Epson Printers With Ink Tanks

The year 2012 and 2013 saw Epson make a drastic change in it's money making racket. The racket we refers to the high cost of printer ink catridges. Not so long ago in 2010, I had checked on an Epson printer that cost just around 100 U.S$, this was an ink jet printer that used the regular ink catridges. Bought a machine and used it for a few months. The ink got used up and a new set of catridges were required. The printer had 3 color ink catridges and 1 black ink catridge. Went down to the very same store from which the priner was puchased, checked the price for the ink catridges and was stunned. The 4 catridges that had to be replaced in the printer were to cost me a little over 80 U.S$. This for a printer that was costing just 100 U.S$. Strolled around the stores and came across an interesting Epson deal. There was an Epson inkjet printer that was priced at just 60 U.S$. This obviously came with the complete set of color catridges. On checking the type of catridge used in this 60 U.S$ Epson printer, I was pleased to note that they were the same as those required for my older 100 U.S$ printer. So what Epson was essentially doing was to sell the printer and the catridges for just 60 U.S$ but, sell just the catridges for 80 U.S$. A cheap, trick that only the biggest business houses can get over with.

The concept of installing ink tanks on an ink jet printer is not new. They have have been around for at least 5 to 6 years. The earlier ink tank systems were quite clumsy but, as time went by the manufacturer made amazing progress in their research and development efforts. The latest tanks are reliable, easy to install and work well. The ink cost for such tank systems is about 90% to 95% cheaper than buying branded ink catridges.

So why not just buy a brand new Epson printer and get an ink tank fixed to the system. While this might sound like an obvious solution to save yourself from the commercial bullying indulged by Epson, reality is that Epson would not leave you so lightly. The deal was that, Epson would cancel the warrantly on your printer, the moment you modified the machine to install an ink tank system. At one stage we tried an interesting experiment, and modified an Epson printer with an ink tank system that could be taken off, without leaving any trail marks on the printer. But Epson is not Japanese for nothing. Their technical experts, could sniff the ink and tell that it was not genuine Epson ink.

The sheer savings of using tank systems, attracted many buyers. Manufacturers of ink tank systems and ink, did roaring business. The quality of the tanks and the ink started to improve. For a user, you could hardly tell the difference between printouts done with regular Epson ink catridges and those printed with ink tank systems. The whole business of ink tank systems started to get quite organized. Ink tank installation shops cropped up in almost every mall and shopping plaza. The shops started offering 3 months warranty on the ink tank system. Epson and other printer companies saw their, ink catridge sales drop. Paper companies, saw a boost in sales as the cost of printing color sheets was never so attractive.

In 2012 and 2013, Epson made a radical change to the way it did business. The company designed printers that came assembled with ink tanks. So you did not have to go to the ink tank shops to modify the machine. The brand new printer, comes with an ink tax system and ink bottles of all four colors required by the printer. The cost of these Epson ink bottles is about 3 times higher, than that sold by the ink tank shops but even this, is a lot cheaper than paying for Epson catridges.

On checking out one of the entry level Epson printers that comes with the tank system. One could notice some teething problems, the Japanese surely did not use their brightest talent to engineer the product. The ink filling process is quite flimsy, it is unlikely that you could fill the tanks without getting the ink to smear your fingers. Once you have installed the system, there is a process that you need to perform before you can print, 'charging' or 'recharging' the ink flow. This process takes around 20 minutes to be performed.


Epson would done a better job if it had, surveyed the existing ink tank systems in the market and incorporated the best features in it's ink tank system. This might have meant combining features from more than one ink tank system but, it would be a process that is simple, convenient and easy to implement. But that surely, is not how Epson does business, they really wanted to show that they discovered something new. Unfortunately, Epson's 'new' technology has been around in the markets for at least half a decade.

It is very likely that, other inkjet printer manufacturers will soon follow the sluggish footsteps of Epson. So will the ink tank manufacturers take a hit on their business. It does not seem likely because, the general trend is for ink tank manufacturers to manufacture the ink too.

An important question was often asked about the Epson ink tank printer system. Would Epson insist on buyers using only, Epson made ink. Our question, does Epson really make those ink bottles, or does it import it from that low price Chinese ink factories that were supplying ink tanks and ink for half a decade. After going through the documents that came with the printer, there does not seem to be any clause that makes it mandatory to use Epson inks. To be on the safe side, you might use Epson inks for the first year that is covered by warranty. In any case, Epson has never been known to care for it's customers once their equipment goes beyond the warranty period. We say this with 3 decades of experience, and it is the truth that Epson cares little about.

While Epson will confuse you with a number of printer models with the ink tank system, here is our recommendation. Choose an Epson printer that has just the printer function, invest in a separate scanner if you need the scanning function too. Buying an Epson printer with too many functions gives you a machine that is a 'Jack of all and master of none'! The machine that we tested was priced at around 140 U.S$ with the ink tank, and the first set of Epson ink bottles. The bottle contents measure up to 100ml for each of the colors. This is reasonable considering the fact that, the first time installation of the tank was being priced at around 50U.S$.

The introduction of ink tank inkjet printers from Epson would surely help it's sales. Competition from other printer manufacturers will soon, even out things for the players in the field. In the short term, expect to see an increase in the demand for all types of paper. Both office stationery and the more advanced, photo quality printing paper. In the longterm, we expect people to print less. This due to the immense ease with which images can be tested, stored or posted. With images being easily accessible on smart phones, computers and laptops, the need to print images might be lightened.