What is the cost of printer ink?

Save the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves is the sort of business advice your mother might have given you to stretch your pocket money. But it is still true; haemorrhaging money will reduce your profits. That is why picking the right printer ink is so important.

Printer ink is a tiny thing, but it is a tiny thing of high value. Unlike regular ink it is enormously expensive. A litre costs around €5,000. So it is a sensible target to save a penny on. But it is not just a matter of going for the cheapest. That can be a false economy. 

Table of contents:

Branded vs generic printer ink price chart

See below our table to give you an idea as to the difference in pricing between popular printer ink brands like Canon, Brother and HP, and illustrates the savings that can be made by choosing our unbranded generic options that are compatible with your printer.

Please click into the URL link to see up to date pricing, pricing correct as at 08/12/2021.



Price (ex VAT)

Multipack of Generic Brand Canon PGI-580XXL & CLI-581XXL Inks



Valuepack of Canon PGI-580 & CLI-581 XL inks



Original Canon PGI-580 XXL & CLI-581 XXL Ink cartridge multi pack, 1 x PGBK XXL (26 ml) + 1 x BK/C/M/Y (12ml each), Pack qty 5



Generic Brother TN2420 XL Black Toner



Brother TN-2420 Toner black, 3K pages



1 full set of Generic Brother LC3213 Ink Cartridges



Brother LC-3213VAL Ink cartridge multi pack, 400 pages, Pack qty 4



Generic Brand Brother LC3213 Black Ink



Brother LC-3213BK Ink cartridge black, 400 pages



1 full set of Generic Brother TN247 XL Black & Colour Toners



Brother TN-247BK Toner black, 3K pages



Brother TN-247C Toner cyan, 2.3K pages



Brother TN-247Y Toner yellow, 2.3K pages



Brother TN-247M Toner magenta, 2.3K pages



1 full set of Generic Brand HP 203X Toners



HP CF540X (203X) Toner black, 3.2K pages



HP CF541X (203X) Toner cyan, 2.5K pages



HP CF542X (203X) Toner yellow, 2.5K pages



HP CF543X (203X) Toner magenta, 2.5K pages



The table above helps you to compare generic printer ink v branded printer ink to save money.

What are the most affordable ink cartridges?

Below we have our top 4 most affordable ink cartridges, just click into these to buy online or get in our local store in Cork. You can compare these against their branded versions in the table above also.

What are the factors affecting printer ink pricing?

Yellow background with calculator and price tag to illustrate price and saving

If you only print an occasional page, the cheapest is the best. But if you print in any volume you have to think deeper. 

One thing to consider is the printer itself. Good printers are more efficient, and a more efficient printer uses less ink. If a page costs 4c to print on a cheap printer, but only 3c on a more expensive model, that might look like a small saving. But if your business prints just 500 pages a day, that adds up to €1,200 a year. And a lot of businesses print far more than that.

Whichever cartridge you go for, remember that cheaper ink is not always better - you might end up using more of it. However when it comes to replacing the ink cartridges it is normally more economical to use generic cartridges. You don’t have to stick to the brand that came with the printer on day one. 

Your printer will warn you when the ink is running low. Ignore this warning. There are still a lot of pages left when that warning comes. Don’t change the cartridge until you can see the ink has run out. 

You can also make savings through clever hacks. Switching from a heavy font such as Verdana to a lighter font like Times New Roman will produce savings over the lifetime of the printer. Print in black and white rather than colour as often as you can. You won’t lose much, but you will save a lot.

For pages that are designed for internal consumption, consider printing in draft. It gives almost the same quality but uses far less ink.

Surprisingly you can save a lot by not switching off your printer when it is idle. According to consumer reports more than half of the ink doesn’t get used in printing, but gets cleaned out by printer maintenance cycles. Keeping your printer turned on eliminates these maintenance cycles and prolongs the life in your ink cartridge. 


Having considered all those factors, and those clever hacks, there are still differences between different inks, and we have done the research so you don’t have to. Just contact us if you’re looking for a specific printer ink, or browse our online shop for ink cartridges.

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