Printing at home with HP Envy v Epson EcoTank | Part Two


The second of two posts of our comparative review testing out the HP Envy 5540 printer versus the Epson EcoTank L355 printer. You can find part one here.

After printing normally at home for a few weeks, HP sent us various tests to perform on both of the printers. These tests were going to give us an idea of well the printers can perform printing in draft, normal, best and high quality modes, on normal printing paper and on photo paper and to test the speeds of both printers.

Quality Test

This test was to see if there was a difference between the quality of the printing between the two models. I printed a colour recipe off in normal print quality mode. Although both recipes have printed well and in full colour there’s an obvious difference in the clarity on the HP test paper. The colour is brighter and more sharp than the test piece printed by the Epson EcoTank.

Recipes side by side

I next printed an eight page document to see if the print quality came out any different when printing a large number of pages. Again, the HP test print paper colours were much brighter and sharper than the Epson test print paper. I was really impressed considering it was in normal print quality mode.

Printing a large document

Speed Test

Printing on photo paper, I wanted to see how quickly a photograph could be printed from both machines. I used the same image and on the same comparative setting; best or high quality.

The HP Envy printed out the photograph in just under a minute and a half which was pretty fast for a full colour A4 photograph. The quality was brilliant and looked really impressive.

The Epson EcoTank printed out the photograph in just under 3 minutes. It took much longer to print off the photograph and although the quality was just as good as the piece from the HP Envy, it really did take its time.

Dry Smudge Test

Having printed the same document off on both printers, I wanted to see if the ink would smear when I smeared my finger over it. I didn’t notice any smearing from any of the test pieces but I did notice the quality was much better from the HP Envy. There appeared to be tiny white lines running vertically on the Epson EcoTank which I hadn’t seen on any other prints before.


Wet Smudge Test

I printed off the same document on both printers and attempted to smudge the documents with a damp piece of kitchen roll. I was really impressed with both documents as there was very little smudging.

Full colour printing

Water Test

We’ve all been there, you print a document off that you need for work, school etc and then the inevitable happens and somehow a full cup of squash or your hot cup of tea gets spilled all over the freshly printed document. Usually it always happens to me when I have a limited paper supply but luckily for this test, I made sure I had plenty in.

I accidentally on purpose spilled some water on to the documents to test the water resistance of the printed documents. Does the water make the ink run? Would my printing be a mixed puddle on the page? When I splashed water onto the document printed from the HP Envy and wiped it away with a dry piece of kitchen roll, I noticed very little of the ink had run. When I did the same test with the Epson EcoTank the ink did run much more easily and the colours appeared much more blurred.

Epson Water Spillage


Comparing both of the printers side by side has been interesting. Both of the printers are easy and convenient to use. I love that I can print off both of them from my iPhone which makes printing emails much easier. The HP Envy is much easier to print off without physically turning the printer on. I’ve found that the Epson EcoTank goes offline quite quickly and needs turning back on whereas the HP Envy will go into standby mode and then come back to life when you ask it to print.

Another bonus of the HP Envy has been the ability to email the printer a document to print off from anywhere, even outside the home. We were able to set up the facility to give the printer an email address and send emails to it which were then instantly printed off. It’s so easy and a feature we really love!


The HP Envy has a 2.2 inch display on the front of the printer which allows users to easily navigate around the menu. You can copy, scan and set up printables from the display which we have enjoyed over the last couple of months.

HP Envy 5540

Olly has really enjoyed coming home from his Nanny and Grandad’s house to find out that a new set of printables have printed off. He has particularly enjoyed the Disney printables that print off colouring pictures and activities for him to enjoy.

The HP Instant Ink service

The HP Instant Ink service is really clever and we have found it to be really useful. The printer communicates with the subscription service and lets them know how much ink is remaining in the ink cartridges. The service looks at how much ink you have been using and predicts how much ink you’ll use and sends out print cartridges for when you need them.

Photo printing

When setting up the service, you select how much ink you think you’ll use based on pages printed per month. Typically, we would print less than 50 pages a month so it would only cost us £1.99 per month on the service. Obviously if you need to print more than usual, that’s absolutely fine and if it’s a regular thing that you need to print more pages per month, you can upgrade the plan. The HP Instant Ink service rolls over 50 unused prints to the next month which is great if you have a quiet month and it doesn’t matter if you print in colour or black and white.

If you want to print 100 pages per month on the plan it would cost £3.49, 300 sheets per month for £7.99. You can buy extra pages if you need to; £1 for 15 extra sheets on the cheapest plan and 25 extra sheets on the highest plan.

EcoTank ink storage

The EcoTank has an ink storage facility on the side of the printer which allows you to fill the ink storage at initial set up and then it’s full for up to two years worth of printing or 4,000 pages in black or 6,500 pages in colour. Although it can be messy when pouring the ink into the ink storage chambers, once it’s done there’s no need to change any ink cartridges or remember to buy any.

Epson EcoTank L355 liquid ink storage

My only reservation with the ink storage in the EcoTank printer is that if I need to move the printer, I don’t want to spill any of the ink. It is well contained in the storage unit but there’s always that chance it could spill.


We have really enjoyed using both printers and both printers have their merits. I love the quality of the full colour photographs that have been printed off from the HP Envy and I love the smaller printer tray for smaller prints making it quick and easy to use. I love being able to print from both my laptop and my phone as it’s so convenient for busy family life. For us, the HP Envy is our printer of choice. We love being able to print directly to it from literally anywhere and the HP Instant Ink service makes it a brilliant way of giving busy mums and dads a helping hand around the home. We would thoroughly recommend the HP Envy 5540 for your all-in-one print services.

Disclosure: We were sent both models of printers for the purpose of the reviews. All words and images are my own and this forms an honest and reliable review. 

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