What’s up with Inkjets?
"Rumours of my demise are greatly exaggerated."
The same could be said of the inkjet printer. The consumer market is dwindling as images are increasingly shared digitally via social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. However, the business inkjet market appears to be in rude health and there are now genuine alternatives to the office laser printer.
Epson's WorkForce Pro range bridges the gap between inkjet and laser, combining the benefits of both to deliver a package that is fast, reliable and cost effective. For years we’ve been telling customers to buy an inkjet printer if they want high quality and only print small volumes. If you print larger volumes and don't need lab-quality photos, then go for a laser. Not any more.
Inkjet v Laser
On the face of it, inkjet printers have many advantages over lasers already; they're smaller, lighter, cheaper to buy and use less energy. Oh, and the image quality is far superior. The one main reason for buying a laser printer was the duty cycle – inkjet printers are just too fragile to handle a heavy workload. Even the hotly anticipated HP OfficeJet Pro X only has a duty cycle of 4,000 pages per month.
That's not much at all and even less when you realise that it's a maximum figure, under ideal conditions. By contrast, Epson's WorkForce Pro WP-4515DN multifunction printer has a duty cycle of 20,000 pages – five times that of the HP printer. Recommended monthly volume, a far more useful gauge of a printer's capabilities, is up to 1,600 pages – higher than the Brother DCP-9010CN.
Another reason for shunning inkjet printers in the past has always been running costs – inkjets are notoriously expensive to run if you're doing a lot of printing and the costs aren't as transparent as they are with lasers. However, the WorkForce Pro printers can be up to 50% cheaper to run than a comparable laser printer.
No, we didn't believe it at first either but Epson has very helpfully included a cost calculator on its website, which shows how much you can save over the lifetime of the printer, based on how much you print.
You can compare any printer from the Epson WorkForce Pro range with similarly-priced and specced laser printers and you might just be surprised at how much you can save. If watching the pennies is important to you, you’ll be pleased to know that the WorkForce Pros use up to 80% less energy than comparable laser printers. Less energy consumption means lower carbon emissions, which is good news for the planet too.
What does all this mean for the printer market? Consumers and businesses are increasingly aware of costs in this difficult financial climate and, as responsible citizens, most of us are taking steps to minimise our environmental impact. This being the case, why wouldn't you choose a product that costs less and uses less energy?
Laser printers are likely to remain the device of choice for enterprise-level companies, at least for the time being, as they offer more advanced features, including in-house finishing options. However, business inkjet printers like the WorkForce Pros are an increasingly attractive proposition for small and medium-sized businesses. The availability of WorkForce mono inkjets offers even greater flexibility and potential savings.
Slow, unreliable, expensive to run? You must be thinking of something else.
by Anthony Morgan