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

Where Can I Get CISS Kits or Printers?

Search the Internet and be surprised. Some companies provide add-on kits as well as printers adapted in-house, others provide only the kits and compatible inks, while others provide bulk ink for use in the kits. As mentioned, Epson sells an entire line of printers that are equipped with CISS from the factory.

ArtInk InkSystem
Examples of CISS Kits

How Do I Install a Kit?

First and foremost, if you to adapt your printer with a CISS kit, not all printers have kits available. Second, you must be adventuresome enough to route the multi-channel hose from the supply vessels, through your printer and into the ink cartridge carrier or slots. With some printers this will be easier than with others, but you’re taking your chances nonetheless. Keep in mind that you must route the hose so that it doesn’t impair the performance of the printer (rubbing on the ink carrier or feed roller, or causing covers to inadvertently open during operation). Will you have to modify your printer in order to accommodate and route the hose? Once again, you’re taking a chance. Finally, can you ensure the safety of the external tanks? What happens if the tank assembly gets upended? Do you have sufficient safe space for the tanks to reside on your desktop?

What Inking System is Best for a CISS kit?

It’s best to utilize printers with a built-in print head for optimum CISS performance. This is because inkjet cartridges with built-in print heads are commonly designed for short-term use, so the life of the print head is not an issue. On the other hand, built-in print heads are commonly designed to last for the predetermined life of the printer.

Pros and Cons


  • Higher ink capacity and page yield than OEM cartridges.
  • Low cost of ink per ml than OEM cartridges.
  • Significantly lower cost per page.


  • The pitfalls of kit installation and the vulnerable location of the tanks.
  • The perils of ink spillage while refilling the tanks.
  • All CISS kits use generic inks and most vendors use the same ink for every printer model.
  • Since each OEM printer vendor uses ink that is matched with their print head and ink system technology:
    • Generic inks can cause wasted prints due to print quality issues.
    • Generic inks can be the cause of additional cleaning cycles and wasted ink.
    • Unexpected downtime can occur from issues associated with customized anti-piracy chips and technology.
    • Generic inks can cause wasted time due to dealing with issues related to the add-on CISS technology.
  • Hidden cost of parts replacements:
    • Print-head life may be affected.
    • Cleaning pad life may be affected.
    • Depending on the design of the printer, the ink-carrier mechanism may fail prematurely from the additional drag caused by the multichannel hose.
    • An improperly routed multichannel hose may interfere with the feeding system and cause premature failure.

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.

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