Ink Cartridge Vs Ink Tank | Detailed Differences & Pros & Cons

Ink cartridge and ink tanks both are the types of ink supplies that an inkjet printer utilize. However, there is a significant difference in many factors between them which are how they supply ink, refill, replacement, cost per print, and the initial buying price of printers they utilize.

So today we’ll compare them and let you know the short and detailed differences between ink cartridge vs ink tank and which is better for particular purposes.

Ink Cartridge Vs Ink Tank

What Is The Difference Between An Ink Tank And An Ink Cartridge?

The main difference between inkjet and ink cartridge printers is how they store ink in the containers: Ink cartridges are small disposable plastic containers that can be replaced when the ink runs out, in contrast, ink tanks are built-in reservoirs in the printers which supply ink to the printhead to form an image. In other words, ink tanks are also known as continuous ink supply systems. They can be easily refilled when the ink runs out.

Detailed Difference Between Inkjet And Ink Tanks

Detailed Difference Between Inkjet And Ink Tanks

1. Refillable

Ink tanks offer convenience when the ink runs out, they can be easily refilled with the ink bottles without squeezing. Epson Ecotank printers are famous for refillable ink tanks. Also, they don’t have any chips which need to be reset when the ink tank is refilled.

In contrast, ink cartridges will need to be replaced when run out of ink. However, third-party ink manufacturers do provide refillable ink cartridges but they void the printer warranty and other chipset hassle is also ahead of them.

2. Visibility

Ink tanks are visible at the front of the so when the ink is running out you can easily determine and refill. Whereas the ink cartridges are not visible on the printer instead they are installed into the printer by raising the lid. So you need to check printer ink levels via your computer or the print app.

3. Replacement

The ink tanks are built-in containers in the printers so they cannot be either replaced or changed. While the ink cartridges need replacement which costs you more than the printer itself sometimes.

4. Printing Cost

The printing cost of ink cartridges for a beginner is hell expensive. Because replacement of the ink cartridges is expensive. Usually, the replacement of the ink cartridges will cost you around $80 if your printer utilizes a dual-cartridge system.

One can be the tricolor CMY and the other one is black BK. For long-term use, you will be spending more bucks on the replacement of the cartridges so your cost will go up than the initial buying price of the printer. You can check why printer ink dries out.

However, the ink tank printers don’t cost you higher in the long term. They will only need refilling of the ink and not plastic disposal which cost you more than the initial buying price. They will likely save you 80% of the cost of ink cartridges and are economical in long term. 

5. Initial Buying Price

Ink Cartridge printers are cost-effective to buy because their running cost is high. In contrast, ink tank printers have a higher buying price but they are beneficial for the long term. Now it is up to you which type of printer you want.

Whether you want to invest initially and cut down the long cost up to 80% or your budget is moderate initially and can handle the long-term high running cost.

6. Usage

If your printing tasks are on daily basis then ink tank printers are your best friends of you. Because the amount of ink they supply won’t run out quickly. Also, they are not prone to dry out and clog to the printhead as the ink cartridges are because of the more amount of ink they hold.

On the downside, if you use ink cartridges for frequent use then they will run out of ink quickly and when the ink is idle in the printer for an extended time then ink cartridges will eventually start drying out quicker than ink tanks. 

7. Page Yield

Ink tanks printers are excellent to churn out 5,000 to 7,000 pages and the cost per print will be likely under 1.5 cents. On the other side, ink cartridges don’t have the capability to churn out thousands of pages but they can only provide 300 to 500 pages. However, there are some XL and high-yield cartridges but they are out of the range of a beginner.

The amount of ink is the main reason behind the page yield difference. Ink tank printers can hold 65 to 127 ml of ink whereas ink cartridges are designed to handle 8 ml depending upon the model of the printer. It is said that ink tanks hold 30x more ink than ink cartridges.

Pros of Ink Tanks

  • Continuous ink supply system
  • Refill avail when the ink runs out
  • Yields a good number of pages before refilling
  • The cost per print of inks tanks is extremely low
  • Ink levels are visible at the front
  • Less prone to clogging and banding

Cons of Ink Tanks

  • The high buying price of the printer

Pros of ink cartridges

  • Less buying price of the printer
  • Replacement is available
  • Suitable for infrequent use
  • Easy to fill and replace
  • Less bulky
  • High-quality prints

Cons of Ink cartridges

  • Replacement is expensive

Which Is Better: An Inkjet Or an Ink Tank?

If you have a decent budget then an ink tank printer is the best option out there. Because they are affordable to run and hold more ink in the reservoirs. Refill is straightforward and less expensive which is ideal for a beginner. They are more durable than cartridges also their printhead will last long unlike cartridge printers without compromising on graphics and print quality.


Well, they both have some benefits and drawbacks too. Now it is up to you which type of printer is suitable for your printing needs. But my suggestion is to get an ink tank printer due to no hassle of replacement and long-term printing. But we cannot ignore the fact that you won’t get an ink tank printer under $200 or under $100. At least your budget should be under $300 so that you could buy the Epson Ecotank printer.


  • Ryan

    Hi, this is Ryan 27 years old. An experienced enthusiast in printing and crafting. My crafting journey started in my childhood when I and my sister Jessica used to go to school and learned crafting there. Since then, we were passionate about printing and crafting therefore, we are now here to serve our experience. We test each and everything on our own and provide authentic information. If you're concerned about any of the information on our site, you can contact us or research on your own. Warner Ryan

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