It is not easy to find the right printer for everyone. Everyone is looking for a printer that is affordable, easy to use, reliable, doesn’t jam, can print, scan, and copy. They also need the printer to be small and compatible with all generic cartridges. There is no single printer that meets all these requirements so there are always compromises.
After 15 years in the printing and consumables industry, I’m amazed at the number of tech sites and other websites that compile an annual list of the top printers. These top 10 articles are something I read almost every year. It is rare that any of them would be my personal recommendation for printers. While I don’t know what their selections are based on in terms of printing costs and reliability, the printers they choose are often the most problematic.
We should first examine some statistics about printers, mainly inkjet, and compare them in terms of popularity, print speeds, and print costs. Then, we can also compare the more recent refillable tank printers like the Epson EcoTank and Canon MegaTank, the Brother Investment and the HP Smart Tank. These “refillable tank” printers aren’t a new invention. They have been around for many decades. The printer manufacturers have spent decades trying to find ways to combat non-original cartridges and regain their share of print consumable market.
Worldwide printer sales by manufacturer
Covid-19, which was introduced to the world in 2020, saw printer sales soar. Everyone was encouraged to work remotely. People who were confined to their home offices needed reliable printers. This caused the demand to soar to the point that most retailers such as Officeworks and Harvey Norman ran out of stock. Covid-19 actually caused a major disruption in the supply chain for OEM printer manufacturers from China. The demand was high, but the supply could not keep up. Overall, this actually resulted in lower annual sales than previous years. Below is a comparison of 2020 sales for the top four printer manufacturers.
Over the past five years, worldwide printer demand
Below is a graph showing the global demand for home printers in the last 5 years. It is clear that printer demand soared after the Corona virus struck in March 2020. This was due to the many people who had to work at home, and thus needed to establish a home office. Many consumers were unable to find printer cartridges for new printers because they were unavailable anywhere else. Many stores still cannot supply the vast range of printers available to customers, even though they have been around for a year. Google search trends statistics.
Global Printer Satisfaction by Brand
- D. Power conducted a survey in 2015 to determine the satisfaction ratings for different brands of inkjet printers. This data, although it is old, gives us an idea of what people thought back then about different brands. Over many years of working in the industry, the consensus seems to be that inkjet printers are a device from hell that was created to frustrate everyone. However, I believe that a printer of good quality is a valuable device that can be used properly and frequently enough to serve us well.
If you have read my articles, you will know that inkjet printers are meant to be used frequently and all colors should be utilized. Otherwise, the print heads could clog and cause damage. Again, I want to stress the fact that you cannot print in black and white with an inkjet printer. Ok, enough whining. Let’s get to the point. The above statistics show that HP was the most popular inkjet printer, closely followed by Canon Brother, Brother, and finally Epson. Let’s now take a look to the satisfaction statistics for 2015 and see what everyone thought of the different brands of printers.
These stats show that Canon has the highest overall satisfaction rating of all printer brands. This is exactly what I expected, as Canon is my personal choice for inkjet printers. HP would be second, but a 2020 survey wouldn’t rank them that high because of their software updates that are designed to block non-original cartridges. My guess was that Epson would be the least popular, as I don’t like their piezo printer head or their firmware method for detecting cartridges. Also, I dislike the Epson printers’ tendency to monitor page count instead of ink levels. This results in a lot of ink being left behind in cartridges that are supposed to be expired.
Printer Satisfaction Survey – Ink Hub 2019
Ink Hub conducted an online survey over several months to find out what customers thought about various printer brands. It is a good overview of how people see the printers. I believe there are several reasons Canon printers are rated higher than other major brands. First, our customers use our generic inks. They appreciate that Canon does not send updates that could affect the use of these inks. This is in contrast to other manufacturers, who often use these tactics to get customers to purchase their ridiculously expensive consumables.
Second, Canon printers have an extremely smart “Optoelectrical” microchip that gives little problems and reads the correct ink levels. This ensures that you don’t need to change your cartridges before any valuable ink is used up. The Canon inkjet printer is a clear winner thanks to these features and a thermal printing head that nearly never clogs. This is only because the Canon inkjet printing heads almost always fail, which can lead to printers going out of business. The Canon inkjet printers would be more popular if they were made stronger. Let’s now take a look at these results.
Our customers weren’t impressed by Epson and HP as they are trying to force users to use their brand-name consumables. Although both HP and Epson try to put a halt to generic cartridge users, if they’re smart enough to disable the updates on their printers then it shouldn’t be an issue. Epson has been outperformed by HP in its relentless attempts to destroy non-original cartridges through constant software updates over the past twelve months. These tactics are not appealing to consumers and will likely have a major impact on printer sales. It’s great that we keep up with these updates by making certain that all cartridges have the latest chip versions. This ensures that there are very few compatibility issues.
Worldwide printing volume
It is interesting to compare the printing outputs of each country and see how they compare. You would guess that America and China rank among the top printers in terms of volume. India is quite a ways down on the list. Despite having such a large population, they don’t have as many printers to print as other countries.
Comparing Inkjet Printer Speed
We will be comparing the printing speeds of several popular printers in this section. While speed is not an important factor for everyone, large print volumes can make it more critical. Laser printers are the best choice if you need to print large volumes. Laser printers are faster than average inkjet printers and more affordable to use when you use non-original cartridges.
Below is a graph showing the print speeds of four popular inkjet printers made by the four major manufacturers. The pages per minute printed in Black or White are represented by the purple, while the color pages per hour represent the orange. The Canon printer is faster than the Brother, while Epson and HP are slower overall. All three printers, Brother, Canon, and HP use a thermal printhead. Epson uses a Piezo-printhead. This may be the reason Epson prints faster because the Piezo printer used by Epson takes longer to get ink onto the page.
Although the Piezo printer head is more susceptible to clogging than the thermal, the head is likely to last longer than the others. The Epson printers are not my favorite. If you don’t print often or only print in black and white, the Epson may not be the right printer for you.
EcoTank vs Cartridges
Epson’s latest attempt to capture large parts of the inkjet printer market is called EcoTank. Jimeoin is the head of their advertising campaign and spends big to convince people they have re-invented the wheel. I should point out that EcoTank printers with large ink storage tanks are not a new idea. This type of printer has been around for many decades. Each of the big four players has their own EcoTank versions, including the Canon MegaTank and the HP Smart Tank. They all use the same technology.
Studies have shown that EcoTank printers can start to save you money around five years. It is estimated that the EcoTank will save you around five years if you buy an Epson inkjet printer and then use non-original cartridges. The average user prints about 2,000 pages per year. However, the EcoTank will win in less time for larger printing volumes.
However, if we look at the EcoTank WF-4660 or the EcoTank ET-5800 in Australia, the initial price will be between $1200 and $1500. I am curious if the printer will last longer than a standard inkjet printer that uses cartridges. We all know the answer to that question. It’s almost liked my solar system. The printer was great for cost savings until the inverter had to be replaced twice and all the isolator switch corroded. I am implying that if your printer lasts 10 years or more, you can save a lot of money. However, it is unlikely to happen due to the short life span of inkjet printers.
Let’s take a look at the graph below which compares the cost of an EcoTank printer to an average inkjet printer that uses non-original cartridges over a period of two years. Although the cost savings will begin to add up over a longer time, we will still look at statistics later to see how long the EcoTank will last.
We can see that even after two years, the EcoTank would still cost us $610.70 less than the Epson printer with non-original cartridges. The EcoTank’s savings would gradually catch up to the Epson printer, and possibly surpass it over a longer time. This savings is dependent on the EcoTank printer’s long-life span. The obvious question is: What is the average life expectancy of an everyday inkjet printer.
An inkjet printer’s average life expectancy
Below is a graph showing the average life expectancy of inkjet printers in years. These statistics were taken from 2008 to 2015, and we can see a steady decline in longevity over the seven-year period.
Although I couldn’t find any statistics about printer longevity, let me assure that the average printer’s lifespan is now around 2 to 3 years. Many printers die much earlier. This is because the market is flooded with mass-produced printers, which cost anywhere from $50 to $70 and have a very short life expectancy. Let’s say you’re EcoTank printer lasts four years. How much money would that make you in the long-term? You might be able to win if you print a lot during that time. I guess that’s up to you to decide.
I will leave you with this image to give you an idea of the difference in cost between the EcoTank printer and the standard inkjet printer. The negative reviews that the EcoTank printers are getting is another reason to get rid of them. Have a look at the Epson EcoTank Reviews.
Revenue from Print and Digital Magazines
Let’s look at one more graph to see where we are heading in the future of printing. These figures show both the digital and physical magazine sales. They are from 2015 to 2020. It is clear that the digital dominance is steadily increasing and the “physical” magazines are slowly disappearing. Although this trend is more commercial than domestic, it is still happening across all regions. Many of us have now realized that our local newspapers are almost gone and many have switched to online subscriptions.
As consumers and businesses try to reduce printing costs, digital forms like email, PDF’s, and tablets are replacing hardcopy printed documents. This trend will continue, and the number of printed materials will gradually decrease until digital formats outnumber print material. However, printers will still be needed as people continue to print hard copies of invoices, receipts, and other documents instead of storing them digitally.
What is the purpose of printers?
It is fascinating to see what people actually use their printers for. It’s interesting to see what people are actually using their printers for Statistics These photos were taken during the Covid pandemic, which lasted from 2020 to 2021. The Covid crisis resulted in home printer usage increasing as more people set up home offices. The increase in home printing could also be due to the fact that students were home-schooled and required much of their curriculum printed. I was surprised by the statistics for Letters and “Keeping in touch”, which account for 19% of all printing.
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