When's the ideal time to switch my printer to alternative inks?

Switching to an alternative ink is a pretty simple process these days; it’s almost like changing channels with your remote! But it’s the decision to make the change and when it should occur that causes the most confusion.

It’s often said that you should never switch to alternative inks until your printer is out of warranty, but not all printers are equal and nor are their warranties! Most warranties cover machinery, parts and labour for 1 year only, unless you’ve paid a premium for an extended 3-5 year warranty that is part of a service agreement. Longer warranties can be a good way to hedge against the potential of expensive problems that might occur as a printer ages, particularly with wear or damage to print heads.

So if you purchase a highly expensive printer (let’s say in excess of $100k) with equally expensive print heads or a printer with a large number of print heads, then maintaining a long-term warranty might be important to you. On the other hand, when purchasing a printer in the sub $100k, particularly for those at the lower end of that spectrum, serious consideration should be given to switching to alternatives as soon a practical post warranty. By calculating the cost of ink savings on a yearly basis (based on your previous track record) you can quickly see that you could save thousands dollars for a single printer and potential 10’s of thousand across 2 or more printers in a calendar year. This calculation will allow you to make a clear business decision about whether the time is right to switch.

The choice of ink for your printer is a critical decision that directly impacts the quality, cost, and sustainability of your printing. Many users often contemplate switching from traditional, original manufacturer inks to alternative inks, seeking benefits such as cost savings, better color reproduction, or environmental considerations. However, deciding the ideal time to make this transition requires careful consideration and evaluation of multiple factors. In this article, we will explore when it might be the perfect time to switch to alternative inks for your printer and how this switch can optimize your printing experience.

Understanding Alternative Inks

Alternative inks, also known as third-party or compatible inks, are non-OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) inks produced by different manufacturers other than the brand of your printer. These inks are formulated to be compatible with specific printer models and are often a more cost-effective solution compared to OEM inks. They can come in various forms, including remanufactured, compatible, or refillable cartridges.

Key Considerations for Switching to Alternative Inks

1. Cost Savings:

One of the primary motivations for switching to alternative inks is cost savings. Original manufacturer inks can be expensive, especially for high-volume printing. Alternative inks usually come at a lower price point, offering significant savings without compromising on print quality.

2. Print Quality and Color Accuracy:

Modern alternative inks have greatly improved in terms of print quality and color accuracy. Initially, some third-party inks may not match the exact color reproduction of OEM inks, but reputable alternative ink manufacturers invest in research and technology to bridge this gap effectively.

3. Compatibility and Reliability:

Ensuring that the alternative ink is compatible with your specific printer model is crucial. Reputable alternative ink manufacturers provide compatibility information, and it’s essential to choose a reliable brand to ensure consistent performance and reliability.

4. Environmental Considerations:

Often considered more eco-friendly ink as they can sometimes be made from recycled materials or follow sustainable manufacturing processes. If sustainability is a concern for you, switching to alternative inks might align better with your values.

5. Warranty Concerns:

Switching to alternative inks may void the warranty on your printer. Many original equipment manufacturers include clauses in their warranties that stipulate the use of their branded ink for the warranty to remain valid. It’s essential to weigh the cost benefits against potential warranty implications.

The Ideal Time to Make the Switch

1. End of Warranty:

Once your printer is out of warranty, you have more flexibility to experiment with alternative inks without risking voiding the warranty. This is an excellent time to start testing different alternative ink options and evaluating their performance.

2. Exhausting OEM Cartridges:

Wait until your original manufacturer’s ink cartridges are near the end of their life cycle. This allows you to use up the existing OEM ink before transitioning to alternative inks.

3. High Volume Printing Needs:

If your printing needs have increased, and you find that you are going through cartridges rapidly, this might be the ideal time to consider switching to alternative inks to reduce overall costs.

4. Positive Reviews and Recommendations:

When you come across reputable reviews or recommendations from trusted sources or peers regarding a particular brand of alternative ink that matches your printer model, it might be a good indicator to give it a try.

Ensuring a Smooth Transition

1. Thorough Research:

Before making the switch, conduct extensive research on reputable alternative ink manufacturers, their products, and customer reviews to ensure a smooth transition.

2. Compatibility Testing:

Test the alternative ink on a small scale initially to ensure compatibility with your printer and to check the quality and color accuracy of the prints.

3. Gradual Transition:

If possible, transition gradually by using up the remaining OEM ink cartridges before fully switching to alternative inks. This way, you can monitor the difference and ensure a seamless shift.

The decision to switch to alternative inks for your printer is significant and should be made after careful evaluation of various factors, including cost savings, print quality, environmental concerns, and warranty implications. The ideal time to make this switch often aligns with the end of your printer’s warranty or when you have exhausted your current OEM ink cartridges. Thorough research, compatibility testing, and a gradual transition can ensure a smooth shift to alternative inks, ultimately enhancing your printing experience. Always choose reputable alternative ink manufacturers to guarantee the best results and optimize the value you receive from your printer.

Once this decision is made selecting an alternative ink supplier is the next step, you need the support of a trustworthy brand that has consistent quality products, that’s where Jetmark comes in. Not only do we supply all the inks that you need we also back them up with full online, phone or Skype support from our experienced in-house ink technicians. We can also put you in touch with reliable printer technicians to keep your printer maintenance up to scratch.

If you’d like to talk more about calculating the benefits of switching, just drop us a line and we’ll help you develop an ink transition plan.

Call us to discuss your ink requirements

Phone: 1800 538 627  /  Email: sales@jetmark.com.au