As a small business I’m always looking to save money. And when I spend money I want it to last. So awhile back I came across an experiment that HP was sponsoring called the Ink Challenge. The idea was to have several small businesses test the difference between genuine HP printer ink and the refill ink you can get from places like Costco. I submitted my application and promptly forgot about it.
Then I got an email saying I’d been selected! Hooray for me!
They sent me 2 brand new, identical HP printers.
First off, I had to figure out where to put two more printers. It ended up looking like this:
My first task was to take two exhausted cartridges they provided and get them refilled. I went to a local shop about 3 miles from my house that specializes in ink refills (Think Ink in Orem). Figured I might as well deal with the best. Dropped them off in the morning. Picked them up that night (though they said it would only take about 30 minutes to do and the place didn’t exactly look busy).
I installed the new cartridges and printed my first assignment. Here are some questions and how it went:
- How long did the refill process take from when you exhausted the ink cartridge to alignment of the new one? Got it done same day. Dropped them off in the morning, picked them up on the way home, and aligned it that night.
- Was it easier or harder than expected? My first stop at Staples was unsuccessful since they closed the store I got Lexmark refills at last time and the next nearest store doesn’t do refills. They just do recycling. Luckily there was a little ink refill store just a quarter mile from Staples.
- Were you able to refill your empty ink cartridges, or did they ask you to purchase remanufactured ink cartridges and recycle your old ones? Staples wanted to recycle, but I went elsewhere for refills. Got both refilled easily.
- Were you able to refill at all? Or did they sell you a remanufactured cartridge? Got both refilled no problem.
- Did the refiller seem competent? Yes. Knew what I needed. Gave me the price upfront.
- Were you out running other errands or only out to refill the ink? Did it on my way to work, so it was a little out of the way, but not much.
- How far away was the refill service? 3 miles
- Did the refill cartridge work with the printer? (If not, what happened?) The refills worked, but I got a couple nasty messages first (see pics below)
- Were the refill cartridges messy? Nope. Very tidy and professional.
- From start to finish, which process was easier? The authentic cartridges were much easier because they were ready to go out of the box and because the printer didn’t keep hating on them.
- Was there a noticeable difference in print quality between each device? The first several pages looked identical. On the last sheet though there was slight banding on the pages from the refill ink printer. Pretty subtle though.
- How much of a personal convenience/inconvenience was each ink installation process? Refills took a few minutes out of my day and the printer REALLY didn’t like them. It was even on other areas.
As I mentioned, the printer did NOT like the refilled cartridges, despite the fact they were indeed HP cartridges. It calls them “Counterfeit” when they have refill ink.