Refilling Inkjet Cartridges at Costco, Walgreens, and More

Depending on what you print, refilling cartridges may be economical

refilling ink cartridges
New technologies may end the need to avoid the printer makers' ink products. Photo courtesy of Getty Images and Don Nichols

Where printer makers are concerned, anyway, the question of refilling ink tanks instead of buying new ones each time a cartridge runs out, the practice is unforgivable. The controversy, as well as much of the misinformation, has been going on for years. And yes, I have seen third-party inks damage printers, nice ones, which has always been reason enough for me. 

In the long run, it probably depends primarily (after determining that the ink won't disable your printer, of course, which may in itself be a risky trial error procedure) on what you're printing and the machine itself.

In any case, there have been many changes in the inkjet ink formulation and distribution world, as discussed in this About.com "Is It Worth Getting Inkjet Cartridges Refilled?" article. 

In addition to an answer to the question inherent in the title, you'll find links to three new services, or ink distribution services: Epson's EcoTank, HP's Instant Ink, and Brother's INKvestment. In some cases, these services are actually cheaper than brick-and-mortar refill solutions. With no warranty-negation or quality issues.

As for the article below, some Costco and Walgreens stores still refill ink tanks, but many do not. If the stores in your area do...

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Costco, through its 1-hour photo service, offers refills of inkjet cartridges from HP, Lexmark, and Dell printers (Walgreens offers a similar service for $12.99 that includes Okidata, Sharp, and Xerox printers as well).

Depending on the type of inkjet cartridge, a refill will cost $7.99 or $9.99--a significant savings from buying a new cartridge, and Costco estimates you can refill the same cartridge 5-10 times. Some printers may indicate that the cartridge is not filled completely, but this, Costco says, is because some printer ink indicators were not made with refills (as opposed to replacements) in mind.

The service is not available at every Costco or Walgreens store. If you've tried this refill service, let us know how it worked, and if you found it a good deal.