Published on:
December 26, 2022

Ink Printers: Cartridge vs Ink Tank Printers

A printing machine is a peripheral machine that creates a persistent representation of visuals or text, typically on paper. Printers are classified into four types: 3D printers, inkjet printers, laser printers, and thermal printers. People either spend time and effort going to the local store to get their printing done, or portable desktop printers have existed as home printing solutions. Ink tanks have recently been used to replace regular ink cartridges.

Ink cartridges

Ink cartridges are small containers with an inbuilt print head on each cartridge, which are shaped like boxes that contain ink in its liquid form. These are manufactured separately to the printer, but are stored within a specialized compartment, suitable only for compatible compartments. Some printers require a single cartridge that contains black, magenta, yellow, and cyan ink, whereas some printers use separate cartridges for each colour. The advantage of having a separate cartridge for each colour is that if one of them runs out of ink, we can easily replace ONLY that colour cartridge, whereas if the printer has a single cartridge, we must replace all of them even if one of them runs out of ink. Original printer cartridge yield is measured in accordance with an international standard. The cartridges include high-quality ink and suitable containers, resulting in excellent printing. Traditional cartridge printers, however, are not the best choice for occasional printing since the ink may dry up rapidly.

HP printer ink cartridge

Ink tanks

Ink tanks also known as integrated bulk ink systems do not contain an inbuilt print head like ink cartridges. Instead, they use an integrated bulk ink system which means that the printer ink is supplied continuously to the printer from the printer's built-in ink tanks. This eliminates the need to refill ink tanks. There is no problem with third party manufacturing because an integrated bulk ink system is a standard feature. The best print quality is achieved because each ink tank is specifically designed for the printer.

HP ink tank printer

Differences between ink cartridges and ink tanks printers

Point of differentiation

Ink cartridges vs Ink tanks


They are ink containers with an inbuilt print head. These cartridges are small boxes of liquid ink, which are made independently of the printer, but placed within the printer for printing. Examples- HP ENVY photo 7822, PIXMA Home TS6060

They have no inbuilt ink print head. An integrated ink system delivers the ink directly to the printer. For example-Epson Expression ET-2750


Colour printers come with one large black cartridge along with three colour cartridges (cyan, magenta and yellow). These cartridges need to be replaced when they run out.

Ink tank cartridges have individual colour ink tanks. These tanks hold a capacity of 70 ml of ink and do not run out of ink.

Number of prints

On an average, they can print 300–400 pages with a single cartridge.

They can print a maximum of 1000 pages or more.

Print Quality

They can print on various kinds of printing paper and even on some fabrics without any difficulty.

They offer a variety of services, including the printing of documents, projects, posters, etc. They might not be the best for printing photographs.


The cost of traditional cartridge printers is lower in comparison to ink tank printers. However, the cost of replacing cartridges is expensive.

The cost of ink tank printers is expensive. The cost of refilling ink bottles is high since continuous ink supply is integrated into ink tank printers.


There would be no apparent winner if a person had to select between an ink tank printer and an ink cartridge printer. This is because the printer chosen should be completely based on usage and requirements. Those who want significant volumes of colour print, for example, might choose ink tank printers, whilst those who just need occasional printing may consider ink cartridge printers. The ideal printer is one that meets our requirements. When selecting a printer, we must consider the sort of papers we will print on and how frequently we will use it.


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Updated on:
March 10, 2023