Find the Answer You Are Looking for: Why Is Printer Ink So Expensive?

Printer ink can be costly, especially if you print many documents or photographs at home or the office. But how much is an ink for a printer exactly, and why does printer ink cost so much?

In today's digital and computer-ruled world, people don't print out nearly as many documents as they used to in the past, but that doesn't mean that printer ink and toner aren't costly, especially large format printers

If you've bought printer ink before, you know the answer to how expensive is printer ink. If you're not careful, your printer ink costs can quickly become extremely high, especially if you use your printer often.

Since most companies don't provide the option to refill cartridges anymore, the only alternative is to buy new ones each time. Read on to learn the answers to questions like "Why are ink cartridges so expensive?" and "Why is toner so expensive?"

Multi-color printer ink is necessary to create vivid colors and crisp printed images.

How Much Is Printer Ink?

The average cost of how much is printer ink per gallon can average $12,000 depending on how much ink you use. This price has gone up in comparison to the prices stated by Consumer Reports in 2013. 

Today printer ink cartridges holding 128 ounces will cost you just under $9,600 or more at major office supply stores. The total cost of printer ink consumption globally is $20 billion. Let us get to the bottom of what is causing the increase in printer ink prices.

Printer Ink Expensive Causes

Ink Research and Development

The cost of manufacturing ink is about 40 percent more than in 2013 due to increased efficiency and plant upgrades.

This increase in cost is primarily related to R&D. R&D costs translate to how much it costs to manufacture an ink cartridge. The price manufacturers charge for their products includes a reasonable markup for their expenses, including research and development (R & R&D).

Ink Is Complicated

What makes printer ink so expensive is that it's not just one material; it's a combination of different fluids. Printer ink is one of the most complex fluids in existence. Some components like color might be cheap, but when you start adding in rare materials and difficult-to-synthesize compounds, you're looking at some hefty prices.

This is also why ink cartridges are so expensive while regular printers are so cheap —printers don't have any moving parts to break or replace, and they're pretty easy to manufacture on a large scale.

Genuine Ink

Genuine print ink is expensive because it's a complex mixture of inorganic and organic compounds, including water and other liquid chemicals. Ink technology continues to advance, making it possible for manufacturers to produce ink that mimics some of nature's most vibrant colors.

The formulation process requires specialized equipment and strict quality controls, which translates into higher costs down the line.

It's worth noting that many printers can use non-genuine ink and third-party ink cartridges. However, sticking to genuine ink ensures that your printout colors are as you expect.


Specialty ink isn't just a fancy way to color your document. Specialty inks have been created because traditional printer inks have drawbacks: they don't work with waterproof papers. They may fade when exposed to sunlight or water for an extended time.

The formulas for specialty inks are proprietary, which means that a manufacturer cannot replicate these formulas without permission from that company.

That company then charges a premium for using its ink because fewer companies can produce them. This makes specialized ink some of the most expensive printer ink today. 

A series of ink cartridges connected to a functional printer.

How Much Does Black Ink Cost?

Why does black printer ink cost so much? The price of printer ink has fluctuated over the years; you can bet on one thing: It will keep going up. While the manufacturer's recommended retail price (MRP) for black ink is about $18 for a 1-ounce cartridge of inkjet printer ink, prices can range from as little as $5 to as much as $60.

Some manufacturers will sell their inks for less than MRP. However, when a seller goes below that number, it doesn't mean they are selling at a loss; instead, they have negotiated directly with manufacturers or are using a different business model.

Is Printer Ink Expensive? At Metro Repro, We Offer Great Deals

Now that you know how much printer ink costs to make and why are ink cartridges expensive, it's probably a good idea to start thinking about ways you can save money.

The bottom line is that if you want a cheaper printer ink cartridge, you need to search for one and make your purchase accordingly. The more informed decision you make, the better your financial future will look!

If you have any other questions regarding your printing machine or the best printer supplies, you can always contact us at (888) 484-9292.

Author: Metro Repro