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Epson EcoTank ET-3850 Printer Review

Tested using Methodology v1.2
Review updated Feb 02, 2024 at 01:37 pm
Latest change: Writing modified Feb 20, 2024 at 01:38 pm
Epson EcoTank ET-3850 Picture
8.3
Family
8.1
Small/Home Office
8.6
Student
8.2
Black & White
7.7
Photo

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 is an all-in-one supertank inkjet printer that can be refilled with Epson's T502 ink. It connects via Wi-Fi, USB, or Ethernet, supports Apple AirPrint and Mopria Print Service, and is compatible with the Epson Smart Panel mobile app. Its scanner is equipped with an automatic feeder but doesn't support duplex scanning or lacks fax functionality. It has a 250-sheet input tray and supports automatic double-sided printing.

Our Verdict

8.3 Family

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 is great for family use. It has plenty of connectivity options, so everyone in your household can easily print documents, whether they're on a tablet, smartphone, or desktop. It also doesn't cost much to maintain since its supertank system has a high page yield, and replacement ink is cheap. As for its print quality, documents look very sharp, and photos look detailed and colorful, albeit grainy and not particularly color-accurate. Unfortunately, it's slow to print color documents and photos.

Pros
  • Produces high-quality documents.
  • Produces very fine details and a wide range of colors.
  • High page yield, low cost per print.
  • Wide connectivity options.
  • Decent print speed for black documents.
  • Supports borderless printing an various paper sizes.
Cons
  • Poor color accuracy.
  • Photos look grainy.
  • Slow to print color documents.
8.1 Small/Home Office

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 is very good for small or home offices. It produces high-quality documents, and its ink tank yields an incredible amount of black or color pages, which is great for offices that print a lot. It prints black documents fairly quickly, but sadly, it's slow with color documents. Also, it doesn't support duplex scanning, so you'll have to scan double-sided sheets manually.

Pros
  • Produces high-quality documents.
  • High page yield, low cost per print.
  • Automatic document feeder.
  • Wide connectivity options.
  • Decent print speed for black documents.
Cons
  • Automatic feeder is slow and doesn't support duplex scanning.
  • Slow to print color documents.
8.6 Student

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 is excellent for students. Thanks to its supertank system, it has outstanding page yields for both color and black-only documents, resulting in a very low cost-per-print. It also has a flatbed scanner with extendable lid hinges so you can fit thicker items like textbooks. On the downside, it takes a little while for the printer to initialize and print the first page after inactivity, so it isn't the best choice if you need to print a big batch of pages in a hurry.

Pros
  • Produces high-quality documents.
  • High page yield, low cost per print.
  • Automatic document feeder.
  • Wide connectivity options.
  • Decent print speed for black documents.
Cons
  • Automatic feeder is slow and doesn't support duplex scanning.
  • Slow to print color documents.
8.2 Black & White

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 is great for printing black-and-white documents. It produces sharp-looking documents, and thanks to its supertank system, you can print at high volume without worrying about maintenance costs. While it prints black-only documents decently quickly, it does take a bit of time for the printer to warm up and produce a page after a period of inactivity.

Pros
  • Produces high-quality documents.
  • High page yield, low cost per print.
  • Automatic document feeder.
  • Decent print speed for black documents.
Cons
  • Automatic feeder is slow and doesn't support duplex scanning.
7.7 Photo

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 is good for photo printing. It produces very small details and a wide range of colors, but the photos look grainy, and color reproduction isn't very accurate. The main benefit of this printer is its low maintenance cost, as the ink tank yields a lot of prints, and the ink bottles are cheap. Unfortunately, it prints photos very slowly.

Pros
  • Produces very fine details and a wide range of colors.
  • High page yield, low cost per print.
  • Supports borderless printing an various paper sizes.
Cons
  • Poor color accuracy.
  • Photos look grainy.
  • 8.3 Family
  • 8.1 Small/Home Office
  • 8.6 Student
  • 8.2 Black & White
  • 7.7 Photo
  1. Updated Feb 20, 2024: Added mention of the HP OfficeJet Pro 9135e as an alternative with duplex scanning in the Scanner Features section.
  2. Updated Feb 02, 2024: Minor in-text adjustments to further clarify product details.
  3. Updated Feb 07, 2023: We've updated the review and added more information in the Scan Quality, Black and White Documents, Color Documents, and Small Details boxes.
  4. Updated Aug 25, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 1.2.
  5. Updated Jul 04, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 1.1.
  6. Updated Feb 21, 2022: Review published.
  7. Updated Feb 18, 2022: Early access published.
  8. Updated Jan 27, 2022: Our testers have started testing this product.
  9. Updated Jan 05, 2022: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  10. Updated Dec 14, 2021: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.

Differences Between Sizes And Variants

We tested the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 in white. It's also available in black in some regions. There's also a Walmart-exclusive variant, the Epson EcoTank ET-3843, and a Costco-exclusive variant, the Epson EcoTank ET-3850 SE. Both variants are identical in features and performance to the ET-3850. The only difference is that the Costco variant comes with two additional bottles of black ink.

You can see our unit's label here.

Compared To Other Printers

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 is a good printer overall. Its ink tank yields a very large number of prints, even compared to other supertank in its class, making it one of the best options for high-volume printing. It also has a great color gamut compared to other similar printers, but it produces photos with a lot of grain.

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, an automatic document feeder, and an Ethernet port. It also has higher page yields and faster printing speed.

Epson EcoTank ET-4850

The Epson EcoTank ET-4850 is almost identical to the Epson EcoTank ET-3850. The only difference is that the ET-4850 has a touch-sensitive display and a dampener to prevent the scanner bed from slamming shut.

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 ET-4800/ET-4810

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-2800/ET-2803

The Epson EcoTank ET-2800/ET-2803 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.

HP Smart Tank 7301 [6001, 7001]

The Epson EcoTank ET-3850 and HP Smart Tank 7301 each have their strengths. The HP feels better built, is easier to maintain, has a greater color ink yield, and takes less time to warm up. However, the Epson has a wider color gamut and a greater black ink yield. Its scanner also has a height-adjustable hinge to accommodate thicker documents and outputs sharper copies.

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 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 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.

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.

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Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
6.5
Design
Build Quality
Type All in One

This printer feels relatively well-built. The body feels sturdy, but the automatic document feeder on top feels a bit thin and flimsy, and it squeaks when moved. The main complaint is that the scanner's lid doesn't have a dampener, only a notched support to hold it open, as seen here. As such, it'll slam shut if you don't raise it slowly and make sure it's in the locked position. Getting the lid to lock in that open position is also difficult.

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

Like most inkjet printers, the Epson's printheads can clog if you don't print for a long time. There are a few built-in maintenance functions to resolve any clogging or print quality issues, like printhead cleaning, power cleaning, printhead alignment, and nozzle check. 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. The printhead cleaning task usually resolves clogging issues, although you may have to do it repeatedly to get good results. There's a maintenance box that collects ink flushed during printhead cleanings, which you need to clean periodically. There's a feature in the menu that lets you see when the maintenance box is full.

You won't need to refill the ink tank often, as it yields a large number of prints at max capacity. You just need to keep an eye on the ink levels and not let them get too low because doing so can introduce air bubbles into the tubes and damage the printer. Refilling the tank is easy; you only need to lift the scanner to access the ink tank's cover. You can access the sheet rollers to clear paper jams through a panel on the back of the printer, seen here, or by lifting the automatic feeder's cover. The input tray holds 250 sheets of paper, so you likely won't need to refill the tray all that often.

You can see the user manual here.

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

The Epson ET-3850 has an okay display. It's easy to see whether you're sitting or standing, and you can also tilt the front panel to improve visibility. However, it's hard to see from the side. It isn't touch-sensitive, and there's no numeric keypad, so entering passwords to connect the printer to Wi-Fi can be tedious as you must use the arrow keys to navigate the keyboard and punch in each letter individually.

10
Design
Cartridge
Technology Inkjet
SuperTank
Yes
Photo Cartridge
No
Color Yes
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 four refillable ink tanks that yield a large number of prints, making it a great choice for high-volume printing. You can easily see the ink levels from the front of the printer, which is good because this printer doesn't have an ink level sensor. It only monitors ink usage internally to provide an estimate, which means you'll have to monitor your ink levels and manually reset them in the printer settings when you refill the tanks. As noted in the maintenance section, letting the ink levels run too low or emptying the tank can introduce air bubbles into the print tubes and damage the printer.

As for specific color yields, the cyan ink yields significantly more pages than either magenta or yellow.

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

This printer has a decent range of scanning features. Its scanner has an automatic feeder for processing multi-page documents. While it's on the slower side and doesn't support duplex scanning, it's still more convenient than scanning each page manually on the flatbed scanner. Its optical character recognition feature allows you to save your scans as PDFs for quick keyword searches. It works well but misspells words at times. If you need a printer with automatic duplex scanning, check out the HP OfficeJet Pro 9135e.

9.5
Design
Scan Quality
Max Scan Resolution
1,200 DPI
Max Scan Color Depth
24Bit

The scan quality is outstanding. The scanner captures everything well, including very fine details. It boosts the contrast and color saturation to make the scan look more vibrant, which is good for text documents because it makes the text easier to read; however, it might not be ideal if you're looking to digitize photos and expect the scan to look as close to the original picture as possible.

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

This is a corded printer without a battery.

Document
9.0
Document
Black & White Documents
Color Ink Needed For Black & White
Yes

The print quality for black and white documents is outstanding. Text looks sharp, and all of the finer elements are present. However, colored areas look grainy, and there's some minor vertical banding.

7.5
Document
Color Documents

The print quality of color documents is good. Text looks clear, and colors look good, albeit grainy. Finer elements come through, but not as well as when printing in black and white only. Also, there's a noticeably purple tint when printing with default settings.

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 cost-per-print is remarkably low. Thanks to the supertank ink system's high page yields, you won't have to buy ink refills frequently, and the replacement ink is cheap, keeping ownership costs low.

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

This printer prints decently fast. It outputs black documents fairly quickly but is slow with color documents and photos. It's also slow to initialize from an idle state and get a single page out.

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

This printer supports most standard paper sizes. You can also set custom paper sizes with a width of 3.5" to 8.5" and a length of 5" and 47.24".

Photo
8.0
Photo
Color Gamut

The Epson ET-3850 has a great color gamut. It can reproduce a wide range of colors; however, it struggles with bright greens and purples and darker shades of green and yellow. Unfortunately, color transitions look very grainy.

4.7
Photo
Color Accuracy
Average Color dE
10.40

This printer has bad color accuracy. It reproduces most colors inaccurately, especially blues and greens, and grays have a purplish tone. This level of accuracy is fine for printing the odd casual photo, as printed photos still look relatively natural; however, it isn't ideal for professional-level work that requires exact color reproduction.

8.5
Photo
Small Details
Max Print Resolution (DPI)
4800 x 1200

This printer is excellent at reproducing small details. The main issue is the halftones (dot effect). They're very noticeable and make edges and distant objects look less defined.

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
Wireless Yes
Bluetooth
No
Wi-Fi via Router
Yes
Wi-Fi Direct
Yes
External Storage Support
No
Apple AirPrint
Yes
Mopria Print Service
Yes

This printer can connect with voice assistants, like Apple's Siri or Amazon Alexa, allowing you to use voice commands to initiate printing or scanning and to check the printer's status.

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 Smart Panel mobile app has lots of features. You can use the app to print, copy, and scan (with a smartphone's camera or printer) and perform maintenance tasks like nozzle checking or printhead cleaning. You can also buy replacement ink through the app. Unfortunately, the iOS version of the app can't print Microsoft Office files directly, as it doesn't display the document properly and displays a mobile version of the print instead.

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

You need to install drivers and the Epson Scan 2 application to get full functionality on Windows. You can also get the Epson Photo+ software for extra photo printing features. You don't need any drivers or additional programs on macOS and Chrome OS.