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“Confidential” Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay, Ink Cartridges image from Pxfuel

Printer manufacturers make more money selling ink cartridges than selling printers. This is why printers are cheaper. By buying a printer, people would need to buy ink cartridges constantly, which are often more expensive.

But if people avoid buying their expensive brand inks for cheaper compatible ones, they knew they had to adapt. Especially when people are starting to think ink cartridges are a scam.

So two known brands decided to solve this problem in their own ways. The question now is, which one is more beneficial to the consumer?

Epson Ecotank Printer

This printer is cartridge-free and comes with 2 years worth of ink. They were designed to have less waste by having refillable tanks instead of buying replaceable ink cartridges.

However, it cannot be denied that this is also a way to make customers buy a large bulk of ink initially. Like mentioned before, printer manufacturers make more money selling ink than printers.

The cost of an Epson ET 2750 is $299.99. An Epson printer with almost the same features minus ET’s ink supply, Epson WorkForce WF-2750, is $99.99 (before it went on sale). Its price is 100% lower than Epson ET 2750.

With EcoTank Printer, one is literally paying 100% more for ink.

Epson ET 2750 and Epson WF-2750 Comparison Chart

However, the extra expense comes with its own benefits. The amount of ET ink as stated by Epson is comparably cheaper than 30 Epson 220 cartridge ink sets (compatible with Epson WF-2750) which is worth $1,078.8.

However, once two years have passed, there are pressing questions that need to be answered.

Inkjet printers last about three years in average. Is ET a good investment, with its high price of two years ink plus printer, if it would only last for three years?

How much does one have to spend on Epson ink?

How does Epson ET ink cost compare with others in the long run?

HP Instant Ink

HP encourages people to buy their ink through monthly subscription. Only specific set of HP printers can have these subscription plans.

Your printer is connected to your Wi-Fi and HP monitors its ink levels. Once its ink levels are low, they would deliver ink cartridges for you to replace with. Delivery can take up to 10 days.

This HP Ink Program charges by how much pages are printed. This means that a colored printed page would cost the same as a black-and-white printed page.

As an example, let’s look at one if its subscription plan which is the “Moderate Printing Plan” which has an extent of 100 pages for $4.99 a month. If the subscriber has used up all 100 pages, they would be charged a dollar for every 15 pages. This may seem small but it may add up in the long term. Especially if they prefer not to upgrade their subscription to 300 pages for $9.99 a month.

If the subscriber didn’t print anything for a month, the Moderate Printing plan has a rollover of 200 unused pages. This means, the HP ink program will allow you to use only 2 months worth of unused printing .

Before we compare the math between the two, there are also some concerns about Instant Ink that some people may not agree with.

With Instant Ink subscription plan, you’re permitting HP to monitor your printer activity. This includes page count, type of documents that are printed, the device you use to print a particular document, ink levels and whether the cartridge you use is new or used as mentioned to their Terms of Service:

“ Remote monitoring includes provision to HP of Your ink levels, page counts, types of documents printed (e.g., Word, PowerPoint, pdf, jpeg, etc.), types of devices that initiated print jobs, printer serial number, cartridge information (e.g. HP Original ink status, and whether the cartridge was new or used at the time of its last insertion into the printer), and other similar types of metrics related to your Instant Ink Service as may be added by HP from time to time.”

Under this terms of service, HP is allowed to share your name, address, email address, printer model and serial number with the retailer whom you purchased the subscription from:

“ For purposes of this paragraph, “personal data” includes Your name, shipping address, city, state, zip code, email, printer model, printer serial number, enrollment card serial number, Instant Ink Service plan, date of Instant Ink Service registration, and retailer store where the Instant Ink Service enrollment key was distributed.”

Some people may feel this is an invasion of privacy while some would tolerate it.

Your printer will also need to be online at all times for its activity to be properly monitored by HP. According to their terms of service of this date, if your printer isn’t online, your Instant Ink-activated Cartridges will be “disabled and you will not be able to use them to print; however, you will continue to be charged for the Instant Ink Service.”

Furthermore according to their TOS, if you don’t pay in time, HP will temporarily cancel your plan and your Instant Ink-activated Cartridges:

“ In the event that HP is unable to collect payment from Your Payment Method at the time payment becomes due, HP may temporarily cease your access to the Instant Ink Service, and the Instant Ink–activated Cartridges will stop functioning, until payment can be collected;…”

This can cause inconveniences for your business. Especially after you have decided that Instant Ink is not for you. A tweet of an ex Instant Ink subscriber had even went viral after he had shared how his perfectly working ink cartridges got disabled as soon as he cancelled his subscription.

Doing the Math: Epson Ecotank Printer vs HP Instant Ink

To effectively compare ET and Instant Ink, they’ll need to be computed under the same factors.

An inkjet printer has an average lifespan of 3 years. We will compute the overall cost of both Epson Ecotank and HP Instant Ink within that time period.

For Low Volume Users

Low Volume User: Epson EcoTank vs HP Instant Ink

The Calculations

The average monthly print of a low volume printer is 100 pages.

The average monthly print volume of Epson ET 2750 is 150 pages a month. This EcoTank Printer costs $279.99 with a supply of ink of 25,500 pages. After three years, an ET user with a low volume print load will have an extra 21,900 for printing.

A printer similar to Epson ET 2750 is HP DeskJet 3755 (almost same printer speed and features), one of the HP Instant Ink Printers. It costs $89.99. Instant Ink’s “Moderate Printing Plan” allows 100 pages a month of printing for $4.99. In total, an HP user with a low print volume would have to a 3-year expense of $179.64 for the monthly subscription plus printer cost of $89.99, totalling to $269.63.

The Conclusion

  • EcoTank costs 3.77% higher than Instant Ink. But it consists of far more ink (worth 21,900 pages) than HP Instant Ink.
  • EcoTank is good for low volume users who would eventually have increasing monthly print volumes.
  • EcoTank is also for users who can pay a high price upfront.
  • While Instant Ink is for users who can afford a monthly payment.

For Medium Volume Users

Medium Volume User: Epson EcoTank vs HP Instant Ink

The Calculations

The average monthly print of a low volume printer is 300 pages.

The average monthly print volume of Epson ET 4750 is 300 pages a month. This EcoTank printer costs $449.99 with an included supply of ink worth 25,500 pages. After three years, the included ink remaining would be able to print 14,700 pages.

HP DeskJet Plus 4155 All-in-One Printer, one of the HP Instant Ink Printers, has a recommended monthly print volume of 250 pages and above. It costs $99.99. Instant Ink’s “Frequent Printing Plan” allows 300 pages a month of printing for $11.99. An Instant Ink subscriber with a “Frequent Printing Plan” would’ve spent $431.64 for the 2-year subscription plus printer cost, totaling $531.63.

The Conclusion

  • In a medium volume printing, Epson EcoTank costs 16.63% lower than HP Instant Ink. At the same time, the user won’t have to buy ink after 3 years as it still have 14,700 pages remaining if their medium volume print load remains the same.
  • EcoTank is for medium volume users whose print load exceeds 300 pages.
  • EcoTank is also for users who can pay a high price upfront.
  • While Instant Ink is for users who can afford a monthly payment.

For High Volume Users

The Calculations

A high volume user would have a print load of 700 pages a month.

EcoTank Pro ET-5800 has an average print load of up to 3,300 pages a month. Its ink tank upon printer purchase contains 25,500 pages worth of ink. The printer costs $799.99. For the high volume user with a 700-page monthly print load average, they’ll have 300 extra pages for printing.

One of the HP Instant Ink printers with similar features as ET-16500 is the HP OfficeJet Pro 6230 which costs $129.99. Instant Ink has a “Business Printing Plan” that allows 700 pages printed per month for $24.99. In three years, the Instant Ink subscriber would’ve spent $129.99 for a printer and $899.64 for the plan, totaling $1,029.63.

The Conclusion

  • For high volume, EcoTank is 25.10% cheaper than Instant Ink.
  • EcoTank also has 300 pages remaining after the average inkjet printer lifespan of 3 years.
  • EcoTank is for high volume users whose print load exceeds 700 pages.
  • EcoTank is also for users who can pay a high price upfront.
  • While Instant Ink is for users who can afford a monthly payment.

Compatible Ink: What If You Can Save Even More?

Compatible or third party ink cartridges are often 18–115% cheaper than brand cartridges. They also contain a higher volume of ink.

For example, Compatible HP 65 ink have the same price as Compatible HP65XL. While HP 65XL ink would have a higher volume than HP 65. Therefore the user can buy high yield cartridges in the same price as normal yield cartridges.

Compatible Ink vs Epson ET and HP Instant Ink

Epson Ink vs Compatible or Third Party Ink Cost Chart

Each bottle of Epson T522 Ink (65 ml) costs $13.99. Each ET T522 compatible ink bottle (70 ml) costs $6.99. The compatible ink bottle is 66.73% cheaper than the brand ink.

HP Ink vs Compatible or Third Party Ink Cost Chart

Let us say, that if you’re not comfortable with Instant Ink’s Terms of Services, you decided to buy HP ink instead. Which would be cheaper, HP Ink or Compatible HP Ink?

An HP 65XL Black Ink Cartridge with a 300 page yield costs $30.99. A compatible HP 65XL black ink cartridge with a 300 page yield costs $18.49. The compatible ink is 50.53% cheaper than the brand ink.

How Can I Save Money the Most?

If you’re still trying to decide whether to buy an Epson Ecotank Printer or an HP Printer, you save more money with HP Instant Ink. However, you get more free extra pages with Epson Ecotank.

If you really want to save money the most, always buy compatible ink or third party printer ink. As seen above, you can be saving the most up to 67%.

But if you really want to save money through compatible ink cartridges, we would recommend buying a Brother printer brand.

Their LC3035BK ink (for their MFC-J805DW INKvestment Tank) is $55.99.A compatible Brother LC3035 Black ink with the same page yield is only $24.95. By buying a Brother Printer, you’ll be saving 76.7% in ink by buying compatible ink cartridges.

Generic, Compatible, Third-Party Brother LC3035 Black ink


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