TO-Tech Blog Todd Ogasawara’s Tech Blog


Costco HP Inkjet Cartridge Refill Service: Big Savings Gets a Thumbs Up


I went to Costco earlier this week to buy new HP 56 inkjet cartridges. As usual, I was staggered by the price of a few ounces of ink. And, the package at Costco was a tri-pack. I really didn't want to buy three black ink cartridges because the printer isn't used that heavily. Then, I noticed a sign nearby saying that Costco has an inkjet cartridge refill service for HP and one or two other popular brands.

So, I returned today (Oct. 24) with a nearly empty HP 56 cartridge, walked over to the photo processing area and asked how to use the ink cartridge refill service. The Costco person handed me a 1 Hour Photo envelope. I was told to fill out my contact info and to write in the cartridge name (HP 56) in the "Special Instructions" box on the front of the envelope. The person then told me it would take about an hour and handed me the top receipt from the photo development envelope. I returned a bit over an hour later and paid $7.99 plus a local excise tax (total was $8.37).

I was handed the refilled ink cartridge and a small strip of paper with, presumably, a sample printout from newly refilled cartridge. After returning home, I placed the refilled HP 56 in an aging but functional HP 56 printer, turned it on, and placed the HP 56 back in the printer.

The printer complained that the cartridge only had 10% of fluid left. However, that is to be expected since it is unlikely anyone but HP has access to the information to reset whatever ink level sensor technology is used. I printed a couple of sample test pages to see what the output looks like and am happy to report that everything looks fine. I'm very satisfied with the refilled cartridge and Costco's service so far. lists a single HP 56 cartridge selling for $21.25 (plus shipping). So, the refill service is essentially 62% cheaper. That is quite a savings.

The sign about the service says that refill service for the HP 02 cartridges are coming soon. I'm looking forward to that since that ink system consists of 6 cartridges (5 color and 1 black). Certain colors burn through fast (yellow and magenta for me) and cost about $11 each for the color cartridges.


HP Inkjet Ink Use & Cost Mystery Part 2 (HP 02 Cartridges)

Way back in in September 2008, I posted an item titled...

HP Ink Use & Cost Mystery

You might want to go back to that item just to read a very interesting and detailed comment to it posted by Eric Hochstein. Eric took a hard long look at the HP 02 ink cartridges and points out a couple of things I didn't know such as the fact that the different HP 02 color cartridges contains different volumes of ink!

I printed out about 200 sheets of paper (double sided) for our annual holiday newsletter last month. This behemoth annual project had over 20 photos of various sizes scattered throughout the 4 printed pages. I bought two sets of ink cartridge packs. The one purchased earlier in the year (2008) included a black. The one bought in December did NOT. The Yellow and Magenta ink were used the fastest followed by Dark Cyan. On the other hand, I still have 2 each of Light Cyan and Light Magenta (pink) cartridges. Based on this, my current belief if that given the kind of things I print (heavy mix of photos and text), it is cheaper to buy individual cartridges.

Thanks again to Eric for posting the detailed comments of his investigation of the HP 02 ink cartridges!


HP Ink Use & Cost Mystery

The use and cost of inkjet ink never ceases to amaze me. I'm glad the the HP Photosmart C6250 (which has given me a lot of problems to solve) uses individual color cartridges. I really don't understand how each color is used by my specific usage pattern. But, I am surprised that it looks like it is cheaper to buy indivdual HP 02 cartridges rather than the entire color pack (black ink is no longer included in that pack). I think someone estimated that inkjet cartridges costs something like $8,000 per gallon. So, I wish I could get a better handle on how it is actually used in my printer (given the kinds of things I print).

Tagged as: 11 Comments
Skip to toolbar