Is it a good idea to refill your own printer ink?

Is it a good idea to refill your own printer ink?

Best answer: No! The inks used in kits are of subpar quality, and trying to push ink into cartridges with a tiny syringe is a messy nightmare. A better alternative to OEM inkjet printer cartridges is to put your money toward third-party remanufactured or generic cartridges.Best option: E-Z Ink ($17 at Amazon)Eco-friendly: GREENBOX ($30 at Amazon)

The nitty-gritty on refillable ink bottles

The hard truth is that refillable ink quality is atrocious. Many inks are watered down to the point that printed materials come out illegible. Inks also often smear easily and can't be used for anything of importance like, say, work documents. Ink refill bottles also do a terrible job of color matching. They won't come close to looking like the accurate colors your OEM cartridges produced. That means that printing photos and color documents are near impossible.

And have we mentioned this is a messy job? Even the smallest spill can ruin your printer, clothing, carpeting, and stain your hands for long periods.

Add to that the fact the cartridge you're refilling has a burnt-out printer head and it's all a recipe for disaster. Unless you're printing for your own use at home, refilling ink cartridges is a colossal waste of your time.

Better options for your printer and your wallet

If you want to lighten the load on your wallet while investing in good quality ink, compatible ink cartridges or remanufactured ink cartridges are your best bet.

What's the difference? Well, compatible ink cartridge replacements are manufactured by independent companies that produce generic cartridges that look and operate just like the OEM variety. You won't notice a difference in appearance or print quality, but you will see a difference in price.

Remanufactured cartridges are just what they sound like: original OEM units that have been taken apart, cleaned, fixed, refilled, inspected, and then resold. Since the printer cartridge heads are cleaned and most parts replaced, investing in these is pretty much the same as buying a new OEM cartridge, but at less than half the price.

Jodi Owan