Remanufactured Inkjet Cartridges - Are They Worth It?

You're always looking for ways to save money right? Most people are in the same boat and this is especially true when it comes to keeping down the costs on things like inkjet printer cartridges. If you do even a reasonable amount of printing the cost on these can spiral out of control quickly. You can save money though by using remanufactured inkjet cartridges which are available for most types of inkjet printers..

What are remanufactured ink cartridges? Basically these are cartridges which have been recycled by a third party manufacturer. Once they're recycled and refilled they're sold back on to consumers like you but at a drastically reduced price.

Remanufacturers only deal with inkjet cartridges that have a printhead. Typical examples of that type of cartridge are the ones made by Lexmark and Hewlett Packard - they have the ink and the print nozzles all in the same cartridge. It's just not worth their time to remanufacture the separate ink cartridges made by Canon and Epson. Why? There's not enough profit in it for them to even try.

How To Remanufacture An Inkjet Cartridge

The first step in remanufacturing a cartridge is actually finding enough of them to do this. If a new model or type of cartridge comes onto the market then it can take weeks if not months for enough empty cartridges to become available to start a remanufactured supply of them. Be prepared for a long delay if this is the case especially because some manufacturers (Lexmark and Dell for example) are providing free return shipping on used cartridges. This takes them out of the remanufacturing loop.

Once the cartridges are found they need to be cleaned really, really well. This is done with a combination of ultrasonic cleaning and then solvents to make sure that every single scrap of dried or used ink from the inside of the old cartridge.

Now the cartridge is clean it has to be refilled. Now this is where the professionals and the amateurs part company. Anybody can refill an inkjet cartridge - it ain't rocket science. To do it at a professional level means using expensive refilling equipment that costs a lot of money. If you're refilling dozens or hundreds of cartridges a day each one has to be refilled in exactly the same way - so doing it by hand just won't work.

Another huge issue with cartridge refilling is sealing the cartridges after the job is done. There's a lot of ways to do this and some are very clever. Remanufacturers keep these a total secret though - the ultimate type of trade secret.

A testing phase comes next. This varies from one company to the next. Sometimes just a standard inkjet printer is used. Sometimes more technical equipment is used which can even test for altitude pressurization - to make sure the cartridges don't leak while being air freighted around.

Finally the cartridges need to be packed. This usually involves the use of a special taping machine that seals the cartridges or printhead stop them from leaking all over the place. Inkjet cartridges (of any kind) should always be packed with the printhead or print nozzles pointing down the way. This stops the cartridges from losing their prime and leaking all over the place.

Is It Worth It?

So are remanufactured cartridges worth the money? Generally speaking yes they're a good idea - just do some checking for online reviews first. Happy customers are the best type of recommendation you can ask for.

If you're looking for other ways of saving on the cost of inkjet cartridges you can have a look at the range of discount inkjet cartridges available to you or maybe even inkjet refill kits.