For those looking to upgrade their home office, Epson's EcoTank printer combines a printer, scanner, and fax machine into one multi-function device, allowing you to save time, money, and space.
Despite all of the technological advances over the last decade, most of us haven't gone entirely paperless yet. Whether it's printing shipping labels or keeping hard copies of important documents for our records, printers still have a place in our home office.
That's why we're taking a look at Epson's EcoTank ET-4760 All-in-One Cartridge-Free Supertank Printer, to see if the upfront investment pays off by saving us precious office real estate and money in expensive ink refills.
The EcoTank is a compact little all-in-one, perfect for sitting on an office shelf, on top of a filing cabinet, or the corner of a desk. While not the smallest printer, it does include scanning and faxing capabilities, which can cut down the need for additional devices in your home office, ultimately saving you a significant amount of space.
We received a white EcoTank for review, but it also is available in black.
Unlike traditional cartridge-based printers, you'll need to fill the ink tanks yourself. Fortunately, this is a straightforward process, and provided that you are careful, it should be relatively mess-free.
We found that filling the tanks was easy, and Epson's step-by-step guide walks you through every step, with no guesswork needed.
Of course, once you've filled the printer, you'll want to connect it to your home network. We've used EcoTank printers in the past, so we already knew what to expect, but we'll admit that connecting the printer to your home network via WiFi is a bit of a pain, but not difficult.
Using the touchscreen display, we were able to open up the printer's network settings, find our home network, and enter our password. Connecting took only a few seconds.
Once connected, it's easy to print via your iPhone, Mac, PC, or Android phone.
If you choose to use an Ethernet cable, you'll only need to put it into your router — no fiddly typing required.
Since the printer is connected to your home network, most computers and devices should print without installing any extra drivers. However, Epson does offer a suite of software for printing and scanning, should you need it.
The EcoTank is a standard printer when it comes to printing. It averages roughly 15 pages per minute for an industry-standard black and white print and about eight pages per minute for a standard color print.
Of course, if you're printing high-resolution artwork or photographs, it'll take quite a bit longer.
What really makes this printer shine in the home office, dorm room, or the small office setting is the ability to do two-sided prints.
Everything we printed from the EcoTank came out looking great, and we were especially thrilled with any text documents we printed.
If we had one complaint, it would be that any color-heavy prints tended to be quite wet when coming out of the printer. If possible, you may want to wait five minutes before moving any ink-heavy prints.
Of course, this is an all-in-one printer, which means it also offers a flatbed scanner. While we've moved on to compact scanners for most of our document and photo scanning, having a flatbed scanner on hand is useful for those times when we want to scan books or pages of magazines.
Additionally, the scanner allows the device to be used as a fax machine and a photocopier.
The scanner worked as anticipated, and we were able to access it directly from our favorite programs, such as Photoshop. It has a maximum scanning resolution of 9600 DPI, which is likely more than you'll need for home office use.
Cost vs savings
EcoTank printers aren't cheap by any means, but we've used them in the past and can attest that they're a good investment if you routinely need to print color images.
As they use liquid ink tanks rather than a traditional cartridge, the cost of filling up an EcoTank is significantly cheaper. A single set of three EcoTank color bottles is about $40, but equals roughly 80 individual traditional cartridges.
When it comes to printing a standard color print, it will cost you about one cent per page versus the average 20 cents with ink cartridges — and those savings can really add up.
There is one notable downside to the EcoTank, though — and that is moving it. Once filled, moving the EcoTank can be a little perilous as it must be held level to avoid spilling ink. We suggest that you fill the ink tanks in the spot you plan to use it.
With a nearly $500 price tag, the EcoTank ET-4760 isn't the cheapest printer you could buy, but the savings can be significant over time. Additionally, it combines many pieces of office equipment into a single device, allowing you to get a home office up and running in less time with less clutter.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
- Combines printer, copier, fax, and scanner into one device
- Liquid ink tanks save money and allow for more prints between refills
- Unique bottles allow for mess-free refills
- High initial cost compared to cartridge printers
- Full-color pages remain wet, prone to smearing if handled too early
Where to buy: You can pick up an EcoTank ET-4760 from Epson's site for $499.99, or those who have Amazon Prime can snag one from Amazon for $499.99 with free two-day shipping.