Many home office setups include a printer. But the cost of a printer pales in comparison to the price of ink. Why? Is this some kind of racket? What the hell is special about ink, anyway?
“Think of the original price tag of a printer more like a down payment,” says Rich Sulin, who tests printers for Consumer Reports. One company, IHS Markit, disassembles various consumer electronics and estimates the cost to build them. It turns out that some printers are sold at a loss: A $70 HP printer actually costs $120 to manufacture.
Printer manufacturers hook you by selling you the product for cheap, and the replacement parts for a lot more money. Printer ink is proprietary and non-compatible with other brands, so they do their best to erect a fence around your purchase. According to Consumer Reports, over five years, ink for some printers can cost up to $700!
My family has very little need for a printer any more. We have a workhorse Brother B&W laser printer for printing off documents but, because of the rip-off that is the cost of inkjet printers, we’ll likely never buy another one.