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Bulk ink for printers—caveat emptor

A reader of this blog wrote to me describing his awful experience with a bulk ink system from The reader experienced problems with the printer recognizing the cartridges, clogged nozzles, massive ink waste when turning the printer on/off, and strong color shifts when printing.

Keep in mind that even if a bulk ink system works perfectly, you’ll almost certainly need new color profiles for obtaining accurate color; the vendor should supply many of these free of charge—make sure there is one for each type of paper you use, for your particular printer. If not, take your business elsewhere, or plan on creating your own color profiles.

Also keep in mind that bulk inks don’t necessarily have the same properties as Epson inks in terms of their drying time, density, longevity, and consistency from batch to batch. Don’t ignore the value of your own time when considering such a system; “expensive” ink can suddenly look like a very good value if you’re wasting numerous hours dealing with operational and printing issues.

Coincidentally, another reader inquired about bulk ink for the Epson 4800 printer. As I’ve never used a bulk ink system personally I can’t speak to the merits of any one system over another. But some vendors such as have been around for years, and would likely be a safer bet than many other sites. Finally, consider how much ink you actually use—some of the professional Epson printers have fairly large cartridges and print volume has to be quite high to justify the expense and hassle of a bulk ink system.

Readers who have experiences with bulk ink systems who wish to share their thoughts can email me (info at Please specify the vendor, the printer and the name of the bulk ink system used. I’ll post findings as they seem useful to readers.

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