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Epson EcoTank ET-2876/ET-2870 review: Great photo prints but falls short on paper handling

Our Rating :
£292.29 from
Price when reviewed : £250
inc VAT

The Epson EcoTank ET-2876 can print thousands of pages between refills and produces great-looking photos, but it lacks some useful extras


  • Decent multifunction printer
  • Excellent photo printing
  • Cheap to run


  • Limited paper handling
  • Can’t auto duplex
  • Costs more up front than cartridge printers

The Epson EcoTank ET-2876 is the latest in Epson’s range of small, reasonably affordable ink tank multifunction printers, scanners and copiers. It’s an update to the EcoTank ET-2750 and EcoTank ET-2850 and carries all of the same functions.

Interestingly, it’s exactly the same printer as the EcoTank ET-2870 – the slightly different model names denote the colour of the finish. Our review model, the ET-2876, is finished in white, while the ET-2870 is black.

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Epson EcoTank ET-2876 review: What do you get for the money?

To the untrained eye, it might look like the Epson EcoTank ET-2876 has it all and at a reasonable price of £250 as well. First, it uses an ink-tank system, which is arguably the best way to consume printer ink today. Ink tank printers minimise plastic waste, have ultra-low running costs and this model comes with enough ink to print thousands of pages, right out of the box.

Second, it’s packed with features. This model prints, scans and copies, all from one device. However, dig beneath the surface and you’ll discover that there are some key elements missing. There’s no automatic document feeder, for instance, which means you’ll need to copy and scan multi-page documents one sheet at a time, manually laying each side onto the scanner glass.

Slightly more awkwardly, it only has a single, rear-mounted, angled paper tray, which only holds 100 sheets. That’s not a total disaster but you’ll need to swap it all if you want to change paper type, and if you leave your paper in the tray it’s a bit of a dust trap. There’s no auto-duplexing, either. You can still set the printer to produce two-sided prints, but you have to follow on-screen instructions showing you how to rearrange the paper halfway through printing.

Otherwise, it’s pretty simple to use. The printer’s colour screen is only small, measuring 1.46in across the diagonal, but the menus are simple enough to navigate and the buttons used to do so, positioned off to the right, are straightforward to operate. The device itself is relatively compact, measuring 375‎ x 347 x 179mm (WDH) and weighs 4.1kg, and it’s neatly designed. The front panel can be pushed flat into the front of the printer when not in use, but tilted upwards from the bottom so you can use it if you’re standing over it at a desk.

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Epson Eco-Tank ET-2876 review: Is it easy to use?

Setting up the Epson Eco-Tank ET-2876 is easy. The ink is supplied in bottles, which you have to upend and pour into the ink tanks. This isn’t as tricky or messy as it sounds, with the neck of each bottle moulded so it can’t fit on the wrong tank, and the bottles remain sealed until they’re locked securely in place.

Head alignment and Wi-Fi setup is done from the printer’s physical control panel, or (preferably) via Epson’s brilliant smartphone app, which takes you through, step by step, everything you need to do. Alternatively, there’s a USB port on the rear if you would prefer to keep it off the network and plugged into a computer.

Most of the printing work is then controlled directly from the device you’re printing from; you do need to interact with the screen if you want to make copies, though. As mentioned above, the screen is a bit on the small side but it’s relatively easy to control using the buttons to the right.

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Epson EcoTank ET-2876 review: How fast is it and how much does it cost to run?

Low running costs are what make Epson’s EcoTank range so attractive and the Epson EcoTank ET-2876 falls neatly into line. In fact, you’re unlikely to need to buy ink for a considerable time given how much Epson provides in the box, which is quoted to be 3,600 mono pages and 6,500 colour pages from the four 65ml ink bottles. Epson has worked out that, for the average user, that should last around three years.

When you do need to buy ink, though, it’s super cheap. Individual bottles of ink cost £9.49 purchased direct from Epson, and also contain 65ml each. The black bottle will produce 4,500 pages (based on printing 5% coverage of a page), which works out at 0.2p per page. A complete set of cyan, magenta and yellow inks produces 7,500 pages, at a cost of 0.4p per page. This is more than what can be produced from the initial ink from the box, because some ink is used to initiate the device. You can reduce costs further by purchasing in bulk, with a pack of four inks (one of each colour) knocking £3.47 off the price of buying the same inks individually.

This is well in line with its predecessors and most other consumer-focused tank-based printers. Only Canon’s range of business ink tank printers offers cheaper running costs, knocking the price of colour printing down to an even cheaper 0.2p per page; however, the colour quality is aimed at business graphics rather than printing photographs.

Graph comparing the cost per page of the Epson EcoTank ET-2876 to similarly priced rivals

Disappointingly, Epson seems to have slowed the ET-2786 down compared to its predecessors. In our tests it was much slower at producing its first page, and then produced mono pages at a rate of 8.5ppm, with colour pages popping out at 2.8ppm. This is slower than the EcoTank ET-2850 (9.7pp and 2.9ppm) and the EcoTank ET-2750 (9.5ppm and 2.8ppm).

Having said that, for most home tasks it should prove perfectly adequate. If you want a faster printer for bigger jobs, something like the Canon Maxify GX5050, which is built for office tasks, or a cheap laser printer would suit you far better.

Graph comparing the time to print the first page of the Epson EcoTank ET-2876 to similarly priced rivalsGraph comparing the print speed of the Epson EcoTank ET-2876 to similarly priced rivalsWhen it comes to printing photos, however, it’s more impressive. In my photo printing test, I printed six photos on glossy 6 x 4in photo paper at the printer’s best settings, and it took the printer just over 15 minutes to churn these out. That’s well over a minute faster than the EcoTank ET-2850 was. Again, it’s slower than the Canon Maxify GX5050, but the print quality is much higher, making it worth waiting for.

Graph comparing the Epson EcoTank ET-2876's time to print photos to similarly priced rivals

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Epson EcoTank ET-2876 review: What’s the print quality like?

Generally, print quality is good. Text output looks fine to the naked eye. It’s a little rougher around the edges of individual letters than the EcoTank ET-2850 and the office-focused Canon Maxify GX5050, though. If you were only interested in printing documents, this would certainly pass muster but it isn’t the best choice if you want the crispest text.

Business graphics are much improved, with blocks of colour printing with much more consistency than on the Canon and HP models, where I saw some unsightly banding when I tested them. Here, blocks of colour were perfectly solid throughout my test prints.

It’s in photo printing where most of the advancements appear to have been made, however. In my tests, it produced vibrant, colourful results throughout, with beautiful blue skies, exceptionally deep, rich reproduction of dark areas and colours and a high level of subtlety in pulling out tricky colour gradients. It might not be able to beat a more expensive six-colour printer, but for a four-colour model the results are truly impressive.

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Epson EcoTank ET-2876 review: Should you buy it?

If you’re looking for a decent all-rounder of an occasional all-in-one printer, capable of printing documents and business graphics as well as a cracking photo, the Epson EcoTank ET-2876 is a good option. It’s not too expensive for an ink tank model and is very cheap to run.

It has no internal paper tray and it can’t automatically print on both sides of a sheet of paper. Plus, the initial cost is quite high. Otherwise, it’s a fantastic printer that’s suited to most tasks.

If the cost of entry seems high, however, and you can live without the scanner and copier functions, consider the Epson EcoTank ET-1810. It doesn’t copy or scan, but you get a similar standard of printing and low running costs for a lower price.

More affordable all-in-ones are available from HP, such as the HP Envy Inspire 7220e. The print quality isn’t as good as on the ET-2876 and it uses cartridges rather than ink tanks, but it has a decent internal paper tray and can automatically print on both sides of a sheet.

Lastly, if you want a higher-quality of photo output, the Canon Pixma G650 offers six-ink printing, which adds more subtlety to photo prints.

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