Printer Ink Waste
Last year, I splurged and bought myself my first fancy printer. It was the Canon PixmaPro 9500 Mark II. And on a satisfaction scale of 1-10, I’m probably at around a 6.5. Images come out fairly nice, the colors are accurate, but I’ve had a some really frustrating technical glitches that I won’t get into here. I’ll probably buy another printer in a few years, and I can’t say with certainty that I’ll stick with Canon.
The ‘con’ about the printer that I do want to get into has to do with the ink cartridges. The printer boasts having 10 ink tanks, and that’s great, EXCEPT each tank is only 14 ml. To say the least, it’s a very small ink tank and after 10 prints (say 11″ x17″), I’m running low on ink.
And what’s frustrating about it, is that if a tank is low the printer won’t print. And I know this is a precaution, so as not to hurt the printer, but if I’m printing a black and white image, and my yellow tank is out, I don’t care, I want to print it. I wish there was some way to override the printer’s precaution. If I break the printer, I’ll take responsibility – but printing a black and white image with no yellow, shouldn’t break the printer either. I know the tricks of the trade — shaking the cartridge, placing tape over the sensor — but neither of these work on this printer. It’s very frustrating to constantly be ordering and replacing ten ink cartridges.
In addition, the status of “empty” seems pretty arbitrary. I decided to break open some empty cartridges to see how much ink was in them and I was perturbed. There’s a lot of ink left in them, enough to soak through four sheets of paper.
Canon lists the cartridge price as $15.99. That’s $1.14 per ml. No doubt, “empty” is probably like 2-3 ml or $2-4 being thrown away. And while this may seem inconsequential, multiply that times 10 for each cartridge. But this isn’t anything new right — don’t we all know, it’s not the printers that make money, it’s the ink?
As a comparison, Epson’s Stylus Pro 3880 (after a brief search it seems relatively comparable to Canon’s Pixma Pro) has only 9 color cartridges, but each one is 80 ml. And an 80 ml catridge costs about $50 on Amazon, equaling $.62 per ml. Definitely a better cost deal. Quality? I don’t know, I’ve never used the Epson Stylus Pro.
And really, this isn’t about Canon vs. Epson, this isn’t about the size of the ink cartridge. This is about, why in 2010, isn’t there a better ink delivery system than a hard plastic cartridge? Why not something in bags, like medical drips? Why not something that works independently of the other colors? Why not something that hangs above the printer and uses gravity? Why not something that sucks the ink out?
There has to be an alternative to the status quo, and whatever company comes up with it, will truly be an industry leader and innovator. Until then, printer companies are just that, same-old printer companies watching print slowly die.