Epson will stop selling laser printers by 2026, but why?

Shawn Knight

Posts: 14,572   +174
Staff member
In brief: Epson recently announced a significant shift in its printing strategy, doubling down on inkjet technology while vowing to pull out of the laser printer market. The Japanese electronics company in announcing its new WorkForce Enterprise AM-Series of business-focused products said it would end global sales and distribution of laser printers by 2026.

Epson contends that inkjet technology can reduce energy consumption compared to laser printers due to the latter's need for heat during the printing process. Epson also said its new inkjet printers help limit resources used during production and shipping, and that high yield ink cartridges reduce material usage, shipping and storage requirements.

Furthermore, Epson said inkjets utilize fewer moving and consumable parts over their lifetime compared to lasers. This, the company claims, substantially reduces service and maintenance needs, resulting in less printer downtime, improved productivity and heightened end-user satisfaction.

From clogged nozzles and planned obsolescence to the high cost of refills, inkjet printers have been a hot potato among consumers for years. I recall a friend in high school that swore by buying a new printer when his ink cartridge would run out because it was cheaper than simply purchasing a replacement cartridge.

In 2016, HP came under fire for pushing out an update that would disable third-party ink cartridges. Consumer backlash was swift, and HP ultimately apologized for not being more transparent and backtracked. As Ars Technica highlights, the company is still paying for the misstep – most recently to the tune of $1.35 million to compensate impacted users in Europe.

It's unclear how consumers and businesses will react to Epson's decision to focus solely on inkjets moving forward. One also has to wonder if the pandemic didn't have something to do with the company's shift in strategy.

As an August 2021 report from IDC highlights, pages printed using laser declined 16 percent year over year in 2020 due to the impact of lockdowns and the shift to working remotely. In contrast, pages printed using inkjet printers increased four percent during the same period.

Image credit: JJ Ying, Cottonbro

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VitalyT

Posts: 6,474   +7,345
It is the most lame PR. They do it because they do 90% of sales from the Inkjet scam. It is a scam because they sell it for about 500x times more than they cost to manufacture. A cartridge they sell for $50 costs about 10c to produce, at most.

It's like medicine in the USA, selling $3 pills for $700, until Mark Cuban came along that is.

The entire Inkjet industry is a scam.
 
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Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 3,716   +1,162
Staff member
Epson writes their own death warrant in the professional market. Inkjets suck.
Agreed. Much of the reasoning Epson gives is nonsense, especially the energy savings. Even if inkjets cut energy costs by half (and that's just a guess since Epson didn't provide any data on that), printing and copying are a minuscule part of a business's budget—ours run under 1%. So the relative effect on an enterprise's carbon footprint is going to be negligible—unless maybe you are talking about a business that is solely focused on printing, and even then I have my doubts as to the difference it would make.

But that's okay. Someone else will fill the void and Epson will cry in its beer when companies en masse bring their employees back to working in offices. It's a gamble, and good on Epson if it works out in its favor, but I have my doubts it will. Really the only thing it has going for it is that inkjets are so cheap and printer carts are so expensive that their business model will naturally morph into HP's printer sales model—churn out those cheap printed and then soak the customer on the refill. Not that toner is any cheaper, but we went through less toner than ink.
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,949   +6,949
Agreed. Much of the reasoning Epson gives is nonsense, especially the energy savings. Even if inkjets cut energy costs by half (and that's just a guess since Epson didn't provide any data on that), printing and copying are a minuscule part of a business's budget—ours run under 1%. So the relative effect on an enterprise's carbon footprint is going to be negligible—unless maybe you are talking about a business that is solely focused on printing, and even then I have my doubts as to the difference it would make.

But that's okay. Someone else will fill the void and Epson will cry in its beer when companies en masse bring their employees back to working in offices. It's a gamble, and good on Epson if it works out in its favor, but I have my doubts it will. Really the only thing it has going for it is that inkjets are so cheap and printer carts are so expensive that their business model will naturally morph into HP's printer sales model—churn out those cheap printed and then soak the customer on the refill. Not that toner is any cheaper, but we went through less toner than ink.
It's not that you used less, but rather that inkjets dry out over time. Put a inkjet cartridge in, wait 6 months, and it will print maybe 10 pages and scream its empty.

Toner never dries out. A 20 year old cartridge will still print fine. And they can easily be reused. Epson is just blowing smoke about the environment thing, given that it is damn near impossible to open their inkjet cartridges without breaking them and 99% throw them away anyway. .
I bought one of their printers and it was trash... returned it for a brother.
Brother is fastastic, in that they still make basic good printers. HP jumped on the "register with our app to continue" train and the less said about lexmark the better.
 

p51d007

Posts: 3,423   +3,107
What a JOKE! Yeah, for photographs "most" inkjets produce better images because the ink basically sits on top of the paper, but on traditional toner based prints, the toner is fused (melted & pressed) into the paper.
The problem with inkjets is the ink nozzles have to be used on a regular basis or they WILL get clogged up.
Just go look at what HP went through with their "page wide" series of office ink jet copiers. They have STOPPED producing/selling them because the ink heads were clogging up! (the company I work for is an office copier/tech retailer). EVERY one of them has to have the ink heads pulled and replaced because if they sit, or, are not in a perfect temperature environment, the heads will clog.

Epson is just going to make a lot of money on the color ink scam.
Black ink is cheap. COLOR ink is expensive. Why? Because of the color pigment.
IT'S THE SAME INK! Same think with dry powder toner. It's THE SAME TONER, JUST DIFFERENT PIGMENTS.
 

mgilbert

Posts: 106   +240
For those of us who print very little, inkjet printers make no sense. The obscenely overpriced cartridges dry out long before they are used up, leading to massive waste. I have a Canon laser printer. It's two or three years old and I'm still using the original toner, which is still 60% full. Screw Epson and this obvious cash grab.
 

nismo91

Posts: 1,280   +324
I think Epson's biggest market is all these emerging countries where the use of small home office inkjet printers far outnumbered the professional ones. Indonesia is one example. here in Q3 last year, Epson holds more than 50% marketshare and most of the printers they delivered are tank inkjet type. because nobody is stupid enough to buy cartridge inkjet printers in the past 7 years even if they are very cheap to begin with.

the tank inkjet printer actually works well. you can buy the genuine ink bottle for about $5-6 per 70ml. the printhead should last for awhile if you set it to always print in high quality settings (slow). we have a 2013 epson with over 18.000 pages printed and another 2015 brother printer with over 8000 pages both of them still using the original printhead. the ink costs way less than the paper and as long as you set it to use slower printing there's no issue with the quality. for home use these are way cheaper than a color laserjet.

so yeah traditional cartridge based inkjet printer sucks, but the ink tank type is actually not bad at all, provided you don't live somewhere cold where the ink will freeze. I think the hotter the climate the better it is to use inkjet printers.
 

NumberSix

Posts: 190   +304
My Epson Ink Tank printer still isn't half way down the inks that it came with, I bought in Feb 2020 and my wife was working from home for 2 years in that period.
 

BSim500

Posts: 928   +2,204
Factor in the cost of "I'm having to waste 48 pages worth of ink to clean the head to print 2x pages", or "my colour printer insists on still using colour ink to print mono / greyscale" or the far more wasted plastic in throwing away 20x 150 page ink cartridges vs 1x 3,000 page toner, and no they are not remotely "more sustainable" by any measure. Even the cartridge-less EcoTanks will still eat through more ink in cleaning than printing unless you use them almost every day.
 
Labor has also been an issue thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in manufacturing and logistics. Supply chain shortages are affecting: Printer ink and toner. Printer parts / spare parts .
 

ragreeen2646

Posts: 36   +22
For color Inkjet is my preference., I've had Hp and Epson. For inkjets my preference is Epson.
For just black and white I would use laser.
One issue which isn't discussed is laser toner particles in the air.
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 8,408   +7,841
I've been using laser printers for a long time. These days, even color laser printers are comparatively inexpensive. I don't remember when I bought it, but I bought a Xerox Color Laser perhaps 10-years ago now. I use it so rarely that the color toners have yet to run out. When they do, I will look for another color laser because Xerox wants more for the color toners than it would cost me to buy a new color laser printer.

Its pretty much my guideline these days that if the toner costs more than the printer, I won't buy the printer in the first place.

I also have a Canon Multifunction B&W laser printer. I've gone through several toner cartridges - which also include the drum, since I got it. For me, inkjet would be a step down instead of up.
 

lnorthe

Posts: 6   +14
My Epson Ink Tank printer still isn't half way down the inks that it came with, I bought in Feb 2020 and my wife was working from home for 2 years in that period.
I agree, the ink tank printers last far longer than the cartridges. I have been very happy with mine. No more cartridges for me. I noticed that the toner from lasers tends to rub off easily.