As a small, but agile architecture office, one of the most critical things we do ‘in-house’ to review our work is printing. Since we’re not drafting everything by hand anymore, though we do sketch a lot, most of our line drawings come from the computer until they’re printed.
Throughout the years, we’ve had a large format plotters, ditto machines, and several other wide-to-large format printers. Over the past three years, we’ve finally settled on a great ink-jet printer that we’ve been very happy with, so much so that we’ve recommended it to our peers, and even purchased the same model for personal use at home.
We present to you the EPSON WF 7720. *We have NOT been paid by EPSON nor asked to write a review. We are genuinely pleased and overall very satisfied with this product and are writing our honest review to share with others.
One of the primary requirements we have of our office printers is that they be able to print up to 12”x18”. Why that size you ask? Because 99% of our projects and probably 100% of the projects within the past 5 years, print full size for construction at 24”x36”. Therefore 12”x18” makes for a nice 50% reduced drawing set that is easier to carry around, fits in our project binders, and is easy to print in house without needing a full on plotter. The WF 7720 can in fact print up to Super B, or 13”x19”.
An added benefit of the WF 7720 is that it has multiple trays. This means you can load different size paper in each of its three trays, two primary, and one in the rear for things like envelopes. We load letter size 8-1/2” x 11” in the top tray, 12”x18” in the bottom, and run envelopes in the rear as needed. In some of the older machines we’ve used over the years where we’ve had to manually switch between different sized paper, the WF 7720 saves us time.
Another major consideration for this printer is that it’s a multi-functional all-in-one machine. It can scan via tray, and traditional bed to your computer; it can fax; scan directly to USB drive or email; print from USB, print from the cloud; print from your mobile devices; etc. The benefit of scanning from the tray is that you can lay a multi-page letter document (i.e. plan check comments, structural calcs, etc.) and let it go. It can even scan (and print) 2-sided documents with ease.
Though we find the EPSON WF 7720 to be ‘as good as it gets,’ we secretly do have a wish-list for down the line. We have yet to find a printer or multi-function like it that is laser. The beauty of laser printers is not only the speed (not like we’re stuck waiting for prints anyways), but the consistency of lines. Since there’s no ink cartridge moving back and forth, laser prints tend to produce straighter and more consistent line-work.
If you’re going to be using it on a daily basis with a decent load of printing, we recommend opting for the higher-yield XL ink cartridges. There are four main cartridges, B, C, Y, M. For super heavy black and white printing, they even make a 254-XL black cartridge that's readily sold at local office supply stores. A combo pack of ink will run you just over $70 on average and will last you a good while.
While we recommend the WF 7720 and use one in the office now, our initial discovery was actually with its predecessor, the WF 7620. Both multi-function all-in-one printers are essentially the same and have the same capabilities, even sharing the same ink cartridges, but the user interface screen and keypad bar on the newer WF 7720 can hinge at an angle or lay flat against the printer.
The EPSON WF 7720 can be found at several retailers now (both online and brick-and-mortar stores) for around $200, which we consider a super steal, and amazing bang-for-the-buck.