How To Save on Ink Costs at the Home Office or Studio
By now you’ve hopefully recovered from the holiday spending, and it’s a great time to talk about saving you some money. Come to think of it, it’s always a great time to talk about saving money. Shaving off operational costs where possible really add up, and here’s a great way to cut your ink costs down to a fraction of what you might currently be spending. Let’s talk a bit about colour printing and how to save you some cash moving forward.
If you’ve ever purchased a printer for the home or office, you surely know that you can buy a cheap printer for less than $40, and if you have, you might have said something like “When I run out of ink, I’ll just buy a new printer!”. You’ll say this with a clever smirk as if you’re the first person to come up with this great idea. Let me tell you from some firsthand experiences at my first job selling office equipment at Staples, I can assure you, that you’re not the first person to say that. This way of thinking is logical for college students who need to squeak by for a year or two, however it’s probably not the right approach for your business.
For most designers,
having a printer at the studio or home office is a must for quick proofs,
mock-ups or general use. If you print a
lot of documents, you’ll find that a laser printer is a no-brainer and there’s
little argument for that. What if your
workspace is limited to one machine and you need some colour? While a colour laser is often a solution,
they aren’t designed for photo accuracy or colour proofs, and there’s a better
way to go about this.
Over the last few years, several manufacturers have decided to put more emphasis on the economics of their ink systems, where they introduce larger tanks for an insanely lower cost per page. Whether that’s to compete against their laser counterparts or after-market refill kits, the consumer wins.
We’re going to take a closer look at the Epson EcoTank lineup, specifically the ET-7750. With the EcoTank system, there’s no more running to the office supply store to pick up cartridges every few hundred pages. Simply top up your ink with the colour(s) you need with the bottles provided with your machine. When you rip through several thousand sheets, you just need to buy the bottle of ink that you need.
Let’s talk about the
real benefits of a system like this:
- Inks are topped up as you need them
- You’re not paying for cartridges, which cuts your costs big time
- No more empty cartridges to toss out or find a way to recycle properly
- You’ve got ink when you need it
A great example, the
Let’s take a closer look at one of my favourite machines in this class. The Epson ET-7750. At the time of writing this post, your investment on the machine is about $800 CDN.
Not all, but some of
my favourite features of this unit:
- No cartridges, just ink – It even comes with up to 2 years of ink (or about 14,000 black pages/9,000 colour pages)
- Various paper trays – stow common papers in the various trays and load 11×17 in the rear paper feeder when you need it
- Wireless or PC-free – If you need to go wireless, print from a USB or even your smartphone, it’s super easy to set up and get printing
- Easy to use – A machine like this might seem intimidating, however, Epson makes it easy with the large 2.7″ colour display and easy to use menu options. Even maintenance is a breeze.
things to keep in mind.
- This all goes under the assumption that you’re using original manufacturer ink
- Printers are designed to work with their own ink. The output on aftermarket inks never matches up perfectly. This means that your final prints won’t look exactly how you expect them to, and that’s frustrating for any designer.
- Use your printer at least once a week if possible
- Inkjet printers use ink (obviously) and ink can dry up. To avoid extra maintenance, you should keep your printer ink flowing even just a little bit to ensure the ink doesn’t dry up through the machine. This goes for any inkjet printer.
- Investing in a good printer saves you money later
- If you are currently using an inkjet printer, review your ink costs and determine if upgrading makes sense for you. This is a system that pays for itself in a few years or less depending on your print volume.
- The ET-7750 packs a lot of features
- Just to reiterate the above, the ET-7750 does A LOT. If not for the ink costs alone, this machine prints wirelessly and can manually feed 11-17 sheets. Pair that with the ink costs and the 8.5×11 scanner, you’ve got a versatile all-in-one available when you need it.
Is the T-series
right for you? Here’s where you might be
better off with another solution.
- You print only black text
- No, you’re better off with a black laser printer. If you’re only printing documents and you simply do not need colour, don’t make it complicated for yourself, look at laser options.
- You mostly print black, some colour and never photos and altogether and not too often on any of it
- You’re better off with a colour laser printer. Although your cost per page may be close with the EcoTank system, it’s a safer bet to go with a toner system that won’t dry up in the machine after 1-2 weeks of no use.
- You need professional-quality photos and colour accuracy on plotter proofs.
- Maybe, however, you should definitely check out the Epson Surecolor T-Series wide format printers, like the T3170X. Print up to 24″ or 36″ inches wide with this series while still having a high capacity ink system to save you time and money.
Large-capacity ink tanks like Epson’s EcoTank system is an investment upfront, however, you’ll gain the ability to produce high-quality prints and proofs at a much lower cost per page than traditional ink cartridges. Take a look at your current setup and decide if a system like this is right for you.