Ink tank vs Ink Cartridge | Comparison, Pros & Cons

When choosing a printer for home use, this is very important to distinguish between an ink tank and ink cartridges. This article is all about the comparison between both and intends to deliver the followings:

  • A detailed comparison between ink tanks & ink cartridges
  • Which one is best for regular use and which suits the need of infrequent users?
  • Which has a higher print speed?
  • What to avoid?
  • What people are preferring and why?

Let’s move on!

Ink Tank

An ink tank is a form of consumable used by inkjet printers to make prints. It works by spraying the liquid inks on the paper to visualize the characters. An inkjet printer with an ink tank has refillable tanks which means that you can refill the liquid inks when they run out.

Inkjet printers with ink tank / super tank are effective to make a printout of images or any documents with a lot of visual content.

Reasons to choose ink tank

These are the reason why someone should go for an inkjet printer with ink tanks

  • Ink Tank printers are affordable compared to laser printers.
  • Suitable for both small offices and home users.
  • Maintainance is easier compared to the other types of printers.
  • Printing costs are low compared to ink cartridges.
  • Good for images since the liquid inks create more vibrant images.
  • Environment friendly since the ink bottles is re-used for an infinite time.
  • Some people also found these printers useful for printing ID cards with the Dye-Sublimation method.

Negative sides of Ink Tank printers

  • Print speed is slower than ink cartridges.
  • Not suitable for thin papers because liquid inks are visible from the alternative side.
  • Printouts are not waterproof and cannot resist UV rays.

Ink Cartridges

Ink cartridges are powder forms of ink used by inkjet printers to make printouts. Ink cartridges are not refillable and recyclable by the users. However, there are some organizations that collect empty ink cartridges and reproduce them which are not the manufacturers’ standard always.

Reason to choose ink cartridges

These are the reasons that motivate users to purchase inkjet printers with ink cartridges.

  • Allows both black & color prints with multiple print qualities (at least 300 DPI)
  • No risk of ink lickage
  • Ink doesn’t fade away
  • some inks are waterproof and UV resistant
  • Suitable for larger print volume per day
  • print speed is higher than the ink tanks
  • Maintenance is easier

Negative sides of ink cartridges

  • Inks are expensive
  • Empty cartridges are not re0usable & re-fillable
  • The lack of one color cartridge distorts image quality
  • some printers require time to get warm-up

Cost Comparison (Ink tank vs ink cartridges)

We have tested two different printers from both HP & Canon and here’s what we have got!

Ink Cartridge (HP) Ink Tank (Canon Pixma)
Black Page Yield 1,140 pages 5,415 pages
Color page Yield 744 pages 4,790 pages
Black Print Cost 0.029 USD per print 0.003 USD per print
Color Print Cost 0.086 USD per print 0.008 USD per print
Print Speed 24 PPM 15 PPM

Ink tank vs Ink Cartridge

Which one is better?

Buying a printer is always a tricky decision. From this experience, I can conclude that infrequent users should always prefer to buy an inkjet printer with an Ink Tank since there would be two options to make both black & color prints.

Maybe cartridges are still preferable to some users but ink cartridges make printers difficult to use always. The cost of using ink cartridges keeps higher day by day so it is always better to look for both in a single printer.

Top Tips

Almost every printer has an option of eco printing mood which reduces the ink and saves your cost. In case of printing drafts or something not official, always use the eco print mode to bring the print cost down.

If you can afford two printers, consider buying a monochromic printer like Lexmark which helps in bringing down the black printing cost significantly. While purchasing an ink tank printer, closely look at which one offers a drip-free bottle that reduces the risk of dripping & wastage.

If you need a cheaper printer, go for an ink tank printer otherwise budget needs to be bigger to afford others. Look at our printer buying guide to get more insights & tips on buying printers.

Ethan Robert
Ethan Robert

Hi, I'm Ethan.

After graduating from the University of North Dakota, I started knowing the CNC and that becomes my passion.

Earlier, I had fascination of 3d printers, Laser cutters and other CNC machines. Later on, I started analyzing those machine and started blogging on my known things by a different way.

I aim to assist you with the insights of 3d printer, laser engravers and computer printers with the help that you save your money and take the right decision before you purchase any machine.

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One comment

  1. Oh, you were such a genius for revealing that ink cartridges are much simpler to maintain. I’ve been looking for a better way to prolong the lifespan of my office printer for quite some time now. Alright then, I’m gonna keep an eye on this option when I buy some supplies for the appliance later.

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