Traditional Ink Cartridges vs. Ink Tank Printers

 cartridge printer vs ink tank printer

The main differences between ink tank printers and traditional cartridge printers resides in one simple fact: how each one stores the ink it will use to print out your documents. An ink tank printer doesn’t have a built-in print head, instead, it uses separate tanks for each of the three colours: magenta, yellow, and cyan, plus one more for black ink, which delivers the stored ink directly to the printer.

On the other hand, ink cartridge printers do have a built-in print head on each cartridge, which are shaped like boxes that contain ink in its liquid form. Cartridges are usually manufactured separately, as independent parts of the printer, although they must be placed inside of it to perform the actual printing.

There are two main types of cartridge printers. One uses only a single cartridge that contains the three colours plus black, and the other which uses separate cartridges for each colour as well as black. The benefit of the second option, with its individual cartridges, is that if one of them runs out of ink, you can easily replace only that colour cartridge and continue printing, whereas, with the one cartridge option, you have to replace all of the colours even if only one of them has run out.

a person refilling ink in an ink tank printer

The Pros And Cons Of An Ink Tank Printer

One of the benefits of a cartridge printer vs. an ink tank printer is in the amount of money you will have to spend initially as compared to how much you can save over the long run. Keep in mind that the cost of any printer will be offset by how much it costs to print a single document. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of ink tank printers:


  • The cost of printing a single document is cheaper, which makes it more cost-effective when you have to print large quantities.
  • Ink tanks can be refilled and reused, which saves money in the long run and is better for the environment.
  • Because of the way it is served in the printer, the ink in the tanks is not as likely to dry out as is the case with traditional cartridges.
  • Depending on the brand, an ink tank printer can print up to 7,000 pages between refills, something cartridges can’t do.


  • The initial cost of an ink tank printer is typically more than that of a traditional cartridge printer.
  • If you don’t use your printer frequently, the ink in the tanks could dry up, clogging the tanks and other parts of your printer.
  • They can be tricky to refill.

The Pros And Cons Of Traditional Ink Cartridges

It would seem that the cost of a traditional ink cartridge printer is lower than that of an ink tank printer, but don’t let that be the deciding factor when looking to buy a new printer. Here are the pros and cons of traditional ink cartridges:


  • Traditional ink cartridge printers are typically less expensive than their ink tank counterparts.
  • They are perfect for people who don’t print many documents or only do it sporadically.
  • They are a great option if you don’t want to spend too much upfront on a printer.
  • Changing ink cartridges is fairly simple and doesn’t make a mess.


  • The cost of printing a single document is much higher than with an ink tank printer.
  • Ink cartridges can only print 300 to 1,000 pages before they need to be changed.
  • If not used for a while, the ink in the cartridges dries out and you will have to replace it.

 ink cartridges in a printer

Which Printer Is Best: Ink Tank Or Cartridge?

The best printer is the one that suits your needs the most. When choosing the printer you want to buy, keep in mind the number of documents you habitually require, as well as how often you will be using your new printer. If you’re looking to save money, printer rentals are a cost-effective option for small business owners and those who work from home.

With over 35 years of experience, offers ink and toner replacements and refills, as well as printing paper for your everyday business needs. Don’t hesitate to contact Busys today to learn more about whether an ink tank printer or traditional cartridge printer is best for you.

Start printing services today

Get a free on-site consultation!



Thanks for Reaching Out!

We’re thrilled to hear from you. One of our colleagues will get back to you shortly.

Have a great day!


As a thank you to all of our customers, is offering 20,000 FREE black & white prints and a $300 FREE VISA card on any NEW copier that you lease or purchase.

To claim your promotional offer, request your no-obligation online quote by clicking here!

Printers For Professionals -
Multifunction Printers & Copiers -