Differences Between Printer Ink Tanks & Cartridges

By Steven Symes

The wide array of print technology that has evolved over the years gives consumers more choices when it comes to buying a printer. One difference in printer cost has to do with ink tanks versus cartridges.

Ink Tanks

Ink tanks are containers of ink in the printer that do not have a built-in print head. These are commonly found in Epson, Cannon, and Brother branded printers.

Print Cartridges

Print cartridges are ink containers that incorporate a built-in print head. HP, Lexmark, Dell, and Philips are prominent examples of companies that use print cartridges.

Cost Differences

In general, print cartridges are more expensive because of the cost of producing print heads that must be replaced each time the ink runs out.

Recycling Concerns

Print cartridges can be recycled, while ink tanks are not in general recycled.

Performance Differences

No differences in print quality have been shown to be attributable to the use of print cartridges versus ink tanks.