Ink Tank Vs Ink Cartridge: Battle Of The Printers
By Simon Williams - 13th Apr 2018

With so many different printers on the market today, the everyday home user has become perplexed with the best printing solution. As such, we've decided to break down ink tanks vs ink cartridges in this short battle of two different types of cartridge solutions. Ink tank or ‘integrated bulk ink systems,’ are the latest offering from major printer suppliers. However, ink cartridges 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 revolutionise future printing, the question remains, can they outmatch traditional ink cartridges? In this battle of the printer series, 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.

Ink Tanks - The Newcomer:

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 utilise an integrated bulk ink system. This means that printer ink is supplied continuously to the printer from the printers 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.

The video below shows how easy it is to refill an ink tank.

Ink Tank Benefits:

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 colour 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 colour 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 colour 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. If you are currently shopping for an ink tank printer, you should check out our experts guide on the best ink tank printers available within Australia. We dive deep into which brand is producing the highest quality continuous ink printers and crown our king of the ink tanks.

Ink Tank Cons:

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 realise 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.

Ink Cartridges - The Veteran:

Unlike ink tanks, ink cartridges are 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 specialised compartment, suitable only for compatible cartridges.

Whenever a cartridge runs out of ink, it can either be replaced or refilled. This method of refilling ink has been used for over a decade and over the years, ink cartridges have been more efficient. The result of this delivers higher page yields and better quality printing from previous models.

The video below demonstrates how to replace and old ink cartridge:

Ink Cartridge Benefits:

Ink Cartridge Benefits: 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. You can, therefore, be sure that your cartridge from Cartridges Direct, has been manufactured according to the standards for determining monochrome and colour printer page yields.

In addition to standardised 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.
  • Standardised 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.

Ink Cartridge Cons:

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 priner. 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.

Ink Cartridge Vs Ink Tank - The Winner:

In the battle between ink tanks 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 colour 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 ink cartridge or ink tanks, be sure to consider your future printer usage. If you have any questions regarding our ink tank vs ink cartridge article, be sure to hit us up in the comments. Alternatively, why no take a look at our inkjet vs laser printers article to understand more about how these different types of printing technologies can benefit your back pockets.

Explore Popular Articles