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Which is better Epson or Brother?

When it comes to choosing between Epson and Brother printers, there are a few key factors to consider before deciding which brand may be better for your needs. Both Epson and Brother produce a wide range of home and office printers that vary in terms of features, print quality, cost and more. Looking at how they compare across some of the most important criteria can help make the decision easier.

Print Quality

One of the biggest considerations when purchasing a new printer is print quality. Both Epson and Brother printers are capable of producing excellent print results, but they go about it in different ways.

Epson printers are well known for their PrecisionCore printhead technology, which utilizes an advanced micro piezo design to deliver smaller, more consistent ink droplets. This allows for sharper detail, smoother gradations and more accurate colors. Epson printers particularly stand out when it comes to photo printing, where they can achieve stunningly realistic results.

Brother printers focus more on using advanced ink formulations to maximize print quality. Many Brother printers use pigment-based inks that provide bolder, darker blacks and more vibrant color output. They also often use more ink colors than competitors – up to 11 with some models – for an expanded color gamut. The result is vivid, eye-catching prints ideal for graphics, posters and more.

When it comes to text document printing, both brands perform well. Epson’s smaller ink droplets allow for crisper letter and line edges, while Brother tends to offer deeper black text. For photos and graphics, Epson has the edge for realism while Brother excels at saturation and vibrance.

Print Speed

Print speed is another essential consideration, especially for busy offices and high volume printing needs. Here, Brother printers tend to have faster rated print speeds compared to similarly priced Epson models.

For example, the Brother HL-L2350DW monochrome laser printer has a print speed of 36 pages per minute, while the comparably priced Epson WorkForce Pro EC-4030 offers 24 ppm. With color printers, the Brother HL-L3270CDW can print 24 ppm versus 11 ppm for the Epson WorkForce Pro EC-4020.

Faster print engines, quick-drying inks and high-yield cartridges allow Brother printers to churn through print jobs swiftly and efficiently. Epson products make up for lower rated speeds with very good print quality at each setting.

Print Costs

Operating costs are always an important consideration when purchasing printers for home, school or business use. Here is how Epson and Brother printers compare when looking at both ink/toner costs and energy efficiency.

Ink/Toner Costs

Both Epson and Brother offer printers with excellent cost efficiency, but Brother tends to have lower cost of operation overall.

With inkjet printers, Brother ink cartridges tend to yield more pages than Epson cartridges when comparing sets with similar page yields. For example, the Brother LC3039 replacement color ink cartridges print approx. 550 pages, while the equivalent Epson 252 cartridges print about 200 pages.

For laser printers, Brother toner cartridges produce significantly more pages than Epson toner cartridges. The Brother TN-3472 toner cartridge can print 3,500 pages, while the Epson 4059 toner cartridge yields just 1,600 pages.

Brother also offers “Super” high-yield cartridges on many models to drive costs down further. This ability to print more pages with each cartridge allows Brother printers to typically have lower operating costs over time.

Energy Efficiency

When it comes to energy usage, Epson tend to be more efficient. Features like automatic sleep modes, Eco Mode to save ink, and low requirements for electricity all allow Epson printers to conserve energy very effectively.

Brother printers are not far behind in terms of energy savings, but Epson takes the lead when comparing models head-to-head. For instance, the Epson EcoTank ET-2850 uses about 1.7 Watts in sleep mode vs 4 Watts for the Brother MFC-J480DW. These small differences add up over time for big electricity savings.


Both brands offer excellent connectivity options to print from computers, mobile devices and over networks or the cloud. Here is an overview of how their connectivity features compare:

Connectivity Epson Brother
Wi-Fi Yes Yes
Ethernet Yes Yes
USB Yes Yes
Wi-Fi Direct Select Models Select Models
NFC No Yes
AirPrint Yes Select Models
Google Cloud Print Select Models Select Models

As you can see, both brands offer the core connectivity options like Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB and mobile/cloud printing. Brother stands out with wider support for NFC tap-to-print from compatible mobile devices. Epson offers more models with native AirPrint support for Apple users.

Print Volume Capacity

For high volume printing, Epson generally offers larger maximum duty cycles compared to Brother printers in the same class.

For example, the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C5290 color inkjet AIO has a maximum monthly duty cycle of 45,000 pages. Comparable Brother models like the MFC-J6545DW are rated for just 30,000 print pages per month.

With laser printers, the Epson WorkForce Pro WL-C4150 can handle up to 150,000 pages per month versus just 50,000 pages on competing Brother models like the HL-L3210CW.

This ability to handle higher ongoing print volumes makes Epson the better choice for busy offices and workgroups that need to print tens of thousands of pages each month. Brother printers are sufficient for lighter to moderate duty requirements.

Supported Paper Sizes

Having the ability to print on a wide range of paper sizes adds versatility, especially for business printing needs. Here is how Epson and Brother compare when it comes to compatible paper sizes:

Epson printers support sizes ranging from 3.5 x 5 inches up to 13 x 19 inches with borderless printing, including letter, legal, 11×17, envelopes, CD/DVD and more. Some professional models like the SureColor P series go up to 17 x 22 inches.

Brother printers generally support a standard range of sizes from letter to legal and some larger 11 x 17 printing. Maximum paper capacities are smaller than Epson, typically topping out around 12 x 18 inches even on higher end models.

For basic home and home office needs, both brands will handle all the essential paper types and lengths. But Epson’s wider range gives them the advantage for accommodating oversized projects and professional graphic design work.

Printer Types

Epson offers a broader range of printer types compared to Brother. This gives buyers more choices when selecting the right model for their specific needs.

Epson printer types include:

  • Inkjet printers – consumer, professional and industrial
  • Laser printers – single function and MFP
  • All-in-one printers
  • Photo printers
  • Label printers
  • POS printers
  • Large format printers
  • 3D printers

Brother printers consist primarily of:

  • Inkjet all-in-ones
  • Monochrome laser printers
  • Color laser printers
  • Multifunction printers
  • Mobile printers

For most home offices, Brother offers a sufficient lineup. But Epson provides far more diversity for specialized business printing applications.

Key Features

Beyond the major categories discussed above, there are some other important features to compare that may sway the decision between Epson and Brother for certain users:

Cartridge-Free Printing

Epson’s EcoTank line uses an ultra high-capacity ink tank system that provides thousands of pages worth of ink without needing to change cartridges. This both lowers printing costs and reduces waste over time.

ADF Capacity

Brother all-in-one printers tend to have larger automatic document feeder capacities, such as up to 50 or 70 pages. This allows scanning and copying of larger multi-page documents.

Double-Sided Scanning

Many Brother multifunction printers offer duplex scanning, allowing both sides of a document to be scanned at once. This saves significant time when digitizing double-sided originals.

Print From USB

Brother printers generally have the ability to print directly from a USB flash drive inserted into the printer. This provides another convenient printing option.

Touchscreen Displays

Higher end Epson printers feature large touch panels for easy operation and navigation of printer menus and functions.


When weighing all of these factors, here are some key points to help decide between choosing an Epson vs Brother printer:

  • Epson offers superior photo printing quality and wider media support.
  • Brother printers tend to have lower operating costs and faster print speeds.
  • Epson provides a wider range of printer models and types.
  • Brother multifunction printers offer robust scanning features.
  • For moderate home and office duties, both brands are excellent options.
  • For specialty printing applications, Epson takes the lead.
  • For business workgroups, Epson’s higher volume capacity is preferred.

Overall, Epson holds the edge for photo printing and high-end business printing with its wide array of specialized models. But Brother printers are very competitively priced for home offices and small businesses looking for quality AIOs. Assessing your specific printing needs is key to determining if Epson or Brother printers present the better choice.