We have been working on a plan to launch the new series of Epson compatible refillable cartridges, the 202, 502, 603 and 378/478 cartridges and am amazed at the number of ink sellers that are selling high-quality ink and at such low prices!
We are wanting to offer our customers several options to purchase these new cartridges and kits as below:
- Empty refillable cartridges
- Refillable cartridges pre-filled with Archival ink
- Refillable kits with 50ml or 100ml bottles of archival quality ink
- Refillable kits with 100ml bottles of universal ink
We are struggling a little to know how to differentiate between the ink qualities currently being sold in the markets and a real high-quality archival ink that we offer. To be fair, other companies who sell good inks will also have the same concerns and issues that we are having on this.
A high-quality ink to us is an ink that is a replacement ink that is the same ink type, dye or pigment, offers a colour match to the ink that it is replacing and that also offers fade resistance characteristics. A lot of the inks being sold as high-quality, do not do this.
Most inks sold through market place platforms are what is referred to as “universal inks” which mostly mainly dye-based and supposedly work and perform in all inkjet printers. Whilst the ink does indeed work and print in all inkjet printers, it cannot possibly cater to the very different versions of the CMYK ink colours that each manufacturer uses.
We have a CP branded universal ink and it serves a purpose. They are dye inks and they produce stunning and vibrant images but what they do not do is offer the same characteristics as a manufacturers ink or a genuine high-quality archival ink. All Universal inks will fade.
Using an archival quality ink will replicate very closely the performance of the printer manufacturers ink and the prints will have longevity in terms of fade. Archival quality inks cost more but they are worth the extra small cost in terms of their performance and end results.
A quick check to see how good the inks that you are using are is to print two images and stick one in a window for a while and the other in a photo album or a drawer. Check the differences after two/three months! Another quality indicator would be the price that you paid. £2.00 for 100ml is not going to be fade-resistant!
Anywhere from £5.00 to£10.00 for 100ml of CMYK and its derivative colours (light colours) is about the price for good ink, lower for multi bottles. When non-CMYK colours are required for newly released printer models, such as red, blue, green and greys then the price would be nearer to £14.00 to £20.00 per 100ml.
By the way, some of the fade-resistant claims made by ink cartridge manufacturers are easy to make but not really provable. 85 years no-fade is not something that I am going to be around long enough to prove!