

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Printers are hard-working office equipment. Multiple documents are printed on the laser copier. Nevertheless, printer cartridges are consumables that need frequent replacement. Traditional inkjet printers use dye or pigment-based ink [liquid], while laser printers use toner, a powdery substance. Toner cartridges last longer but both ink and toner will reveal the same signs suggesting a replacement.

How to identify the time to change the ink or toner cartridge in your printer?

Alerts or warning

Many printers have display screens, which alert the user about the status ‘Low Toner’ or ‘Low Ink’ or flashes light. Check the user’s manual to decipher the flashing lights. Some printers are equipped with software that pops up a notification on the computer screen warning about the low levels of toner or ink.


In case the levels of toner or ink are low, the print heads will be unable to coat evenly while printing. It can cause smudges and stripes on the printing images or documents making it hard to read. The streaks are generally horizontal but can even be vertical.

Faded color

Faint or faded color is another sign of low toner or ink. Color brightness can decline or colors may totally change like green becoming blue and black turning gray.

Hindrance in other functions

Several printers with the all-in-one function will disable the features like faxing or scanning if the toner or ink level is low. These are hardwired options with printing functions and the device will stop functioning without the other.

Reasons why toner and ink cartridge replacement is so costly

Now you are aware of when to change the toner or ink cartridge of your printer. However, the cartridge replacement cost is more than the printer’s upfront price. The simple answer is that companies can make a profit as the majority of printers are sold in the market at a loss.

Manufacturers hardly earn a profit from the laser or inkjet printers they sold. Nevertheless, they earn profits from the printing supplies they sell. Manufacturers control the printing technology along with its prices.

Breakdown of ink cartridge

1 ounce = $13 – $75

1 gallon = 128 ounces = $1664 – $9600

Across the globe, $20 billion of the ink cartridge is consumed every year!

It looks as if the ink cartridges are overpriced but there are several reasons why they are too costly. Some of the top reasons are –

  • Printers are sold at below cost to attract consumers with low prices. Manufacturers are aware that consumers will stick to the original supplies instead of choosing less reliable 3rd party products. They make up the printers manufacturing cost selling replacement supplies across the printer’s life.
  • Research & development is the main reason for the high cost of ink cartridge replacement. Extensive technology is employed in cartridge manufacturing by every brand. Printers are designed to be compatible with OEM cartridges, which heavily depend on replacement cartridge pricing.
  • Producing ink is a complicated process.
  • Users pay for the best and authentic OEM ink is regarded to possess the highest quality. Besides, it is a safe option for users….quality accompanies high prices.
  • Demand for printer’s ink cartridge is consistent, so never expect the price to reduce.

Toner cartridges are also costly for the same reasons – R&D, brands pricing strategy, supply & demand, advanced technology, and more.

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