5 Industry Secrets About Ink Tank Printers and Refillable Ink

Aug 25, 2020

Printer with ink bottles

There's been a lot of uncertainty about where the future of printing is headed. Brands are scrambling to find the latest thing to keep customers using their original ink products. Some brands are creating subscription-based ink services such as HP Instant Ink. Others have opted towards a "reimagining" of the ink cartridge with the introduction of the Ink Tank Printer.

The first Ink Tank Printer was brought to store shelves in 2015. The 'ET' stands for EcoTank, which would spin off into its own subset of printers within the coming years, such as the Epson ET 2720. The Eco Tank was a feature in which the printer would be equipped with an internal reservoir. This refillable reservoir holds a set amount of ink and can be replenished by purchasing an additional printer ink refill.

Soon after, other brands continued to ride the success of the Epson Eco Tanks printer and try to get a slice of their revenue. Canon launched their MegaTank series of printers, while Brother tried their hand with the INKvestment Tank. What do these all have in common? Besides the absolute horrendous printer names, they all essentially do the exact same thing: They all have internal tank reservoirs.

As a relatively new feature, the ink tank printer has become increasingly popular among the printing community. Everything seems to check out on paper, but is there something that's being hidden right before your eyes?

1- Ink Tank Printers Solve a Manufactured Problem

The creation of Ink Tank Printers is nothing more than a solution to a manufactured problem. 

Printer manufacturers have created the problem by selling you artificially inflated priced ink cartridges. There are no other major factors that come into play when pricing this ink, the mark up is deliberate. 

They've created the problem and are now charging you for the solution.

It may be a surprise to you, but the ink is relatively cheap to produce. You're not paying a premium for the product; you're paying a premium for the packaging and brand name.

Their solution to the problem of expensive ink cartridges? Purchase their other product, the Ink Tank Printer, which will save you money on the ink that they marked up the price on in the first place.

I want to call it highway robbery, but the average consumer wouldn't really see it that way, and that's the brilliance of the concept. For years, people have become fed up by paying outrageous prices for original ink cartridges. Now, they are finally able to break free from this extortion by opting for ink cartridge refill, but only if they purchase the $500 Ink Tank Printer. 

laser printer on a desk

2- Laser Printers Might Be a Better Fit

So we've established that the main problem of inkjet printers is the fact that original ink cartridges are costly. Frequently purchasing these original cartridges can be detrimental to your wallet; an original ink cartridge set with one black and three color cartridges can easily cost just as much as your printer did.

If you're trying to get away from ink cartridges in general, using a laser printer might solve all of your issues. Laser printers admittedly are more costly than inkjet printers, but they will actually save you money in the long run. By running on toner cartridges, these printer toners last much longer and are able to yield you way more pages than an ink cartridge ever could.

Laser printers have been especially popular in office spaces for decades now, due to their cost-effective nature and ease of use. On top of that, laser printers can produce large amounts of black and white documents much faster than inkjet printers could ever hope to. 

3- You're Still Buying Ink

The problem isn't with the way inkjet technology works; you're getting the exact same results you would see from the average inkjet printer.

You're essentially purchasing an Ink Tank Printer to cut the costs of the consumable.

If you weren't aware by now, Refillable Ink Bottles are just rebranded Ink Cartridges. Whether in a cartridge or in a bottle, you are still buying the exact same ink. Yes, down to the formula, the ink that is used for inkjet printers and ink tank printers are identical. You're essentially getting the same thing, but getting tricked for thinking you're saving money. 

At the end of the day, whether you are using an Ink Tank Printer or InkJet Printer, you are using the exact same ink.

When choosing a printer, it's important to determine what your main goals are. If your goal is merely to save money, there are alternatives to buying a brand new ink tank printer that is a lot less costly. 

Compatible cartridges are brand new ink cartridges manufactured by a third-party. These are often priced so much cheaper than the originals but offer the same page yield and high-quality you get form the pricy original brand names. Here at 1ink.com, we've been providing our community with affordable ink cartridges for the past 20 years. We cut out the middleman and never artificially inflate our prices as the original manufacturers do. We have discount ink and toner cartridges for hundreds of popular printer brands such as HP, Canon, Epson, and so many more. If you're burning through cartridges faster than expected, try our high-yield compatible cartridges, which give you more pages per cartridge. 

Looking at a receipt with a magnifier

4- New Business Model Still Bad for Consumers

Some of the higher-end office versions of Epson Eco Tank's printer models can easily cost upwards of thousands of dollars. And by the time you've bought your refillable ink printer, the brand has already made the bulk of their money off of you, and it's already too late. 

The way things have worked in the past is: brands would sell you their printers with very thin profit margins. They would essentially sell you their printer for the same price it costs them to produce it. The low price of a printer is the enticing factor for the consumer and is more likely to purchase one because they believe they are getting a good deal. However, they artificially inflate the price of their original ink cartridges to recoup the loss from the printer sale.

Instead of cashing out with a one-time printer purchase, they now have a repeat customer that must purchase their ink cartridges for however long they own that printer.

Fast forward to now, with the introduction of Ink Tank Printers, they are doing the exact opposite. They're enticing you with the promises of cheap ink, but only if you purchase their original ink tank printer at an artificially inflated price. The kicker in this situation is they're still selling you ink at a markup. Granted, a smaller mark up than original ink cartridges, but the ink bottles on the market are still inflated in price.

5- Little Competition at the Moment

Big brands frown upon the idea of providing you with premium ink cartridges at an affordable price. As a third-party vendor, we have absolutely no stake in the printer business. Other brands sell their printers at a cost in order to rope you into buying original ink cartridges at an inflated price.

Whenever a brand-new type of cartridge is on the market, we have to develop, design, and rigorously test our own version of that cartridge in order to not infringe on the intellectual property rights of the original. Adapting to new technology admittedly slows us down. This may take a few months to fully develop these cartridges before we can bring them to the market.

For those few months, consumers have no other option to supply their printer, and must purchase these grossly inflated original cartridges. This is where Ink Tank Printers thrive in the market today. There's not a lot of competition from third-party manufacturers at the moment, a lot of the Ink Tank technology is still new and always being updated. Some consumers use other alternatives such as Costco ink refill to cut down on printing costs; however, more often than not, they're faced with diminished print quality, which makes the process counterintuitive.

The massive shift from cartridge to bottle caught a lot of third-party companies off guard. While still in its infancy, it's hard to tell whether refillable ink bottles will be here to stay or fade into obscurity like a fad. Ink cartridge refill may sound good in theory but not so much in practice. Regardless, consumers should feel better knowing that 1ink.com can always help them save on all their printing needs.