A step down from the WorkForce Pro WF-7840, Epson's $249.99 WorkForce Pro WF-7820 is a multifunction (print, copy, scan, and fax) wide-format inkjet printer designed for small to midsize offices. It's capable of printing up to 13-by-19-inch (supertabloid) pages and copying, scanning, and faxing two-sided 11-by-17-inch (tabloid) originals. The WF-7820, which replaces 2018's WF-7710, lists for $50 less than its WF-7840 sibling; for that measly reduction in up-front cost, you lose out on a second 250-sheet paper cassette and a 50-sheet rear multipurpose tray, which can make a huge difference in workplace efficiency. In addition, the WF-7820 has neither bulk ink nor an ink subscription program, so its per-page costs are high enough that it really doesn't make sense to use it for printing more than about 300 pages a month. That's too bad, because this is a fine wide-format machine capable of relatively high-volume output, but the numbers just don't add up.
Measuring 18 by 20.3 by 38.4 inches (WDH) and weighing 39.9 pounds, the WF-7820 is just over 2 inches shorter and a little over 5 pounds lighter than its WF-7840 sibling. The difference comes from the latter's second 250-sheet paper cassette and a 50-sheet rear multipurpose tray. The WF-7820 has a single 250-sheet cassette—less than half the WF-7840's capacity.
Extra trays don't just hold more paper; they let you easily switch among different paper types, so you don't have to get up and fiddle with the printer nearly as often (or find yourself printing on the letterhead or photo paper that someone else left in the machine). If you purchase an expandable printer, such as Epson's WF-C8690, a wide-format add-on drawer can cost as much as $425. It seems pretty silly to give up on the WF-7840's increased capacity for a mere $50.
HP and Brother also make one-drawer wide-format AIOs, the OfficeJet Pro 7720 ($199.99) and MFC-J6545DW ($279.99), and two-drawer versions, the OfficeJet Pro 7740 ($249.99) and Editor's Choice–winning MFC-J6945DW ($349.99). In all these models, each drawer holds 250 sheets. The Brother machines also have 100-sheet multipurpose trays on the back. That brings the MFC-J6545DW's maximum paper capacity to 350 sheets and the MFC-J6945DW's max to 600 sheets.
It's important to note that both the HP and Brother machines print, copy, scan, and fax up to tabloid size, but they don't support supertabloid media. Only Epson's wide-format printers do that.
Like all AIOs in this price range, the WF-7720 comes with a 50-sheet automatic document feeder (ADF) for sending multipage documents to the scanner. In this case, that's a single-pass auto-duplexing ADF that scans both sides of two-sided pages simultaneously. It can handle originals up to tabloid size.
The HP 7720's auto-duplexing ADF can hold 35 pages, up to legal size. You'll have to jump up to the 7740 version to get tabloid-size scanning and copying. Brother's smaller MFC-J6545DW can't scan two-sided pages, but the MFC-J6945DW can, all the way up to tabloid size.
Epson also makes a supertabloid EcoTank Pro AIO, the ET-16650, with all the productivity features mentioned so far: support for up to 550 sheets of paper from three sources, an auto-duplexing tabloid-size ADF, and EcoTank Pro's extremely low running costs, which we'll discuss below. The trade-off: Its list price is $1,129.99, about four times more than most of the other machines we've talked about here.
Finally, like the WF-7840, the WF-7820's maximum monthly duty cycle is rated at 50,000 pages, with a suggested monthly volume of 2,500. That's about the same as the HP 7720, considerably higher than the Brother MFC-J6545DW, and much lower than the Epson ET-16650. But the WF-7820's rating becomes irrelevant as soon as the cost of printing is factored in; if you want to print at that kind of volume, you'll likely want to invest in a bulk-ink model, which will more than pay for itself in the long run.
The WF-7820 and WF-7840 have nearly identical control panels and built-in web portals. There are lots of buttons, but most of the work is done through the touch screen.
Like the WF-7840, the WF-7820 can connect to networks with Ethernet and Wi-Fi 802.11 /b/g/n/a/ac, directly to a computer with USB 2.0, and directly to a mobile device with Wi-Fi Direct. There's also a front port for USB thumb drives.
The WF-7820's software bundle consisting of various print, scan, and connectivity apps and utilities is also essentially the same as the WF-7840's. You can see in-depth discussions of all these features in our WF-7840 review.
I performed speed tests using letter-size test pages, as I do with all wide-format printers. Most offices—even those that regularly print wide-format pages—typically print significantly more letter- and legal-size pages. Since 11 by 17 inches is precisely twice letter-size, multiplying the letter-size test results by two will give you reasonably accurate tabloid print speeds. Supertabloid pages should take slightly longer than tabloid-size pages.
Epson rates the WF-7820 at 25 monochrome pages per minute (ppm), which is acceptable for an entry-level business-oriented AIO but not particularly fast. I tested it over an Ethernet connection from our standard Intel Core i5 testbed PC running Windows 10 Pro. For the first round of tests, I clocked it while it printed several copies of our 12-page Microsoft Word text document and then averaged the results.
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The WF-7820 printed the 12-page text document at an average speed of 26.4ppm, or slightly faster than average among this group of printers. Of the comparison models, the Epsons had similar speeds, while the Brother MFC-J6545DW and HP OfficeJet Pro 7720 were slower.
Next, I timed the WF-7820 as it churned out PCMag's collection of complex color business documents. The suite includes Adobe Acrobat PDFs comprised of varied fonts at mixed colors, sizes, and weights, as well as Microsoft Excel spreadsheets with embedded charts and graphs, and PowerPoint handouts made up of business artwork, gradient backgrounds, and a few other intricate features meant to put color printers through their paces. Then I combined these scores with the results from printing the above 12-page text document and came up with 12.1ppm. Again, this is pretty typical of the printers in this group—though the ET-16650 trounced them all with a score of 17.9ppm.
These machines are not photo printers, per se, but we still test photograph output from most inkjet models. I timed the WF-7820 as it printed two brightly colored and highly detailed 4-by-6-inch snapshots several times, and then averaged the results. Each image averaged about 23 seconds. Here there was a marked split among the models we tested, with the Brother MFC-J6545DW and Epson ET-16650 coming in much faster than the rest.
The WF-7820 uses the same print engine and printhead as its WF-7840 sibling. Our WF-7840 review has an in-depth discussion of print quality from Epson's PrecisionCore Heat-Free Technology. In brief, there's no better inkjet technology on the market. Our test prints of photos, charts, and fine print were impressive on every front.
If you purchase the highest-yield ink cartridges for this AIO at Epson's MSRPs, letter-size monochrome pages will run you about 3.3 cents each, and letter-size color pages cost around 11.3 cents apiece. HP's OfficeJet Pro 7720 (one of the very few OfficeJets and most other HP inkjets that aren't Instant Ink compatible) is, at 2.1 cents for black pages and 8.1 cents for color, a little better than the WF-7820, but not by enough to make it a suitable high-volume solution.
By comparison, Brother's MFC-J6545CDW, with its INKvestment Tank bulk ink, delivers running costs of just under 1 cent for black pages and under 5 cents for color. Epson's ET-16650 prints both monochrome and color pages for under 1 cent each, but as I said earlier, it will cost a lot more up front. Consider this model or an equivalent only if your print and copy volume warrant it—your output volume should probably exceed 500 pages each month to cover the purchase price difference.
If you churn out the WF-7820's suggested volume of 2,500 pages each month, paying 3.3 cents per page rather than the ET-16650's 0.3 cent per page will cost you $75 per month, or about $900 each year. If you keep the printer for five years, the total additional cost will be $4,500. That makes up the initial purchase price difference between these two machines five or six times. The difference adds up even faster if you're printing in color. It definitely pays to track your office's printing volume (including whether you're printing text or graphics) and run the numbers before you make a purchasing decision.
Printer vendors frequently release two or three machines with relatively small list price differences but huge capacity, volume, and feature discrepancies, and it almost never makes sense to buy the least expensive model. If you buy the WF-7820 instead of the WF-7840, you do indeed save $50, but you give up a substantial increase in paper capacity. If you only ever print onto one kind of paper (presumably supertabloid, which is the Epsons' big advantage over other lower-end wide-format AIOs) and you don't print that often, you might not care about having three input sources, but as soon as your printing needs start to vary or your volume goes up, every trip to refill or swap out the paper will have you wishing you'd ponied up just a little more for the bigger machine.
The only other concern here is the WF-7820's somewhat high cost per page. If you're printing and copying more than a few hundred pages each month, consider a bulk-ink model.
There's nothing wrong with the WF-7820's hardware or performance. It's just a very niche machine. If you happen to have the precise combination of needs that it meets—low-volume printing onto supertabloid paper and nothing else, plus a tight budget—then it will keep your office humming along.