Goodbye Cartridges – Hello Epson EcoTank ET-4550 – Review!

When we moved last month one of the things which didn’t make the cut of the removal van was our horrid old printer. It was ridiculously big and SO old that you couldn’t even buy the cartridges it required in normal places anymore and instead had to order them from the only place that still stocked them on line which also charged a small fortune!

It really wasn’t ever the best at its primary job of printing so coupled with its ageing failures it simply had to be marked B for bin and I for one was glad to be rid of it. I don’t know why we hung onto it for so long really? We never had any ink for it because it would run out so quickly and we weren’t prepared enough to have ordered in advance, it was temperamental at the best of times and frankly, even when it did work the functions were extremely basic and not particularly helpful.

I knew I’d have to buy a new printer at some point, especially as I am finding a need for one with my business more and more but deciding what sort and how all singing and all dancing I wanted it to be was a job I’d decided to put off. And then Epson called and asked if I’d like to test out one of their printers which also doubles as a fax machine, scanner and photocopier as well as being wifi enabled meaning you can print from your phone remotely… I’m not sure how often I’d have a need for a fax machine but the rest of it sounded ace so I’ve been putting the Epson ET-4550 to the test.

The Epson ET-4550!
The Epson ET-4550!
Now, the main point to make about the Epson ET-4550 is that is can reduce costs by 70% on average as this is an EcoTank printer which delivers high yields at an ultra-low cost thanks to its ultra-high capacity ink tanks. You can say goodbye to ink cartridges forever and this, for me, would be a really important feature to ensure I had in any new printer I’m buying. Zero chance of them discontinuing the cartridge and because the fillable ink tanks can print 11,000 pages of black and colour prints (2 sets of ink come with the printer printer) it means there’s no fuss in keep changing the cartridge either which is good because for the same amount of prints using a cartridge you would probably go through around 72 of them. What could be better than filling up and getting on with things for literally ages before you even have to consider a refill? It IS a little messy putting the ink in but nothing to moan about and once it’s done it’s done!
So, ink aside and that’s reason to love this printer alone I say, what else can it do? Well, let’s see!

First up I have to mention the fax machine because although it’s not something most of us use on a regular basis I DO think it’s handy to have. When we exchanged contracts on our house recently my solicitor did ask me if I had the facility to fax her something, I didn’t and what she required instead had to be sent by snail mail when a fax would have done but an email couldn’t suffice. So, there IS a need for one, even though only very occasionally, in every day life. I suspect this function is best suited to business users but if you’re having a printer then I think choosing one with rather than without would be advisable, you just never know!

A bit more in keeping with my lifestyle is the fact that this printer is equipped with Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity and can take advantage of all Epson Connect4 features. It will print quickly and easily over Wi-Fi from a smartphone using the free Epson iPrint app, print remotely or from an email. I remember my friend recently printing something out for me as a favour (when our old printer had run out of ink cartridges obviously) and she emailed her printer to do the job. I was amazed and now that I’ve got a printer with this feature myself it’s SO handy!

The idea of remotely sending instructions to my printer made me feel a bit daunted like it would be a really difficult process but it really wasn't. In fact the instructions are very detailed and using the printer in person is quite self explanitory with very easy to work out buttons!
The idea of remotely sending instructions to my printer made me feel a bit daunted like it would be a really difficult process but it really wasn’t. In fact the instructions are very detailed and using the printer in person is quite self explanitory with very easy to work out buttons!

It’s really quick to do its job. I remember days when the printer would painstakingly make a squeak as it slowly printed each line and you’d watch, breath held that the ink wouldn’t run out half way through, as it went back and forth, back and forth. This one prints quick as a flash and your sheet is done and in your hand! It uses Epson’s own Micro Piezo technology for excellent-quality print-outs and mono prints are delivered at a rate of 13 pages per minute while it can issue 7.3 colour pages per minute and the paper tray can hold 150 sheets. All of this and then it has the added bonus of being able to print double sided copies which is something I need it for in the coming weeks. I also think it’s going to be brilliant for creating professional looking birthday party invites for the children’s parties. I don’t use a printer terribly often but when I do it’s always for things like invitations and they never really look that good when they’re printed out on old style printers. The quality of this one however makes things look like they’ve been professionally printed. It’s pretty swish and feels more like a business printer than one you would have in the home.

It can also be used as a photocopier which is rather more handy that you might think. I’ve actually genuinely used this feature a couple of times already for non reviewing purposes and have been very glad of the feature. Also, there’s always the added bonus that after a few glasses of champagne we could make like we did in our twenties at office parties and photocopy our bums. No? Is that just me?

Photo copy office fun? Ok, ok, I won't use it for THAT but it IS going to be so good for loads of the children's home-work projects as well as a multitude of other things!
Photo copy office fun? Ok, ok, I won’t use it for THAT but it IS going to be so good for loads of the children’s home-work projects as well as a multitude of other things!

And lastly it scans. I am SO pleased about this because I always have old pictures I’d like to share either on my blog or social media channels and taking a photo of a photo has been my only way so far. I have friends with a scanner who have done it for me occasionally but actually, this scanner is obviously a bit superior to theirs because it does them perfectly!

Love that this printer photocopies and scans! Such an added bonus!
Love that this printer photocopies and scans! Such an added bonus!

So, what do I like best about it?

Every feature really. I’m glad it’s got everything and is like an office printer for the home. It means I get the best quality from it when I’m using it for work but can use it for family projects without going anywhere too! There are many qualities to the printer but by far the outstanding feature is the eco friendly ink tank. No cartridges is of course wonderful!

It comes with two whole sets of ink meaning you won't need to top up for roughly two years - dependent of use of course!
It comes with two whole sets of ink meaning you won’t need to top up for roughly two years – dependent of use of course!

And what would I change?

Honestly nothing about the functionality, like i said, it does everything I want and more which I will use even though perhaps not every day. But… It IS bigger than some printers on the market. There’s no way we could have afforded the space for a printer this size in our London flat but luckily we have a study in the new house and it fits just perfectly here. I think it would be hard to get something smaller when it does so much but I wouldn’t call it a nifty klittle streamlined item. It’s certaibly not a beast and fits nicely on the sleving of our desk but to be prepared for the size I’ve sat it in front of a regular sized guitar to give some perspective.

Perspective on size in front of a regular sized guitar!
Perspective on size in front of a regular sized guitar!

All in all at £359.99 I think it’s a fair price for what it offers. The longevity of this printer is so much extended compared to cartridge models because even if it dates and newer models are brought out, you will still be able to buy the ink and don’t have to worry about them discontinuing the cartridges. I’m very pleased with mine but it is an extensive piece of kit so perhaps not for everyone as not every one needs the all singing and all dancing. For our needs it’s just right!

I was sent the Epson ET-4550 for the purpose of an honest review.