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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
8.3
Family
8.1
Small/Home Office
8.6
Student
8.2
Black & White
7.7
Photo
Type All in One
Technology Inkjet
Wireless Yes
Color Yes
SuperTank
Yes

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

8.3 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.
8.1 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.
8.6 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.
8.2 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.
7.7 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.
  • 8.3 Family
  • 8.1 Small/Home Office
  • 8.6 Student
  • 8.2 Black & White
  • 7.7 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.

Check Price

Black EcoTank ET-3850
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Black EcoTank ET-4850
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White EcoTank ET-3850
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White EcoTank ET-4850
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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
6.5
Design
Build Quality

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 9.0" (22.8 cm)
Width 14.7" (37.4 cm)
Depth 13.7" (34.7 cm)
Height When In Use
9.8" (25.0 cm)
Width When In Use
16.3" (41.5 cm)
Depth When In Use
20.7" (52.5 cm)
Weight
15.6 lbs (7.1 kg)
6.5
Design
Expected Maintenance
Ink Related Maintenance
Expected
Drum Unit
No Drum Unit

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.

6.5
Design
Display Screen
Display Screen Yes
Display Screen Size
2.4" (6.1 cm)
Touchscreen No

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.

10
Design
Cartridge
Photo Cartridge
No
Number Of Color Cartridges
3
Black Cartridge Model
T502 Black
Tested Black Page Yield
415 prints
Estimated Black Page Yield
7,885 prints
Color Cartridge Model
T502 Multi-Color
Tested Color Page Yield
220 prints
Estimated Color Page Yield
4,681 prints
Third Party Cartridge
No Cartridges
Ink Type
Dye And Pigment
High Yield Cartridge
No Cartridge

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.

7.1
Design
Scanner Features
Scanner
ADF + Flatbed
ADF Capacity
30 pages
Scan Speed
3 PPM
Duplex Scanning
No
Max Flatbed Scan Size
8.5" x 11"
Max ADF Scan Size
8.5" x 14"
Flatbed Hinge Adjustability
0.43" (11 mm)
Fax
No
Copy
Yes
OCR Included
Software

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.

9.5
Design
Scan Quality
Max Scan Resolution
1,200 DPI
Max Scan Color Depth
24Bit
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
9.0
Document
Black & White Documents
Color Ink Needed For Black & White
Yes
7.5
Document
Color Documents
10
Document
Cost-Per-Print
Black Cartridge Price
19.99 US$
Color Cartridge Price
38.95 US$
Black-Only Printing Cost
0.003 US$/print
Color Printing Cost
0.008 US$/print
Photo Printing Cost
0.022 US$/print
Ink Subscription
No

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.

7.2
Document
Printing Speed
Black Only Text Document
15 PPM
Color Document
7 PPM
Photo Printing Time
95.0 s
Single Page Out Time (Black Only)
14.9 s
Duplex Printing
Automatic
Input Tray Capacity
250 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") Yes
Legal (8.5" x 14") Yes
Tabloid (11" x 17") No
A6 (105mm x 148mm) Yes
A5 (148mm x 210mm) Yes
A4 (210mm x 297mm) Yes
Max Paper Weight
297 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
8.0
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.

4.7
Photo
Color Accuracy
Average Color dE
10.40

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.

8.5
Photo
Small Details
Max Print Resolution (DPI)
4800 x 1200
9.5
Photo
Photo Printing Sizes
Glossy Paper (4" x 6") Yes
Glossy Paper (5" x 7") Yes
Glossy Paper (8" x 10") Yes
Glossy Paper (8.5" x 11") Yes
Glossy Paper (13" x 19") No
Borderless Printing
Yes
Mobile App And Connectivity
8.0
Mobile App And Connectivity
Connectivity
Ethernet
Yes
USB Input To Computer
Yes
Bluetooth
No
Wi-Fi via Router
Yes
Wi-Fi Direct
Yes
External Storage Support
No
Apple AirPrint
Yes
Mopria Print Service
Yes

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.

10
Mobile App And Connectivity
Mobile App
Mobile App Yes
App Name Epson Smart Panel
iOS Yes
Android Yes
Photo (JPEG, PNG)
Android and iOS
PDF
Android and iOS
Microsoft Office Files
Android Only
Text Files (TXT)
Android Only
Webpages (HTML)
Android and iOS

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 Fully
macOS Fully
Chrome OS Fully

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.

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-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 screen, an automatic document feeder, and an Ethernet port. It also has a higher page yield and a faster printing speed.

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 screen, 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, better photo quality, and prints more accurate colors.

Epson EcoTank ET-2800

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, has faster print speeds, and it has an automatic document feeder and an Ethernet port for a wired network connection. On the other hand, the ET-2800 produces better-looking photos with significantly more accurate-looking colors.

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. However, they have some differences. The Canon is better-suited for printing photos as it has a higher color page yield, a much faster photo printing speed, and its print quality for photos is significantly better. Also, its colors look more accurate. On the other hand, the Epson has a faster print speed for black-only text documents and a much higher black page yield.

Epson EcoTank ET-3760

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 is the successor to the Epson EcoTank ET-3760. Both printers perform very similarly, but they have some minor differences. The ET-3850 has higher page yields for both black and color documents, and it has a larger input tray capacity. On the other hand, the ET-3760 has faster print and scanning speeds, and though its color accuracy is still bad, it's significantly better than the ET-3850's.

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 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.

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 it has a faster print speed for black-only text documents. Also, its page yield for black-only documents is significantly higher. On the other hand, the Canon has a higher page yield for color documents, and it prints photos much faster.

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 and better photo printing quality. The ET-5180's scanner has duplex scanning and fax functionality, and its ADF can process more pages per minute.

HP Smart Tank Plus 551

The HP Smart Tank Plus 551 and the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 are both all-in-one supertank inkjet printers, but the Epson performs better overall. The Epson has an automatic document feeder and significantly higher black page yields. Also, it prints color and black-only documents faster, and it has an Ethernet port. Alternatively, the HP prints photos faster and has a significantly higher page yield for color documents.

Brother MFC-J4535DW

The Brother MFC-J4535DW and the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 are both all-in-one inkjet printers. However, they have some significant differences. The Epson uses a supertank system, so it has significantly higher page yields and a much cheaper cost-per-print. On the other hand, the Brother has much faster print speeds, a larger capacity input tray, a touchscreen display, and it can fax.

Epson EcoTank ET-4760

The Epson EcoTank ET-4760 and the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 are very similarly performing supertank inkjet printers. However, the ET-4760 has a few differences. It has faxing capabilities and a slightly faster print speed overall. On the other hand, the ET-3850 has higher page yields for both black and color documents.

HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e

The HP OfficeJet Pro 9015e and the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 are both all-in-one printers designed for small or home office use. However, the HP performs better if you intend to print photos or color documents more frequently than black-only text documents. The HP has significantly better color accuracy, and its photo quality is much higher. On the other hand, the Epson uses an EcoTank system, so its page yields are much higher, and its cost-per-print is much lower.

Epson EcoTank ET-2760

The Epson EcoTank ET-2760 and the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 are both supertank printers, but the ET-3850 performs slightly better overall. The ET-3850 has an automatic document feeder and a faster print speed for both color and black-only text documents. Also, its input tray holds more pages, so you won't have to refill it as often. On the other hand, the ET-2760 has higher page yields for color documents and a faster print speed for photos.

Brother MFC-J4335DW

The Brother MFC-J4335DW and the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 are both all-in-one printers, but the Epson performs better. The Epson has a supertank system, meaning it has a much higher page yield for both black and color documents. That said, its cost-per-print is also significantly lower. On the other hand, the Brother has faster print speeds, and its automatic document feeder is also faster. Also, its color accuracy is much better than the Epson, though its photos have a lot more banding in them.

Canon MAXIFY GX6020

The Canon MAXIFY GX6020 and the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 are both supertank inkjet printers, but they have some differences. The Canon has a higher page yield for color documents and a slightly faster print speed. It also has a larger input tray capacity of 350 pages instead of 250 and a slot to print off external USB keys directly. On the other hand, the EcoTank produces significantly more black-only pages and has a lower cost-per-print overall.

Brother MFC-L3770CDW Laser

The Brother MFC-L3770CDW Laser and the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 are two very different printers. The Brother is a laser printer capable of printing color, so its print speeds are significantly faster. However, its photo quality has much more banding, and the colors look more inaccurate. On the other hand, the Epson uses a supertank system, so it has significantly higher page yields for both black and color documents. However, it doesn't have an automatic document feeder that can perform duplex scanning like the Brother.

HP ENVY Photo 7855

The HP ENVY Photo 7855 and the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 are both all-in-one inkjet printers, but the HP is better suited for photo printing, whereas the Epson is better for general printing tasks. The Epson uses a supertank system, so it has much higher page yields for black and color documents and a significantly lower cost-per-print. On the other hand, the HP produces better quality photos with less grain, and it offers more connection options, such as Bluetooth connectivity and a slot for an external storage device like a USB key.

Epson Expression ET-2750

The Epson Expression ET-2750 and the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 are both inkjet printers that use supertank systems, but the EcoTank performs better overall. It has much higher page yields for black and color documents and an automatic document feeder to easily digitize multi-page documents. Also, its print speed for black and color documents is much faster, and it has a larger capacity input tray. On the other hand, the Expression is much more compact, so it's better suited for a small space.

HP Neverstop Laser MFP 1202w

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 is a color inkjet model, while the HP Neverstop Laser MFP 1202w is a monochrome laser model. Neither printer uses cartridges; instead, both have refillable tanks that yield an incredible number of pages. The Epson uses ink, making it a better choice if you want to print photos or color-coded spreadsheets. It also has an automatic document feeder if you need to scan multiple sheets in a row, and it can print double-sided, so you don't need to flip over your sheets manually the way you do with the HP. On the other hand, the HP is a better choice for black and white printing since it yields significantly more black pages. Also, since it uses toner, you don't need to worry about clogged printheads when you don't print regularly.

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