Epson EcoTank ET-14100 review: Cheap to run with surprisingly good photos, but who's it for?

Epson's EcoTank ET-14100 has decent all-round performance but it's neither an excellent office or photo printer, leaving it feeling just a little unfocused

The Epson EcoTank ET-14100 on the ITPro background
(Image: © Epson)

IT Pro Verdict


  • +

    Fairly quick

  • +

    Fairly good results

  • +

    Very cheap to run


  • -

    Doesn't seem fully optimized for office use

The ET-14100 is the latest A3-capable printer in Epson's EcoTank range. It's a refillable device, which means it comes with a set of bottled ink, and promises much lower running costs than an equivalent cartridge-based inkjet or laser printer.

Epson positions the ET-14100 as a device for the busy office, but it's certainly not designed to take on the brunt of printing duties. Despite its relatively high asking price, it's not an especially well-specified printer. For around £500 you get wireless networking, but there's no wired Ethernet port. There's only a single paper input tray at the rear and automatic duplex (double-sided) printing isn't available either. As you'll see from the pictures, there's no display, and there are few on-printer controls to speak of.

What you do get is a supply of ink to last about 6,400 black A4 pages, or 5,600 in color. Once that's used up, replacement bottles should go for 4,500 black or 7,500 color pages, yet they cost less than £10 each. Do the sums and running costs work out at a minuscule 0.15p per black page or 0.25p for color (ex VAT) – one of the lowest costs per page you'll find on any printer.

Epson doesn't provide A3 yield figures, but going by surface area, an A3 page will work out about twice as expensive – still less than a penny per full-color page. Of course, you'll use far more ink if you're printing photos, but buying it in bottles is still the cheapest.

With a standard four-color setup, the ET-14100 isn't strongly focused on photo printing. That said, it will print without borders on sizes up to A3, and will even print with borders on huge A3+ paper. It's worth noting that it uses Epson's 104 range of dye-based inks, which is something of a strange choice in the office. While dye inks are ideal to get the most from glossy photo papers, they don't tend to stand out as well on plain paper.

This printer's bundled ink and exceptional running costs mean that it's likely to work out much better value than a cartridge-based alternative, but only if you print enough pages during its lifetime to make up for its higher asking price. For this reason, we always recommend choosing refillable inkjets with a long warranty, yet the ET-14100 has a limp 12-month/50,000-page cover as standard. Unless you'll use it very intensively, you might want to consider paying another £100 or so to extend the warranty to three years.

Epson EcoTank ET-14100 review: Setting up

In many ways, the ET-14100 is a four-color variant of the EcoTank ET-18100, and like that printer, it's quite compact for an A3+ capable device. At least, it is until you fully unfurl its paper input and output trays, necessarily huge to cope with larger paper sizes. Doing so more than doubles the desk space you'll need to use the printer – it's not a device you can tuck alongside a typical workstation.

Inside the Epson EcoTank ET-14100

(Image credit: Future)

Epson's EcoTank system has been around for several years and is just as simple as using cartridges. This printer comes with five bottles, including two black bottles which allow you to completely fill the larger black tank. There's no chance of getting the colours mixed up, and no chance of spilling ink unless you unwisely squeeze a bottle. 

It's a shame the ET-14100 doesn't have a wired Ethernet port, but Epson has at least answered our prayers when it comes to wireless setup. Use its new Smart Panel app and you can join the printer to Wi-Fi while it's still priming the ink system – a tedious, one-time, inkjet process that usually locks out a printer's control panel. That's not such a big deal if you're installing one printer, but it's a blessing if you're rolling out a fleet of them and don't want to spend as long twiddling your thumbs.

That said, Smart Panel isn't all good. We didn't get on with its verbose faux chat interface, and the weird way it included a short pause after user inputs. We weren't sure if it was processing the conversation remotely, or whether it had been designed to give the impression it was.

Refillable inkjets are generally less hassle once you've set them up, going for thousands of pages between top-ups. That said, the EcoTank system doesn't include level detectors, so it's reliant on users visually checking tank levels. You're unlikely to forget, as the PC driver pelts users with reminders at regular intervals.

Epson EcoTank ET-14100 review: Printing

The EcoTank ET-14100 may not be bristling with office features, but it puts in a decent performance on office-typical print jobs. It delivered the first A4 page of text in 12 seconds, going on to a reasonable 14.0 pages per minute (ppm) over 25 pages. Switched to draft mode it hit 16.5ppm. It narrowly upped this to 16.8ppm at normal quality over our 50-page test, although with 100-sheet paper trays, it's not really designed for long jobs.

It is designed for color printing, yet here the ET-14100 was disappointing. It dropped to just 4.5ppm over 24 pages of challenging colour graphics: a fair bit slower than we'd expect. Even when producing text with simple graphics, it topped out at just 5.7ppm over 20 pages.

The ET-14100 wasn't especially fast on plain A3 paper, delivering a first text page in 28 seconds, and managing just 3.7ppm over a five-page job. Color A3 graphics inched out at 2.1ppm.

This printer wasn't any faster on photo paper. At the highest quality setting, each borderless 6x4" (10x15cm) photo took two and a half minutes, while a borderless A4 print needed five minutes and 46 seconds. It completed a borderless A3 photo in eight minutes and 20 seconds, while the same image finished in eight minutes and 20 seconds with borders on A3+ paper.

Epson doesn't market this as a photo printer, but on glossy paper, it produced excellent results for a four-ink device. Its prints were sharp and quite detailed, with punchy and realistic colors. The ET-14100 reproduced particularly convincing skin tones, although it wasn't great at preserving subtly different shades in the lightest part of some images. Our black and white test prints had excellent contrast, but they suffered from a slight greenish bias.

The printface on the Epson EcoTank ET-14100

(Image credit: Future)

On plain paper, this printer struggled to make as much of an impact. Color graphics were again very detailed, but Epson's dye-based inks didn't stand up from the paper like the pigmented ones you get in most office inkjets – let alone the toner of a color laser. Graphics were free of banding or the other minor irregularities you sometimes see in inkjet prints, although those with sharper eyes could pick out some subtle graining in some prints. Black text was fine for general use, though again sharp eyes could pick out slightly granular outlines in places.

This printer was at its best when printing graphics onto matte inkjet papers. These allowed it to express its graphics capabilities while enhancing the color and impact of its inks. That makes it suitable for reproducing designs or other illustrations up to A3+ – it's a reasonably narrow niche, but one the ET-14100 would be happy to occupy.

Epson EcoTank ET-14100 review: Is it worth it?

Epson's positioning of the ET-14100 as an inkjet for busy offices is a little confusing. Despite excellent running costs, it's certainly not designed to be a volume workhorse, and it lacks the other features needed for the role. Its plain paper print quality isn't all that great, and its color printing speeds in particular are disappointing.

It's a much better photo and graphics printer, turning out excellent pictures and illustrations provided it's loaded with the appropriate specialist media. Here, its low running costs and long maintenance intervals suit it to churning out lots of good quality prints for in-house designers, planners, or project managers, although its single paper input isn't ideal if there's a regular switch between photos and matte graphics.

Ultimately, however, the ET-14100 is hard to place. It's not a brilliant plain paper printer. It is good on coated papers, but not much cheaper than the EcoTank ET-18100 which is a little better. If you want the lowest possible running costs from an A3-capable graphics printer, it's a good choice. Whereas if you're printing lots of photos and don't mind paying slightly more overall, the ET-18100 is the more convincing option.

Epson EcoTank ET-14100 specifications

Swipe to scroll horizontally
TechnologyPiezo inkjet
Maximum print resolution4,800x1,200dpi
Dimensions (HWD)165x498x358mm
Maximum paper sizeA3+
WarrantyTwelve months/50,000 pages (whichever comes first)
Simon Handby

After a brief career in corporate IT, Simon Handby combined his love of technology and writing when he made the move to Computer Shopper magazine. As a technology reviewer he's since tested everything from routers and switches, to smart air fryers and doorbells, and covered technology such as EVs, TVs, solar power and the singularity.

During more than 15 years as Shopper's long-time printer reviewer, Simon tried, tested and wrote up literally hundreds of home, small office and workgroup printers. He continues reviewing smart products and printers for a variety of publications, and has been an IT Pro contributor since 2010. Simon is almost never happier than when surrounded by printers and paper, applying his stopwatch and a seasoned eye to find the best performing, best value products for business users.