We are all quite familiar with the constant complaining about how expensive it is to print with a ink jet printer. How this business model is an exact duplicate of the old razor blade style of doing business. In this model you design a product that requires a replacement unit of some kind to make it function. The original guy that came up with this actually gave away the razor in the beginning with one free razor blade. After that the customer had to buy a replacement blade, that’s where the money is and the ongoing sales.
Here’s a shocking fact, the HP 60XL black cartridge holds about half an ounce of ink and cost $42.99 retail. So if you pay that for half an ounce and there are 128 ounces in a gallon that figures out to $11,005 per gallon! Now that’s insane anyway you look at it. Complaining about gas being at 3 or 4 dollars a gallon seems trivial when compared to this.
If that’s not bad enough a Consumer Report states that as much as 50% of the ink in a cartridge never makes it to the paper! It’s used to clean print heads and for other maintenance chores. Imagine filling your gas tank and your car uses 30 to 40% of the gas for other chores instead of making your car go. We’d all be up in arms.
This is great for the printer companies but really sucks for the rest of us. Epson it seems has seen the light or maybe is just listening to its customers. Or maybe some of it’s executives couldn’t sleep at night knowing how bad they were fleecing us. I doubt it but hey it’s a good thought.
Introducing the new Epson EcoTank set of printers. This is a radically new departure from the razor blade way of doing business and our hats are off to Epson. It’s not every day you see a large corporation take a new direction that is actually good for the consumer.
Instead of the small expensive ink jet cartridges that we are all familiar with, Epson has opted for entire ink bottles. When the ink tanks run out you simple fill them again with ink. This is so cool and so easy you wonder why nobody has thought about it before. Oh yea, that’s right because they were making a gazillion dollars selling us the tiny cartridges.
Epson is claiming that one fill should last the average user two years, holy Christmas that’s unbelievable. Now the printer themselves will cost more than the ones your used to but the savings you realize on the inks far offsets the printers cost.
Epson is offering five different models, from the small ET-2500 for personnel use or small office to the heavy duty, high volume business model the WF-R4640. All of these printers are pretty impressive on just about all fronts. All five of these printers are “All-in-One” machines, that is ther’re also color copiers and scanners and all are wireless.
The ET-2500 and the ER-2550 includes enough ink to print up to 4,000 pages in black and 6,500 in color. The ET-4500 and the ET-4550 comes with the same amount of ink but with more features than their smaller brethren.
Now for the beast, the WF-R4640, this puppy comes with enough ink to print 20,000 pages and 20,000 pages color, now that’s impressive. It can print 20 ppmn (pages per minute) in black or color. 500 sheet capacity, 2 sided printing, copying, scanning and faxing plus a 35 page auto document feeder. I wonder if it can make you a cup of coffee in the morning?
So lets look at the numbers. The starter model, the ET-2500, costs $380. It comes with enough ink for 6,500 color pages.
On a comparable $70 inkjet printer, you’d need about 20 sets of $40 ink cartridges to print that much. So the economics look like this:
Cost for 6,500 color pages:
EcoTank printer + ink: $380
Standard printer + cartridges: $870
If you take the printer’s price out of the equation and look only at the ink, the savings get even better. A replacement set of EcoTank bottles goes for $52. (You can buy them individually for $13 each.) That’s another 6,500 pages.
Ink cost for 6,500 color pages:
Epson bottles: $52
The comparison holds about the same for all the models! The savings are huge and of course you are not stuck with throwing the empties into the trash which is a big no no for us.
the only downside I can see to these printers is that you have to manually refill the ink tanks Vs just installing another ink jet cartridge but this is not really a big deal. You will have to refill them on average once a year unless your printing like crazy but let’s face it, how hard is it to uncap a bottle and fill it up?
If your looking for a solid printer that is a multi-functional, prints in color, ink last a good 12 months and can save you hundreds a year these Epson printers could just be what you are looking for.