What's this?
ACSI Bulk Inks logo

ACSI Bulk Inks

The Christian Source for Bulk Inkjet Ink and Refill Cartridges

Ink Listing Instructions About ACSI Frequent Questions Order Forms
Call 1-888-728-2465 Cartridges Bulk Ink Bulk Toner Contact ACSI

Printer Recommendations By ACSI Bulk Inks

Updated February 22, 2008

We try to update this article a couple of times a year. Please feel free to link to this page and check it whenever you need a new printer.

We sell refill ink in pint bottles for almost all inkjet printers. So we hear a lot about their capabilities. Click here to see if we support your chosen printer.

Although we don't sell printers, many times people ask us what printers we recommend. While we can't claim to represent a thorough testing service, we do get some idea of printer performance from customer calls. Plus, we have a strong knowledge of which cartridges are easy to refill, and which are not. So, we give you our suggestions -- but be sure to make your own decisions.

A Few General Comments:

  • Canon graphical performance on earlier machines was poorer than the other leading manufacturers. This has improved with the S-series and i-Series, and especially with the new Pixma products. They generally seem to make an easy to refill, reliable printer these days. We like these new Canon printers, and think they are a great choice.
    • Avoid the 2-cartridge Canon products, since the cartridges are very tiny.
    • Get the 5-cartridge system based upon the CLI-8 and PGI-5 cartridges for text and excellent graphics printing.
    • Get the 6-cartridge system based upon the CLI-8 cartridges for excellent photo printing. Four and 1/2 stars.

  • The choice of an HP printer depends not on the printer family, but on the cartridges. There are three cartridge system which HP is selling today: The #21/22/27/28/56/57/58/92/93/94/95/96/97/98 cartridges, found in many Deskjet printers and Photosmart printers, the #10/11/12/88 cartridges, found in many Business Inkjet printers, and the #02 cartridges, found in a few low-end photo machines.

    The #21/22/27/28/56/57/58/92/93/94/95/96/97/98 cartridges are small, but easy to refill. They offer excellent print quality and are easy to use. The #27 and #28 are half-filled #56 and #57 cartridges. In the same way, the #92 is a partially filled #94. Note that not all printers can use all of these cartridges. These printers offer excellent photo printing. The only problem is the smaller capacity. (The #21 and #22 are easy to fill, but very tiny.)Four stars.

    The #10/11/12/88 cartridge family is the top choice for heavy duty, high volume printing.

    • The low-end Officejet Pro K550 is a great buy at around $199.
    • The HP 3000 is the really tough workhorse at $1200.
    • The wide carriage Business Inkjet 2800 and Officejet Pro K5400 are great for brochure printing at around $500.
    • All of these printers have very heavy duty cycle ratings and work reliably in a tough printing environment. And most importantly, the big, easy to refill cartridges can be refilled 20 times or more. We know people who are printing 50,000 real estate brouchures a month with several of these printers. Five stars.

    Printers based upon the #02 or #14 cartridge should be avoided. Although the print quality is great, the cartridge are tiny, and the refilling process is difficult and tricky. One star.

  • Epson printers give excellent print quality, but are more difficult to refill than the others. All of the new printers require extra work to refill. Look at the cartridges: you will see a counter chip on the cartridge which an Epson printer uses to determine the ink level. When this counter chip reaches zero, the cartridge cannot be refilled unless a chip resetter is used. Chip resetters run $34.95 for most printers, over $100 for large format printers. Two stars.

    Many of the newest Epson printers use the T069, T073, and T078 series of cartridges, which use a different chip. As of this writing, these chips can not be reset. Avoid them.

  • Lexmark has a good line of low-cost printers in their Z series. They can all be refilled easily, and are a good choice if your budget is limited. However, the new cartridges are rather tiny.

    Some new Lexmark cartridges cannot be refilled. You need to purchase special "A" versions of these cartridges if you want to refill. These difficult cartridges are the #23, #24, #28, #29, #41, #42 cartridges. Overall, Lexmark gets three stars.

  • Dell printers are apparently made by Lexmark. New Dell cartridges are only available through Dell. They are easy to refill, but new cartridges are very, very expensive. Two stars.

  • Brother has a good line of printers. The LC41 and LC51 series are simple to refill and reliable, especially for multi-function machines.

  • For high-end sign making, consider the Encad and Roland lines of products.

  • As near as we can tell, Lexmark has designed the inkjet cartridges for Compaq, Dell, Xerox, and Sharp. They are refilled in much the same manner as the Lexmark products.
See below for some specific situations.

Best Print Quality -- Photo Quality

  • Canon Pixma 6700 and similar models. This is your best bet if graphical print quality is your key requirement, and is easy to refill. We prefer the older Canon iP9900, but these are now hard to find.

  • HP products based upon the #96/97/98 family is the runner up. Much easier to refill, but the cartridges can't be refilled as often.

  • The other HP Photosmart printers are great also, but do not perform well printing large photos when refilled.

Best Overall Print Quality

  • Canon Pixma 6700. The graphics are excellent. The text quality is very crisp and sharp. If you mix graphics and text, these units probably provide the best overall print quality mix. Another advantage is that these units are easy to refill.

Best Cheap Printer

  • Anything in the Lexmark Z-series lineup. These printers are easy to refill, and can be found for $50 or less. The refilling is easy for a beginner. In addition, the black ink is a pigmented black ink, which means that it is relatively water resistent. But these printers are almost disposable. Don't buy the low-end if you print thousands of pages per month -- look to the Canon and HP printers mentioned next.

  • Runner up are the HP F-series printers based upon the #21 and #22 cartridges. These tiny cartridges are easy to refill, but you'll need to refill often.

    Easiest to Refill, Maintain, and Great Reliability

    • HP Officejet Pro K550 -- This unit is wonderful if you need a workhorse printer. When the earlier generation HP 2000 was tested by our chemist, it ran over 11,000 pages without a page jam. Plus, the Type 10 and 11 cartridges are very large and easy to refill. Most printers are rated at 3,000 pages per month, but this one rates at 10,000 pages per month. This is the best printer to use if you are printing substantial color or photo pieces, since the large individual color cartridges allow you to run, run, run the printer. We really like this one. But the price tag is a bit high if your printing needs are not heavy -- around $200.

    • Canon Pixma 5200 -- This unit is simplicity itself. And that translates into lower operating costs with our refill ink. However, the volume printing ability is nowhere near the performance of the HP units mentioned above.

    • For laser printers overall, nothing beats the HP Laserjet family of printers. Select the one with the right price/speed for you. All are simple to refill, too.

    • Cheap black and white lasers - look at the products based upon Samsung ML1710 or ML1610 cartridges, such as the Dell 1100. Another great line are the Brother products based upon TN350, TN460, TN530, or TN560 cartridges.

    Colorfast Prints

    • The only truly colorfast inkjet printer available to ordinary mortals is the Canon 7000 family of products (BC-60 cartridges). However, this product has been discontinued for several years. There are other disadvantages to this printer, so check out our refilling instructions for this one first.

    • The Konica Minolta QMS 2300W is a superb low-cost color laser and is easy to refill. We have customers who print entire books for sale with this product. However, color lasers are, in general, twice the cost per page of the refilled HP Officejet Pro K550.

    Multi-function Machines and Faxes

    • Low-speed -- Look at the Lexmark products. These are easy to refill and support for a beginner. The color cartridge is also easy to refill. Be aware, though, that the cartridges can not be refilled as many times as the HP cartridges used on the current Officejet and PSC family products. Brother products that use the LC412 and LC51 cartridges are fine and easy to refill, but have small cartridges.

    • High-speed -- We like the HP Officejet K850. It scans, prints, faxes, and is easy to refill the black cartridge. It even faxes in color if you have a color fax receiving!

    Low-End Copiers

    • Avoid low-end Xerox copiers, since they use a Sharp-designed dual toner/developer system which is difficult to refill yourself. Brother and Canon are much easier to use.
    • Samsung- based products such as the Dell 1100 have reasonable support in the after-market.
    • Brother and Canon products are easy to refill and work just fine.

    As always, take these brief comments as guides. And remember that the models that are being demonstrated on the showroom floor are heavily used. We suggest bringing your own paper to test. Where possible, you might even want to bring your own pages to print out.

    What's this?

    Copyright 2008 by Brian L. Boley. All Rights Reserved.

    Automation Consulting & Supply, Inc.