Epson’s claims of cheaper ink are empty

Scott dunn By Scott Dunn

Users of multi-color inkjet printer cartridges end up throwing away half of their ink, according to a study commissioned by Epson.

But a Kodak-sponsored study focuses on the bottom line, saying you’ll pay more per page with printers that require a different cartridge for each color, such as Epson’s.

Epson-commissioned study dwells on ink efficiency

In a press release dated June 2007, Epson announced results of a study it commissioned from TÜV Rheinland, an independent certification body. Epson trumpeted the study, saying single-ink cartridges were more efficient than those holding multiple colors of inks. “On average the multi-ink systems used less than 60% of the ink before the cartridge had to be replaced, this compares to an average of 82% for the individual ink systems tested,” according to the press release.

The study printed photos that were selected by focus groups, as well as the kind of business document typically output by home offices. Epson’s press release acknowledged that the documents, such as a presentation using a corporate template, tended to exhaust one color more than others. Running out of one color makes a multi-color cartridge unusable, even though the other colors in the cartridge may still have plenty of ink.

The TÜV study included printers from Hewlett-Packard, Canon, Brother, Lexmark, Epson, and Kodak. A summary of the report states that Kodak’s EasyShare model, which uses a multi-color cartridge, consumed less than 40% of each cartridge’s ink before becoming unusable. Models by Epson and HP, which have separate cartridges for each color, by contrast, had “ink efficiency” levels near 80%. Ink capacity was determined by comparing the weight of cartridges when they were full versus when a printer declared them exhausted.

“Now, as well as being cost competitive in the market, Epson’s individual ink cartridge system offers customers higher levels of consistency and efficiency,” states Rob Clark, Director of Consumer Inkjet Business for Epson Europe in the press release.

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