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Best Print Head Technology for Cheapest Printer Cartridges

We are all becoming more street-wise when it comes to the price of ink! Here at Printer News we thought it was time we carried out an in-depth study to find the printer with the lowest running costs.

We are going to concentrate on Inkjet technology for this study and look for a printer that is happy using high yield compatible cartridges. As a general rule, when a new printer is released on to the market place, bargain hunters have to wait a while before copy cartridges become available. Compatible manufacturers, usually from China , have to play catch up by producing their version to fit in the new machine. If the cartridge requires a smart chip, then the delay can be even longer while the technology is developed.

Ideally if we can find a printer that uses cartridges without a smart chip, or a sensor to stop refilling, this will bring down our costs of printing. Firstly in alphabetical order let's examine which manufacturers use chip technology on their cartridges.

Advent Ink tank cartridges contain an information chip and cannot be refilled. There are no compatible cartridges currently available and genuine cartridges are too expensive for our needs.

Brother Inkjet printer cartridges do not have microchips or sensors. The printer estimates ink use.

Canon offer two different types of printer. The cheaper ones usually use two cartridges with built-on print heads. These can generally be refilled but will read empty after doing so. A combination of key presses on the printer is sometimes required to continue to print. The best Canon printers for this study are the ones that have a separate print head and ink tanks. Models include the Pixma ip4950 and MG5350.

Dell have recently moved to Ink tanks without a print head, however they include a sensor that cannot be reset.

Epson use ink tanks with smart chips. Compatible cartridges and refillable cartridges are available for most models. Unfortunately recognition problems can be common-place.

HP printers, similar to Canon use two types of methods for delivering Ink. The budget models use cartridges with a built on print head that do not contain very much Ink. Other budget models use four or five Ink tank cartridges that contain microchips. Compatibles without microchips are available, however you need to transfer the chip from the genuine cartridge and disable the ink monitor on the printer.

Lexmark cartridges have traditionally featured a built-on print head and have been expensive, however they could be refilled successfully. In recent years they have introduced cartridges called ‘Return Program Cartridges' which are one use only. Lexmark usually sell an ‘A' version of the cartridge that can be refilled but these are more expensive. Alongside the print head type cartridges Lexmark have now introduced an Ink tank type cartridge system which contains a smart-chip with the print head being inside the printer. Compatible versions with chips are now available for some models, however Lexmark tried to stop the use of these by releasing an update for printer firmware.

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