Ink Tank Vs Ink Cartridge | What is An ink tank & Cartridge

Ink tank and ink cartridge printers have their own qualities and setbacks. Which one to buy is the real question. It requires a lot of homework to get the right one for your home, office, or any workspace. We cannot argue whether the ink tank printer is better or the ink cartridge, but we can indeed decide which is the right one for us.

I have compiled this article on ink tank Vs. ink cartridge so that you can be in a better mental state to decide which one suits you best.

Ink Tank Vs Ink Cartridge/Inkjet

The main difference between an ink cartridge and an ink tank is running cost, quality of printing, buying expense of the printers, and maintenance cost. The ink tank comes with built-in containers in the printers individually. On the other hand, ink cartridges are manufactured separately from the printer itself. The buying cost of an inkjet printer is low and the running cost is high because you need to replace the cartridges whereas the ink tank printers are expensive to buy but their running cost is affordable.

Ink Tank Vs Ink Cartridge

The print quality of the ink cartridges is more smooth and clear than the ink tank printers. The ink tanks are air-tightened thus there will be fewer chances of ink drying and can be used in the long run to print high-volume documents. On the other hand, ink cartridges contain less capacity for the ink and more chances of ink drying that cannot be used in the long run.

What Is Ink Tank

As the name suggests, ink tank printers use ink in bulk that is stored in a refillable tank. The ink tank provides a consistent supply of ink to be sprayed through print nozzles to form a document. These printers with ink tanks lack inbuilt print heads. The ink tanks can be filled or refilled by swiping the blue cover over the top of the ink tanks. They are also called continuous ink supply printers.

Ink Tank Pros And Cons

Cost-Effective And Low Running Cost

Ink tank printers have taken the lead due to their low ongoing cost. Unlike the inkjet printer, ink tank printers come with a large tank even up to 70ml that you fill with ink. One refill will yield a large number of pages which reduces the running cost. For instance, you can get 6000 to 7000 printed pages on one refill.

No Case Of Ink Drying

Unlike the ink cartridge printers, the ink in the ink tank printers remains fresh throughout due to the airtight tubes. That is why you can use the in-tank printers for occasional printing. With the cartridge printer, you have to keep the printer constantly running to prevent the ink in the cartridge from drying out. Therefore, the ink tank printer is the best for occasional home use.

Lower Maintainance

Another good thing about the ink tank printer is that it requires low maintenance. Keeping this printer by your side isn’t a hassle at all because you don’t have to worry about replacing the cartridge regularly. The tank keeps the ink and supplies it to the cartridge through a tube for functioning, therefore there are no chances of ink drying.

Ink Tank Pros And Cons


High Upfront Cost

The biggest issue with the ink tank printer is that it comes with higher upfront costs. These printers are more expensive than the inkjet printers that use cartridges. You might give up on the idea of buying an ink tank printer if you have an extremely tight budget. However, ink tank printers will have a low ongoing cost in the long run.

What Is a Cartridge

A cartridge is simply a container that contains ink for an ink cartridge printer. The ink cartridge consists of multiple ink containers having CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, yellow, and key black) that are to be sprayed on the paper to form a document. The cartridges contain an inbuilt print head that applies ink directly onto the document. Either they can be replaced or refilled.

Ink Cartridge Printer Pros And Cons

Ink Cartridge Printer Is Inexpensive

The best thing about the ink cartridge printer is that it is less expensive to purchase. Although the running cost might be a bit higher, you don’t have to think a hundred times before buying it. In addition to that, the ink cartridge provides a high page yield which makes it extremely practical. A little maintenance can keep your printer running for a long time.

Ink Cartridge Printer Is Suitable For Light Printing

An ink cartridge is better than a toner cartridge as it is affordable and can be used for low-volume printing. Therefore, you can get an ink cartridge printer for home or light office use. Moreover, they are easy to refill and replace. You can easily find ink cartridges from reliable companies compatible with your printer.

High-Quality Printing

Most people prefer ink cartridge printers over any other printer including ink tank printers because of the top quality text document they produce. It is because the cartridges are manufactured by the companies that manufacture the printer. Also, these cartridges hold high-quality ink which results in high-quality text or photo documents. They can produce smooth photos on any type of paper including glossy, matte, thin, fine art paper, and thick papers.

Ink Cartridge Printer


More Maintenance And Expensive Cartridge Replacement

Although the ink cartridge printer costs less than the ink tank, the ongoing cost is much more. As the cartridge needs regular maintenance and consistent replacement, these printers will cost you a lot. Also, you need to take extra care of the ink cartridge to prevent the ink inside from drying up too quickly.


Is the Ink tank printer better or an inkjet?

You cannot entirely decide whether an ink tank is better or an inkjet. However, if you don’t want to strain your pockets, then you should get your hands on the ink tank printer. It is because the ink tank printers come with a tank that provides a constant supply of ink to the cartridge. The inkjet printer provides crisp quality printouts, while the ink tank has a lower running cost.

You can check the comparison of sublimation ink vs pigment ink

Which printer is less expensive?

In terms of initial cost, you will find the ink tank printers less expensive to purchase. However, they have a higher running cost because of high maintenance. You need to replace the cartridge regularly because the ink present in them tends to dry out quickly, which affects the performance of your printer.

What is the difference between an ink tank printer and an ink cartridge printer?

The main difference between both printers arises in the ink reservoir. As the name suggests, the ink tank printer comes with a huge tank that holds the ink for the printer and can be refilled. On the other hand, the ink cartridge printer uses cartridges containers that keep the ink that is to be sprayed on the paper to form a document.

Final Thoughts

The battle between an ink tank and an ink cartridge printer has never been won by any because each has its own set of pros and cons. Ink tank printers are better in the long run because they require low maintenance.

Also, ink tank printers do not require regular usage to prevent the ink from drying out. On the other hand, the ink cartridge printers are less expensive, and produce good quality documents, but have a higher running cost due to the constant cartridge replacement. This Ink Tank Vs. Ink Cartridge’s article will help you find the one suitable for you.


  • Hello, Beautiful People. I'm Olivia and I'll be guiding you on how-to tutorials and guides. I am a mommy of two little angles. My kids are also interested in DIY, Arts & Crafts. So I'm here to serve you some of my previous experience.