Epson EcoTank: Will it save you money?We crunch the numbers on this new ink solution.

25 November 2016

EcoTank printer

Cartridge free - just refill the black or colour tanks when you run out. 

Epson EcoTank printers are sold with two years’ worth of ink in the box. If you're worried about high ink cartridge replacement costs draining your wallet, Epson believes it has the answer. But with the printer costing over £300, does the maths add up?

With an Epson Ecotank printer, you just refill the black or colour (magenta, cyan and yellow) tanks with the supplied bottles when required. These contain far more ink than what you'd get in the cartridges on a standard printer. You can buy EcoTank refill bottles relatively cheaply when the included ones run out.

We've tested various EcoTank printers to date, including the Epson Expression ET-3600 in our latest batch, but can they actually save you money on ink? 

EcoTank economy?

Our unique approach to printer testing takes into account the ink that some inkjet printers use during cleaning cycles, sometimes triggered when you turn them on after sitting idle. This can mean printers use more ink if you print only occasionally, but the ET-3600 keeps costs down regardless of how often you print. 

The catch is that you have pay £329 to buy the ET-3600. So, does it actually deliver genuine savings in the long-run? 

It will take more than two years to make up the difference in savings

The answer is, yes and no. If you were to print 20 pages of black text and 10 of colour every month, over the course of two years the ET3600 would cost you around £55 less to run than a frugal Best Buy inkjet printer we've tested, or around £13 less than an efficient Best Buy laser. 

At more than twice the price of those two printers, however, it will take more than those two years using the ET3600 to make up the difference in savings. With EcoTank refill bottles fairly cheap to buy (£8-13), though, the ET3600 could still deliver good value for those with an eye on the longer term. 

Are EcoTank printers any good?

One word of warning - most EcoTank printers we've tested haven't had particularly good print quality. But the range is evolving, so can the Epson Expression ET-3600 buck that trend? Log in or sign up to Which? for a £1 trial to read our full review. 

Not convinced by EcoTank? Well, we've got nine more printers in our latest batch, and over 200 in total in our printer reviews.

HP Officejet Mobile 200
HP Officejet Pro 8725
Canon Maxify MB2150
Canon Maxify MB2750
Canon Maxify MB5450
Canon Maxify MB5150
Epson Expression Home XP-245
Epson Expression Home XP-442
Epson Expression Premium XP-640
Epson Expression ET-3600

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