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Earlier this month, The Guardian published a story about Epson. The Japanese electronics giant is changing its approach to the printing market; instead of selling printers as heavily-discounted loss leaders and recouping that money with overpriced ink cartridges, Epson will now be selling printers with refillable ink tanks, meaning that you'll pay more for the printer but less for the ink.


If you believe that Guardian article, Epson's latest move will "revolutionise the economics of home printing", winning back consumers who, in the past, were put off by the sky-high price of printer ink. Print-savvy readers, however, will notice that Epson's "innovation" is nothing new - in fact, we at City Ink Express have been selling printers with refillable ink tanks for years!


Fitting your printer with a CISS (Continuous Ink Supply System) has always been a great money-saving move - a CISS tank lasts longer than any standard ink cartridge, and the ink refills are considerably cheaper than new cartridges. Furthermore, we still believe that our CISS printer bundles represent a more cost-effective choice than Epson's new printers. Let's do the maths...


  • According to The Guardian, Epson's new printers will start at £249.

  • Our cheapest Epson printer bundle - the Epson XP-312 - costs £118 (including VAT) and comes with a CISS tank and 400ml ink included.


As you can see, City Ink Express could still save you quite a packet. A full CISS tank can run for many months before it needs topping up, and when the tank does eventually run dry, our ink refills are very reasonably-priced.


Oh, and if you're more of a laser printer person, we also sell cost-effective toner cartridges!


Click here to read The Guardian's article about Epson.

If you have done any printer ink shopping recently you will have noticed that colour ink surpasses black ink in terms of pricing. Of course, not everyone requires coloured ink for their printers, but for those of you who do, you must wonder why it costs so much more.


On average, you can pay up to 30% more for colour ink cartridges compared to their black counterparts. The main reason for this is that colour ink is far more complex - a black ink cartridge will only have a single ink reservoir for one colour, whereas a colour cartridge will have to have at least 3 reservoirs for 3 separate colours. This fact means that manufacturing colour ink cartridges is a more expensive process due to the intricate design necessary.


In fact, if you are looking to save money, we'd recommend that you avoid printers that use tri-colour cartridges. The problem with multicoloured cartridges is if you use a lot of blue ink - for example  - when they run dry your printer will then stop functioning completely; this also leaves you in the unfavourable position of having to discard your entire cartridge, even if the red and green chambers are completely full.


Basically, in order to form the most cost-effective printing plan you have to consider exactly what it is you're going to be printing. If you're mainly going to be printing plain black documents, then obviously it's pointless having a colour printer in the first place...


If you are going to require colour documents, think carefully when purchasing your device as to what printer ink cartridges it takes, and how much it is going to cost to maintain them.


If you have your own printer, you probably live in constant fear of that ‘running low’ notification. And, considering the astronomical cost of ink and toner, your fear is completely justified – an empty cartridge tends to mean that your wallet will soon be empty too!


With that in mind, here are a few ways to make your ink/toner go further and delay the dreaded ‘ink low’ message for a little bit longer...


  • Print in 'Greyscale' mode

    If you’re printing a black and white document, make sure your printer knows it. Before printing, ensure that you have checked the ‘Greyscale’ or ‘Black and White’ box (as opposed to the ‘Colour’ box); if you print a monochrome document in ‘Colour’, your printer may still waste coloured ink to produce the document.

  • Use toner-efficient fonts

    Some typefaces use more ink than others; people have actually conducted studies on this topic, and they’ve found that Garamond is the #1 font for saving ink/toner, followed by Courier (Comic Sans was one of the worst, in case you needed another reason to avoid Comic Sans like the plague). Before you print another document, think: does this memo need to be in Times New Roman? Or would Garamond do just as well?

  • Check for a 'Toner Save' feature

    Some printers have a ‘Toner Save’ (or ‘Ink Save’) mode that uses less toner/ink without making too much difference to print quality. If your printer has this function, we strongly recommend taking advantage of it – check the ‘Properties’ tab before you print anything else.

  • Only print what's necessary

    Okay, this is a pretty low-tech tip to finish on, but it’s worth mentioning. Before you send a document for printing, ask whether or not you need all of the content on that page. If you’ve got a paragraph of needless waffle, or an image that doesn’t really add anything in particular, get rid of it – why waste ink on something you don’t need?


Of course, even when you’re striving to reduce your wastage in any way you can, every cartridge will eventually run dry. When that happens, remember: you can get toner cartridges for less with City Ink Express!

CMYK Art: 10 of the Best!

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As any printing buffs in the audience will already know, CMYK is the model that most colour printers use to create those vividly colourful print-outs that we all love so much. The printer uses four colours - Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (Key) - and these are mixed to create the colours that you require. This is why your colour printer needs four toner cartridges to function properly.


Of course, those four colours make a pretty striking combination even, and hundreds of artists and designers have put this colour scheme to good use in their work! Here are 10 of our favourite pieces of CMYK art from around the internet:


CMYK self-portrait by creativeliz


CMYK spacemen by Matt Fontaine


CMYK telephone seat from


CMYK flamingos from Everything Begins

CMYK EP by James Blake (released on cyan, magenta, and yellow vinyl)


For more stunning CMYK art, check out our Fun with CMYK board on Pinterest!

Ink in printer


Neither ink nor toner are particularly cheap to purchase, but knowing the facts about both will help you to make a more economical printing decision. Here’s a general rule of thumb for anyone who’s worried about printing costs:


Ink cartridges are cheaper, but toner cartridges last longer.

Inkjet and laser printing both have their merits and drawbacks – neither method is objectively better than the other – but broadly speaking, it’s safe to assume that inkjet printing is better for people who only print occasionally, whereas laser printing can be a more cost-effective choice for heavy workloads.


Ink and Toner: The Numbers

So you want to know exactly how much ink cartridges and toner cartridges cost? Well, the prices vary greatly between different brands and models, but here’s an example...


This is a Brother MFC-J6910DW printer. It is an all-in-one colour inkjet printer. If you’re buying direct from Brother, you’ll pay roughly £24 for a black ink cartridge, and roughly £16 each for the cyan, yellow, and magenta cartridges. This means that a complete set of replacement cartridges would cost around £72, and this would keep you going for about 600 pages.


This is a Brother DCP-9270CDN printer. Again, it’s an all-in-one colour printer, but this is a laser printer, so it takes toner cartridges instead of ink. The printer itself costs roughly the same amount as the MFC-J6910DW, but how do the cartridges compare in price and lifespan?


Well, the black cartridge would set you back roughly £60, and each of the coloured cartridges would cost £78 or thereabouts (again, we’re assuming that you’re purchasing direct from Brother). That’s a total of just under £300 for a complete refill, but the superior page yield would keep you going for at least 1,500 pages – more than twice as many as the ink cartridges!


Having said that, there are cheaper ways to do both laser printing and inkjet printing. If you use a laser printer, you can buy cost-effective ‘compatible’ toner cartridges from City Ink Express – while these aren’t made by the original printer manufacturer (e.g. Brother), they are just as good in terms of quality and output, and they cost far less. For example, a compatible black toner cartridge for the Brother DCP-9270CDN costs just £29.60 from our site – that’s a saving of about 50%!


And then, for inkjet users, there’s CISS. Buying a CISS system for your printer will meant that you don’t have to buy new cartridges quite as often, and our CISS ink refills are cheaper than the average ink cartridge to boot!


Photo by André Karwath (view original here)