Epson’s New Printer Line Doesn’t Require Ink Cartridges Every 5 Minutes

Here's the $380 printer that's the cheapest EcoTank model.

Here’s the $380 printer that’s the cheapest EcoTank model.

The manufacturers of home inkjet printers have to make a profit somehow, and most companies choose the classic model of selling printers for a low price that gobble ink cartridges, which happen to also be sold by the manufacturer. Now Epson is introducing a new line of printers in the United States that costs more, but comes with refillable cartridges and enough ink to last for three years. Will American consumers be interested?

Bloomberg News (warning: auto-play video at that link) speculates that the refillable printers were introduced first in markets where people buy the most off-brand ink cartridges, or are more likely to refill their own. Our colleagues down the hall at Consumer Reports checked with their counterparts in other countries where the printers have been available for a while, and learned that they haven’t taken over the market: the higher purchase price may be driving buyers away and back to the business model they’re comfortable with, shelling out for new cartridges every few months instead.

That’s understandable: the cheapest EcoTank model costs $380, while a savvy shopper can usually find an inkjet printer available somewhere for free or cheap with a mail-in rebate. Epson’s own calculations show that the printer comes with enough ink to print 4,000 black pages and 6,500 color pages, which would use up about $800 worth of Epson-branded ink cartridges. Epson will find out whether that kind of front-end math makes sense to American consumers.

Can Epson EcoTank printers deliver cheap ink? [Consumer Reports]
Epson Is About to Solve the Most Annoying Problem With Inkjet Printers [Bloomberg] (Warning: auto-play video)

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