Ink Price Trends

HP ink cartridges — More money for less ink

Did you know that as time has progressed, HP ink cartridge volumes have gone down while the price of ink (based on volume) has gone up?

That doesn’t seem to make sense does it?

As time goes on, you would expect the cost of HP printer cartridges to fall based on various common factors (eg. economies of scale, new production improvements & efficiencies, competition, market penetration, etc.). But that has not been the case. In fact, since about 1997, HP ink cartridge prices have continued to increase.

Timeline of HP Black OEM Ink Cartridge Models:

Cartridge Model # Year Released Ink Volume Retail Price Ink Cost Breakdown
51626 1988 40ml ink $28.99 $0.73 per milliliter
51629 1995 40ml ink $29.99 $0.75 per milliliter
51645 1997 42ml ink $29.99 $0.71 per milliliter
C6614 1999 28ml ink $29.99 $1.07 per milliliter
C6615 2000 25ml ink $29.99 $1.20 per milliliter
C6656 2002 19ml ink $19.99 $1.05 per milliliter
C8727 2002 10ml ink $17.99 $1.80 per milliliter
C8765 2005 11ml ink $19.99 $1.82 per milliliter
C9352 2006 5 ml ink $14.99 $3.00 per milliliter
C9362 2006 5 ml ink $14.99 $3.00 per milliliter
CC640WN 2008 5 ml ink $14.99 $3.00 per milliliter
CC653AN 2008 5 ml ink $14.99 $3.00 per milliliter

*Based on current retail store prices

Notice the Trend — Smaller ink cartridges, higher prices

Notice how the ink volume has been shrinking disproportionately to price during the last few years.  The “51645” cartridge is $0.71 per milliliter, producing 833 pages of text while the “C9352” – “CC653AN” cartridges are $3.00 per milliliter and can only print 150 pages of text (based on 5% coverage). This equates to .03 cents per page for the older cartridge compared to .10 cents per page for the newer ones.

Older HP ink cartridges like the “51645” were cheap in relative terms, and continue to be quite economical to use at $0.71 per milliliter, and are still the best buy.  If you are printing solely for personal use, you may want to think twice about upgrading to a new printer if your old HP is still working fine.

The newest inkjet cartridges deliver a fraction of the ink and up to 4x the cost of the common 51645 ink cartridge.

Remanufactured HP ink cartridges can save you money

You can offset some of the cost for these new HP cartridges by purchasing remanufactured ones.  Remanufactured inkjet cartridges are cartridges are that have been collected through various recycling programs.  They are drained of any remaining ink, flushed with cleaning solution, ultrasonically cleaned, and new parts installed where needed.  Once prepared, they are refilled with new high quality ink, print tested to ensure proper performance, and then repackaged again for reuse.

Remanufactured cartridges cost less and are typically filled to the maximum capacity of the reservoir, often exceeding original ink levels making them a cheaper alternative to the OEM (original equipment manufacturer).

If you print infrequently, (less than a dozen pages a month or so), these new “standard size” cartridges will have a negligible impact on your finances and in some cases, you could be better off.

If you print more frequently, you will definitely want to use the “XL” a.k.a. “high yield” models for new HP printers.  The high yield cartridges are a much better buy since they typically contain 3x the ink of the standard cartridges which equates to a 30% savings for OEM cartridges.  If you want to buy HP ink cartridges cheap, get the high capacity remanufactured models which can save you anywhere from 30%  – 70% compared to OEM retail prices.

With more than 240 million Deskjet printers sold since 1988, you are more likely to own one of these machines than any other.

If you print often, be sure your Deskjet is an older one.  It would also be in your best interest to buy remanufactured unless you are a photo enthusiast that requires archival quality.

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