Epson EcoTank printer
Cost-effective home printing
Inkjet printers are quite cheap to buy, but they can run out of ink quickly and then really sting you when it’s time to buy replacement cartridges. Epson’s EcoTank printers turn that approach on its head. They’re more expensive up front, but the large ink tank bolted onto the side of the printers holds enough ink to print thousands of pages.
The EcoTank ET-4550 ups the ante even further. Its £370 price tag does seem expensive at first, but it includes enough ink to print a full 11,000 pages in colour (using all four coloured inks). That works out at just under 3.5p per page for colour, far lower than a conventional inkjet printer. Epson doesn’t quote a cost for printing text with black ink alone, but we estimate mono printing at around 1p per page, which is also pretty good. Replacement inks are even cheaper. A set of four inks costs £35 and will last for about 6,000 pages in colour – just 0.6p per page.
Print quality is good too, with smooth text output and colourful graphics and photos. The ET-4550 is not spectacularly fast, but speeds of 12 pages per minute for text and 5.5ppm for colour are respectable enough. It also includes a scanner, copier and fax machine, so has all the main features that home or small business users will need.
If you only print a few pages a week then you probably don’t need a high-volume printer like this, but it will be a real money-saver if you regularly print a lot of documents. Cliff Joseph
It’s a bit bulky, but the EcoTank ET-4550 holds enough ink to print 11,000 pages.