Printer Ink - Genuine or Cheap Alternative

Do you use genuine or cheap alternative ink for your printer?

I use to just buy a new printer when the ink runs out becuase is cheaper than getting new ink cartridges. But one day i decided to take a gamble on the cheap cartridges from ebay and have never gone back to genuine.

I have a HP 5520 for a few years now and the ink is dirt cheap. I can get 4x Black, 2x Cyna, 2x yellow and 2x magenta for just $19 delivered while a genuine one cost $25 each!

Yes, colour is a bit off, head gets blocked once a while, and sometime with streak marks on the print. But a simple head clean fixes these issues.

I was looking at getting a new printer but now days the third party cartridges are not that much cheaper than the genuine. Especially with those tri-colour cartridges.

Poll Options

  • 5
  • 34
    Alternative Cheapo....


  • +2 votes

    Genuine printer ink has to be one of the biggest scam on earth. I think black ink is the most valuable liquid on earth by weight.

  • +2 votes
    • +2 votes

      I don't print much so I avoid inkjet and stick to mono brother laser printer with alternative cheap toner. If I had to print lots of colour documents/photos I'll go with rihac inkjet + rihac

      • +1 vote

        is rihac cheaper than the genuine products?

        • +2 votes

          i use their CISS systems and it is obscenely cheaper.

          in savings first of all it pays for itself - and quite quickly,
          then it pays for the printer,
          then it pays for the ink refills themselves,
          then it pays for the paper,
          then everything i print is (sort of) FREE!

          and at that point every time i print i get to gloat in spite at all the printer manufacturers in the world.

          it is glorious.

          • +2 votes

            @bargain huntress: did it then pay for your house as well?

          • +1 vote

            @bargain huntress: Depends how much you print really

            CISS has a high upfront cost

            Generic inks from China are disposable and convenient, no messing around (more plastic waste though, if you care about that), around $2-$5 per cartridge

            If you print every now and then, then the generic inks make sense (lecture notes for Uni for example)

            CISS makes sense if you do a LOT of heavy printing (business use case)

            There's also the EcoTank range from Epson now, which is like an inbuilt CISS (you refill ink into its tanks directly), higher upfront cost but I suppose you can put whatever ink you like in there

            Paper isn't free, and these days most people don't print that much, especially with the COVID-catalysed Work-From-Home option


              @cwongtech: works for me


                @bargain huntress:

                @cwongtech: works for me

                I'm sure it does, everyone's use case is different :)
                RIHAC and CISS (Mir-Aus) are the two major CIS brands in Australia
                CISS uses rebadged ones from china (someone found it in OzBargain before)
                RIHAC have a longer history
                Both have setup time and setup costs ($100~$200)

                Just a no-fuss solution if you use generic ink cartridges

                Even your own post indicates there can be issues with CIS, "unprime"?

                Guessing air is getting into the ink tube/lines?

                is rihac cheaper than the genuine products?

                Anything is cheaper than genuine products

                Generally, I do non-photo printing at home with cheap generic inks from China/eBay

                Any photos, I leave to the cheap print deals that come every now and then from Harvey Norman or SnapFish
                Photos require calibration of your screen as well as your printer if you want to take it seriously, and also.. photo paper as well



                  Even your own post indicates there can be issues with CIS, "unprime"?

                  everything wears out eventually

                  the printer had worn out by then anyway - and/or reached its planned obsolescence

                  it was about a decade of use out of both of them


    Another tip is to get a Small Business-class printer to use with the generic cheapos

    I've used the Epson Workforce series without a hitch with the generic printer inks, it has a removeable discharge waste tank built into the printer (haven't had to replace it)
    There's even new ones where there are ink tanks instead of buying the cartridge!

    Working very strong even with an occasional print every few months, had mine for at least 5-6 years now.

    My previous Brother printers kept having clogging printheads.. Canon Pixma series is designed to look nice and rob you in broad daylight with genuine ink cartridges.

  • +2 votes

    I use both in my photo printer. If printing documents on my photo printer I will use fake. And for some photos I'll use fake ink. For hard proofing I'll use fake too because the fake ink I sourced is basically an exact match for Canon's, with the extra profiles I found the fake ink even looks a little better. But if I need to be sure the photo won't fade this decade or the next, I'll use genuine, always with genuine paper. Canon claims their prints will last 300 years in archival conditions. Fake inks make no specific claims to longevity. The concern is visible fading, especially when the print will be in sunlight. You ever see old billboards, or boxes, or flyers where they look purple or blue because they faded with time? That's not what you want to see on your photos. I see some people display photos they printed themselves and they are faded until almost being invisible after less than 10 years. And that's depressing if it's of you and your wife and neither of you can remember where the digital files are anymore.


    How many color print you do? If a lot then you can get those refillable cartridge.

  • -1 vote

    This is OzBargain! What do you think?


    Who still prints at home?
    Thats what work is for

  • +1 vote

    If you print News Headlines with fake ink do you get Fake News?

    OzB, asking the tough questions. lol


    We’ve found Seven hills ink on eBay good for generic toner for our Samsung mono laser