Consumer Watch: Ink-Saving Epson Printer

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The No. 1 gripe about printers 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. (KFSN)

The No. 1 gripe about 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 of printer.

At $400, the new Epson EcoTank ET-2550 printer is far more expensive than most. But the company says its refillable tanks will save you from the high cost of ink cartridges. Consumer Reports put the EcoTank through the same tests other printers face to determine out how much it really costs for you to own.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, 9 pages of graphics, and about 9 photos.

At the end of two years, the total cost of the printer and ink is $400 for the Epson EcoTank ET-2550, but only $325 for the $200 HP Officejet Pro 8620 or this $150 Canon Maxify MB5020.

So should you forget the Epson EcoTank? If you do a lot of printing and plan to keep the printer for a while, Consumer Reports says it could save you money in the long run. Things are different after five years: The total cost of the EcoTank is $448, the HP Officejet Pro is $588, and the Canon Maxify is $692.

However, if you don't print a lot, it makes more sense to buy the printer that's cheaper up front. 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 $7 per month in ink.
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