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Are Epson® EcoTanks® Worth the Money?

Are Epson® EcoTanks® Worth the Money?

The high price of printer ink has been a source of frustration for many consumers.  In the fall of 2015, Epson® switched things up with the release of their EcoTank® series, a continuous ink system printer that hopes to shake up the print industry and get people to reconsider their relationship with ink.

What we’ve found is that depending on your printing habits, the savings may not be all that remarkable.

Like other Epson printers under the Workforce® umbrella, the EcoTank series features a few different models, each with varying price points and features.  The ET-2550 series is intended for the average home user and includes enough ink to print up to 4,000 black pages and 6,500 color pages.  Epson sells the machine for $299.99 and each ink tank sells for $12.99 each. On paper the ET-2550 seems like a very enticing option and for the right customer it might be.  But if you only print occasionally, the overall cost savings is minimal.  

A recent Consumer Reports survey found that the average user prints 23 pages of text, nine pages of graphics and about nine photos per month.  After testing the 2550 against similarly classed standard inkjet printers, they found that the cost savings of the EcoTank only begins to add up after five years.


Most consumers replace their machines 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.  

If you print only a few times a month, you are better off paying for aftermarket or third-party ink cartridges on an as-needed basis.

The price of most aftermarket ink cartridges is on par with the Eco Tank series, allowing consumers the freedom to spend money on ink as they need it, rather than paying for the printer and ink upfront.

As the printers in the EcoTank series get more expensive, the savings become considerably more suspect.  

For example, the Ecotank WF-R4640 is designed with the small business owner in mind and at first glance, its print capabilities are compelling.  Instead of the ink tank system, a black and a color ink pack is included with each printer.  Every bag has enough ink to yield 20,000 pages per color, a competitive value for any business oriented machine.  The savings get murky when you start comparing the upfront cost of the machine and consumables to a comparable, but far less expensive Epson inkjet.  

A $950 Price Difference on Printers
Action Intell notes, in terms of features, the standard (non-EcoTank) functioning WF-4640 is incredibly similar to the EcoTank WF-R4640.  Both have the same print speed and identical print, scan, and fax capabilities.  Other than the ink system, the main difference is the price tag. The EcoTank sells for $1,199.99 while the standard WF-4640 is only $249.99, just on printer price alone you would already be ahead $950 sticking with a conventional Epson Workforce.  


Bring the cost of ink into the fold and the cost of the EcoTank continues to add up.  The EcoTank’s 20,000 page high yield black ink bag costs $179.99, and each color goes for $99.99 apiece.  We did a bit of math to figure out what the cost would be for a compatible cartridge if you wanted to match that same 20,000 page yield offered by the EcoTank, and the savings on compatible ink is significant.  If bought in a bundle, a 2,600 yield compatible black ink cartridge costs $9.00*.  You would need to spend around $69.30, or buy 7.7 compatible cartridges to match the 20,000 page yield offered by one black EcoTank ink pack.  Each compatible color cartridge also goes for $9.00 when bought in a bundle, and yields 2,000 pages.  You would need to spend $270 to buy the 30 color cartridges needed to match the 20,000 page color ink pack.

When all is said and done, if you look at the total cost of the EcoTank printer alone ($1,199.99) and subtract it from the total cost of a new WF-4640 printer ($249.99) plus the number of cartridges needed to give you a yield of 20,000 pages ($339.30), you would be ahead $610.70. We’ve broken down the math for each cartridge in the chart below.

For some business owners, the EcoTank series simply may not be worth the money.  If you really crunch the numbers, you can buy 60,000 pages worth of compatible ink sticking with a conventional Workforce before you break even on the EcoTank.  (339.30 x 3 =$1,017.90).

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.


In general, new technology like the EcoTank series is promising.  Manufacturers are slowly moving away from 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, a cheaper printer paired with compatible cartridges is still the best choice for most.  But with other manufacturers like HP® and Brother® coming out with similar ink tank systems shortly, it will be interesting to see what sort of impact continuous ink will have on the market.  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.

*Savings based on price comparison between remanufactured/compatible cartridge prices and printer brand (OEM) cartridges effective as of March 1, 2016 on  OEM names are registered trademarks of their respective owners and are not affiliated with, and do not endorse LD Products.



  • […] a press release, the remanufacturer revealed its study into Epson’s EcoTank machines, noting that this “exposes the true cost of owning an Epson […]

  • I refuse to buy ink from HP. They covered up the fact that their last printer they sold me used color ink even when printing black only documents! 90% of their color ink jet printers do that. They won’t admit to it unless you get the right customer service rep that “let’s it slip”. They even denied this when I called them prior to purchasing their ink jet printer. They make you buy regular color ink jet ink even if you don’t print color documents that often!! LD needs to let people know this fact. I love LD as they are selling ink at a reasonable price and they don’t deceive people about their product. Buy your HP printers from Amazon used by third party sellers fully warranted then use only LD ink.

    • Lol.. every printer does that unless you specifically tell it to print in greyscale.

  • I’m convinced that HP has updated software on select machines to completely not function if replacement ink is used. I printed 300 pages yesterday without issue on an HP 8625 only to have an error message today indicating that my cartridges are damaged and need replaced. Mind you, this printer printed clean pages of printer status report between error messages. Moving my business to Epson today.

    • Totally correct – and putting in one HP ink magically fixes everything – ripoff!

    • epson does that too.

    • HP is total rip off, print maybe 25 sheets a month, they want THEIR cartridges only, and they are preset to not print unless you replace them all. I took a hammer to mine, I hope they go broke new Epson 2720 Eco Tank. Real full visual ink, and cheaper. I was having to purchase ink twice a year, couldn’t even print just black without their crap color one🤪🤪🤪🤪

  • Alan is right on! HP does indeed require you to buy both a black & white & a color Carthage even if you never print in color as the ink sells as a set only. I say FOUL! And dirty foul at that. I’M looking for another brand printer now. It won’t be a Kodak as that was the worse printer I ever owned. Epson looking better all the time.

    • Epson is just as bad…you cannot print at all if one cartridge is empty…they let you print a couple of copies (after the window comes up telling you to buy ink) but after a couple of times you can’t print even in black…why does 10 cents of ink cost 25 dollars?

  • I got my eco tank printer for free so all I have to buy(after I run out) is ink bottles and they are cheap so I am ahead” I love my eco tank printer and with kids in school it gets a ton of use.

  • epson 4550 love it 2 years and 40 k pages later …. cheap to operate ….

  • Epson RT 2550, for the most part is ok. I did not like the fact that at the end of the life ink pads, you most send your printer to their tech guy ( and of course almost 2 hours away) because even though I replaced it myself, the machine will not reset and start printing. Come on, is suppose to help people like me trying to save and send kids to college save… no have in the future more expenses…. I think they should have key to reset your printer.

    • Anabel…what do you mean “the end of the life ink pads”? im looking at Epsons and don’t want to have to take it to a tech guy for things like what you addressed but don’t understand what your talking about.

    • What Anabel is talking about is that Epson printers (and probably other printer brands) have an ink pad below the print heads that is used to collect excess ink that is used when printing. These are basically like sponges that soak up ink. When you print about 12,000 pages worth of ink, the generic “ink pad has reached end of life” message appears on the printer and you CANNOT use the printer at all until you get that code reset. You have to take it to an Epson sales rep or get a gray market program to clear it (which is what I did). You can clean the ink pads yourself with patience, hot water, and a fan to dry them for a day. But the ink pad counter doesn’t reset automatically. It’s purely a “guess” based on how much ink you’ve gone through.

      Anyway, that’s what she was talking about. Usually like $110 for a sales rep to put a new sponge in your printer and hit a key to reset it versus $10 for a key to this ink pad reset program I found (use Google.. hint hint).

  • I my case the eco-tank printer is the best printer Iso far in my book. I use for home and alittle extra for small business I do. I got over 1year ago . I print have printed pages and pages for coloring , business cards, menu for one business in town , and made t-shirts with it. O just now bought my second bottles of ink.

  • I have a ET-4750 I use for a service group I work with, It is used mostly for their printing. I started using it 12/21/2018 and have printed a total of 6,188 page of black and color pages. The print report says a 1,000 more pages of color than black. What I am guessing is that if any part of the page is color then it’s counted as color. Most of what I do is black with color logos and then some color fliers. It come down to so far I have used up the first set of bottled ink that came with the printer and put in some of the color and a lot of the black inks from the second bottles of ink. So, so far I haven’t spent anything on ink for my first 6,000 pages of printing. If I get to 10,000 pages and have to buy 4 colors of ink at a total cost of Epson ink of $65.00 I will be quite happy to happy with that compared to the $120 plus i would have paid for the old HP I had. But I would have paid that 4 or 5 times to do the 6,000 pages. I am happy with the results and costs. There are a couple of things I would like to improve but have learned to work around. There is no status box of what’s printing and how many pages have printed. I do also have to clean it more frequently to keep the print sharp.

    For the other group I work with we got the ET-16500, haven’t had that one long enough to evaluate the results. We’ll see in a few months how that goes.

  • Love the printer, great quality output for photos,,,,however,,,the inside parts are to tender to depend on, a paper jam will destroy them leaving loose parts, rollers and springs in the paper tray.

  • nice, but the study is skewed. It doesnt take into consideration the warranty you void by using LD cartridges. So in reality, if i am getting similar costs as using afternlarket cartridges (and voiding my warranty) by getting an eco tank and keeping my 3 year wrranty, then is make 100% sense tog et an eco tank. What LD should focus on is producing the Ecotank compatible ink reservoirs to further reduce the cost of owning an eco tank.

    • Using re-manufactured cartridges doesn’t void your warrenty. According to federal law, you as the consumer have the right to do whatever you want with the printer you paid for.

  • Ink cartridges compatible with Epson printers are incredibly cheap. If you want to make a sound comparison you should consider the ink costs of other brands.

  • Be aware your printer has an artificially limited lifespan. After X pages it will show a message your printer is end of life, the waste ink-pads are full and will STOP printing.

  • I’ve used Epson for years, with workarounds via google. I sued to refill cartridges but then learned about Continuous Ink Supply Systems and waste ink reservoirs, both save so much money. YouTube has plenty of information, as usual keep looking until you feel confident in the instruction. Be sure to not allow Epson to add software updates though. They can suddenly make your cartridges unusable, cannot recognise, etc. I appreciate this over view of the Eco tank. My new Epson will have CISS installed as soon as the warranty period is over and at that time no more updates will be allowed.

  • I have owned two ET-2550, one ET-2650 and one ET-4550 and my opinion they were WORTH buying. Many studies do NOT take in consideration that you can buy them for less (sometimes much less than MRSP) and you can buy also the ink at a discount (even bulk) as well.
    One thing though might be the mechanical issues with the printer and the inability of the Epson support to understand that.

  • […] However, before you run off to your local Best Buy, there’s more to your decision than pure by-the-numbers efficiency. Often, the printer that saves you money may not produce the same quality as your old model. Maybe your new printer doesn’t come with some features you frequently use. And sometimes an ink-saving feature looks good on paper but ends up costing you more than simple solutions in the long run when put into use (take, for example, EcoTank technology, which we’ve touched on previously here). […]

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