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What's the better option - an ink tank printer or regular printer with ink cartridges?

Wondering if an ink tank printer might be right for you given your needs?  Then you've come to the right place.  We created this guide to highlight the pros and cons of ink tank printers versus traditional printers with ink cartridges. The choice between ink tank and ink cartridge printers depends on how often you print, your budget for initial purchase versus long-term costs, and your specific printing needs. Both systems have their unique advantages and are tailored to different user requirements.  Here's a comprehensive comparison based on several sources:

Ink Tank Printers


1. **Cost-Effectiveness Over Time**: Ink tank printers are more economical in the long term, potentially saving up to 80% of ink costs compared to cartridges

2. **Higher Page Yield**: They can print between 5,000 to 7,000 pages before needing a refill, offering a lower cost per print

3. **Environmentally Friendly**: Less waste is produced as ink tanks are refillable, not replaced

4. **Quality and Efficiency**: Ink tank printers tend to offer high-quality printing, especially for color prints, and are less likely to dry out or clog compared to cartridge printers


1. **Higher Initial Cost**: The initial purchase price of ink tank printers is typically higher

2. **Not Ideal for Infrequent Use**: For those who print less often, the large volume of ink in tanks might be underutilized and could eventually dry out

Ink Cartridge Printers


1. **Lower Upfront Cost**: Cartridge printers usually have a lower initial purchase price

2. **Simplicity and Convenience**: They are often easier to set up and maintain, especially for infrequent users

3. **High-Quality Prints**: Cartridge printers are noted for their excellent print quality, particularly for photo printing


1. **Higher Long-Term Costs**: The ongoing cost of replacing cartridges can be high, making them less economical over time

2. **Lower Page Yield**: Cartridges typically offer lower page yields compared to ink tanks, which can be a disadvantage for frequent printing

Making the Right Choice

The decision between an ink tank and an ink cartridge printer largely depends on your printing needs:

- **For Frequent Printing**: Ink tank printers are more suitable due to their lower cost per page and higher page yield, making them ideal for heavy usage

- **For Infrequent Printing**: Ink cartridge printers might be a better choice due to their lower initial cost and suitability for less frequent use

Still not sure what is right for you?  Drop us a note via our online contact us form - we'd be happy to help you with your decision.

About William Elward

Founder of Castle Ink, William Elward has 20 years experience in the printer industry. He's been featured on CNN Money, Yahoo, PC World, Computer World, and other top publications and frequently blogs about printers and ink cartridges. He's an expert at diagnosing printer issues and has published guides to fixing common printer issues across the internet. A graduate of Bryant University and Columbia's Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program, he's held various leadership positions at The College Board, Bankrate, Zocdoc, and Everyday Health. Follow him on Twitter at William Elward's Twitter Profile