How good are generic inkjet cartridges?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by MnMacer, Dec 18, 2005.

  1. MnMacer macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2005
    Minnesota Lakes Country
    Where I live it's quite an ordeal getting ink cartridges for our printer (Epson Stylus Photo R800). We can have our one local office supply store order them and pay full retail plus shipping, or drive 45 miles to buy them and pay for the gas! I found a website (, that gives me the option of OEM cartridges @ $13.95, or generics @ $7.95.
    If anybody has any experience with, or generic cartridges in general, what kind of quality can I expect from them? Is the money saved worth it, or am I better of paying for OEM?:confused:

    I see the links at the bottom of the page offering generic cartidges for about 1/2 OEM as well. Same question - are they any good?
  2. alywa macrumors 6502

    May 6, 2004
    Generic Ink

    My experience hasn't been good with generic ink.

    I have an epson all-in-one printer/copier/scanner. It uses 3 color cartridges and one black. I purchased some generic ink at a "too good to be true" price.

    The stuff was trash. It constantly clogged heads; I'd have to clean the heads if I hadn't printed that day. The colors were off, and quality was noticibly lower.

    I eventually gave up and ponied up the money for the epson inks... problem solved.

    Of course, your milage may vary.

  3. pooky macrumors 6502

    Jun 2, 2003
    I agree. Last time I tried generic, they leaked all over the inside of the printer.
  4. adk macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2005
    Stuck in the middle with you
    Generic is crap. I'm sure you can find OEM cartridges online with free/low shipping.
  5. mjstew33 macrumors 601


    May 29, 2005
    I GENERIC ink. Never. Ever. Get. It. It was a disaster, I had to throw out my good 'ol trusty printer - it completely ruined it, the ink cartridges leaked and they dried not allowing the thingy that moves the printer heads to move :( :rolleyes: :mad:
  6. ~Shard~ macrumors P6


    Jun 4, 2003
    Well, I think the point has been made, but I'll throw in my $0.02 as well, speaking from personal experience, that generic ink is not worth the hassle. Just try to find the ink OEM or something, it will save you a lot of hassle and messy clean ups later.
  7. riciad macrumors 6502

    Oct 10, 2005
    I have an Epson Stylus Photo R1800 and while I would never, never, never use generic cartridges to replace the photo inks, I do use generic matt black cartridges and they seem to work fine. Then again, some generic cartridges are probably better than others.

    The reason I do use generic matt black cartridges is, that here in Ireland, if you buy the 8 cartridges as a set the price is €120, bought individually €180, and if I'm doing a lot of text printing or line drawings I might go through matt black three times as quickly as colours.

    Haven't had any problems with clogging or leaking so far and the text quality is good.
  8. MnMacer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 21, 2005
    Minnesota Lakes Country
    I appreciate the advice, everybody! Looks like a penny saved will come back and bite me in OEM it is!
    Happy Holidays, everyone!
  9. ~Shard~ macrumors P6


    Jun 4, 2003
    That's what we're here for - glad to have helped, I think you made the right decision. Happy Holidays to you too. :)
  10. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

    May 28, 2004
    In a false sense of reality...My Mind!
    Try Amazon as I've found my ink for the Canon I have fairly cheap and anything over $25, no shipping or tax. It gets to my house quick but I also order before I'm totally out of ink.
  11. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

    Aug 1, 2004
    The City of Culture, Englandshire
    It looks like you've already made your mind up thanks to the other posters, but I just thought I'd add my twopenneth worth – we tried generic inks for a while at work and we'll never use them again. They'd constantly clog – the amount of paper we wasted was unbelievable. And of course, they'd clog three-quarters of the way through a printout, normally when we were up against it timewise.

    Stay well clear.
  12. steve_hill4 macrumors 68000


    May 15, 2005
    NG9, England
    The Epson R800 uses UltraChrome cartridges, IIRC, which is pigment based rather than Dye. According to our Epson rep, they are cracking down on any compatible cartridges that use their patented technology. Not only is the quality in question, but technically, they are illegal.

    Trust me, it may cost more, but if you've got a printer like the R800, it's worth paying that extra to guarantee the quality. What's the point in buying a printer of that calibre and then buggering it up with low quality cartridges?
  13. Graynat macrumors newbie

    Dec 22, 2005
    Re: How good are generic inkjet cartridges?

    I used to get good generic cartridges from (Canada) for my Epson Stylus Photo 700. Colour balance indistinguishable from Epson cartridges at half the price. They moved from Ottawa to Prince Edward island and that was OK at first. Later for unknown reasons I was unable to get my order filled and phone calls went unanswered. But the web still is still there - I just checked. They seem to be operating again. The USA web site is

    I will try them again. :)
  14. mikeyredk macrumors 65816

    Mar 13, 2003
    I have a cannon s330 bought 12 black cartridges and 4 color for $32 printed roughly 600 pages with 8 blacks and 2 colors
  15. Laser47 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2004
    I would never try the cheap inks in a epson or a canon printer for the main reason that if you clog or damage the print heads they cost a lot to replace. A replacement print head for my canon printer costs 110$ and epson printers have permanet print heads. Generic ink IMHO is only worth a try on the printers where ink replacements costs more than a new printer.
  16. Bowen Arrow macrumors newbie

    Jan 6, 2006
    Well, after reading all of the replies here I guess I'm in the minority. First of all let me say that I was also totally against using generic inkjet (or any other) cartridges for all of the reasons outlined by other posters. That is, until 3 years ago. I happened to open what, today, would be called a spam email from a 3rd party supplier of inkjet cartridges and because I was desperate for a cartridge for an older Epson (Stylus Photo 740) I decided to order some from these guys. They shipped direct to my door (I'm in Canada) and only charged a modest freight fee. I used every single cartridge over the next few months and never had a single clogging, no leaking, no apparent difference in colors.
    So when it came time to order cartridges for some of our other printers (Epson 440, 800, 850, 777i, CX5200) I cautiously made purchases of inks until I was sure that there were no problems. Each purchase was made to be over $50 USD, which is their minimum for FREE shipping. To date I have ordered at least 10 times. Always free shipping, always ships direct to my home, never once made a mistake in either type or quantity of cartridge or price, always arrives in less than a week.
    And, of course, the reason I switched to generic in the first place was price. The second time I ordered I got 12 cartridges; 6 Black and 6 color for my 740. I paid $42.86 USD (I bumped it up with something else to make the $50) which averages out to $3.57 per cartridge. Since then prices have gone up a bit and I'm using different printers. The last time I ordered for my 777i I paid about $6.95 per cartridge. In Canada I have to pay anywhere from $20 to $35 USD for the Epson branded ones.
    Now, I'm not refuting what anyone has said here before. It may be that I've just been lucky or that I've only been dealing with Epsons' cartridges. I can't recall whether I've purchased ink for other brands from these 3rd party suppliers. I just thought you'd like to hear some experience from the other side.
    My experience in the industry is fairly extensive. I'm a Mac and Windows expert and have been for over 20 years.
  17. iGary Guest


    May 26, 2004
    Randy's House
    Remember generic paper?

    The black and white boxes marked "Coffee?"

    Sorry, just made me think of the late 70s.
  18. Leareth macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2004
    For Color I use the espon brand cartridges but for black and white stuff ie text I just buy the generic stuff, I go through too much ink and paper doing drafts of my papers to worry that the ink will fade in a couple of weeks or run when it gets wet, for the final version I use the laser printer.
    the black generic cartridges are $8 bucks and print about 400 pages on draft quality, cheaper than the laser toner.
  19. iEdd macrumors 68000


    Aug 8, 2005
    I'm sure you've heard the "you get what you pay for" and the "there's no such thing as a free lunch" sayings. They are very true.
    For a cheaper solution, you could go to a place like 'cartridge world' and have them refilled. It doesn't matter for black too much, but for colour accuracy you are better off with official stuff.
  20. skunk macrumors G4


    Jun 29, 2002
    Republic of Ukistan
    What is handy, however, is a "cartridge resetter". I bought one for five quid. It prevents that really annoying habit that some printers have of telling you the cartridge is empty and refusing to print when you can still hear the ink sloshing around in it if you shake it. It's saved me quite a bit on my R800.
  21. iggyboy2 macrumors member

    Mar 13, 2005
    #21 The cartridges are generic but cheap; have had one out of maybe 30 or so not work. Epson 880 is my current printer at school.
  22. ----Bowie----, Jan 15, 2006
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2011
  23. Flowbee macrumors 68030


    Dec 27, 2002
    Alameda, CA
    I was especially fond of the white six-packs of "BEER".
  24. ~Shard~ macrumors P6


    Jun 4, 2003
    I was alive for a couple years in the 70's, can't say I remember much... ;)

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