The Decline of Inkjet Printer Life Expectancy
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I feel a little bit behind the curve with regards to this
Here it is the 26th of February, and we're just squeaking by
with getting the February newsletter out.
Oh well, it IS still February, so I guess it's alright. (for
another 2 days anyway)
Anyway, Bob has written a really good article this month on the
decline of inkjet printer life expectancy.
I've been in this business long enough to see exactly what he's
talking about. The lifespans of printers are consistently
getting lower and lower. I'm not sure how much is due to simply
using cheaper materials in order to get the manufacturing costs
down, and how much may be purposeful strategy by printer
manufacturers to keep future business coming.
It's hard to know what goes on behind closed doors and what the
exact reasoning is, but the end reality is that printers don't
seem to be lasting as long as they used to.
So with that said, onto our article...
FEATURE ARTICLE: The Decline of Inkjet Printer Life Expectancy
The average life of inkjet printers has been gradually
declining over time. Although current print quality and retail
price for new machines have never been better, don't get your
heart set on growing old with your new printer.
Everyday, we receive orders from customers, new and old,
ordering cartridges for their "vintage" HP Deskjet or Officejet
printers from the early 1990's. There are a good number of
people ordering for their 10-year-old Epson and Canon printers
too, but I am really starting to see a dropoff in life cycle of
printers made in the last 3 or 4 years.
I was digging around trying to find any official written
estimation on printer life but was largely fruitless in my
efforts. One single reliable estimation I found from 2006,
estimated a 4-year life cycle for a new HP inkjet printer at
The average new inkjet printer you can buy off the shelf will
likely have a shorter life span due to a few factors…in my
First, the DPI (dots per inch) of a modern inkjet printer are
pretty small, in some cases 1 pico liter droplets are being
produced. Not long ago, pico liter drops of ink were in double
digits (12 - 16). Therefore, a set of nozzles on a new printer
will have to fire more than 10 x as often to attain the same
coverage. Increased use per nozzle, coupled with the tighter
tolerances may be contributing to a shorter life of the
printhead; usually the first part to fail on a printer.
To be fair, many printheads have multiple nozzle sizes that
each produce different size droplet depending on what is being
printed. Also, there are more nozzles per printhead in
comparison to older units, so maybe the increased usage per
nozzle is not a profound as I may lead on.
Another culprit may be due to the materials used in new
printers. Inkjet printers from 10 years ago, weigh twice as
much compared to the new ones. True, the footprint of the
printer has decreased significantly, but that still does not
explain why my new Epson NX105 weighs less than 10 lbs but the
Epson Stylus 1520 right next to it is closer to 30 lbs.
I was shaking my head while at Target last week, as I walked
down the isle, picking up each printer- they all felt hollow!
The dreaded "expected printer life cycle has been reached"
error message may also play into the shorter printer life that
has been observed with contemporary machines.
Many printers are programmed to produce a service needed
message of some sort, after a set number of pages have been
printed. At this point, you must know a secret code to reset
the counter in your printer, replace the printer or take it in
to a service center to be repaired. Most people elect to discard
the printer at this point. Some will search on the Internet and
then perform a reset coding procedure to get past the error
message and a small number of people will get their printer
Canon printers traditionally have the lowest statistical data
on repairs, but that too may be changing with their transition
into new cartridges with Microchip interface. Many old HP
printers are still performing today as well as they did 15 years
ago. Epson printers from 10 years ago are still chugging right
However, new printers from every manufacturer today, for
whatever reason, don't seam to last as they have in the past.
Perhaps this is just another case of "designed obsolescence"?
If you own an old printer, fight the urge to "upgrade" to
something new unless you have to. If you own an old printer
that uses high volume cartridges, you may want to consider
getting your printer repaired if it breaks down.
About The Author
Bob Stephens writes for ASAP Inkjets. ASAP Inkjets offers
ink cartridges & toner at up to 80% off. Signup for
their free newsletter for tips & discount coupons at:
http://www.asapinkjets.com/ or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Ok, that'll do it for this month.
I imagine that this article may actually leave a lot of you
left with the big question of "So which printer should I buy?"
Once a year, we try to do a big research project into which are
the best printers out there. Our top picks are based on
performance, combined with value, combined with actual customer
feedback. (The customer feedback ratings are gained from
reviews on Amazon.com, cnet.com and other sources.)
Typically we gather data and release these results in June, and
include it in our newsletter.
If you just can't wait until June, right now an all-around good
bet are the Brother multi-function machines. Good performance &
quality, good customer reviews, and good value printer supplies.
Until next time...
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