Review: Epson T078 and T077 Compared And Split-Open


A Peek Inside The Epson T078, T077 Series Cartridges:

A little background…

The T078 has 11ml ink, the T077 contains 15ml

The T078 has 11ml ink, the T077 contains 15ml

Epson has employed a 2 cartridge marketing effort with the T077/T078 series inkjet cartridges for owners of the Epson Stylus Photo R260, R280, R380, RX580, RX595, or RX680 inkjet printers.  The T078 series of inkjet cartridges which have 7ml of ink per cartridge and cost $14.00 each, and the T077120* cartridge which will set you back $19.99 and contains 11ml of ink. Think of it as a pay me now, or pay me later type situation.

What is most interesting about these cartridges is what they reveal about Epson’s strategy for defeating or strongly deterring re-fillers or re-manufacturers.  More on this in another article.

Inside the T078 Series Inkjet Cartridge:

Getting into the T078 series cartridge (we used a T078520 photo cyan cartridge in our example below) was a pain.  You must first remove the outside plastic cover (8-tabbed), and then carefully remove a blanket of securely fastened black tape, while at the same time trying to be extremely careful not to rip the clear plastic tape that holds the ink inside the cartridge.  The black tape is not present on some older cartridges (over 1-year old); consider yourself lucky if you can find one of these.

Getting inside a pain…

t078-tabs-clips-cover t078-black-tape peel-black-tape-t078

Inside the T078520 cartridge:

epson.com web site.

epson.com web site.

The cartridges are actually quite insulting. When T078/T077 compatible cartridges from China were available they were completely filled with ink, and the part number distinction was not necessary for that simple reason.  Epson prices the smaller capacity T078 cartridge at $15.00 black and $12.99 for each of 5 FIVE colors.  Yes, you will use color when printing black only, so you will need color cartridges in the future.  The ratio of black to color cartridge replacement is about 4-1 on standard out of the box settings.  The higher ink volume T077 cartridges are just about completely full of ink and will run you $18-$19 each…no kidding.  They contain about 11ml of ink.

Cracked open T078520 cartridge.  This is al the ink you will get in a T078 series inkjet cartridge.  About 11ml.

Cracked open T078520 cartridge. This is al the ink you will get in a T078 series inkjet cartridge. About 11ml. Notice all the air space. Thanks Epson.

Lots of air-space inside the T078 series of inkjet cartridges.  So you are basically paying for ink and air. Stay classy Epson.

Inside the Epson T077 Series Ink Cartridge:

epson.com web site

epson.com web site

The T077* series of inkjet cartridges are what should come with the printer to begin with.  The cartridge is completely full of ink, with minimal airspace in the cartridge.  The problem is the price.  If you are printing photos, and most likely you are if you purchase this 6-color photo printer, printers use a ton of ink for photos, and replacing the cartridges can get expensive.

Same process as above getting into this cartridge.

T077520 inkjet cartridge cracked open.  Notice that the T077 series inkjet cartridges are just about completely full of ink.

T077520 inkjet cartridge cracked open. Notice that the T077 series inkjet cartridges are just about completely full of ink. The design is similar to the T078 series, but w/out the airspace.

So what to buy?

To understand which is the best deal, we now have to do a little math.  Need to figure cost per ml of ink; not gonna be pretty.  The T078 cartridge has 7ml of ink divided by $12.99 = $1.85 per ml of ink.  The T077* cartridge has 11ml of ink, and will run you $19.99 from the Epson store, so we end up with $1.81 per ml of ink.  This means the effective price per ml of ink in both the T078 and T077 series cartridges is practically the same. But what if we could get two (2) of the T078 cartridges for the same price (or less) as a T077 series cartridge?  This is a much better deal.  14ml of ink divided by $19.99 = $1.42 per ml of ink.  Much better deal.  Moral of the story? Stick with the T078 ink cartridges.  You will change them more often, but the actual cost per ml of ink could be markedly cheaper if you can get 2 of them for the same price as the T077 series.  Don’t you love how Epson does that?

  • T078 @ $12.99 each = $1.85 per ml of ink
  • T077 @ $19.99 each = $1.81 per ml of ink*
  • T078 x’s 2 @ $10.00 each = $1.42 per ml of ink

You can check pricing on Epson T078/T077 OEM cartridges here.

* At this time, T077 cartridges are available from Epson direct only.

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