High printer ink prices have always been a source of frustration for consumers. Ink tank printers were introduced a few years ago to address this pain point and the Epson® EcoTank® printer line is one of the most popular ink tank options around. If you’ve seen any of the EcoTank ads you know their big tagline is “cartridge free printing”. Instead of using ink cartridges to print, EcoTanks rely on ink bottles and a refillable ink tank system to power your printer. Similar to filling up your car with gas, when a specific color is low in the tank, all you need to do is fill it up and you can continue printing.
Here are the top 3 advantages of printing with an EcoTank printer:
- Printing costs are much cheaper than printing with a regular Epson printer. If you print often, you can save a ton money with an EcoTank.
- EcoTank ink bottles include a lot of ink, which lets you print thousands of pages at an extremely low cost per page.
- You rarely have to worry about replacing your ink. Ecotanks are advertised as coming with up to “2 years of ink” in the box. That number is based on an average monthly print volume and can change depending on how often you print. Regardless, with so much ink in each bottle, replacements are few and far between.
Now that you know the basics of what an EcoTank printer and how they work, we’ll help you figure out if owning an EcoTank is actually worth it. Most consumers replace their printers after a couple of years, and according to recent consumer questions and reviews, full confidence on the actual longevity of the EcoTank series remains to be seen. What we’ve found is that it all depends on your printing habits. If you print frequently, an EcoTank is worth considering. If you don’t print often, the high upfront costs and upkeep of owning an EcoTank may not make sense for you.
To help you decide, we’ll review our favorite EcoTank printer models (there are a lot to choose from) and compare the EcoTank against a few popular ink tank competitors too.
Let’s get started!
Which Epson EcoTank Printer should you buy?
Epson releases new variations of the Ecotank almost every year. With so many different models, features and price options to consider, it can be hard to decide which printer to buy. No matter which printer you go with, you are getting thousands of prints in each ink bottle. So in terms of ink efficiency, you really can’t go wrong with any of the Ecotank models. However, there are other factors to consider before you purchase. For example, some ink bottles are pigment based while others are dye based and some ink bottle series print more pages than others (see our stats below). Things get more complicated when you begin looking at the features and wildly different pricing from printer to printer. On the low end, you’ve got a handful of basic EcoTanks in the $300 range all the way up to the business class Ecotanks going for $1,000 +, which is a major investment. To simplify it for you, we’ve chosen our six favorite Epson EcoTank printers that cover a range of uses:
- Best Ecotank Printers for Homes and Home Offices
- Best EcoTank Printers for Small-Medium Businesses
- Best EcoTank Printers for Monochrome Printing
Before we jump into our favorites, lets dive a little deeper into who EcoTank printers are actually for and answer some of the common questions that new EcoTank owners often have so you can decide whether they are worth your investment.
Who should own an EcoTank printer
- Inkjet printer owners that are tired of constantly replacing cartridges
- High volume printer users that need the flexibility of printing in black and color and photos
Who shouldn’t own an EcoTank printer
- Low volume printer users that print occasionally. Yes, having the ability to print thousands of pages of ink is great whether you print 5 pages a month or 500, but if you don’t print regularly, the maintenance of an EcoTank may be more trouble than it’s worth. Just like a regular inkjet printer, if an EcoTank doesn’t print for a couple of weeks, it can dry out. A laser printer is a better option if you print occasionally since they use toner cartridges that can go months in between print jobs without drying out.
- Printer users that need to print fast. If you need your prints in a hurry, you are better off going with a laser printer.
Frequently Asked Questions about the EcoTank
Is the Epson EcoTank worth it?
The answer is–it depends. If you print a lot often, then yes, the EcoTank could be a good fit for you. Otherwise, if you don’t print often and you get the EcoTank, you might end up with a lot of dried ink in nozzles and tubs that you’d have to clean up often.
Does Epson EcoTank dry out?
Yes, it still dries up when left unused. The EcoTank is still an inkjet printer so it’s still susceptible to ink drying up leading to clogged tubes or cartridge nozzles.
How long does Epson EcoTank ink last?
An Epson EcoTank has a much higher page yield compared to other regular ink cartridges but laser toner cartridges still have higher page yields. How long it actually lasts depends on what you print and how often you print. To illustrate, if you print lots of full color images daily, you can expect to run out much sooner compared to someone who only prints 4 pages of text documents in a day..
Best EcoTank Printers for Homes and Home Offices
Epson EcoTank ET-2720 – Buy on Amazon*
The EcoTank ET-2720 is Epson’s entry level model. If you are looking for the least expensive EcoTank printer, this is the one to get. Like we mentioned earlier, all of these EcoTank printers use cost effective ink bottles with similar yields, so even if you go with the cheapest EcoTank option, you are still saving a ton of money on ink in the long run.
- Includes everything you need basic home printing, including print / copy / scan features
- 1.44 inch color touchscreen is easy to navigate and wireless printing lets you print from anywhere, including your smartphone
- All four ink bottles include dye-based ink, which are great for range of basic black and color print jobs.
- Does not support faxing – faxing is available on more expensive models though!
- Does not support automatic duplexing – so you manually have to flip the page when double-sided printing, which can be annoying with large print queues.
- Print speeds are slow. With speeds of 10.5 ppm for black and 5 ppm for color, you are going to have to be patient if you are printing a lot.
The ink bottles: The ET-2720 printer uses Epson 522 dye-based ink bottles. The black ink bottle prints up 4,500 pages and each color ink bottle prints up to 7,000 pages.
Want a home Ecotank with fax options? The Ecotank ET-4760 is your answer. With fax, ethernet connectivity a 30 sheet automatic document feeder and faster print speeds (15 ppm black / 10 ppm color) this printer gives you the extra features and power you need at a slightly higher price point.
Best EcoTank Printers for Small-Medium Businesses
Epson EcoTank ET-15000 – Buy on Amazon
Small businesses that have color printing needs should consider the Epson EcoTank ET-15000. This printer is loaded with a ton of great business-ready features that you won’t find in other less expensive Ecotanks, like a 35 sheet automatic document feeder and 13”x19” rear paper tray. The price of the printer is a little pricey but it’s worth it if you print frequently and take advantage of all it has to offer.
- Print / copy / scan / fax features
- Wi-Fi lets you print from anywhere
- Fast print speeds (17 ppm black / 9 ppm color)
- 35 sheet automatic document feeder lets you easily copy, scan and fax stacks of pages without lifting a finger
- Includes a front paper tray that can hold up to 250 sheets and a rear tray for specialty prints up to 13”x19”
- The upfront cost of the printer is expensive. Yes, you’re getting a lot of great printing features but paying a premium for them. Consider going with a cheaper model if you don’t need all the extra bells and whistles.
- This printer is big. With dimensions of 19.6″ x 29.6″ x 14.3″, you’ll need to carve out a pretty large space on your desk to store this machine.
The ink bottles: The ET-15000 uses Epson 502 ink bottles. The black ink bottle is pigment-based and prints 7,500 pages and the color bottles are dye-based and print 6,000 pages each.
Need even more printing power? Consider the Epson ET-5800, one of Epson’s newest EcoTank models, it might just replace your office color laser printer. With print speeds of up to 25 ppm and four pigment-based ink bottles for long lasting durability, this printer is ready to tackle any heavy duty print job.
Best EcoTank Printers for Monochrome Printing
Epson ST-M1000 Supertank – Buy on Amazon
If you are looking for a basic ink tank printer that just prints in black, the Epson ST-M1000 Supertank is a great option. With an ink bottle that prints up to 6,000 pages and print speeds of up to 20 ppm, this single-function ST-M1000 can go toe to toe with just about any basic home laser monochrome printer on the market.
- Single function printing – this printer just prints and sometimes that’s all you need.
- Automatic two-sided printing lets you print on both sides of the pages with the push of a button
- 250-sheet paper tray holds up to half a ream a paper
- If you need to copy, scan or fax you need to find a different printer. The higher priced Epson ST-M3000 Supertank is the next tier up and offers copy / fax / scan functionality.
The ink bottles: The ST-M1000 uses a single Epson 532 black pigment-based ink bottle that prints up to 6,000 pages.
Epson EcoTank vs. The Competition
Epson may have been the first major printer brand to introduce an ink tank printer, but over the last few years, Canon®, Brother® and HP® quickly followed suit. Despite the heavy competition, we believe the Epson EcoTank is still the best option for most ink tank printer users. Every brand has their own unique strengths but because Epson has been making their ink tank printers the longest, they’ve had the most time to make improvements on design and functionality. With new models coming out regularly, they are constantly working to improve on previous versions, which has made them a leader in the space. Here, we’ll compare some of the pros and cons of Epson’s competition so you can decide for yourself.
Epson EcoTank vs. Canon MegaTank
The Canon MegaTank series has a lot of the same features as an EcoTank, like equally generous ink bottles and flexible all-in-one printing options that improve as the printer price goes up. The printers are also slightly cheaper than most EcoTanks but with only a handful of MegaTanks on the market, choices are limited and reviews so far have been mixed. Many MegaTank owners are not happy with the display screen. Instead of including a color LCD display, the MegaTank’s display is small and not backlit, which makes it difficult to read. This likely saved Canon some money on the production side of this printer, but it certainly isn’t very user friendly. If you are able to overlook that, the Megatank line still offers the crisp, clear print quality that Canon is known for at a super low price. The Canon G6020 MegaTank is our favorite of the group, offering print, copy and scan functions and decent print speeds.
Epson EcoTank vs. Brother Inkvestment
Ink tank printing is a new technology and some printer owners just aren’t comfortable with the idea of filling a printer with ink. Brother designed their Inkvestment line, a hybrid ink tank printer series, with these customers in mind. By combining the cost-saving features of an ink tank with the functionality and cartridge handling of an everyday inkjet printer, you get a hybrid ink tank printer that’s both forward thinking and familiar. Rather than fill the tank with an ink bottle, Brother uses cartridges to transfer ink to the tank. Once the ink is inside, the printer functions like a regular ink tank printer, printing thousands of page at an extremely low cost per page. If you are on the fence about ink tank printers, the Inkvestment line is a great in-between option. Like the MegaTank, there aren’t nearly as many choices as the EcoTank, but they have a lot of the same perks. Our top pick is the Brother Inkvestment MFC-J995DW, which offers print, copy, fax and scan options and automatic two-sided printing.
Epson EcoTank vs. HP SmartTank
While Epson, Canon and Brother have all had ink tank printers out for four or five years, HP’s SmartTank series was only just released last year. Given the newness of the series, there aren’t as many models to choose from, but despite that, HP has produced a sleek EcoTank contender that delivers on function and value. SmartTanks use similar high volume ink bottles and just like the EcoTank, are advertised as coming with up to “2 years of ink” in the box. The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 is one of their least expensive options and yet it is still a bit pricey for an ink tank printer. If you have a preference for HP, you’d be fine going with a SmartTank, but you may want to wait until they have been on the market a little longer and can bring down the price point.
How to Save Even More on Ink
If you are looking to lower your printing costs even more, LD-brand compatible ink bottles from LD Products are a great way to save. LD has compatible alternative Epson ink bottles for almost every Epson Ecotank printer model, plus thousands of other affordable printing supplies, including ink for Canon MegaTank and HP SuperTank printers too! Check out our complete line up of low cost printing supplies on LDProducts.com and see how much you can save!
In general, new technology like the EcoTank series is promising. All of the major printer brands are slowly moving away from the usual razor-and-blades model that’s dominated the printer market for decades, and ink tank system printers could be the new normal in a few short years. For now, Ecotanks aren’t for everyone but they do provide a great cost savings for users with frequent high volume printing needs. No matter what printer you choose to go with, always scrutinize the cost in the long term. Print manufacturers are quick to sell you their latest and greatest machine but if you peel back that new coat of paint, the innovation and overall cost may be underwhelming . Choose wisely! There are a lot of options out there but if you find a printer that makes senses for your needs and your budget, you can’t go wrong.
*Savings based on price comparison between remanufactured/compatible cartridge prices on www.LDProducts.com and OEM cartridge and printer prices from the listed retailers: Amazon and Staples. All products are reviewed independently. As an Amazon associate, LD Products earns from qualifying purchases through links on this page. All prices effective as of October 26, 2020. OEM names are registered trademarks of their respective owners and are not affiliated with, and do not endorse LD Products.