The number one gripe with printers, according to a Consumer Reports survey, is the high cost of ink. So there was a lot of buzz when Epson introduced its EcoTank printer, which promises to save on ink. Consumer Reports has just completed testing this new-style printer.
At $400, the new Epson EcoTank printer is far more expensive than most. But the company says its refillable tanks will save you from the high cost of ink cartridges. Is it worth dirtying your hands?
"We put the EcoTank through the same tests other printers face to determine out how much it really costs for you to own," says Consumer Reports' Patrick Austin.
Those tests are based on the average amount of printing people do in a month, according to a Consumer Reports survey. That's 23 pages of text, nine pages of graphics and about nine photos
At the end of two years, the total cost of the printer and ink is $400 for the Epson EcoTank, but only $325 for this $200 HP Officejet Pro or this $150 Canon Maxify.
So should you forget the Epson EcoTank?
"If you do a lot of printing and plan to keep this printer for a while, it could save you money in the long run," Austin says.
Things do look much different after five years. The total cost of the EcoTank is $448. The HP Officejet Pro is $588 and the Canon Maxify is $692.
"If you don't print a lot, it makes more sense to buy the printer that's cheaper up front," says Austin.
Both the HP and Canon printers are Consumer Reports Best Buys. The HP is fast at printing quality black text. The Canon is a very good option for printing photos.
Another option is Consumer Reports' top-rated printer, the $100 Epson Expression Premium XP-620. It prints excellent quality photos and costs about $14 a month in ink.
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Consumer Reports: Ink-Saving Epson Printer