Is This the Most Economical Printer?
Epson is challenging the business model of the printer industry. Or maybe, Epson is capitulating to consumer demand. Either way, the new line of inkjet printers coming from Epson in September is revolutionary, and it should make you think differently about your next printer purchase. But not, perhaps, in the way Epson wants you to think. Read on!
A New Idea in Printing
Epson’s new EcoTank printers will come with super-sized ink cartridges that print 4,000 pages, about two years of average service, the company says. That’s 10 to 20 times more than typical ink cartridges. Better yet, when a cartridge is empty you can easily refill it from a bottle of ink that costs just $13!
There’s a catch, of course; the EcoTank printers themselves start at $379, and some retailers like Best Buy are already marking them up further to $400. Apparently, they’re expecting huge demand for these hassle-free, inexpensive, and eco-friendly printers.
But before running out to buy an EcoTank, take a clear look at your printing habits. I know that I don’t print nearly as much as I did ten years ago; the ease of managing, sharing, faxing and even signing documents electronically has eliminated a significant portion of my printing needs. And when I do need to print, it’s black-and-white text much more often than color.
The biggest problem many users encounter is caused by infrequent printing. Ink dries up and clogs the tiny nozzles in a cartridge’s print head, producing horizontal streaks. To clean a clogged nozzle, you have to run a utility that forces excessive amounts of ink through the nozzles, or remove each cartridge and wipe off dried ink with an alcohol swab. It’s wasteful, messy, or both.
It’s unknown at this time whether Epson has engineered a new ink that resists drying and clogging. (It's also unclear if they'll buy you a new shirt when you ruin yours during the "refill from a bottle" procedure.) But there is already a printing technology that is not susceptible to these problems, and its economics are comparable to EcoTank’s.
Inkjet Versus Laser: Who Wins?
Laser printers use dry powdered pigments called “toner” instead of wet ink. The powder is deposited on paper and fused to it with heat from a drum. Toner cartridges typically yield 10,000 or more prints, and drums often last for 100,000 prints or more.
Laser printers are generally more durable than cheap inkjet printers; several people I know have gotten 10 years of service out of refurbished laser printers they bought for a couple of hundred bucks. At least one of those printers is still using its original drum.
Inkjet technology has a slight edge over laser when it comes to printing color, especially for photos. By design, the ink droplets bleed slightly, producing more even color than the pixels of toner. But if you need the very highest quality photo print, there's always Walgreens or some other place with photo-printing service. Most people don't need to do that very often.
Epson’s EcoTank is a great idea for high-volume printing, especially in color. But for the typical home user, a comparably priced color laser printer may be a better option. Refurbished or open-box deals can save even more money.
Do you have a laser printer? Would you consider buying one as a long-term investment, or does the Epson EcoTank sound like it better suits your printing needs? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 7 Aug 2015
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Is This the Most Economical Printer? (Posted: 7 Aug 2015)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved