Epson WorkForce Pro WF-7840 Wireless Wide-Format All-in-One Printer

The Epson WorkForce Pro WF-7840 ($299.99) multifunction inkjet prints beautifully on wide-format pages up to supertabloid size (13 by 19 inches). A replacement for the WorkForce WF-7720 we reviewed back in 2018, the WF-7840 also copies, scans, and faxes two-sided tabloid-size (11-by-17-inch) pages. Unfortunately, it’s more expensive to use than a few competitors, including the Editors’ Choice–winning Brother MFC-J6945DW and HP OfficeJet Pro 7740, but those two wide-format all-in-one (AIO) machines can’t handle supertabloid-size pages. If you need the larger format, the premium cost per page is worth paying, and you’ll get some very nice prints for your money.


Smaller and Mightier

The WF-7840 is part of a recent refresh of five WorkForce Pro models, which includes the slightly lower-end WF-7820 ($250). For the $50 price difference, you get a second 250-sheet paper cassette, which is a big productivity boost for medium-size offices that do higher-volume printing or print on multiple types of media. Each drawer in the WF-7840 can hold up to 10 #10 envelopes or 50 sheets of photo paper.

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-7840 input trays

The primary difference between the WF-7820 and WF-7840 is that the latter has a second 250-sheet paper tray.

At 13.8 by 20.3 by 17.7 inches (HWD) and 45.4 pounds, the WF-7840 stands slightly taller, and it’s about 5.5 pounds heavier than its WF-7820 sibling. Epson also makes a wide-format bulk-ink AIO, the WorkForce ET-16500, that’s a little bigger and heavier than the WF-7840.

HP’s OfficeJet Pro 7740 is similar in size, capacity, volume ratings, and features. Brother’s brawny MFC-J6945DW is a bit bigger and around 8 pounds heftier. Canon’s closest competitor to the business-oriented WF-7840 is the Pixma TS9520 Wireless Inkjet All-In-One, a tabloid-size, photo-centric AIO that was on PCMag’s 2019 Best of the Year list; it’s much smaller and lighter than the WF-7840.

All these AIOs come with scanners, and, in this price range, automatic document feeders (ADFs) for sending multipage documents to the scanner are standard. All except the Pixma TS9520 can scan and copy tabloid-size pages. The WF-7840, WF-7820, and MFC-J6945DW have 50-page, single-pass, auto-duplexing ADFs; the OfficeJet Pro 7740’s ADF holds 35 sheets. 

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-7840 automatic document feeder

A 50-page single-pass, auto-duplexing ADF sends one- and two-sided multipage documents to the scanner.

The Pixma TS9520’s manual-duplex ADF, on the other hand, holds a mere 20 pages, only goes up to legal size (8.5 by 14 inches), and requires you to manually flip a stack of two-sided pages so the second side can be scanned.

The Epson ET-16500’s 35-sheet ADF supports automatic two-sided scanning up to tabloid-size, but unlike the others discussed here, it’s a reverse-duplexing ADF. Single-pass ADFs scan both sides simultaneously. Reverse-duplexing ADFs scan one side, pull the paper back in, flip it, and scan the other side. The reverse method is more complex, entailing more steps and possible points of failure.

Paper handling and overall input capacity on the WF-7840 are impressive. It holds up to 550 sheets divided among two 250-sheet cassettes up front and a 50-sheet multipurpose tray that pulls up and out from the back. The only competitor that holds more paper is the MFC-J6945DW, which has a 100-sheet multipurpose tray.

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-7840 split paper trays

The two cassettes and multipurpose tray are flexible and efficient for printing on multiple kinds of media.

The OfficeJet Pro 7740 holds 500 sheets in two 250-sheet drawers, and the Pixma TS9520 supports just 200 sheets, with 100 in the front cassette and 100 in the back tray.

The WF-7840 has a maximum monthly duty cycle of 50,000 pages and suggested monthly volume of 2,500. That’s 20,000 and 1,000 prints higher, respectively, than the MFC-J6945DW and the OfficeJet Pro 7740, and 30,000 pages higher than the Epson ET-16500. Canon no longer publishes duty cycle or recommended volume ratings for its consumer-grade printers.


Inviting Interfaces

You can configure and initiate walk-up functions—such as multipage two-sided copies, scanning to or printing from USB thumb drives, and much more—from the WF-7840’s spacious control panel. Several buttons launch specific tasks, a 12-key number pad is used for dialing or typing numbers, and a 4.3-inch color touch screen gives easy access to functions and configuration options.

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-7840 control panel

A busy but comfortable and efficient control panel, anchored by a 4.3-inch color touch screen.

You can make configuration changes, monitor consumables, print usage reports, and do just about everything else from the built-in web portal.

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-7840 web portal

A built-in web portal lets you configure, monitor, generate and print usage and other reports, and more—all from your PC’s or mobile device’s browser.

The WF-7840 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.

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-7840 rear ports

Standard interfaces include Ethernet 10/100, Wi-Fi 802.11 /b/g/n/a/ac, USB 2.0, and Wi-Fi Direct.

You can also print from and scan to USB thumb drives via the port located on the front of the chassis, next to the output tray, outlined in red in the image below.

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-7840 USB input

Print from and scan to USB thumb drives via a port located to the left of the output tray.

Mobile devices can access the printer through Apple AirPrint, Mopria, and the Epson Connect suite of utilities: Epson Email Print, Epson Remote Print, Epson Smart Panel App, Epson iPrint App, and Creative Print App. Most of these work on both iOS and Android. Smart Panel App, the newest of the lot, replaces the two scanner interface apps typically bundled with Epson’s WorkForce Pro AIOs, Epson Scan 2 and ScanSmart, and seems to be intended as a remote-control panel for your smartphone or tablet. I installed it on my Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone and fooled around with it for a while, but the jury is still out as to how useful it is.

Epson Smart Panel app

The Smart Panel App lets you control the AIO from your smartphone or tablet.

Fast Print Speeds for Its Class

Epson rates the WF-7840 at 25 monochrome pages per minute (ppm), which is good for a midrange business-oriented AIO. 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 printing several copies of our 12-page Microsoft Word text document and then averaged the results.

(Note that I conducted these speed tests with letter-size test pages. Multiplying the letter-size test results by 2 should give you reasonably accurate tabloid print speeds. Supertabloid pages will take slightly longer than tabloid pages.)

The WF-7840 churned out the 12-page text document at an average speed of 27.5ppm. That’s a whopping 13.1ppm faster than its predecessor, the WF-7720, 7ppm faster than the Brother MFC-J6945DW, and 3.9ppm faster than the HP OfficeJet Pro 7740. Canon’s Pixma TS9520 managed a meager 13.4ppm on our simple text document test, while Epson’s own ET-16500 came in at 4.7ppm, significantly behind that. 

See How We Test PrintersSee How We Test Printers

I then timed the WF-7840 as it printed our suite of colorful and complex graphics-laden test business documents. The collection includes Adobe Acrobat PDFs with different typefaces at mixed sizes, weights, and colors, Microsoft Excel spreadsheets with accompanying charts and graphs, and PowerPoint handouts full of business artwork, gradient backgrounds, and a few other complex features designed to push color printers to their limits. 

After combining these scores with the results from printing the previous 12-page text document, I came up with 12ppm for printing our entire collection of 26 test document pages. This score outpaced the WF-7720 by 4.7ppm. It also beat the OfficeJet Pro 7740 by 2.3ppm, the ET-16500 by 7.6ppm, and the Pixma TS9520 by 7.3ppm, and basically tied with the MFC-J6945DW.

Epson doesn’t promote the WF-7840 as a photo printer, but the PrecisionCore printheads featured in its WorkForce and WorkForce Pro machines do a better than decent job at reproducing most images. I ran our standard photo speed test, consisting of printing two brightly colored and highly detailed 4-by-6-inch snapshots, several times. The WF-7840 averaged 24 seconds per image. Inkjet machines have a wide range on this test, from as quick as 7 seconds to more than a minute. We consider any score under 60 seconds more than acceptable.


PrecisionCore Precision Output

Like all WorkForce Pro printers, this one features Epson’s PrecisionCore Heat-Free printheads. Ink chips with small, dense, and tightly clustered nozzles produce above-average detail and color accuracy. Almost all inkjet printers render respectable-looking output these days, but few outperform PrecisionCore, especially when closely inspected for imperfections.

The WF-7840’s text is near-typesetter quality down to the tiniest font we test (4 points), which is well above acceptable for most business document output and rivals the product of business laser printers. Also, the full-page graphics and handout pages came out with no readily perceptible ink-distribution flaws. Colors were accurate, there were no unattractive color shifts, and fine details, such as hairlines thinner than 1 point, came out unbroken and well-delineated from end to end. Photographs looked great too. The WF-7840 supports borderless output for photos and documents up to tabloid size, lending them a professional appearance.


No Ink Discount Incentives

Wide-format printers used to be expensive to buy and to use, but a few years ago, we started seeing inkjet models like Epson’s WF-7000 series, Brother’s MFC-J6000 and MFC-J5000 series, and HP’s OfficeJet Pro 7000 models for just under $300. (It’s still challenging to find a wide-format laser AIO, especially one that prints color, for less than $1,000.) Some models, such as Epson’s ET-16500 and Brother’s MFC-J6945DW, also support bulk ink for reduced per-page costs. Unfortunately, the WF-7840 isn’t one of them.

Epson WorkForce Pro WF-7840 ink cartridges

The WF-7840 uses your standard expensive-per-page ink cartridges, with no bulk-ink option.

If you buy the highest-yield ink cartridges for this machine at Epson’s MSRPs, monochrome pages will run you about 3.3 cents each, and color pages cost around 11.3 cents apiece. HP’s OfficeJet Pro 7740, which isn’t Instant Ink–compatible, is a little better at 2.1 cents for black pages and 8.1 cents for color. The Canon TS9520’s running costs can’t be calculated precisely but are close to twice that high. 

Epson’s ET-16500 EcoTank printer prints both monochrome and color pages for under 1 cent each. It sells for more than three times than the WF-7840, but if your monthly print and copy volume is over about 500 pages, you’ll make up the difference—the more you print, the better the value. The MFC-J6945DW and other Brother INKvestment Tank AIOs print black pages for just under 1 cent each and color prints for slightly under 5 cents.

We’re talking pieces of pennies here, but when your print volume is high, cost differences add up. Say that you print the WF-7820’s suggested volume of 2,500 pages each month; the 3-cent difference between its monochrome prints and the ET-16500’s 0.3-cent pages will cost you $75 per month, $900 each year, and $4,500 over five years. That makes up the initial purchase price difference between these two machines five or six times.

Price obviously isn’t the only consideration, and the ET-16500’s slow print speed and other shortcomings make it less attractive than the WF-7840 on several fronts. But when you’re running a small business on a shoestring budget, costing out paper and ink for your office’s printing volume over the printer’s expected lifespan is a good idea before you let yourself be seduced by a low up-front price tag.


A Great Choice for Low-Volume Supertabloid Printing

Unlike standard letter-size AIOs and their multitude of options, including several different solutions for purchasing paper and ink, wide-format machines don’t yet offer many ways to hold consumable costs down. There are no bulk-ink printers that can handle the 13-by-19-inch supertabloid page size. Epson is the only manufacturer to offer supertabloid printing in this class of business-oriented inkjet printers, and the extra paper cassette makes the WF-7840 much more appealing than the WF-7820.

The WF-7840 is an excellent wide-format machine with a robust business-oriented feature set, including a lot of capacity, good volume ratings, and borderless tabloid printing. A second printer for everyday letter-size output might be a good companion for it if you want to keep costs down on that front, but even if your print and copy volume is high, this solid AIO may be your best option for oversize prints.

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