In the last dozen years I’ve gone through three printers (an HP, an Epson, and a Cannon), and even though I’m a printaholic, I haven’t purchased a single ink replacement cartridge for any of them. How is that possible? A long time ago I discovered the magic of printer ink refill kits that allow you to easily refill your ink cartridges and save tons of $$.
Refill kits took me through grad school, plus two years of creative writing workshops printing hundreds of pages of re-worked manuscripts over and over again, plus the bazillion photos that I print, plus every other printing need I have. So with all the printing I do, as you can imagine, discovering printer cartridge refill kits have saved me hundreds of dollars, and possibly thousands.
In addition to refilling my own printer ink cartridges, I somehow became the official ink cartridge refiller for everyone in my family. So it’s not uncommon to get the question, “Hey, can you refill my cartridges this week?” from either my brother or sister. And since I’m such a sweetheart… well, you know.
This past week I refilled my cartridges and my sister’s cartridges so I thought I’d share this easy money saving idea with you. My current ink jet printer is a Canon and my sister’s is an Epson, but I used the Canon kit for both since the process is basically the same with all ink cartridges, even though the cartridges are shaped differently.
So you’re probably wondering how much can you save by refilling your cartridges versus purchasing replacement cartridges. Let’s take a look at the following three ink cost options for my Canon Pixma printer. (If you own a different brand of inkjet printer, you should expect to see similar cost structures for cartridges versus refill kits.)
1. Official Canon brand ink cartridges – one Black + one Tri-Color: $53.98
2. Remanufactured ink cartridges – one Black + one Tri-Color: $31.98
3. InkTec Refill kit in Black + InkTec Tri-Color Refill kit: Approx. $25
So not only is the refill kit half the price of the brand cartridges, but you get FIVE refills per kit!
That means you end up paying about $5 PER REFILL! Compare that to the $30-$50 cost of replacement cartridges!
So is it worth refilling your own cartridges? You bet-cha!
Is it easy to do? Absolutely.
Is it messy? Well, I’m not gonna lie. I do recommend wearing plastic or latex gloves so you don’t end up with rainbow fingers. And make sure you’ve got a plastic covering on your work surface or you’ll be really sad later on.
Here’s what the kits come with…
1. Instructions (I’ll walk you through the instructions below.)
2. Cartridge labels (So you know where to insert each color.)
3. Cartridge holder (I don’t really see the purpose of the holder, but it’s there.)
5. Ink injection needles
6. Screw tool
7. Ink suction syringe
Ink Cartridge Refill Instructions
Step 1: Start by placing the enclosed label on your cartridge. The hole(s) on the label indicates where you’re going to puncture the cartridge to refill the ink. (My cartridge is already punctured since I’ve already refilled it multiple times before.)
Step 2: Use the screw tool to puncture a hole in your cartridge.
Step 3: Remove cap from ink container.
Step 4: Attach ink injection needle to the end of the ink container. (It will click into place.)
Step 5: Place the cartridge into the cartridge holder (optional). Then insert the ink injection needle into the hole you made earlier.
Step 6: Use your finger to push down the plunger on the ink container. Your kit instructions will include the specific volume of ink to insert into your particular brand cartridge.
Step 7: Insert the ink suction syringe into the bottom of the cartridge and pull back on the syringe plunger to suction out about 1 ml of ink. This will clean the cartridge head.
Step 8: Use a paper towel to clean off any excess ink.
Step 9: Place a piece of tape over the ink hole. This step is not in the kit instructions, but I like to do it to reduce ink evaporation.
That’s it. Now just place your cartridge back into your printer and you’re ready to go.
As I mentioned earlier, I also refilled my sister’s Epson cartridges using my Canon refill kit…
Here’s what my work surface looked like when I was finished. You can see why I recommended using gloves and covering your surface well…
But it’s definitely worth the cost savings!
So if you or anyone in your family is a printaholic like I am or if you have kids in school that need to do lots of printing, ink cartridge refill kits are a great money saving option!