Ars Technica has an article reporting on a study financed by Epson that evaluates the efficiency of inkjet cartridges. The study simply defined “efficiency” as the percentage of ink used by the time the printer reported it was out of ink. I liked the article because it justified my Epson R340. But what would I expect from an Epson finance study? It found that single-ink cartridges were the most efficient which makes sense to me (and a primary factor when I buy a printer) since they need to be replaced when one color goes dry. The study did not look at cost per page which seems like the ultimate metric to me. To me, the bottom line of the study is that inkjets waste massive amounts of ink. It’s no surprise that Epson’s printers were among the most highly rated. Even so, they were only 80% efficient and the best printer still wasted 9% of the ink in a cartridge.
Earlier this year Kodak announced a new line of inkjet printers which promised to reduce ink costs. Kodak takes the approach have having all the colors in one cartridge along with a separate black cartridge for text. David Pogue, in the NY Times, has an interesting take on HP’s response. By some measure HP’s current ink costs are competitive with Kodak. But HP came out with new lower cost cartridges. They cost less but have less ink and the upshot is that on a cost per page basis the price for these cartridges the cost is almost double their current cartridges. Gotta love marketing.