I often have to buy new printers every other year for my kids. Their biggest complaints are on how much they spend on ink cartridges and how their printers don’t really last that long. Afters years of buying my kids with (HP, Canon & Epson) printers I have come to the conclusion that if I buy them a new printer I needs to fit their life style.
1. The printers need to be cheap and replaceable.
2. They need to have a cheap source of ink.
3. The printers need to be as simple as possible with the least movable parts and attachments.
4. The printer needs to have a built in scanner.
I recently had the chance to try out the Epson L210 Ink Tank Printer. I’m a true believer of the Epson Ink Tank Printer technology ever since I bought a Epson L200 more than a year ago. The Epson L200 is probably one of my favorite printers, its just very reliable.
The new Epson L210 is an upgrade from the previous model. Its smaller and more compact in terms of size and even weight.
I usually offer two types of products to anyone wanting to save ink, that’s CISS and refillable ink cartridges. CISS which stands for Continuous Ink Supply System, is for heavy users who want to print a lot of pictures or documents. CISS works best for an office or a big family. The fact remains that since a CISS printer has lot of tubes they are prone to ink drying up and causing problems if you don’t use the printer in a weekly basis.
A great and cheaper alternative to CISS is refillable ink cartridges, which is simply ink cartridges that allow you to put more ink directly to the tank. These special cartridges usually come with an auto reset chip telling the printer these are genuine cartridges and there is ink inside. There are exceptions to some brands like Brother that have chipless cartridges that makes them ideal candidates for refillable ink cartridges.
If you have a large format printer your going to be familiar with a maintenance tank. A maintenance tank is simply a tank for the leftover ink, this tank fills up over time and needs to be replace. Its extremely expensive for large format printers, around $20 just to store waste ink.
All printers have a waste or maintenance tank. Most of the time its just a small section of the printer which has a small non removable tank. Most manufacturers assumed that when this tank is filled up your printer is already old and you no longer want to use your printer. Its a logical decision for printer manufacturers since it takes years to fill it up with normal use, but with a printer converted to CISS its a very big problem.
Most CISS converted printers will complain about have a full maintenance tank and will display an error. Most of the time you will need to bring your printer to a CISS provider to have it cleaned and have the maintenance tank emptied. There are some models which are easy to clean but for most printers the maintenance tank is located in an areas where you have to remove some major parts and require some experience. I do advice anyone to just bring your CISS printer to a shop if you don’t want to risk any ink spills inside the printer. There are some ways to solve this problem and avoid having to bring your CISS to a shop.
If your new to CISS printing its always best to go to a shop and have someone install it for you. If your worried about voiding your warranty that’s something you already gave up when you decided to convert your printer into a CISS. Now the most important thing you have to think about is making sure the installer does it correctly.
Finding a CISS installer in your city is a matter of just doing a search for Continuous Ink System in your local directory. In Asia its easy to buy and install a CISS printer since its such a common add on for any printer owner. In Europe its almost impossible to find one unless you go through a trade directory for printer suppliers.
If installation cost is somewhat out of reach, buying a printer that’s easy to install would be the best thing you can do. In my experienced tubeless CISS kits are the easiest to install. That mainly narrows your brand to Brother which a great manufacturer for three in one office printers. But achieving the same color qualities of Epson is going to be hard with Brother printers. Epson still makes the best printers for printing pictures. Sadly Epson printers are difficult to install since they require CISS kits with ink tubes that are really difficult to assemble and install.
In the end if installing a CISS printer yourself is necessary, try to look at the instruction manual ahead until you can find one that matches your requirements and skill in modifying a printer.
Printing photos using your CISS printer requires some testing and adjustments. The moment you use ink from other manufacturers it renders the recommended printing setting on the photo paper packaging invalid. The most common reason is really on the ink and not your CISS printer.
The picture bellow is one of the most common type of printing paper. Kodak depending on what type of paper usually puts their label in front of their packaging. I usually recommend my clients and friends to buy from large retailers that give away sample paper.
On the picture you can see it recommends printing on high gloss which is usually second to the highest setting. The higher the setting the more ink it requires to print a picture increasing the quality. But not all ink and paper interact the same so if you raise the setting to high, ink will run from the photo paper.
If you want to make sure your ink and paper settings are correct you need to do a print test:
1. Open a small picture that has all the primary colors.
2. Re-size the picture so it wont fill up your entire paper saving some space for a second test print.
3. Set your CISS printer to print on “Photo Paper” which is the lowest setting.
4. After the first test you can slowly move up to the second highest setting which is ” Premium Photo Paper or High Gloss Photo Paper”.
5. Depending on the result you choose the best setting or try even a higher setting.
The simple steps above might take some time but its what graphic designers do to make sure the maximize th capabilities of their CISS printer. I recommend buying branded photo paper to make sure the results will be consistent every time you make a print.
You often see a lot of companies selling CISS kits and ink. Most of them often make outrageous claims making their products more attractive. I don’t really like how some companies market their CISS kits. In fact I often have to correct some of my customers on what CISS printing really means.
1. CISS printer can print pictures with the same quality as original printers. This is probably the number 1 misconception new buyers have with CISS pinters. This claim is simply false and you should never buy from a vendor claiming their product can do such a thing. Its all on the ink, original manufacturer ink for example Epson ink just product better results than any CISS ink in the market. Its not a bad thing but it does say strongly that you need to see the end result of a CISS printer before buying one.
2. Using a CISS kit will not void your printers warranty. This one is hard to swallow since Epson clearly states that any use of third party ink voids warranty.
3. CISS printers last or is a durable device. I’m going to be clear with this last one, CISS printer are modified devices which often need maintenance and attention. I have had dozens of CISS printers and I can truly say they are not no fuss products. They need cleaning and need to be handled with care.
The 3 misconceptions above are some of the wrong ideas some of my customers get from some vendors. It cons of CISS printing has never stopped my form buying new ones. The fact is the Pros in CISS printing out way any negative outcome from having a CISS printer.
I recently upgraded our printer in the office replacing an old Epson printer with a defective CISS printer. After getting constant complains from my employees regarding how long it took to print a document I gave in and spent around $220 on an Epson L200.
If you haven’t heard the latest product updates from Epson, the Epson L200 is a new line of printers using CISS technology made and designed by Epson. The L200 is exactly the same as the L100 with the exception of a built scanner. I figured its better to spend a little bit more to get a copier along with my new printer.
After opening the box the printer came with a full set of colored ink and 3 bottles of black ink. According to the claim from Epson one bottle can be use to print 3000 pages of text. Getting 3 bottles is really great and gives you confidence that Epson really wants you to use their printer.
If you currently have a Lexmark printer and thinking on installing CISS on your printer, I’m going to tell you to stop. Lexmark makes great office printers, but installing CISS on these printers is another story. Lexmark CISS kits are still very expensive and uncommon. The ones that are available in the market have some major defects and had inferior built quality. I know Lexmark can become great CISS printers but until someone comes out with a better kit it’s better to stick to Epson or Brother.
If you do have a Lexmark printer and want to save on ink, refilling the cartridge yourself is another option or buying remanufactured ink in bulk. I recently tried a remanufactured ink for my Lexmark printer and could see no difference in quality. If your like most Lexmark users you’ll be more interested in the quality of text printing which I can say has no noticeable difference. I did see some minor differences with the picture printing quality using remanufactured ink. The blues printed using the remanufactured ink tend to be a little light. Using glossy paper using remanufactured ink is also a not recommended.
Overall remanufactured ink is great alternative if you can install CISS on your printer, but nothing beats using genuine Lexmark cartridges to print pictures and get the best output quality from your printer.
The Epson brand is the king of all office printers. Epson printers make great CISS printers but are a little complicated to setup. Epson printers have chips inside their ink cartridges that require replacement to accommodate CISS.
The design of Epson printers also prevents CISS manufacturers from creating larger ink tanks requiring CISS to use tubes or hoses feeding it with ink from external tanks. It get a little complicated when you have tubes or hose from external tanks since pressure comes in play. You have to be careful to always balance the printer in the proper level with its external tanks to prevent the ink from overflowing inside the printer or the reverse going back to the tank.
The whole thing sounds a little complicated and it get a little more with the presence of chips. Once in a while the Epson software will check for ink authenticity which plays havoc with your CISS.
Recently Epson has started creating original CISS printers called Epson Ink Tank Printers. The whole technology is the same but with the exception of it being made by Epson. The whole experience is much smoother and faster. The great thing about using original ink tank printers is you get the Epson warranty.
The roll out of Epson ink tank printers have been a welcome blessing to CISS owners since they can now buy original Epson ink at whole sale prices. Epson has made their ink cheap and made it readily available to anyone per color or by set.