Should You Refill Your Printer’s Ink Cartridges?

Since the rise of inkjet printers years ago, many have attempted to present ink cartridge refilling as a viable and more economical way of sourcing ink. However, almost all major printer manufacturers dissuade users from heavily relying on refilled ink cartridges citing the potential loss of quality and printer head damage.

This does not stop retailers from crude backyard shops to popular ones like Walgreens from offering inkjet cartridge refills for popular brands such as HP Inkjet Cartridges While the idea seems attractive and economical, there are obvious disadvantages.

According to a 2012 interview with Jeff Walter, then director of Worldwide Environmental Solutions for the HP Imaging and Printing Group, inkjet cartridges are more complex than what people normally think. It’s not just an ink container and a nozzle, as there are a lot more things to consider such as the foam, the flow of ink and how excess/remaining ink can alter the chemistry of refilled ink, causing minuscule but quality-reducing changes to the inkjet cartridge.

For example, for HP Inkjet Cartridges, the foam that helps expel the precise amount of ink degrades through time. Thus refilling the same cartridge would result in the use of a subpar ink cartridge and this is considering the foam alone.

The manufacturer representatives implied that they are not being biased just because they manufacture new inkjet cartridges but they are objective to the point that if ink cartridge refilling was viable, they would venture into it as well.

In short, refilling ink cartridges is a risky venture. One should consider the required quality of the printout as it is universally accepted that refilled ink cartridges offer lower quality than original ones.