Epson Article

Lifestyle & Home Office

How long do home printer ink cartridges last?

06 Nov,2018

The short answer to this question is that printer cartridges should last for as long as they promise on their specifications. If you purchase a manufacture-made cartridge that matches the printer you own, you should be safe in expecting it to complete the number of pages listed either on the box or accompanying information.

However, for the many of us not keeping track of our home prints by the page, it can often feel like our expensive cartridges are running out much faster than they should. So what can affect the length of time your cartridges last and how can you maximise it?

How do ink cartridges work?

To get a full insight into a cartridge's life span lets first delve into how exactly they work.

An ink cartridge is the part of an inkjet printer that holds the ink which is then dropped onto the paper during printing. The clever part about ink cartridges is how the printer drops ink in exactly the right place at extremely high speed.

This is achieved using one of two main methods:

  • Thermal print heads: This traditional method uses heat to generate bubbles that force ink to fire through the nozzles.
  • Electric-current-controlled piezo crystals: Here crystals are embedded into printer heads and change shape in response to electric currents, allowing ink to be pushed out onto the paper. Using this technology Epson's PrecisionCore piezo print heads can deliver up to 50,000 highly accurate droplets a second.

What factors impact how long cartridges last?

There are a number of influencing factors that can affect how long your cartridge will last. Some of them are more obvious than others, but it is worth understanding them all to gauge when you will be in need of restocking.

Size of cartridge

Cartridges for your home printer will come in all shapes and sizes, and while it's definitely best to find one that matches your printer, it's also worth taking note of its ink volume. To put it bluntly a 5 cl cartridge is not going to last anywhere near as long as a 20 cl cartridge. That much is obvious, but remember, before finding the largest cartridge volume available, you should take time to work out what is the best value for your money, which we discuss more below.

Home Office
The length of time your cartridges last depends on a few factors.

How often do you print?

The more you use your printer the faster you are going to run through your ink. As we noted above your printer has enough ink in it to complete a set number of pages. The quicker you get through those pages the quicker you are going to run dry.

Cartridge care

Modern cartridges are pretty robust pieces of kit, but they still need some caring for if you want them to perform at their best and last for as long as possible.

Cartridges that you plan on storing until you need them should be kept in a cool, dark place. A great place is a convenient cupboard far from any sources of heat. Once in the cupboard cartridges should be stored on their side so that the ink remains in contact with the spongy part of the cartridge wall. Also remember to keep a note on the expiry date. Ink cartridges should last a few months but make sure you use them before their due date.

When you first install your ink cartridge make sure to let your printer run its full cleaning cycle to prevent the nozzles from becoming blocked. Try to run these cleans regularly to keep your cartridge in good working order.

Printing without cartridges

Home printer cartridges can be not just expensive for you- improperly disposed of they can also cause substantial damage to the environment. In North America alone 350 million cartridges are thrown into landfills sites where they take between 450 to 1,000 years to degrade, according to research by Cartridge World.

Fortunately there are some alternatives to make your printing not just more sustainable but also more cost effective. 

Epson's EcoTank range comes with high capacity refillable ink tanks that don't require cartridge changes at all. Additional ink can be purchased at a much lower cost than traditional cartridges and used to simply fill the ink tank system over and over again. Not only does this free you from the expense and waste of regularly exhausting whole cartridges, each EcoTank purchase comes complete with two whole years of ink supply.

Epson is your go-to photo printing name

To learn more about the EcoTank range or if you want to find the best ink cartridges for your printing needs. Browse our range online today, or find your nearest Genuine Epson supplier

Epson Printer
Epson Printer