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Earlier this week I met with some people from Epson and saw some exciting and innovative printers and scanners. I’m going to tell you about my favorites, including three wireless printers with some fantastic features, and a photo scanner that is going to knock your socks off!
The right printer for your home
Different homes have different printer needs. At my house, we have two printers. In the dining room we have a smaller, lower-capacity printer for the whole family to use. With two kids in high school it gets used frequently, but it doesn’t have to do anything fancy. The kids print to it from their phones a lot, and I use it to copy forms or print recipes, and sometimes to scan and print things if I’m working downstairs. In my home office, though, I have a more expensive, higher-capacity printer with an automatic feeder tray, two big paper bins, and better photo printing abilities (that one’s an Epson – I bought it quite a while ago though, so it’s much bigger than the better-performing ones I’m going to tell you about!).
Depending on where you fall on the spectrum of light-to-heavy printer/scanner use, I’ve got some great printer choices for you. And then, at the end, I’m going to tell you about a super-fast photo scanner that’s a little pricey, but can take care of those boxes of photos you have sitting in your basement in practically no time.
For busy families who don’t print or scan a ton—but need quality results when they do—the XP-6000 Small-In-One is perfect. Epson keeps managing to get their printer footprints smaller and smaller, while improving performance!
You can print borderless photos up to 8×10, and double-sided documents. There’s a scanner, a 2.4” color LCD screen, USB and memory card slots, and separate photo and DVD/CD trays for printing specialty stuff. The printer has WiFi for wireless printing, and you can print directly from phones and tablets.
And of course, with five individual color cartridges (including two different black inks, one for photos and one for documents), you only have to replace whichever cartridge is out. And don’t worry if you’re printing in a hurry, because the ink dries instantly.
Plus, this printer works with Amazon Dash, meaning that if you choose to enable it, Dash will keep track of how much ink you’re using, and automatically order you more when you need it. Never run out of ink at an important time again!
The XP-6000 is only 13.7” x 19.8”, so you’ll be able to fit it into a small area with no problem, as shown in this picture from Epson:
This is also a great printer for families on a budget. While it first sold for $149.99, it’s widely available now for under $100, and often for under $80. If you have a kid starting college, this would make a perfect dorm-room all-in-one printer.
Epson’s EcoTank printers are revolutionary. Expensive ink cartridges are almost universally hated. I know someone who bought a new printer when his old one ran out of ink, because the new one came with full cartridges, and it was on sale for less than the replacement cartridges!!
But what if you never have to buy new cartridges again? Epson’s EcoTank printers don’t use cartridges! They have refillable tanks, and the bottles of ink are really affordable. According to Epson, you can save up to 80% on ink costs!
The newest EcoTank printers have their ink tanks right up front, so you can easily see the actual ink level for each color. When it’s time to refill, they’ve made the refill bottles idiot-proof, with each nozzle having its own unique shape that will only fit into the right tank! You’re not able to accidentally fill the black tank with magenta ink. Plus, the valve stops letting ink out when the tank is full—you can’t overfill it and make a mess. This picture from Epson shows how you just slip the nozzle into the custom slot and leave it alone until the ink stops flowing in – no squeezing or guessing.
Best of all is how much ink you get. Included with the printer is enough ink to print for about two years! Imagine going two years without even having to think about buying more printer ink.
The ET-2750 Ecotank is a great printer for families that print enough to make ink costs an important consideration in printer price. While this printer has a higher starting price than the XP-6000, you have to take into account not having to buy ink for a while, and not paying as much for it when you do! According to Epson, it comes with enough ink to print up to 6,500 black pages, or 5,200 color pages. That’s more than 200 pages per month for two years!
This printer does automatic two-sided printing, has a 1.44” color display, a built-in memory card slot, WiFi, and can print wirelessly from phones and tablets. It has a 100-sheet paper tray, but you should note that the paper gets loaded into the top-back of the printer. So if you’re looking to put it on a shelf without a lot of clearance on top, this might not be the printer for you. (Keep in mind that you do need some clearance in order to open the lid for the scanner, but if all you’re putting in there is paper—not thick books—you don’t need much.)
Camel Camel Camel (my absolute favorite site for tracking Amazon prices) has this printer bouncing up and down over the past few months, between $249.99 and $299.99. That’s a big difference, so if you want this printer—and don’t need it this minute—I would advise setting up an alert and jumping on it when the price drops.
The ET-4750 EcoTank is a bigger version of the ET-2750, with more features and ink. It comes with enough ink to print up to 14,000 black pages, or 11,200 color pages. That’s a LOT of printing before you have to buy more ink!
It has a front-loading 250-sheet paper tray, a 2.4” color touchscreen, WiFi, and can print wirelessly from phones and tablets. It does not have a USB port or SD card reader, but that only matters if you tend to use those (I haven’t in ages, I just do everything wirelessly). If you do need that feature, the ET-2750 has a memory card slot, and the XP-6000 has both a memory card slot and a USB slot.
Plus—and this is a huge deal if you have to scan or copy a lot—the ET-4750 has a 30-sheet Auto Document Feeder (but FYI, it does not do automatic double-sided copying/scanning).
According to Camel Camel Camel the ET-4750 has been stable at $399.99 for the past couple of weeks, but was as high as $499.99 before that. I think $399.99 is a good price for these features, especially considering how much ink it comes with, but I wouldn’t buy it any higher than that.
Do you have boxes of photos lying around from before everything went digital? Don’t know what to do with them? The Epson FastFoto FF-680W will take care of your boxes of photos, as well as documents, postcards, and even older, more delicate photos.
The FF-680W can scan as fast as one photo per second (depending on the resolution), and you can stack up to 36 photos in the feeder at one time! It’s wireless and can scan up to 1200dpi. Check it out in action:
While that video I took showed the FF-680W scanning in a stack of pictures that are the same size, they don’t have to be.
I used the previous version of FastFoto to scan in a box of my own pictures last year, and it was truly amazing. For most of my images I just wanted the actual picture scanned, and it did that really well and very quickly. But when I got to some older pictures from an album that had my grandmother’s writing all over the back, I switched the scanner to scan both sides of each photo, and now I have my grandmother’s writing preserved forever with each picture! You can even set it so that it will only save the back of an image if it detects that there’s something to save, so that you don’t have to worry about whether a picture has something on the back or not.
If you have super-delicate or damaged pictures, you can send them through the scanner in a plastic sleeve so that they won’t get damaged. This is a much slower process, of course, but it’s worth it because you can still do the double-sided scanning this way, as well as apply Epson’s excellent red-eye removal and color correction automatically. Those corrections are actually my favorite part: it will take old, faded images and make them look vibrant without making them look colorized or fake.
Of course, scanning in so many pictures would be useless without an easy way to organize them, and Epson’s system is really great. As you put stacks of photos in you can categorize and tag them (by year, season, event, day, people, lots of options) so that they won’t just be dumped in a folder, almost as useless as when they were in the box.
This scanner really is amazing, but it’s not cheap (although it is a bit less expensive than the last model), and it’s so new that the price is not going to budge for a while. Here’s an idea, though. Most of us are probably going to use it to get through a backlog of pictures, and then be done with it for a while. So what about buying it with a group of friends or family members? Let’s say six of you get together and buy it, each chipping in $100, and you each get possession of it for two months of the year. More than enough time to take care of the pictures you need to scan in!
Thanks for stopping by, and if you have any questions about these printers and scanners, I can try to answer them (or connect you with someone from Epson who can). Just leave a comment.