Epson WorkForce 40 review

by Reads (15,652)
  • Pros

    • Light weight, compact
    • Easy to set up, simple to use
    • Good features for a single function printer

  • Cons

    • Build quality a bit flimsy
    • Paper jams, half prints


We know that not everyone is looking for a do-it-all printer.  Some homes simply need a compact, reliable printer for everyday jobs that doesn’t cost several hundred dollars.

We decided to test the single function WorkForce 40 to see if you can get quality at a reduced price.

WorkForce 40 Specifications

  • Print speeds: up to 38 ppm (in draft mode)
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and Ethernet capability
  • Energy efficient (compared to a laser printer)
  • Individual ink cartridges for easy replacement
  • One year warranty

The Basics

One of the big draws for a printer like the WorkForce 40 is definitely its size: its dimensions are 17.1″ x 9.8″ x 6.3″ and it weighs under nine lbs.  When the WorkForce 40 is printing it takes slightly more room at 17.1″ x 21.9″ x 12.5″.

The outside of the printer is done in all black with a silver stripe and the Epson logo on the front door.

The top of the printer flips open to the inside of the machine for loading ink cartridges.  This door is a little flimsy; I had it pop out when I was removing the packaging tape.

The rear tray is also located on the top of the printer – this is where you insert the paper. 

There is a small control panel to the left consisting of five status lights/buttons: two network and three printing status lights/buttons.

The output tray can be found on the front of the WorkForce 40.  It extends out about 12” from the printer base.

You’ll find the USB and Ethernet ports on the back of the printer; this is where the power cable is connected as well.

Setting up the WorkForce 40

I’ve never had a problem setting up an Epson printer and the WorkForce 40 was no exception.  The quick start guide is a simple, step for step guide including ink cartridge installation, loading paper and downloading drivers.

The driver and software CD will allow users to do a custom install and I would almost always recommend taking this option.  For instance, many users wouldn’t need a copy of ArcSoft Print Creations because they don’t need or want to do creative projects with the WorkForce 40.

 If you decide to set the WorkForce 40 up on a network, there is a separate network installation guide to help less tech savvy users through the process.

The whole process takes less than five minutes if you choose to set up the printer with a USB connection.  Setting up the print with a network connection takes a tad longer but can be accomplished in under ten minutes and is pretty painless other than making sure the printer is located next to the network router.  If you choose a wireless connection, after the installation is complete you can move the printer anywhere the network is available.

Ease of use

Every time I use a single function printer like the WorkForce 40, I’m reminded that sometimes simple is better, especially for the less tech savvy.

This printer is super simple to use.  Flip up the rear tray, load the correct media for the print job and pull down the output tray.  Then hit print.  If the printer is out of ink or paper an error message will pop up on your computer screen and a signal light will flash (the lights correspond with one of five buttons).

If you have used an Epson product before, you will have come across the Epson Information Center software.  The WorkForce 40’s version is slightly toned down from the Artisan 800 I reviewed a few month back but still useful.  Users can find info on how to replace ink, print with strictly black ink, or movies on printing projects.

Since the information center is interactive you can also get help online support, download the latest software and buy supplies.

Printer Performance

Having reviewed several Epson products in our office, I am a big fan and have recommended the brand to family and friends.  However, the WorkForce 40 fell a little short of the usual quality I expect from Epson.

Right off the bat, I noticed that the build quality of the WorkForce 40 was in places flimsy.  Specifically, when I flipped open the top of the printer to install the ink cartridges the piece popped off.  It wasn’t broken and it took me five seconds to snap it back in place but I could see it would happen again.

Also, I had problems with the output tray jamming up which was frustrating but did not necessarily affect the actual performance.

I had no problem printing with the printer on a network but the print speeds were lacking even when I started the stopwatch after the first page out (how Epson tests print speeds).  Using the same print trial as always (38 pages of black text written in Microsoft word), the WorkForce 40 printed 22 pages per minute while in draft mode. 

The WorkForce 40 is hardly the first printer I’ve reviewed that didn’t live up to the manufacturer’s estimated print speeds.  The real problem for with the WorkForce 40 is that it printed out half pages and pushed through blank pages.  I also had to unclog more than a few paper jams. 

These kinds of problems aren’t uncommon on inkjet printers with rear loaded paper.  I’ve seen similar problems on a Canon inkjet printer that had rear loaded paper.

The WorkForce 40 was actually better at color prints and photos than it was at printing straight black and white text.  The colors were good even on normal copy paper and the photo quality was decent. 

I also appreciate color devices that split the colors into individual ink tanks.  Epson does that even on their cheaper models such as the WorkForce 40.  I definitely feel like the user gets more color for their money.

The WorkForce 40 wasn’t a total loss, though.  I found some of the features handy, including: the manual duplexing option, the black ink only option and the color control options.  All three can help a user save paper and ink over the long run which in turns saves the consumer money.  That’s always a plus.

Pros:

  • Light weight, compact
  • Easy to set up, simple to use
  • Good features for a single function printer

Cons:

  • Build quality a bit flimsy
  • Paper jams, half prints

Conclusion

The Epson WorkForce 40 has some good things going for it considering it is a $100 single function machine – Wi-Fi, manual duplexing, color controls – and I do expect some of the problems such as flimsier build quality and slower print speeds with the reduced price.

But if I was going to buy an Epson printer, I think I would spend the extra money and upgrade to the WorkForce 600.  Sure, this machine may have extra features that a user looking at a WorkForce 40 might not need but the overall quality is worth it.

And if you are in the market for a printer as of this writing, both machines are the same price!  The WorkForce 40 is priced at $129.99 and the WorkForce 600 – usually $199.99 – is only $129.99 on Epson’s website.

Pricing and Availability

The Epson WorkForce 40 is available on Epson’s website for $129.99.

High-Capacity ink for the WorkForce 40 is $16.99 a color cartridge and $19.99 for a black ink cartridge.  Looking for cheaper cartridges?  Epson offers a lower end cartridge for the WorkForce 40; only $12.34 per color cartridge and $16.99 per black ink cartridge.


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