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Epson EcoTank ET-3850 Printer Review

Tested using Methodology v1.2
Reviewed Feb 21, 2022 at 10:31 am
Epson EcoTank ET-3850 Picture

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 is an all-in-one supertank printer designed for small or home office use. It replaces the Epson EcoTank ET-3760, and it performs similarly to this previous version, but it has higher page yields for both color and black-only text documents. The unit comes with a high-resolution flatbed scanner and an automatic document feeder, so you can easily digitize reports or forms. Unfortunately, its color accuracy is bad, so it's not for those looking for a unit that can handle exact color reproduction. While it does offer good access to paper jams, it doesn't feel as well-built as other supertank options.

Our Verdict

N/A Family

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 is a decent family printer. It has a high-resolution flatbed scanner and an automatic document feeder to easily digitize forms and photos. Thanks to its high page yield for both black and color documents, the cost-per-print stays very low, even if you print frequently. While it produces decent-quality photos, the images have noticeable grain, and the colors look inaccurate. Also, it requires consistent maintenance to keep the printer functional as it's an inkjet unit, and it's prone to clogging.

Pros
  • Exceptional page yields.
  • Outstanding cost-per-print for both black and color documents.
Cons
  • Bad color accuracy.
  • Photos come out grainy.
N/A Small/Home Office

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 is a very good printer for small or home office use. Its supertank system yields an incredible amount of black or color pages, which keeps the cost-per-print outstandingly low. It has a high-resolution flatbed scanner and an automatic document feeder to easily digitize any reports or receipts. There's also an Ethernet port to connect to a wired home or office network. Unfortunately, its build quality is only decent as the ADF feels a bit flimsy. Since it's an inkjet printer, it requires consistent maintenance to stop the printheads from clogging.

Pros
  • Exceptional page yields.
  • Outstanding cost-per-print for both black and color documents.
Cons
  • ADF feels a bit flimsy and cheap.
N/A Student

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 is a great printer for students. Thanks to its supertank system, it has outstanding page yields for both color and black-only documents, which results in a very low cost-per-print. It also has a flatbed scanner to easily digitize class notes, and the scanner lid's hinges raise to fit thicker items like textbooks. On the downside, it requires pretty consistent maintenance to keep the printer operational, and it takes a little while for the printer to initialize and print the first page after inactivity.

Pros
  • Exceptional page yields.
  • Outstanding cost-per-print for both black and color documents.
Cons
  • ADF feels a bit flimsy and cheap.
N/A Black & White

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 is a great black and white printer. Thanks to its supertank system, it yields an exceptionally high number of black-only pages, which keeps the cost-per-print very low. While its printing speeds are decent, it does take a bit of time for the printer to warm up and produce a page after a period of inactivity, and the print speeds aren't as fast as other options. Unfortunately, it doesn't feel very well-built, and it requires consistent maintenance to keep it operational.

Pros
  • Exceptional page yields.
  • Outstanding cost-per-print for both black and color documents.
Cons
  • ADF feels a bit flimsy and cheap.
N/A Photo

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 is an adequate photo printer. Photos come out with a good amount of detail, but there's quite a bit of graininess present. While the printer can print a wide range of colors, they're pretty inaccurate, so it's not a good choice if you're looking for a printer that can perform exact color reproduction. Also, it doesn't feel very well-built, and since it's an inkjet printer, it requires maintenance to reduce the risk of printhead clogging.

Pros
  • Exceptional page yields.
  • Outstanding cost-per-print for both black and color documents.
Cons
  • Bad color accuracy.
  • Photos come out grainy.
  • N/A Family
  • N/A Small/Home Office
  • N/A Student
  • N/A Black & White
  • N/A Photo
  1. Updated Aug 25, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  2. Updated Jul 04, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 1.1.
  3. Updated Feb 21, 2022: Review published.
  4. Updated Feb 18, 2022: Early access published.

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Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 is available in white, and in some regions, there's also a black variant. There's also a Costco-exclusive variant, the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 SE, which comes with two additional bottles of black ink. You can see the tested unit’s label here.

Compared To Other Printers

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 is a pretty standard, all-in-one inkjet printer. It replaces the Epson EcoTank ET-3760, and like its predecessor, it uses the EcoTank system for very page yields and a low cost-per-print. However, its color accuracy is much worse than other printers in the EcoTank lineup, and its print and scanning speeds are slower.

For more options, check out our recommendations for the best Epson printers, the best all-in-one printers, and the best inkjet printers.

Epson EcoTank ET-4800

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 and the Epson EcoTank ET-4800 are very similar supertank printers, with a few differences. The ET-3850 has a larger display, much higher page yields, and faster printing speeds. Also, the ET-3850 can print double-sided automatically, whereas you need to flip over the sheets manually with the ET-4800. On the other hand, the ET-4800 has built-in fax and prints photos with better detail and color accuracy.

Epson EcoTank ET-2850

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 is the step-up model of the Epson EcoTank ET-2850. They're very similar, but the ET-3850 has more helpful features for a small office, like a larger display, an automatic document feeder, and an Ethernet port. It also has higher page yields and faster printing speed.

Epson EcoTank ET-2800 [2803]

The Epson EcoTank ET-2800 and the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 are both all-in-one supertank printers, but the ET-3850 performs better overall. The ET-3850 has higher page yields for both black and color documents, faster printing speeds, an automatic document feeder, and Ethernet connectivity. On the other hand, the ET-2800 produces better-looking photos with more details and better color accuracy.

Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550

The Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8550 and the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 are both all-in-one inkjet printers with a refillable ink tank. The main difference is that the ET-8550 is a photo printer but can also serve as an office printer, while the ET-3850 is an office printer that can print good-quality photos. If you want the best photo printing quality, the ET-8550 is a better choice as it has a wider color range and better color accuracy. Otherwise, the ET-3850 is better for everyday use. It has an automatic document feeder, which the ET-8550 lacks, and it's more cost-effective because it yields more prints, and its replacement ink is cheaper.

Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850

The Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850 and the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 are two all-in-one supertank printers, but the ET-5850 performs much better overall. The ET-5850 has faxing abilities, and its ADF can perform duplex scanning. Also, it has significantly faster print speeds, produces higher quality photos, and its colors are much more accurate-looking. On the other hand, the ET-3850 yields significantly more pages for both color and black only documents.

Epson EcoTank ET-3760

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 is the successor to the Epson EcoTank ET-3760. Both printers perform very similarly. The only notable difference is that the ET-3850 has higher page yields for both black and color documents and a larger input tray capacity.

Canon PIXMA G7020

The Canon PIXMA G7020 and the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 are both supertank printers that offer outstanding page yields and a low cost-per-print. The only differences are that the Epson prints faster and produces higher-quality scans. The Canon has better color accuracy, but not significantly.

Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5180

The Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5180 and the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 are both all-in-one supertank inkjet printers. The main difference is that the ET-5180 is a higher-end model with slightly more features, like duplex scanning and fax functionality. Also, its scanner can process more pages per minute through the automatic feeder.

Canon PIXMA G6020

The Canon PIXMA G6020 and the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 are both supertank printers with an outstanding cost-per-print. However, they have some slight differences. The Epson has an automatic document feeder to easily scan multi-page documents and prints faster overall. It also produces better quality documents and scans, and its black page yield is significantly higher. On the other hand, the Canon has a higher page yield for color documents.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
N/A
Design
Build Quality
Type All in One

The Epson ET-3850 has an okay build quality. Overall, the plastic body feels decent, and its design offers good access to paper jams through a panel in the back. You can easily access paper jams in the automatic document feeder through a top panel. Unfortunately, the scanner components have a few issues in the build quality. The automatic document feeder on top feels a bit thin and flimsy, and it squeaks when moved. The flatbed scanner’s lid doesn’t have a dampener, so it will slam shut if you don’t raise it slowly and make sure it’s in the locked position. That said, it’s also difficult to get the lid to lock in that open position, to begin with.

Design
Dimensions
Height Lock" (Lock cm)
Width Lock" (Lock cm)
Depth Lock" (Lock cm)
Height When In Use
Lock" (Lock cm)
Width When In Use
Lock" (Lock cm)
Depth When In Use
Lock" (Lock cm)
Weight
Lock lbs (Lock kg)
N/A
Design
Expected Maintenance
Ink Related Maintenance
Locked
Drum Unit
Locked

The Epson ET-3850 has maintenance procedures typical of inkjet printers. Since inkjets are prone to printhead clogging, there are a few maintenance tasks built into this unit, including printhead cleaning, power cleaning, printhead alignment, and nozzle checks. There's also a paper guide cleaning, which helps remove the build-up of dust that could smear prints as they pass through the paper feeders. Like many inkjets, it has a maintenance box, where ink gets flushed during printhead cleanings. You eventually need to replace it, and there's a feature in the menu that lets you see when it's full. If you encounter a clogging issue, the printhead cleaning task tends to resolve it, though you may have to do it repeatedly if clogging persists, which uses a lot of ink.

N/A
Design
Display Screen
Display Screen Locked
Display Screen Size
Lock" (Lock cm)
Touchscreen Locked

The Epson ET-3850 has an adequate display screen. It offers good visibility when seated or standing, and you can tilt the front panel to get a better view if needed. Unfortunately, it isn’t a touchscreen, and there’s no numeric keypad, so entering in passwords to connect the printer to Wi-Fi is tedious as you’ll have to use the arrow keys to navigate.

N/A
Design
Cartridge
Technology Inkjet
SuperTank
Yes
Photo Cartridge
Locked
Color Yes
Number Of Color Cartridges
Lock
Black Cartridge Model
Locked
Tested Black Page Yield
Lock prints
Estimated Black Page Yield
Lock prints
Color Cartridge Model
Locked
Tested Color Page Yield
Lock prints
Estimated Color Page Yield
Lock prints
Third Party Cartridge
Locked
Ink Type
Locked
High Yield Cartridge
Locked

The Epson ET-3850 has an exceptional ink system. Rather than using traditional cartridges, it has four refillable ink tanks, which you refill using ink bottles. Thanks to this system, this printer yields thousands of black and color pages before you need to replace the ink. You can easily see the ink levels from the front of the printer. However, it’s important to note that this printer doesn’t have an ink level sensor, so it doesn't know the exact ink levels left. Instead, it monitors ink usage internally to provide an estimate of when the ink levels run low, which means you’ll have to keep an eye on your ink levels and manually reset the printer settings when you choose to refill the tanks. You shouldn’t let the ink levels run too low, as this could introduce air bubbles into the print tubes and damage the printheads.

Also, the cyan ink yields significantly more pages than either magenta or yellow. While the reason behind this isn’t clear, it’s good to know if you intend to print blue-colored images often for a graphic design project using a specific palette or for landscape photos that feature the sky or ocean.

N/A
Design
Scanner Features
Scanner
Locked
ADF Capacity
Lock pages
Scan Speed
Lock PPM
Duplex Scanning
Locked
Max Flatbed Scan Size
Locked
Max ADF Scan Size
Locked
Flatbed Hinge Adjustability
Lock" (Lock mm)
Fax
Locked
Copy
Locked
OCR Included
Locked

The Epson ET-3850 has decent scanning features. In addition to its high-resolution flatbed scanner, it has an automatic document feeder with a decent input capacity. You can also extend the scanner lid’s hinges to fit thicker items like textbooks or manuals. Additionally, you can save your scans as a Searchable PDF, which lets you easily, search, copy, and save the text in the sheets you scan. However, there are a few mistakes and misspelled words when you copy the scanned text to a word processing program. Unfortunately, it doesn’t perform duplex scanning, so it’s not well-suited if you intend to scan double-sided documents as you’ll have to scan each side individually.

N/A
Design
Scan Quality
Max Scan Resolution
Lock DPI
Max Scan Color Depth
LockBit
Design
In The Box

  • Start Here Guide
  • Set-Up CD
  • Power cord
  • Epson T502 ink bottles:
    • 1x black
    • 1x cyan
    • 1x magenta
    • 1x yellow

Design
Battery
Advertised Battery Life
N/A
Tested Charging Time
N/A
Document
N/A
Document
Black & White Documents
Color Ink Needed For Black & White
Locked
N/A
Document
Color Documents
N/A
Document
Cost-Per-Print
Black Cartridge Price
Lock US$
Color Cartridge Price
Lock US$
Black-Only Printing Cost
Lock US$/print
Color Printing Cost
Lock US$/print
Photo Printing Cost
Lock US$/print
Ink Subscription
Locked

The Epson ET-3850 has an outstanding cost-per-print. Thanks to its high page yields, you won’t have to refill the ink frequently. Fortunately, when you need to refill the ink tanks, the bottles are relatively inexpensive, so costs remain low, even if you print at a very high volume.

N/A
Document
Printing Speed
- SAMPLE -
Get Insider Access for videos & test results
Epson EcoTank ET-3850 Printing Speed Video Sample
Black Only Text Document
Lock PPM
Color Document
Lock PPM
Photo Printing Time
Lock s
Single Page Out Time (Black Only)
Lock s
Duplex Printing
Locked
Input Tray Capacity
Lock pages

The Epson ET-3850 has a satisfactory print speed. Its speed for black-only text documents is fairly quick, but photos and color documents take a lot longer to come out. It also takes a little while for the printer to begin to print after inactivity and produce a single page.

Document
Document Printing Sizes
Letter (8.5" x 11") Locked
Legal (8.5" x 14") Locked
Tabloid (11" x 17") Locked
A6 (105mm x 148mm) Locked
A5 (148mm x 210mm) Locked
A4 (210mm x 297mm) Locked
Max Paper Weight
Lock g/m²

The Epson ET-3850 supports most standard paper sizes. You can also set custom sizes where the width can be between 3.5” and 8.5”, and the length can be between 5” and 47.24”.

Photo
N/A
Photo
Color Gamut

The Epson ET-3850 produces a very good range of colors. The white zig zag line is clearly visible throughout the image, though it fades a bit in the magenta zones, which means the printer may have a more difficult time producing that highly saturated color. Also, the orange and yellow zones extend very far down into the black area, which indicates that the printer struggles with printing those darker yellow colors. There’s also quite a bit of noise that takes away from the smoothness of the transitions.

N/A
Photo
Color Accuracy
Average Color dE
Lock

The Epson ET-3850 has bad color accuracy. It reproduces most colors inaccurately, especially blues and greens, and grays have a purplish tone. While it's okay for printing the odd casual photo, it’s not well-suited for producing anything that requires exact color reproduction.

N/A
Photo
Small Details
Max Print Resolution (DPI)
Locked
N/A
Photo
Photo Printing Sizes
Glossy Paper (4" x 6") Locked
Glossy Paper (5" x 7") Locked
Glossy Paper (8" x 10") Locked
Glossy Paper (8.5" x 11") Locked
Glossy Paper (13" x 19") Locked
Borderless Printing
Locked
Mobile App And Connectivity
N/A
Mobile App And Connectivity
Connectivity
Ethernet
Locked
USB Input To Computer
Locked
Bluetooth
Locked
Wireless Yes
Wi-Fi via Router
Locked
Wi-Fi Direct
Locked
External Storage Support
Locked
Apple AirPrint
Locked
Mopria Print Service
Locked

The Epson ET-3850 has great connectivity features. You can print using an array of wired or wireless connections, though it lacks Bluetooth support and ports for external storage devices like USB keys or SD cards. It also can connect with voice assistants, like Apple's Siri or Amazon Alexa, for hands-free voice-activated printing. You can check the printer's status or give print or scanning commands without needing to lift a finger.

N/A
Mobile App And Connectivity
Mobile App
Mobile App Locked
App Name Locked
iOS Locked
Android Locked
Photo (JPEG, PNG)
Locked
PDF
Locked
Microsoft Office Files
Locked
Text Files (TXT)
Locked
Webpages (HTML)
Locked

The Epson ET-3850 is fully compatible with the Epson Smart Panel mobile app. You can use the app to perform various maintenance tasks like nozzle checking or printhead cleaning, and you can also use the app to copy and scan. Unfortunately, the iOS version of the app can’t print Microsoft Office files directly, as it won’t display the document properly and resorts to displaying a mobile version of the print.

Mobile App And Connectivity
OS Compatibility
Windows Locked
macOS Locked
Chrome OS Locked

To use the Epson ET-3850 with Windows, you’ll need drivers and additional software like Epson Scan 2 for scanning. You can also get the Epson Photo+ software for extra photo printing features. You don’t need any drivers or additional programs to scan and print with macOS or Chrome OS.

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