Are you looking for a new printer? A colour inkjet printer might be at the top of your list, but there are two things you should watch out for. While they are more affordable than their laser counterparts, the long-term ink costs of an inkjet reduces the affordability gap, and the amount of waste generated by traditional ink cartridges can also be a concern. That’s why Epson offers their Epson EcoTank ET-4850 as a solution. It has lower ink costs than regular inkjets, and it produces significantly less waste over its lifespan. I added this printer to my home office network to test it out. Here’s what I found.
Who is the Epson EcoTank ET-4850 for?
The Epson EcoTank ET-4850 is a versatile printer that can meet the requirements of most scenarios. Small businesses can use it to quickly and affordably print colour documents, while home users can print on a variety of paper types and document formats—to print photos, for example. Whatever the case, you’ll be able to reduce the amount of electronic waste.
Setting up the EcoTank ET-4850
Filling the ink tanks on the EcoTank ET-4850 is very convenient
I had concerns about the ink and the potential for a spill when I first opened the box. But that’s not because of the printer, but because I am not the world’s most dexterous person. So I was relieved to see the design of the ink bottles and the tanks make it very difficult to make a mess. You simply line the tip of the bottle up with the corresponding receptacle, tip the bottle up, and gravity does the rest. Each bottle nozzle is uniquely shaped to its matching tank, so you can’t put the wrong ink in the wrong tank. And when the tank is full, the ink stops flowing from the bottle. As long as you avoid squeezing the bottle, the filling process will be spill-free.
After filling the ink tanks, the Epson Ecotank ET-4850 requires 11 minutes to electrostatically charge the ink so that it can print. You won’t need to refill the tanks very often, but when you do, you need to budget the additional preparation time into your schedule. If you are a procrastinator like I am, a surprising 11-minute delay can derail an already late project. Plan ahead!
Epson Smart Panel App
Your workflow may not center on your computer, but your mobile device. If so, the Epson Smart Panel app is for you. It allows you to set up, configure, and send files to your printer directly from your iOS or Android device. You can also scan documents in the app by capturing documents using your device’s camera. I found the app to be easy to use and intuitive, and I was able to fully set up and administer the Epson Ecotank ET-4850.
Epson EcoTank ET-4850 features
Epson Connect is an online service for your Epson printer or scanner. You can remotely send files to your printer from any device. Your printer is assigned an email address, and you simply email any file you wish to print to that address. And yes, you can restrict who can send files to your printer through an approved sender’s list. I would not want to leave my printer exposed to the random files sent from anonymous senders.
This is the core feature of the Epson Ecotank ET-4850. Instead of sealed ink cartridges, the Ecotank printers have refillable ink tanks. This saves a considerable amount of plastic waste from ending up in the landfill. In addition to the waste reduction, the overall cost of ink replacements is up to 90% lower with Epson Ecotank printers like the ET-4850. Your initial ink supply that’s included in the box will last about 2 years or 7500 printed pages. As for the process of filling the ink tanks, it was both simple and clean. I was glad that you can refill each colour independently as needed.
You will have 2-sided printing enabled by default when you first set up the Epson EcoTank ET-4850, which will reduce the amount of paper you use. I found the double-sided documents were clean and legible. But for image printing, single-sided is much better for clarity. Changing the printer to single-sided printing is easily done using the control panel on the device or through the utility software.
Voice command printing
You can enable the Epson EcoTank ET-4850 to respond to a number of voice commands. It works with the Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and Apple’s Siri. I was able to easily set up the voice command printing with both Android and Apple products, and they worked as promised. The items that you can print this way are very limited in scope, so I don’t think I would use this feature regularly.
Scanner and fax
You will not be surprised by the delivery of these two standard technologies. The flatbed scanner has a respectable resolution of 1200 x 2400 DPI. Dependable scanning is a must for a functional office, and the ET-4850 did a good job with a variety of scannable documents during my testing. On the rare occasion that you need to send a fax, the Epson EcoTank ET-4850 will do so.
Precisioncore heat-free technology
Your traditional inkjet printer heats the ink as a part of preparing to print, and it keeps the ink hot as long as the printer is active. The Precisioncore heat-free technology achieves the same precision as the “hot ink” printers, without the boiling ink. This reduces the stress on the printer components, lowers the overall power consumption of the Epson EcoTank ET-4850, and improves the printing speed.
Final thoughts on the Epson EcoTank ET-4850
The Epson EcoTank ET-4850 delivers on its promise of an affordable, high-quality printer suitable for small offices or home use. The refillable ink tanks are easy to use and will save a considerable amount of money while producing far less waste. Not sure if it’s the right one for you? You can compare it with other colour inkjet printers to make sure you find the perfect printer for your needs. And for even more information, check out our Printer Buying Guide.