Epson continues to turn the traditional business model for inkjet printers upside down with the latest additions to its Eco-Tank range. Most manufacturers sell their printers fairly cheaply and make a profit from selling over-priced replacement ink cartridges.
In contrast, Epson’s Eco-Tank printers are more expensive to buy, but they do away with ink cartridges altogether, replacing them with a large ‘tank’ that contains enough ink to print thousands of pages before needing to be refilled. That allows Epson to drastically reduce the long-term running costs for printing documents, as well as reducing waste from throw-away cartridges.
The latest additions to the Eco-Tank range continue that focus on running costs, with the new ET-3750 now being sold with enough ink to print a massive 14,000 pages in black and white, and 11,200 pages in colour.
As we mentioned, the downside of the Eco-Tank’s low running costs is a higher initial purchase price, and the ET-3750 does come with a hefty £449 price tag. That makes it one of the most expensive inkjet printers we’ve ever come across, and it probably won’t be suitable for home users who simply need a printer for occasional letters and a few holiday snaps.
However, the ET-3750 will earn its keep in a small office or home office if you need a workhorse printer for daily use. Throw in another £30 and you can get the ET-4750 model that also includes a fax machine, although there are less expensive Eco-Tank models for home users, starting at around £200.
Don’t forget to look at our roundup of the best printers for other options.
Design and Features
As well as providing even higher ink capacity and lower running costs, the ET-3750 has also had a bit of a design makeover. The bulky ink tank that was bolted onto the side of previous Eco-Tank models has now been absorbed into the body of the ET-3750.
However, Epson has still managed to keep the size of the printer down to just 231mm high, 375mm wide and 347mm deep, so it will easily sit on a shelf or a desk in a small office. The ink bottles have been redesigned too, so that instead of squirting the ink into the tank by hand – which normally requires some newspaper on the floor, just in case – the cap on each bottle now slots into the tank to prevent spillage.
The rest of the printer is relatively straightforward. Print resolution is 4800x1200dpi, and 2400x1200dpi for the scanner/copier unit. There’s just a single paper tray, which holds 150 sheets of A4 paper, along with a 30-sheet automatic document feeder and duplex (two-sided) printing.
Connectivity includes USB, Ethernet and wifi for your home or office network, and the printer supports Apple’s AirPrint for iOS devices, while Android users can download Epson’s free iPrint app.
Epson quotes speed of 15 pages per minute for mono printing, and 8ppm for colour, and the ET-3750 does come very close to those speeds, reaching 13.5ppm with our mono test documents and 7ppm for colour.
Admittedly, those speeds aren’t that impressive, given the high cost of the printer – colour printing, in particular, could be a little better – but they’ll be adequate for most small businesses and home workers.
Print quality is very good too. Like other printers in the Eco-Tank range, the ET-3750 uses a pigmented black ink that produces smooth, sharp text that rivals the quality of a laser printer.
Colour printing is bold and bright, although the ET-370 only uses three coloured inks – cyan, magenta and yellow – so if you’re after a more specialized photo printer then you might want to look at the top-of-the-range ET-7700, which uses a five-colour printing system, priced at £550.
Epson claims that the ET-3750 can provide savings of up to 74% on running costs when compared to rival inkjet printers that use conventional ink cartridges. In fact, it’s difficult to calculate running costs, since the initial purchase price of £450 includes both the cost of the printer and enough ink to print a total of around 25,000 pages in mono and colour.
If you ignore the printer, and simply assume that the inks are costing £450 then that works out at just 1.8p per page – which is good for mono printing, and outstanding for colour (and, in effect, assumes that you’re getting the printer thrown in for free).
Those running costs come down even further when you eventually need to buy replacement bottles of ink. A bottle of Eco-Tank black ink costs £13.49 and lasts for 7,500 pages, while the three coloured inks – cyan, magenta and yellow – cost £7.99 each (£23.97 total) and last for 6,000 pages.
Those costs work out at a paltry 0.18p per page for mono printing, and 0.4p for colour, which compares to typical costs of around 2.5p and 9p for mono and colour printing for a more conventional inkjet printer.