Printer ink is a scam. Here’s how to spend less.

Americans waste $10 billion each year on name-brand ink. So we tested low-cost options including remanufactured cartridges, ink injection kits — and even making our own.

Tech columnist Geoffrey A. Fowler and reporter Chris Velazco test alternatives to name-brand ink cartridges. Can you save money without losing quality? (Video: Monica Rodman/The Washington Post)
9 min

I recently needed to replace the ink on my HP inkjet printer. Four little name-brand HP cartridges of yellow, blue, red and black cost me $123.

Ounce for ounce, that’s more than the price of Dom Pérignon champagne. Yet the actual ink in each cartridge likely cost about $2 to manufacture, industry insiders tell me. Americans are wasting some $10 billion each year on name-brand ink they could have refilled for less, according to the Public Interest Research Group.

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