Epson EcoTank Printer

Updated 27/07/2018

Should you buy an Epson EcoTank printer?

If you’ve seen the Epson EcoTank range, then you’ll know about the new type of inkjet printer that doesn’t use regular ink cartridges but bottles of ink that are squeezed into a compartment on the printer.

In this post, I’m going to look at some common questions and help you to make your own decision on the question, is the Epson EcoTank worth it?

Here’s what I’ll go over:

  • What is Epson EcoTank / why developed?
  • Is it messy?
  • Watch out for / test prints…Craft Test Dummies
  • Range of products
  • Overall cost comparison to other brands of printer
  • Caution – page coverage!

 
 

Looking for Ecotank ink?

Before we start if you are looking for Epson EcoTank ink and accidentally stumbled upon our page that looks at the different versions and direct comparisons of EcoTank printer, you can find ink by clicking the button below:

Epson EcoTank Ink

 
 

What is an Epson EcoTank?

The EcoTank range of inkjet printers, developed by Printer Manufacturer Epson, were first introduced in 2015 and offered users who were frustrated by buying new printers and needing to purchase expensive ink cartridges shortly after (sometimes even more expensive than the printer), a printer that hold its ink in refillable tanks rather than replaceable ink cartridges.

This means that there is less waste when you must throw empty cartridges away or struggle to recycle them, you can print for longer without the need to buy new ink and ink bottles can be sold at a much cheaper price than equivalent inkjet cartridges.

All good so far? Yes, in theory this sounds fantastic and EcoTank printers have many positive features that benefit lots of users, but they aren’t without their cons which we’ll discuss later, and they don’t suit every need so we’ll try to help you identify whether it’s the right choice for you and your circumstances.

EcoTank ink

Why was it developed?

You might be wondering why the technology was developed, or more to the point, why was this not the standard for printers in the first place? And that’s a great question.

If you ask a salesperson, or an Epson representative then I’m sure that the answer you’d get is that Epson wanted to help customers by removing the frustrations listed above and whilst that is largely true and a great way to disrupt the market for printers, there are a few other reasons too!

Printer manufacturers don’t make much if any money selling printers, they make money selling printer cartridges. That’s why printers are often cheap, but cartridges are often more expensive.

So, to combat that, customers frequently opt for compatible or remanufactured cartridges but this is not good for businesses like Epson or other manufacturers because if you aren’t buying their inks, they aren’t making any money. It’s something all printer manufacturers have tried to combat for years.

This is another big reason the EcoTank was developed. The printers start at high prices and come packaged with ‘up to 2 years of ink’ so that they make money on the initial sale.

Also, the technology is likely patented which means it will be difficult or maybe even impossible to get compatible inks for an EcoTank.
 
 

Is an Epson EcoTank messy?

Ink on handsOwning an EcoTank printer means that you will need to pour or squirt ink into the chambers found on the right-hand side of the machine and that can be potentially messy. Epson’s advice is to wear rubber gloves and place scrap paper under the tanks.

Make sure you wear gloves on both hands! Getting ink on your skin will prove difficult to clean. Saying this, it’s not complex to refill the tanks so if you are careful and take your time. You won’t spill anything!
 
 

Does Epson EcoTank ink dry out?

According to Epson, Ecotank ink is different than regular ink cartridges that cary 2 year expiration dates because ink in a regulaur cartridge is soaked into a sponge which can dry out. Ecotank ink is squirted into a chamber where it remains until it is used. For it to dry out, it would have to evaporate, so it’s unlikely.

However, the print heads could still dry out or clog and dry. According to Epson, the print heads are specially coated to prevent drying and clogging but this would require you to keep the printer powered up regularly so that the maintenance / cleaning routine runs each time the printer is switched on. If you were to leave it switched off for extended periods of time, you would most likely run into issues.
 
 

Common Epson EcoTank Print Problems

A print test created on Youtube by Jenny Barnett Rohrs or Craft Test Dummies.com pointed out a common issue when printing photographs.

If you are intending to print photos on glossy paper (the best paper to use is Epson paper), then make sure that you select the correct paper type in the print window before you click print.

If you don’t do that, and you print photos but choose standard paper in the print prompt for example, then your print out will easily smudge and leave black ink all over your hands.

You can watch the full video from Craft Test Dummies here:

 
 

Epson EcoTank 2018 Product Comparison

Brand new Epson Ecotank machines became available for 2018, including specific photo printers capable of printing up to A3 and business inkjet EcoTank machines for those who want the benefit of cheaper ink costs but high usage. These are not intended for busy offices, but more for personal desktop or 2 – 4 users.

Take a look at the comparison of models below, and select different tabs for different types of printer:

 

Epson Ecotank ET-2500Epson Ecotank ET-2600 PrinterEpson Ecotank ET-2700 PrinterEpson Ecotank ET-2750 printer
ModelET-2500ET-2600ET-2700ET-2750
Black ink4000450075007500
Colour ink6500750060006000
RRP£199.99£229.99£249.99£349.99
Ink cost set£31£33.96£32£33.96
Ink cost each£7.74 / £7.74£8.49£11 / £7£8.49
Ink cartridgesSEE INK >SEE INK >SEE INK >SEE INK >
Resolution5760 x 14405760 x 14405760 x 14405760 x 1440
PPM Black9103315
PPM colour451510.5
Duplex?ManualManualManualAuto
Tray size100 sheets100 Sheets100 Sheets100 sheets / 20 photo
ConnectionWIFI / USBWIFI / USBWIFI / USBWIFI / USB
Max paper sizeA4A4A4A4
Product codeC11CE92401C11CF46401C11CG24401C11CG22401
FunctionsPrint / Scan / CopyPrint / Copy / ScanPrint / Copy / ScanPrint / Copy / Scan / Fax
Max monthly outputApprox. 270 pagesApprox. 270 pagesApprox. 310 pagesApprox. 390 pages
Compatibles?NNNN
Cost to run / year£199.99£229.99£249.99£349.99
Cost / page0.004p0.004p0.004p0.004p
In the boxFull ink setStarter ink (lower capacity)Starter ink (lower capacity)Extra ink (higher capacity)
Included ink Black / Colour4000 / 6500 pages4000 / 6500 pages6500 / 5200 pages14000 / 5200 pages
Epson Ecotank ET-3600Epson Ecotank ET-4500Epson Ecotank ET-3750 PrinterEpson Ecotank ET-4750 Printer
ModelET-3600 – Click to viewET-4500ET-3750ET-4750
Black ink6000450075007500
Colour ink6500750060006000
RRP£399.99£349.99£449.99£479.99
Ink cost set£31£31£31£31
Ink cost each£8.49 / £12.99£8.49£11 / £7£11 / £7
Ink cartridgesSEE INK >SEE INK >SEE INK >SEE INK >
Resolution4800 x 12005760 x 14404800 x 12004800 x 1200
UseHome / OfficeHome / OfficeHome / OfficeHome / Office
PPM Black13.79.21515
PPM colour7.34.588
Duplex?AutoAutoAutoYes
Paper thicknessN/AN/AUp to 300gsmUp to 300gsm
Tray size150 Sheets150 sheets150 sheets250 Sheets
ConnectionWIFI / EthernetWIFI / EthernetWIFI / EthernetWIFI / Ethernet
Max paper sizeA4A4A4A4
SkuC11CF73401CAC11CE90401C11CG20401CAC11CF46401
FunctionsPrint / Copy / ScanPrint / Copy / Scan / FaxPrint / Scan / CopyPrint / Copy / Scan / Fax
Max monthly outputApprox. 400 pagesApprox. 270 pagesApprox. 450 pagesApprox. 450 pages
Compatibles?NNNN
Cost to run / year£399.99£349.99£449.99£479.99
Cost / page0.004p0.004p0.004p0.004p
Included ink Black / Colour11000 / 110004000 / 650014000 / 1120014000 / 11200
Epson Ecotank ET-7700 PrinterEpson Ecotank ET-4750 Printer
ModelET-7700ET-7750
Black ink75007500
Colour ink60006000
RRP£549.99£699.99
Ink cost set£31£31
Ink cost each£10 / £10£10 / £10
Ink cartridgesSEE INK >SEE INK >
Resolution5760 x 14405760 x 1440
UsePhoto / borderlessPhoto / borderless
PPM Black1313
PPM colour1010
Duplex?AutoAuto
Paper thicknessUp to 300gsmUp to 300gsm
Tray size100 sheets100 Sheets
ConnectionWIFI / Ethernet / USBWIFI / Ethernet / USB
Max paper sizeA3 photoA3 photo
SkuC11CG15401CEC11CG16401CE
FunctionsPrint / Scan / CopyPrint / Scan / Copy
Max monthly outputN/AN/A
Compatibles?NN
Cost to run / year£549.99£699.99
Cost / page0.005p0.005p
Included ink Black / Colour3400 / 3400 pages3400 / 3400 pages

Is an Ecotank Printer worth the cost?

You might be wondering if an Ecotank printer is worth the initial cost? It’s clear that it’s a very attractive proposition to have a printer that you possibly won’t need to refill for a year or two but let’s do a sense check here.

Looking at the initial costs of Ecotank printers versus other comparable inkjet machines, Ecotank printers are very expensive to buy. The reason for this is that you are paying for the initial ‘free’ ink that you get with the new machine and big brand companies have to charge such high prices because lets face it, we all know that they only make money when they sell ink rather than a printer. So where you might pay £150 ($196) for a comparable printer, an Epson Ecotank printer will likely cost you at least £250 ($327) and anything up to £700 ($916). This is clearly a huge difference in price.

Lastly, when you first start to use your printer, you won’t see any cost benefit because you’re paying for the ink up front instead of paying for it over a number of years so it’s much more of an investment. What if you never need to use all of the ink, or for some reason your Ecotank breaks down? Epson printers aren’t always the most reliable and you won’t see the benefit of the higher initial cost. Definitely something to think about.

Pro’s

Here are a few of the things that I like about the EcoTank range:

  • Great print quality, especially with photos.
  • Scanners are wide and can fit large documents
  • Plenty of ink in the box when you purchase the printer
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Very low cost per page
  • Built in WIFI
  • Auto Duplex in the 3 higher priced models

Things to consider…

Here are a few things you should consider before buying an Epson EcoTank printer…

  • Initial price – EcoTank printers are initially more expensive because you are paying for the ink in advance.
  • It’s unlikely you will ever be able to buy compatible ink, though Epson ink is relatively cheap.
  • They aren’t the fastest printers so if that frustrates you, you may want to stay away.
  • There’s a 20 – 25-minute ink charging period before printing.
  • You will need to run very regular ink maintenance / cleaning to prevent ink from drying up and stopping print-outs having lines across them.
  • Not ideal printers for high monthly print volumes so not great for offices that print frequently and lots.
  • Photo printing and scanning is very slow. Almost taking six minutes to print and A4 photo.

Caution! Page coverage.

One big word of warning here…The EcoTank range is promoted as coming packaged with up to 2 years of ink. The Key word being ‘up to’.

Standard ISO print coverage means an A4 piece of paper with 5% covered in ink which is equal to printing one standard page. That only looks like 5 paragraphs of text when the ink is spread out. If you print bold colours, blocks of shading, pictures or photos then the ink will run out much, much quicker.

You’re more likely to print at 15% – 20%-page coverage so you’re more likely to get 1 quarter the amount of prints. eg – 6 months, which is still pretty good!

Conclusion

Hopefully this has helped you to make a more informed decision. Think about what you need to print, how much you normally print per day or month and decide based on your own opinion.

We’ve also had some fantastic comments below from people who own or have previously owned Epson EcoTank printers. Some of that feedback is good and some not so good, but take a look and let us know what you think of the EcoTank if you own one, or let us know your general opinion!