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Inkjet Refills

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Computer printers aren't really too expensive anymore. But those ink cartridges can add up fast!
Universal Inkjet Refill promises to work on any brand printer, and save you lots of money.
Is it worth $20? Or is it too messy to mess with?

The Universal Inkjet Refill kit comes with detailed instructions on how to go about refilling cartridges on any brand printer. And I need those instructions! Computer hardware is not my forte, so this will test how user-friendly the product is, as well as its performance.

We start by prying-off the top of the empty ink cartridge. It feels like I break it! But it matches the picture in the pamphlet. Now we have to prepare the cartridge for refilling, using the eyelet screw to drill the refill hole bigger.

Now we're ready to work with the ink. And simply taking the cap off shows why directions clearly warn you to stand back! I quickly have black stains on my fingertips. So my first tip, wear tight-fitting gloves before you even begin opening the bottle of ink!

We fill the syringe to the proper level for our brand of printer, and start injecting it into the empty cartridge. Directions warn that some ink may overflow from the filling and outlet holes when full. I think this is when you want to stand back! We go slow, and only one little drop squeezes out of the top. But it comes out faster from below!

It says you can set the cartridge upright on a paper towel for up to a couple of minutes, just to catch the dripping from the bottom. But don't do it longer than two minutes or you might end up siphoning ink back out! If it doesn't stop dripping, do not install it into your printer.

Our cartridge stops dripping after just a few seconds. So we take the store-bought cartridge out of the printer, and replace it with the one we just refilled. Then I run ten copies of a news story, to give the printer time to show any problems it may have. We compare copies using the refilled cartridge, to copies using a factory-filled cartridge.

All ten of the store-bought cartridge copies are clear. But two of the ten refilled cartridge pages have a few missed spots. There're not too bad. You can still read it. But i wouldn't print anything of importance with it.

We only tested one Cannon printer. And I've heard first-hand stories of refilled ink-wells coming apart in the printer, clogging things up and creating a big mess. And a warning to check your warranty! Many companies say non-standardized parts void protection. So if it does cause problems, you may be out of luck, and out of more money than store-bought cartridges cost you.

To recap, the Universal Inkjet Re-filler is messy to work with, but it warns you about that up front. Wear gloves and work over a plastic bag so you don't ruin anything. Copies during our test came out mostly clear, and even the spotty ones were easy to read. But again, don't use it for anything like resumes or business letters. So all this combined earns Universal Inkjet Refill a 'B'.

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