Epson has announced it's expanding its EcoTank line of cartridge-free prints with a range of new six-color photo printers. The EcoTank Photo ET-8500 and EcoTank Photo ET-8550 printers are both made with photographers in mind, with a keen focus placed on high-volume printing at a low price to maintain. Alongside those two also come the EcoTank Pro ET-5150 and EcoTank Pro ET-5170 which are aimed at home offices, which also print a lot but want to do so cheaply. Epson's EcoTank range has already featured highly in our look at the best all in one printers currently out there so we've got a good feeling about these new printers. In particular, we're hopeful that one could break through in the best photo printers rankings too.
The EcoTank Photo ET-8500 and EcoTank Photo ET-8550 printers certainly seem to have the right ideas to break through. They both promise to print 4 x 6 borderless prints in about 15 seconds with Epson estimating that each print should only cost about 4 cents. That's compared to an average of 40 cents each if you use conventional ink cartridges. Of course, these statistics come direct from Epson which is keen to stress how efficiently its printers run but it's a promising suggestion that we're hoping is pretty accurate.
Still wondering what it means to not use regular ink cartridges? These printers use ink bottles which generally work out as far more cost efficient and better for the environment as you replace the ink as and when you need to. Epson reckons each printer offers up to 6,200 color pages before needing to be refilled although that's sure to be variable depending on what you're printing. It sounds like it'll be even better value than consulting the best discount ink cartridges out there for other devices.
In addition, the two printers support Epson's Signature Worthy media line which is fancy talk for equally fancy photo paper. These are the only consumer photo printers from Epson to do so which gives them a bit of an edge if you want the results to really pop. On the ET-8550 you can enjoy a 4.3 inch color touch screen display panel, a high-resolution flatbed scanner, plus you can print up to 13 x 19 prints if you so wish. On the cheaper ET-8500 you can only print up to 11x8.5, which isn't quite A4 size.
Buying these new Epson photo printers
The photo printer range starts at $599.99 for the EcoTank Photo ET-8500 or $699.99 for the ET-8550 model. It's quite an investment then but could make a huge difference if you print photos on a regular basis.
Alternatively, if you're looking for a new home office printer, there's the EcoTank Pro ET-5150 and the EcoTank Pro ET-5170. Starting from $499.99, they promise to print at about 2 cents per color ISO page with up to 17 black pages per minute. It might be less exciting than printing out photos but both printers could be very useful as part of your home office. Your main choice here is whether you need a fax machine facility too or not with the ET-5170 offering that for an extra $50. We're not saying it'll magically make everything better but it seems like a good way to increase your chances of creating a healthy home office setup. Even better, you should only need to replace the ink every couple of years although, obviously, your mileage may vary here.
Whatever you decide is best for you, the refreshed Epson EcoTank range is available now from the Epson site. And if you need to make your prints extra special, check out our guide to the best photo editing software too.