The Epson EcoTank ET-8550 is the one of the latest ecotank photo printers from Epson. It’s the most economical way to print photos I’ve reviewed. The ecotank lives up to its name and will save time and money. Lower operating costs will make up the initial cost any day.
This photo inkjet printer is unique in a few ways. First, it’s capable of full bleed on 13 x 19 in paper. Full bleed 13 x 19 is usually reserved for pro inkjet printers or high end color copiers.
While the Epson Expression Photo XP-15000 and Canon Pixma Pro-200 are also capable of 13 x 19 full bleed, they are cartridge based inkjet printers. The printing costs between a supertank and cartridge based printer is going to be drastically different. The Epson Ecotank ET-8550 uses the same Claria ink as the XP-15000 and has similar quality output.
Second, it’s a supertank printer. Some other photo supertank printers are the Epson Expression ET-7750 and the Canon Pixma G620. The Epson ExpressionET-7750 has only 5 colors and is capable of 11 x 17. Compared to the 6 color process of the Epson ET-8550. While the Canon Pixma G620 has 6 colors, it only uses letter or legal paper.
What sets the ET-8550 apart from these other printers is it’s 6 color process, full bleed 13x 19, and an Ecotank. The Canon Pro-200 has better quality, but it is much more expensive to operate. The ET-8550 can match or exceed the other Epson’s on quality. If I needed to print quality photos this is the printer I would use.
There is minimal packing tape, but some are easy to miss. Next step is to add some ink. Which is on the easy side. I usually expect to get some ink on me when dealing with an inkjet printer. But like other Ecotanks, this one is very clean. Adding ink to the EcoTank ET-8550 isn’t any harder than plugging in a plug.
The longest step is waiting for it to prime itself. Then it is ready to use.
Epson’s app makes setting up printing a snap for tablets, Chromebooks, or smart phones. This is about as easy as it gets. Install the app and follow the bouncing ball.
Print setup for Windows can be as easy as plugging in a USB cable (not included). The OS will setup the printer. Wireless is done via a setup utility. Install the setup utility and follow the instructions. The setup utility even has a fallback plan if the automatic methods are unable to connect. This walkthrough type setup utility is fairly standard with all the brands. I only mention it since Epson did such a good job with it. The automatic and manual methods are thorough. Mac instructions are also included.
Last is the scanning setup. I always recommend using the web interface of the printer for this setup. If you can use your keyboard and nice monitor, why mess with a the control panel? A config or test sheet will give you the IP address or host name of the printer. Type that in your browser and setup is easy.
All the menus are expandable and easy to navigate. Epson does include a handy connection test to verify the information. Which may be a small thing but is an example of how thorough a job the developers did.
The EcoTank ET-8550 comes with a 4.3 in color touch screen. The layout is intuitive and easily to travel. Bigger screens are always preferable but this screen is quite manageable. Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa are compatible with the EcoTank ET-8550.
Some control panels are easier to navigate than others depending on the brand. Striking a balance between too much or too little information is hard to find. In my experience, starting with less info yet easy access to more advanced menus is the best. The Ecotank ET-8550 definitely finds that balance. The customers I have talked to have always said good things about their Epson inkjet printers, many of which aren’t ecotanks.
The main tray accepts 100 sheets, the secondary tray 20 sheets, and the rear tray 50 sheets. It can handle many types of paper. Such as glossy photo paper, velvet fine art paper, and premium presentation paper.
While the built in scanner is descent there is no document feeder. The scanner is capable of 48-bin color depth and 1200×4800 dpi. Scanning can be done to mobile device, a computer, or to a memory card in one of the front ports.
It is capable of automatic 2-sided printing. Being an inkjet printer it’s quiet in general and has no warmup time.
This is where the ET-8550 shines. Even though there are 6 ink tanks, you can fill it up on Monday and print all year. No more cartridges, only a few bottles of ink. As far as supertanks go the Epson EcoTank ET-8550 is the lowest cost way to print photos. It slightly edges out the Canon Pixma G620 on costs. The G620 initial cost is much lower but it doesn’t print on larger sizes.
The savings over time will definitely be noticed with this printer. It comes with 2 years worth of ink. Color printing runs a penny a page. Though that’s based on mild coverage. Heavier coverage could see that increase. Even an excessive amount of ink usage would cost under 2 cents a page.
On top of that the color is great. Epson Claria ink and the proprietary print heads produce high quality output. The photo quality is better than the laser printers I’ve reviewed. I’ve seen better quality from the Canon Pro-200, but mostly with high color depth images. The ET-8550 quality will be close with many color photos. It certainly rates its high initial cost. The EcoTank ET-8550 is also compatible with sublimation ink in case your projects require it.
The EcoTank ET-8550 works with Airprint and Mopria. Setup is automatic for iPhones, Macs, Chromebooks, Android or Fire devices. Just point and print. These drivers are great for ease of use. Still with some photos you may need to make adjustments. That’s when a more robust driver is needed. For a proprietary driver Epson did an outstanding job with their print driver. Adjustments for Barcode mode (UPS labels), two levels of text enhancements, watermarking, and some basic color management. If the shipping label doesn’t look right, check the Bar code box and try again. Text enhancement are not seen often enough on inkjet print drivers. Epson did an excellent job with the available adjustments for text and lines. I take note when a manufacturer does a good job with their print drivers. Point and print is nice but I’m a big fan of the Epson print driver.
Epson’s solution to Google Cloud print being discontinued is Remote printing. Use the remote print software to setup and register an email address for the EcoTank ET-8550. Then send an email to that address with an attachment which will get printed. Voice activated printing also takes advantage of this feature.
The Epson iPrint Mobile app is a basic app for printing or scanning with mobile devices. Every brand has their own app and Epson is no different. One notable feature was is reduction, enlarging, and cropping. Pinch or pull to resize. Drag the image around to crop it.
The Ecotank ET-8550 is an exceptional printer. Supertank photo printers don’t come along often. Especially ones capable of this high quality output. Quality that can match the Epson Expression Photo XP-15000.
Another version is the Epson Ecotank ET-8500. It’s the same print engine but costs slightly less due to it can only print on letter size paper. The Ecotank ET-8550 is the lowest cost way to make 13 x19 full bleed color prints. If you need color prints on large paper this is the way to go. Or if you’re tired of installing ink or toner cartridges regularly, this is the way to go.
Ecotanks are to inkjet printers what high speed internet was to dial up. After using one it’s almost painful to go back to the other. If you want to see the advantages of an EcoTank this is the printer for you. All things considered this is an excellent printer for it’s price tag.
The Copier Guy, aka Dave. I’ve worked on scanners, printers, copiers, and faxes since 1994. When I’m not fixing them I’m writing about them. Although, I’m probably better at fixing them. I’ve worked with every major brand. As well as several types of processes. If it uses paper I’ve probably worked on one.