If it isn't the printer, it's the ink! It seems like we buy more ink than we should at times. Apparently if you don't use your printer consistently, the ink dries up and needs replacing.
For a little more money you can find printers that use bottles of ink instead of the cartridges that have been around a long time. There are some alluring aspects to this kind of ink but you have to take your printing usage into consideration. You may not need the fanciest device for basic printing of documents, forms, and printables. If you are creating professionally-designed pieces to sell or exhibit that is a different story.
Our new Brother printer has a self-cleaning function that we suspect helps keep the inkways clear. Though there is no proof that we have come across about this theory, we also haven't looked too hard to see if it is a listed feature. The fact that the printer just works is enough to keep us happy. Read more about the Brother printer we are smitten by
The tricky thing about printer ink is you can't really stock up and buy too many extras because if the printer stops working, you get stuck with a basket full of different brand and model printer inks in both black and color.
Whenever I think about printer ink I have flashbacks of old bosses telling me to “just give it a shake”. It can drive someone a bit bonkers at the office when all you want to do is your actual job, and you are told to shake the ink cartridge in the middle of a job just so your boss doesn't have to use the replacement so soon. We have all been there, you know what I am talking about.
The funny thing is that when you are home faced with the same challenge, you channel your inner-boss and start shaking those cartridges just so you don't have to buy a replacement yet. The same way you shake the shampoo bottle when it gets down to the end, it makes sense to shake the cartridge in order to get a little more ink (just remember to cover the area where the ink comes out from before shaking).
These days the printer manufacturers are offering ink replacement subscription services. I haven't tried any, nor do I see the need anytime soon (but you never know what the future brings). A service like this seems like a no brainer for a small business or home office that does alot of printing, but not necessarily for home use if you are only printing a few pages every so often.
Regardless of how you feel, ink is a very necessary component of printing. Paired with the right printer paper, you can achieve amazing results.