Epson’s NEW EcoTank Printers – Things Are About to Change

ET-8550 Loaded and ready to go
ET-8550 Loaded and ready to go

I own seven Epson printers, and each one is an ink cartridge printer. This means the ink sits in cartridges that you replace when the ink has run out. Now, if I were to tally up all the cartridges I go through in a year, the total number is pretty overwhelming. Especially when you remember that all these cartridges are going into a landfill somewhere. When you add to this the millions of others using printers and throwing out empty cartridges, you can see that the amount of plastic waste is staggering.

Finally, Epson has seen the light. I would presume other printer manufacturers are looking at this too. I have always believed that the printer companies made money on the old razor – razor blade principle. That means you give away the razor and make your money selling the blades.  


When you think about the technology that these printers use, it’s pretty amazing they can be purchased so inexpensively. These companies were giving away the printer and making money selling ink.  

A few years ago, some of the companies Epson included started to introduce printers with giant tanks that fed the printer. These were known in the industry as Supertank Printers. For the most part, they were relegated to office printers and home printers.

The Game is About to Change 

Ink being added to the tank
Ink is added to the tank

A few weeks ago, I received a call from my friends at Epson about two new printers mainly for home use that no longer require expensive small-capacity ink cartridges. My ears instantly perked up.  

I was introduced to the Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8500 and ET-8550 cartridge-free printers. Epson claims these printers are designed for creatives, scrapbookers, graphic designers, and even photographers offering lab-quality photos and professional graphics. In addition, each of these printers has a scanning bed built-in.

EcoTank Photo ET-8500 and ET-8550

Designed for creatives, the EcoTank Photo ET-8500 and EcoTank Photo ET-8550 tout a six-color Claria® ET Premium ink system coupled with Epson’s high-accuracy printhead technology to deliver 4” x 6” borderless prints in as fast as 15 seconds.2 Leveraging Gray and Photo Black ink, the EcoTank Photo printers deliver stunning color and black and white prints. Featuring low-cost replacement ink bottles in lieu of traditional cartridges, the EcoTank Photo printers can print 4″ x 6″ photos for about 4 cents each, compared to 40 cents with cartridges.3 As an added convenience, each set of bottles provides up to two years of ink.4 


The EcoTank Photo ET-8500 and EcoTank Photo ET-8550 deliver vibrant colors, sharp text, fast speeds, and smooth gradations. They are Epson’s only consumer photo printers that support Epson’s Signature Worthy media line, as well as card-stock and other specialty media up to 1.3 mm thick. Both EcoTank Photo models are also compatible with the Epson Print Layout Software, a downloadable application built to streamline and simplify the photo printing process. Additional features include easy-access front-loading media trays, a high-resolution flatbed scanner, a 4.3-inch color touch screen display panel, and easy wireless printing options. The EcoTank Photo ET-8550 also creates stunning wide-format borderless prints up to 13” x 19” for larger creative projects and output sizes. 

As a photographer, I am wondering just how they can pull off printing quality photographs with just five inks (six total inks as there is a black Matte and a black Gloss ink). 

I am told they have a method to regulate ink dot sizes and can generate comparable results to printers using more colored ink cartridges. This I will have to see. We have a printer coming for trial and review, so I will be reporting back.

In my upcoming review, I’ll explain just how Epson does this with only four color inks and one black ink. In addition, I’ll place this printer alongside the Epson SureColor P700 printer for a head-to-head comparison.

Pricing, Availability, and Support


ET- 8500
ET- 8500

The EcoTank Photo ET-8500 ($599.99 MSRP), EcoTank Pro ET-5150 ($499.99 MSRP), and EcoTank Pro ET-5170 ($549.99 MSRP) are now available through major computer, office, and electronic retailers, and on the Epson store ( The EcoTank Photo ET-8550 ($699.99 MSRP) is currently available at Office Depot and Amazon as well as B&H. It will be available online on the Epson store and other major retailers in early August.

Epson claims these printers are being delivered with full bottles of ink rather than just a small, starter volume. I’m sure that is built into the price, but I welcome it as it means I don’t need to go online right away and order more ink the way I have had to do in the past. Kudos to Epson.

All printers feature a two-year limited warranty with registration. For more information and availability, please visit

A Few Thoughts

The scan bed on the ET-8550
The scan bed on the ET-8550

It’s about time we get away from the annoying ink cartridge way of printing. I cringe every time I replace a cartridge when I remember it is going into a landfill. Also, it seems I am changing these cartridges out all the time.  

Refilling these tanks looks very simple and leaves no mess. I am anxious to see how the printer handles making photographs. Presently in my home, I have a PictureMate 400, Epson P700, and now the ET-8850.  

The ET-8550 LCD Control panel
The ET-8550 LCD Control panel

I need to emphasize that these are wireless printers. This means that you can print from your mobile devices to the printer. Think of how fun it will be to have family over and entertain them with new or old photos printed reliably and effortlessly.

Recently, since we are all vaccinated, we celebrated Mother’s Day at our home. I took a ton of images of the kids and grandkids using my iPhone. I did some minor cropping and editing using Snapseed before sending the files to my Epson P700 with Epson Print Layout. After dinner, I was able to gift everyone with some of the best photos of the day laid out on 8.5″ x 11″ prints.  

I’m a huge advocate of printing photos. I watch my son-in-law take great photos of their kids almost on a daily basis, but they never print them. They don’t have a tactile print record of any photos. This has got to stop. There are no excuses anymore.  

Epson has made printing easy. With Epson Print Layout on your mobile devices and your computer, you can print effortlessly to whatever size paper you select. 

Every family needs a printer like the Eco-Tank 8500 or 8550. Place it somewhere convenient and enjoy the outcome of having prints you can share. I’ll have more to say on this in the review. In the meantime, maybe you’d like to check out this article, Saving Your Memories.

P.S. Look What Just Arrived At My Door!

Look What Just Showed Up On My Doorstep
Look What Just Showed Up On My Doorstep

This box was just delivered, and I am anxious to get it set up and making prints. It’s a fun time to be a photographer.

2 Color photos in Draft Mode on Premium Photo Paper Glossy measured from the start of paper feed. Actual print times will vary based on factors including system configuration, software, and page complexity. For more information, visit

3 Actual savings and costs will vary considerably based on print tasks, print volumes, and usage conditions. Savings and cost per ISO 29103 page are based on the cost of replacement ink bottles and the cost of enough standard cartridges to achieve the total page yields of the bottles using the MSRP (USD) and yields for Epson standard-capacity ink cartridges for similarly featured Epson consumer inkjet printers as of April 2021

4 Based on average monthly document print volumes of about 200 pages.

Kevin Raber
May 2021
Kevin Raber
Indianapolis, IN

Photography is my passion and has been for 50 plus years. My career in photography has allowed me to travel the world, meet some of the most interesting people on the planet and see things I could never have dreamed of. My goal is to share the passion of picture taking through photographs and teaching with as many people as I can, hoping it brings them as much joy and happiness as it has me. I do this through, this site, as well as Rockhopper Workshops, and other projects, as well as teaching as Artist In Residence at the Indianapolis Art Center.

Article Type: News, Columns, MISC

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