HP blocks use of third-party ink in its printers again

Martin Brinkmann
May 14, 2023

Printer manufacturers make the most money from ink cartridges and not from the sale of printers. Printer ink may sometimes be more expensive than the printer itself.

It is an open secret, and some companies try to keep their customers from using cheaper ink cartridges through updates.

Depending on the printer model, a single ink cartridge may cost $40 or more when bought from the original manufacturer. Third-party ink cartridges for the same printer may cost half of that, or even less. More money can be saved if a full set of ink cartridges, including color cartridges is bought.

HP has been at the forefront of this for a long time. A new report by The Telegraph suggests that HP has been at it again recently.

The company released a firmware update for its printers that is blocking the use of cheaper third-party ink cartridges in its printers according to the article. The firmware update, which HP installed remotely, provided that the printers were connected to the Internet, prevents customers from using non-HP cartridges.

Customers who use these third-party ink cartridges already will notice that their HP printer refuses to print after the installation of the update.

HP claims that the update was designed to "reduce the risk of malware attacks", according to the article and that "third-party cartridges that use non-HP chips or circuitry can pose risks to the hardware performance, print quality, and security".

HP notes on its websites that the blocking of third-party cartridges is done to "maintain the integrity of our printing systems, and protect our intellectual property".

HP introduced its Dynamic Security feature back in 2016, blocking cartridges without the functionality from some of its printers. HP claims that third-party cartridges that reuse the HP chip will function as normal even with the update installed.

HP's practice of blocking third-party ink cartridges made the news in March 2023. It is unclear if the new reports are still part of that campaign, e.g., a launch of the updates in select regions, or if it is a new campaign by HP.

Closing Words

Printing, especially ink printing, can be a frustrating experience, even without printer manufacturers trying to block their competition from getting a piece of the ink-pie. Most money is made from selling ink. Frustration explodes when companies start to implement changes that block customers from using their printers.

One way to deal with this is to switch to a different printer brand or type. Laser printers may be the better choice for many users. While more expensive, they do not have the problem of ink drying up if the printer is not used for some time.

On a personal note: we switched to Brother laser printers years ago and have not looked back since. The printers, e.g. the Brother MFCL2710DW, just work and you can buy original toners from Brother or third-party toners, if you prefer so.

HP blocks use of third-party ink in its printers again
Article Name
HP blocks use of third-party ink in its printers again
Printer manufacturer HP has released firmware updates for some if its printer models recently that block the use of third-party ink cartridges.
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  1. Anonymous said on May 25, 2023 at 3:54 am

    That’s shitty but printer companies have pretty low standards for that. I heard that one used updates to deliberately brick remotely perfectly working printers just so users buy new ones.

  2. 1337 said on May 14, 2023 at 11:10 pm

    hp does some pretty despicable crap and I won’t recommend or buy them for myself or customers ever again. Another filthy hp trick is hiding the menu to reset drums. I had one unit, can’t recall the model number but a customer kept replacing drums before realizing something was wrong. There is a special button you have to push in order to start the reset count process. The button is not in the main menu or marked in any way. It is invisible unless you drag your finger over its location where upon it magically lights up. I was stubborn, kept thinking it was tucked away in the menu or web interface somewhere. Eventually had to search the interwebs to figure this out.

    1. John G. said on May 15, 2023 at 1:24 pm

      +1, HP is a low trustable company since a couple of years. One friend of mine bought a HP laptop last year and only one year later the battery has swollen, lifting up the left side of the keyboard. As expected, the battery can’t be removed in an easy way. It’s very annoying that a battery can’t be removed.

  3. Albert said on May 14, 2023 at 7:51 pm

    Very satisfied with my HP LaserJet MFP M28.

    Before using it for the first time I blocked it in my router from connecting to the Interweb Tubes.

    No problem with 3rd party toner cartridges.

    1. John G. said on May 14, 2023 at 8:21 pm

      Do you need a HP account to scan with your printer?

      1. basingstoke said on May 15, 2023 at 11:13 am

        You can do pretty much anything on a printer, granted you’re happy to trigger things from your PC and not from the little panel on the printer itself. For example, scan without ink installed, print&scan without being signed into anything, etc.

      2. John G. said on May 15, 2023 at 1:19 pm

        @basingstoke, in the former HP my father had it was necessary to have an account by HP just to scan! HP Smart app didn’t let him to scan without to sing it up and open the account!

  4. Max said on May 14, 2023 at 7:05 pm

    Never install a firmware update on a printer, unless you have a problem.

  5. John G. said on May 14, 2023 at 7:00 pm

    I have remembered a weird issue with one HP ink printer. Every time that a new cartridge is installed, the printer starts a calibration process after printing one page. I didn’t know what happened that the printer always printed the damm calibration page when I switch on the printer, everytime until the end of the cartridge. After wasting near a half cartridge, we decided to not trun off the printer. The issue was solved after finished the cartridge, that was an original one double-size of ink. The need of HP to calibrate the cartridge is to waste ink, probably.

  6. Anonymous said on May 14, 2023 at 4:41 pm

    A few years ago we bought a new HP printer. (All in one wireless)

    We were already using an older model HP printer. (All in one wireless)

    The price for the ink cartridges (Genuine HP – Because nothing else would ever work, we tried) on our old one got too high so we bought the new one because the cartridges (Genuine HP) cost half as much.

    The cartridges are exactly the same ones but with a different sticker on them and a different code on the chip.

    Why there hasn’t been a class action lawsuit filed over this HP ink scam is beyond me.

    We hardly ever print but after reading everyones replies we will surely look hard at the Brother brand next time we have to replace it.

  7. Herman Cost said on May 14, 2023 at 4:36 pm

    I could not agree more about Brother laser printers. I own two all-in-ones and am very pleased with their performance, reliability, and economy. The only caveat I’d have is that the Brother utilities and software downloading and troubleshooting website might be somewhat difficult to navigate for a relative novice. But I’m a Brother fan and will certainly buy another inkjet unless there are major changes to the inkjet business model.

  8. Kalmly said on May 14, 2023 at 4:28 pm

    Yes! Another Brother printer fan, here. Dependable, little workhorses. I had one that had been purchased in 1995. Until my home was destroyed by fire in 2018, it still worked.

  9. Oxa said on May 14, 2023 at 4:19 pm

    “provided that the printers were connected to the Internet”

    This is the key.

  10. Martin P. said on May 14, 2023 at 3:56 pm

    +1 for Brother printers. Excellent, reliable hardware.

  11. Semce said on May 14, 2023 at 2:44 pm

    Also using a Brother laser printer and loving it.

  12. Anonymous said on May 14, 2023 at 8:39 am

    I recommend that everybody who is using HP switch to Brother.

    1. ECJ said on May 14, 2023 at 12:54 pm

      Correct. Brother laser printers are pretty bulletproof and the toner lasts a long time.

      Although I would add – avoid all HP products altogether. The company cannot be trusted.

      1. John G. said on May 14, 2023 at 2:22 pm

        +1, here at my home two laser printers by Brother since 5 years, the best spent money ever. Before we used HP, and the saved money in ink has been 35€ per month x5 years, around 2100€ so far!

      2. Andy Prough said on May 14, 2023 at 9:21 pm

        Hi John G., I bought my Brother laser printer in about 2012 and it’s still going strong. For $25-$30 I get two replacement toner cartridges that each give me around 5,000 printed pages each.

        The printer was probably three times as expensive as a cheap HP inkjet printer, but I’ve probably saved several times more than that in toner costs over the years.

        Also it works great on GNU/Linux distros.

      3. John G. said on May 14, 2023 at 10:19 pm

        Hi @Andy Prough, indeed, Brother laser printers are just the best investment!

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