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High volume justifies pricey printer

Posted February 11, 2016

High volume justifies pricey printer

— There was a lot of buzz when Epson introduced its EcoTank printer, which claims to have two years worth of ink.

The promise sounds enticing, but it might not be the best deal for some people.

At $400, the EcoTank printer is far more expensive up front than most. The company says its refillable tanks will save users from the high cost of ink cartridges.

Consumer Reports ran tests to determine how much the printer really costs to own. The tests were done based on average printing done in a month, which Epson says is 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 remained at $400 dollars for the Epson EcoTank.
Though the Epson's cost didn't rise, other printers were cheaper: The HP Officejet Pro ran only $325 over two years, and the Canon Maxify cost $150.

“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," said Patrick Austin of Consumer Reports.

After five years, the total cost of the EcoTank is $448 dollars. The HP Officejet Pro ran $588 dollars, and the Canon Maxify cost $692 dollars.

“If you don’t print a lot, it makes more sense to buy the printer that’s cheaper up front," Austin said.

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-dollar Epson Expression Premium XP-620. It prints excellent quality photos and costs about $14 dollars per month in ink.


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  • Sue DeMarrais Feb 14, 2016
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    I, too, own a brother MFP, and before that, another Brother MFP. And I likewise buy the off brand cartridges for less than a dollar. If you accumulate the cartridges, then every few years, spring for a couple of Brother cartridges at Staples (spend $30), and then recycle your used ones for $2 apiece for the next 6 months (up to 10 a month). It hurts to buy those 2 expensive ones, but it's often worth it (depending on how many you have to recycle).

  • Andy Hairston Feb 11, 2016
    user avatar

    I'm using an old Brother MFP. Official Brother cartridges are $15 or more apiece. Off-brand ones from Amazon are $9.99 for a 12-pack including shipping. (95% savings!!) I'm on my second 12-pack now; can't see a quality difference between the non-branded ink and the original stuff.