Last week’s column on home printing brought some good emails this week.

Here’s one from Mac: Your current column on printers hit my last nerve. I would love to see you do an expanded column on the trap you are in when you purchase a Hewlett Packard printer and must use its cartridges for the rest of your life. Without getting in trouble with HP, how can I get out of purchasing its genuine cartridges at $125 for the set and use generic cartridges or other options? No one at HP will help. It is cheaper to buy another printer.

Help!

I have to admit, I’ve gotten spoiled after using an Epson EcoTank printer the past few years.

Epson says it includes two years’ worth of ink in the box, and it’s not kidding.

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The EcoTank uses bottles of ink to fill tanks in the printer instead of small ink cartridges. The ink tanks are large and refills are cheap, although the printers are more expensive.

That said, you should be able to use third-party ink cartridges in your HP printer.

HP, Canon and Epson have chips in their cartridges that communicate with the printers. While I’ve read of printer companies trying to disable the use of third-party ink, it seems that you can use them.

I’m not sure what model the reader owns, but I suggest taking a look at a company like Smart Ink (smartink.pro). It sells ink cartridges for many HP printers, and Smart Ink says its cartridges provide 100% chip recognition.

For reference, Smart Ink sells replacement ink for printers that use the HP564 cartridges. It sells two complete sets of ink (cyan, magenta, yellow, black and photo black) for $25.

The website Windows Central did an article on the best third-party ink replacements with reviews of ink from several companies.

HP even references using third-party ink on its support pages.

There are pages referencing “non-HP” ink cartridges and even advice on what to do if you get error messages when trying to use non-HP ink.

I realize HP, Epson and Canon want you to use their own ink. They make a heck of a lot more money on cartridges than they do selling printers, which is why you can often find new printers for less than the cost of a full set of original manufacturer’s replacement ink.

There are caveats, though. Consumer Reports did a survey of people who use third-party ink, and 36% found the cartridges to be inconsistent when it comes to print quality.

Do some research, and don’t be afraid to try third-party ink. And when you need a new printer, if you print frequently, don’t forget about printers that use ink tanks.

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