When you buy a computer, you'll probably need a printer to go along with it. For ordinary black and white printing, get a laser printer. Although a laser printer initially costs more, the cost to print pages on a laser printer is much less than printing on an inkjet printer. If you need color though, you'll have no choice but to buy an inexpensive inkjet printer (or a really expensive color laser printer).

Watch out, though. Many printer manufacturers seduce you with low prices on their inkjet printers, but when you buy replacement ink cartridges, you'll find that the cost of two or three ink cartridges alone equals the original price of the inkjet printer. Even worse, inkjet printers tend to suck up ink rapidly, so over the lifetime of your inkjet printer, you may wind up spending several times more for inkjet cartridges than you did for the printer in the first place.

To help reduce your ink usage, try a program dubbed InkSaver (, which claims to reduce the amount of ink your printer uses without any noticeable difference in print quality. InkSaver works with most Epson, Canon, and Hewlett-Packard printers, but you can download a trial version of InkSaver to see if it works with your particular inkjet printer.

No matter how much ink a program like InkSaver can help you save, you'll eventually need to buy replacement inkjet cartridges. Instead of buying inkjet cartridges from the printer manufacturer, buy refill kits or alternative inkjet cartridges from Amazon Imaging ( or Rhinotek ( To find more online retailers that sell replacement inkjet cartridges, visit Buy Ink Cartridges (

These third-party ink companies sell refill kits and replacement inkjet cartridges for most inkjet printers, at as low as half the amount that an original manufacturer's inkjet cartridge would cost. Visit their websites and see if they sell replacement cartridges for your particular inkjet printer.

If you're shopping for an inkjet printer, compare the prices of replacement ink cartridges at Amazon Imaging or Rhinotek first. You may find that the inkjet printer that looks so appealing today might wind up costing you several hundred dollars in the future for replacement inkjet cartridges alone. Look for the cheapest replacement inkjet cartridges, and then look at the printers that work with them.

To foil companies (such as Amazon Imaging and Rhinotek) that make replacement inkjet cartridges, printer manufacturers have come up with several tactics to force consumers to buy only inkjet cartridges from the printer manufacturer.

Both Hewlett-Packard and Epson are planning to put computer chips in the inkjet cartridges to prevent them from being refilled. The moment the cartridge runs out of ink, the computer chip implanted in that cartridge prevents that cartridge from ever being used again, no matter how much you may refill the cartridge with replacement ink. Hewlett-Packard's DeskJet 2000C supposedly uses such a computer chip in its inkjet cartridges. Lexmark and Hewlett-Packard have even patented the print heads on certain inkjet cartridges, thereby preventing anyone from making a compatible replacement inkjet cartridge. So if you can't find a third-party replacement inkjet cartridge for your printer, now you know why.

If you have a laser printer, don't throw away your old toner cartridges. Check your local Yellow Pages under computer supplies, and look for local stores (or contact Amazon Imaging) that refill or sell used toner cartridges for your particular laser printer model.