With so many different printers on the market today, the everyday home user has become perplexed with the best printing solution. As such, we have decided to break down ink tanks vs ink cartridges in this short battle of two different types of cartridge solutions.

Ink tanks or ‘integrated bulk ink systems,’ are the latest offerings from major printer suppliers. However, ink cartridges have been the staple solution for many years. Which one will come out on top?

With much buzz about ink tanks and how they are set to revolutionize future printing, the question remains, can they outmatch traditional ink cartridges? In this battle of the printer blog post, we explore ink tanks vs ink cartridges to decipher which option is best for you.

Read on to find out whether ink cartridges or ink tanks are best for your needs.

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Ink tank printers versus cartridge printers - at a glance

Criteria Ink Tank Printers Ink Cartridge Printers
Initial Cost Typically more expensive upfront. Usually less expensive initially.
Cost Per Page Lower cost per page over the long run due to refillable ink tanks. Higher cost per page due to the need to replace cartridges.
Print Quality Very good print quality, especially for high-volume printing. Excellent print quality, often particularly good for photo printing.
Maintenance Less frequent ink refills but may require more maintenance to keep ink from drying out. More frequent cartridge replacements, but typically less maintenance otherwise.
Environmental Impact Less waste produced as ink tanks are refilled, not replaced. More waste due to disposable cartridges, but many manufacturers offer recycling programs.
Best For High volume printing where cost per page is a key concern. Lower volume printing, or where highest quality photo printing is required.

Ink tank printer - the new kid on the block

black ink tank printer

Ink tanks or 'integrated bulk ink systems' are refillable ink printers that do not contain an inbuilt print head like ink cartridge printer models. Instead, they utilize an integrated bulk ink system. This means that printer ink is supplied continuously to the printer from the printer's built-in ink tank. This negates the need for replacement ink cartridges. Just simply top up the tanks with ink from genuine ink bottles.

Whilst ink tank printers can set you back a considerable amount, they pledge to provide you with big savings on your cost per page. In comparison to ink cartridges, ink tank printers the running costs of ink tank printers are said to be much lower.

Benefits of using an ink tank printer

When it comes to pros and cons of ink tanks, there are some stark differences when compared to conventional ink cartridges. To start with, printing costs from refillable ink printers are extremely low.

Continuous ink printers supply significantly lowers the cost of printing; particularly for high color photos and prints. Then, there are page yields. Ink tanks can churn out up to 6,000 to 7,000 pages from a single refill. This is considerably higher than conventional cartridges.

A final positive for ink tank printers is that there is a slightly increased quality of printing. By having an integrated bulk ink system as a standard feature, you will overcome the disadvantages of third-party manufacturing. Not to mention the risk of counterfeit printer cartridges.

All ink tanks are specifically formulated for the printer itself, leading to the very best print quality. Users of ink tanks can enjoy reliable color printing with the mess or hassle that is often associated with non-genuine refills.

In summary, the primary positives of ink tank printers are: Reduced on-going printing costs. Larger page yields per refill. Higher quality printing overall.

Should you be a regular printer of color documents, you are most likely to see the benefits of ink tanks. However, for the less frequent printer, all the positives of ink tanks are somewhat lost.

The cons of using an ink tank printer

The primary downfall of ink tank printers is the initial setup cost. When you think about how often you change your printer, you might decide that spending more upfront is a bargain should you save in the long term.

However, it can take a significant amount of time before you realize the cost savings with ink tanks. For the very casual printer, this can be anywhere between 1 to 3 years. Therefore, should you use your printer less frequently, the initial cost of an ink tank printer may not result in cost savings long term.

In fact, you would be better with an original ink cartridge printer as the overall running costs for infrequent printing are reasonable.

TL:DR - Ink tank printers in a nutshell

Aspect Details
Benefits of Using an Ink Tank Printer - Extremely low printing costs
- Lower cost for high color photos and prints
- High page yields (6,000 to 7,000 pages per refill)
- Slightly increased printing quality
- Best print quality with specifically formulated ink
- Reliable color printing without the mess or hassle
Primary Positives: Reduced ongoing costs, larger yields, higher quality
Cons of Using an Ink Tank Printer - Higher initial setup cost
- Significant time before realizing cost savings (1 to 3 years for casual printers)
- Not cost-effective for infrequent printer users

Ink cartridge printers - the grandaddy

person replacing ink cartridges on a printer

Unlike ink tanks, ink cartridgesare small containers with an inbuilt print head that is filled with liquid ink. Ink cartridges are manufactured separately to the printer, but are stored within a specialized compartment, suitable only for compatible cartridges. Whenever a cartridge runs out of ink, it can either be replaced or refilled. This process of refilling ink has been used for more than a decade and over the years, ink cartridges have become more efficient. The result of this delivers higher page yields and higher quality printing from previous printer models.

Benefits of ink cartridge printers

As tried and tested printing technology, ink cartridges have been the staple method for many years. When it comes to their benefits, genuine original printer cartridges are of the highest quality available. They are manufactured by the same company that makes the printer and are 100% compatible.

That said, most cartridges have lower printing yields when comparing ink tank vs ink cartridges. However, the yield of original printer cartridges is measured to an international standard. In addition to standardized printing yields, ink cartridge printers are typically cheaper to purchase over ink tank printers.

The cartridges also contain high-quality ink and compatible containers which lead to flawless printing. One final benefit, although trickier to install than ink tank refills is minimal mess. Until you grasp clean refilling through ink tanks, there may be some nasty stains on the edge of your printer tanks.

In summary, the primary positives of ink tank printers are: Cheaper purchasing cost. Standardized printing quality. 100% compatibility with your printer. Despite the cost benefits of your initial purchase, for those of you who print regularly, you may be better off purchasing ink tanks to save greater costs in the long-term. Let's take a look at some of the commonly known negatives of ink cartridges.

Disadvantages of using ink cartridge printers

A major downfall to ink cartridges vs ink tanks is that replacement cartridges are more expensive. Whilst the initial setup cost is lower, for regular printing, you will quickly rack up some receipts. On the other hand, for anybody who prints too infrequently, there is a risk that your printer ink will dry up.

Unlike ink tanks which have an airtight seal, stopping dried ink in motion, ink cartridges do not have this feature. As such, ink cartridges are better suited to the frequent, but not power printer user. Then, there are potential compatibility issues. Should you accidentally purchase non-genuine ink cartridges from websites such as eBay, there is a great risk that you will break your printer.

New printer technology is slowly nipping this in the bud, however, there is still a risk that your cartridge is not compatible when purchasing from illegitimate sources.

TL,DR: Ink Cartridge Printer in a Nutshell

Aspect Details
Benefits of Ink Cartridge Printers - High-quality, 100% compatible cartridges
- Lower initial purchase cost
- Standardized printing yields
- High-quality ink for flawless printing
- Minimal mess during installation
Primary Positives: Cheaper purchasing cost, standardized quality, 100% compatibility
Disadvantages of Ink Cartridge Printers - More expensive replacement cartridges
- Risk of ink drying for infrequent printers
- No airtight seal leading to dried ink
- Potential compatibility issues with non-genuine cartridges
Considerations: Better suited for frequent, moderate use

Ink tank printer versus ink cartridge printer - the victor

In the battle between ink tank vs ink cartridges, there is no clear winner. In fact, the printing system that you choose is solely dependent upon your usage and needs. For the casual printer, ink cartridges are more suitable.

This is because the initial setup costs are low and with moderate printing, recurring costs remain reasonable. However, for those of you who are constantly fetching your prints or require a high volume of color prints, ink tank printers will dramatically reduce your per-page printing costs.

While the initial cost of the equipment is significant, these costs will be quickly offset for frequent users. That said, before you purchase either an ink cartridge or ink tanks, be sure to consider your future printer usage.

Want to learn more about printer ink? Contact inkjets.comtoday!