Updated – What You Should Know About Continuous Ink-Supply Systems

Recommendations (Based on the results of Project CISS Testing)

  • The best way to lower your ink cost per page is to purchase high-yield print cartridges for your printer (if they are available).
  • The second best way to lower your ink cost per page is to judiciously use color printing, and it is far easier to religiously do so if set your printer defaults to either print with black-ink only (best) or in grayscale mode (which still uses minute amounts of color ink). When you need color prints, select normal or best color from printer properties before you print.
  • The third best way to lower your ink cost per page is to use draft print mode whenever possible and it is far easier to do so if you set you printer default to draft mode. Even better, use draft mode in conjunction with black-ink only or grayscale modes.
  • The fourth best way to lower your ink cost per page is to purchase a new printer that can be equipped with ink cartridges that have the best ratio of cartridge yield versus the lowest cartridge price.
  • If you are determined to use a CISS kit in order to lower the ink cost per page of an existing printer (that by the way is already typically far lower than that of many toner-based printer), first experiment with a non-critical printer. Note that virtually every CISS kit that we tested eventually failed or did not work, and was tricky and time-consuming to install. Moreover, before you begin, ensure that you have a washable work surface, plenty of time, and a roll of paper towels on hand. Finally, find a pair of thin protective gloves (a few of the kits supplied these), unless you don’t mind walking around with ink-stained fingers for several days.
  • If you are determined to use a CISS kit and are technically challenged, consider purchasing a printer with a CISS kit that is installed by the vendor.
  • Ultimately, if you are unabashedly determined to go CISS regardless of the numerous inconveniences, take the safest route and select a printer from the Epson line of CISS printers. However, be prepared for messy ink refills, sluggish print speeds, no duplex printing, and substandard print quality and image permanence. In our tests, we found that the although the image quality was suitable for printing Web pages, internal correspondence, or read-and-dump hand-outs, it was not suitable for printing any type of document that may reflect your image, such as education-related documents (e.g.: home work) or business correspondence. These printers were also not suitable for the production of documents for filing purposes, because they lack duplex printing.

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36 Responses

  1. heather taylor says:

    I bought an Epson L555 it only lasted 16 months just after the warranty expired. The printer got stuck in paper jam [this turns out to be a very common complaint with this model] and there was no jam, eventually got it going again twice, perfectly.Then returned to paper jam, so frustrating and expensive and Epson web site didn’t help either just said to seek out a repairer, that’s a nightmare in itself and then when I did find one 8 miles away, he was only going to look to see if there was a paper jam and not fix anything else. Well the rest is history and am in pursuit of another printer…..Oh crikey where does one go to find something that works and wont let you down. I Just want a printer and scanner CISS that’s all….

    • Terry Wirth says:

      Try the HP DeskJet GT 5580 or the Brother DCP-T300 this time and hope for the best. You can find info about these models in our latest CISS Hands-On Competitive Test here.