Good Money After Bad

My father taught me to never throw good money after bad, so when our store’s printer ran out of yellow ink, I did what any reasonable person would do. I bought a new printer.

The Bad Money

For the past two years, I’ve enjoyed the performance of our printer (Brother MFC-J6520DW), for the most part. It offers borderless printing (something I love) and features a touch LCD screen which is great for quickly sending faxes (yeah, we still do that) and resolving any printer setup issues. Among the pros and cons (not fully listed) is one big constant annoyance. The cost of replacing ink cartridges.

Our Brother printer was built and sold based upon a standard business model. The cost of the printer is subsidized and sold to the consumer at a lower price than normal margins would dictate. Doing so ensures that people who purchase the printer will continually buy replacement ink cartridges, the cost of which easily adds up.

The Math

How much does the cost of ink add up? Below is a table showing the price for the various ink cartridges required for our old Brother printer (Staples Canada pricing at the time of reviewing cost).

Item Code Description Price Page Yield
LC109BK Black –  Super High Yield $58.96 2,400
LC103M Magenta – High Yield $33.06 1,200
LC103Y Yellow – High Yield $33.06 1,200
LC103C Cyan – High Yield $33.06 1,200

Printing in black costs: 2.5¢ per page

Printing in colour costs: 8.3¢ per page

The Good Money

In 2015 Epson launched their new EcoTank link of printers which feature a completely different way to replace ink. Instead of using the standard ink cartridge approach, Epson introduced the ink well concept. On the side of the printer is a container that is refilled with ink from a bottle. Through a set of tubes, the printer draws the ink from these wells to apply to the printed paper.

These printers depart from the stand business model. The upfront cost of the printer is higher, and savings really stack up when buying replacement ink.

The Math

Item Code Description Price Page Yield
T774120-S Black – EcoTank Ink Bottle $27.49 6,000
T664320-S Magenta – EcoTank Ink Bottle $18.32 6,500
T664420-S Yellow – EcoTank Ink Bottle $18.32 6,500
T664220-S Cyan – EcoTank Ink Bottle $18.32 6,500

Printing in black costs: 0.46¢ per page

Printing in colour costs: 0.8¢ per page

Where the Math Really Kills It!

Okay, you might say that saving on printer ink isn’t that sexy, and can take time to really add up. But, you begin saving immediately!

Each model includes ink (like most new printers). The model I purchased, the Epson Workforce ET-4550 includes enough black ink to print 11,000 pages, and enough colour ink to print 8,500 pages.

I’d have to spend $980.50 on new Brother ink cartridges to print the same number of pages ($275 Black ink and $705.50 Colour ink).


The Epson Workforce ET-4550 retails for $599.99 in Canada. We purchased it on sale at Staples for $549.99 and saved an additional $100 by exchanging our old Brother printer for store credit.

In the end, we paid $449.99 for a new printer, which includes the equivalent of $980.50 of ink cartridges.

No more throwing good money after bad. My dad would be happy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *