What Is the Difference Between 78 & 77 Epson Ink?

By Jennifer Reid

Epson Inks 77 and 78 are known for the high-quality photo prints they create.
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Anyone who owns a printer knows that it is crucial to know which ink cartridges are compatible with your printer when it is time to replace the cartridge -- each printer has a coded print cartridge designed for its components. However, there are two Epson ink cartridges that are very similar: Epson 77 and 78. They can be used with almost the same list of printers and have the same list of features, but there are differences that correspond to the two ink cartridge codes.

Same Quality

One area Epson 77 and 78 ink cartridges do not differ is in quality. The ink in these cartridges is quick-drying, so there is no fear of handling prints soon after printing. In addition, the Claria® Hi-Definition Ink is resistant to smudging, scratching, water damage and fading, so the prints they create are professional quality that are rated to last up to 200 years if stored properly. The cartridges themselves are equipped with SmartValve Cartridge technology with MicroPiezo® Ink Level Sensors to ensure true-life print color and quality.

Compatible Printers

These cartridges are intended for high-quality photo prints and are compatible with three of Epson's Stylus All-In-One Photo Printers: RX580, RX595 and RX680. In addition, both ink cartridges are compatible with Epson's Stylus Ink Jet Photo Printers: R260, R280 and R380. The one compatibility difference between the two cartridge codes is that Epson Ink 78 is also compatible with the Epson Artisan 50 Ink Jet Printer.


While it is impossible to quantify how many photos each cartridge code will print before needing replacement, as the colors and quantity thereof vary per photo, there is one distinct difference between Epson 77 and 78 ink cartridges, and that is volume, which determines the life of the cartridge. Epson 77 Ink Cartridges are "High Capacity" cartridges that contain 60 percent more ink per cartridge than do Epson 78 Ink Cartridges.


Because Epson 77 Ink Cartridges are High Capacity, it follows that these cartridges are also more expensive than their sisters, the Epson 78 Ink Cartridges. While Epson 78 individual color cartridges are $12.99 each (with the exception of Black, which is $16.14) and the multi-pack costs $64.99, the Epson 77 individual and multi-pack ink cartridges are $19.99 and $89.99, respectively. However, with the 60 percent higher ink capacity, purchasers of the Epson 77 Multi-Pack Ink Cartridges save approximately $14 over the life of the ink, as of March 2011.