How Many Ml In An Ink Cartridge – Editors select and review products independently. When you shop through affiliate links, we may earn commissions that support our efforts.
When inkjet manufacturers chose the marketing strategy of offering razors to sell blades, they didn’t expect customers to complain that the price of a single ink was more than the best champagne. In response to these complaints, today you can buy a cheap printer that uses expensive ink cartridges, or pay more for a printer with the same features and performance, but much less ink. Here’s what you need to know about costs when choosing between the two, and how to decide which is the best buy.
How Many Ml In An Ink Cartridge
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Printer Blockbuster in the early 1980s!), pouring ink from a bottle was seen as such a waste that the convenience of cartridges made them more popular. That began to change in 2015 with Epson’s EcoTank line of products, bottled ink that is poured into the printer’s tanks or reservoirs. Canon followed suit with its MegaTank printers in 2016, and HP introduced its SuperTank printers in 2019.
Most of these inkjet printers are similar in concept and share the same benefits of reducing operating costs. And modern bottles are designed to reduce or eliminate ink leakage. Kaka, meanwhile, has taken a slightly different approach with its INKvestment line, printers that use larger-than-usual cartridges to offer more competitive costs per page compared to tankers.
INKvestment cartridges act like tanks that you buy already filled with ink and plug into your printer. By comparison, Brother’s MFC-J4335DW costs 0.9 cents per page for black and 4.7 cents for color. The similarly priced Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3820, which uses traditional cartridges, has a running cost of 3.6 cents per page in black and white and 11.7 cents per page in color.
For the purposes of this discussion, we will refer to all four printer models, including Kaka, tank printers, and conventional inkjet printers, as being cartridge-based. Just remember that INKvestment printers use cartridges; is that they are more similar to tank printers than traditional in terms of running costs.
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The first Epson EcoTank printers started a trend that continues today regardless of manufacturer: bulk ink printers are more expensive to buy than similar cartoon models, but have lower operating costs.
This leads to the general rule that for almost any tank printer, you can get a cartridge printer with the same performance and features for less, or a cartridge printer with better performance and additional features for the same price.
Any of these pairs have high operating costs for cartridges. So for two printers with the same purchase price, your total cost of ownership (TCO) for the cartridge model will be higher from the day you purchased the first replacement cartridge. However, with a cheap cartridge printer and an expensive tank printer, the winning TCO in the long run depends on how many pages you print. (We will return to this in more detail shortly.)
Consider the two all-in-one (AIO) or multi-function printers we’ve mentioned – the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-3820 and the Brother MFC-J4335DW INKVestment AIO. At first glance, Epson’s model looks cheap. Both AIOs have the same MSRP of $149.99, but the WorkForce Pro scored faster in our tests and offers additional features, including an Ethernet port and larger paper capacity for printing and scanning. Calling it a better plan, however, ignores the difference in operating costs.
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You can find the cost per page of the printers we test in the overview, but you can also calculate them yourself if necessary. In short, for black and white pages, divide the cost of black ink by the standard yield of the cartridge or bottle of ink. For color pages, divide the cost of each ink color by its yield, and since color prints also use black ink, add the cost of each color ink and black ink page. If there is more than one option for the price of ink, use the cheapest one, which is usually the largest and most expensive (eg XL vs regular size ink cartridges).
Each black-and-white page you print with the MFC-J4335DW will cost you 0.9 cents, compared to the Epson’s 3.6 cents, for a savings of 2.7 cents per page. The corresponding cost per color page is 4.7 cents versus 11.7 cents, a savings of 7 cents per page.
Once you use the starter cartridges that come with the WF-3820, its higher operating costs add up to $27 more per 1,000 black pages and $70 more per 1,000 color pages. And that’s not to say that if you need to replace the first set of Epson cartridges, Brother will still have plenty of ink left over from what came with the printer. If you look at your costs over the life of the printer, it is obvious that the TCO of the cartridge model is higher, meaning that these similarly priced printers are not true competitors.
A more appropriate comparison is between printers with similar features, rather than printers with similar prices. All of this brings us back to the observation that for every inkjet printer with a tank, there is a inkjet printer with the same performance and features that costs less.
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Before you focus too much on cost comparisons, remember that any pre-calculated figure is an estimate. Actual operating costs depend on many variables, including how much ink you use per page, which may or may not match the industry standard for test pages. So don’t take the small differences in the comparison too seriously. These calculations will only give you a rough estimate.
Please note that our calculations only include printing documents on plain paper. Photo printing involves other factors that we will ignore here, especially the cost of media, which varies greatly from printer to printer with photo paper. For plain documents, we assume you use the same paper regardless of printer, so paper costs are the same in all cases.
Let’s take a look at two printers you can choose from: the Epson WorkForce WF-2860 with cartridges, now on sale for $139.99 on Amazon, and the $499.99 Epson EcoTank ET-4850. These two AIOs offer comparable performance and features, and even come in the same size and weight. Epson rates their monochrome and color print speeds at just 1 page per minute, and they were statistically similar in our time-clock tests.
The only significant difference between the two is the ET-4850’s 100-sheet capacity. In short, if you print enough to take advantage of the lower ink costs of the EcoTank model, you’ll appreciate the increased capacity and won’t need to refill the tray as often.
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Tank printers usually have enough ink to print several thousand pages; cartridge printers rarely have more than a few hundred enough. You need to know how much you need to pay for extra ink per cartridge model to achieve the number of pages you can print with the ink that comes with the tank printer. This could easily be more than the original price difference. Next, you need to decide if you will print multiple pages over the life of the printer.
The first step is a little difficult. You need to find the title page yield of the ink that the printers ship with. If you can’t find specific information about what’s in the box from the manufacturer’s website, check the cost and performance of replacement ink in cartridges or bottles. Cartridge printers often have more than one cartridge available, but printers usually ship with low-yield starter cartridges. Most tank printers only offer one option, but some come with a second tank of black ink for free, so you’ll want to check that as well.
Finding the right crop for tank printers can take a bit of detective work and certainly requires some guesswork. Many use a large amount of ink for initial setup, especially to fill the print head, so the installed ink will produce fewer pages than the same amount of replacement ink. For most inkjet printers, you’ll find information on the website or a spec sheet that estimates the time in months or years, with a footnote saying that the claim is based on a certain number of pages.
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