I notice that in HP, and probably other printer ads, that a “Starter
Capacity” cartridge is included. Any info about what this ambiguous term really
means? I know they make as much or more from the ink as they do from the
In this excerpt from
Answercast #75, I look at the smaller ink cartridges that usually come with
inkjet printers. They are often called “Starter Capacity.”
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Starter capacity ink cartridges
Yes. Actually it’s an improvement! The fact that it says “Starter Capacity”
is an improvement over what I’ve experienced in the past.
The bottom line is that the cartridges that come with the printers are
typically small in the sense that they may physically look the same size but
they may have less than a quarter of the amount of ink that a full cartridge
would have. They’re called, “Starter.”
They’re just meant to be there – so that when you get your printer,
you can print something (at least for a little while). They fully expect you to
then run out and get replacement cartridges, full cartridges, that will last a
lot longer than these starter cartridges will.
Ink is expensive
The bottom line is exactly as you’ve identified it. Printers are so cheap
these days that in order to actually make money, in order for the companies to
even be profitable bothering to make these printers, they have to make their
revenue from somewhere – and where they do it is printer ink.
The ink is usually, typically somewhat pricey, but you’re kind of stuck. You
Quality of manufacturer’s cartridges
There are cartridge refill situations and third-party cartridge
I’ve used one (123Inkjets, I think it is) or a couple of others. The problem
there is that sometimes third-party cartridges and refilled cartridges don’t
work or don’t work as well. The print quality sometimes suffers.
I know that I tried it repeatedly across a couple of different printers. I
finally gave up and just went with the actual print cartridges (or now in my
case these days, the laser printer toner cartridges) from the manufacturer
It is more expensive, but it definitely (for me at least) has resulted in
significantly higher quality printing and fewer problems.
Check your printer
There’s also another possibility. You actually need to check your paperwork
on your printer when you get it to see if using a third-party cartridge or a
refilled cartridge might void your warranty. As hard as it might be to
believe, some manufacturers are really insistent that you get your printer
cartridges from them and only from them.
So that’s what’s going on. The starter capacity cartridge is really just a
cartridge that doesn’t have as much ink as a full one does. It’s meant simply
as a starter. It’s really a way to get you the printer cheap; and then have you
turn around and spend more money on more cartridges.
Next from Answercast 75 – How do I
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