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Are Cartridge Free Inkjet Printers Worth It?

Are Cartridge Free Inkjet Printers Worth It?

There’s a long-standing story in the tech industry that ounce for ounce, inkjet ink is worth more than gold or champagne. Replacing it is certainly expensive, which is one reason that manufacturers can get away with selling cheaper printers. It’s a little like giving away the razor so that you can charge a fortune for the blade.

It doesn’t help that a lot of this ink never makes it onto the page. Instead, it gets used up in routine inkjet maintenance, as the printer runs through regular steps to keep its printer heads clog-free.

How can you reduce the cost of your inkjet printing by buying this expensive consumable more efficiently? One approach is to avoid buying it in cartridge form.

That’s why cartridge-free inkjet printers are becoming more popular. Instead of relying on costly plastic cartridges, these printers use larger ink reservoirs that you can refill using a simple bottle of ink.

Should you consider one of these printers for your next inkjet purchase? Here are some pros and cons to bear in mind.

The Cons

  • Higher up-front cost

    Let’s start with the downsides. There aren’t many, but you’ll feel this one in your budget: These printers often cost more up-front than their cartridge-munching brethren. That’s in part because you’re getting a big tank of ink at the beginning with your printer purchase, rather than the low-capacity starter cartridges that ship with a traditional inkjet printer.
  • Potentially messy

    Ink tank refills come in bottles that you must squirt into the tanks. While manufacturers try to make this as clean as possible, there’s still a risk of mess. Get some scrap paper ready.
  • Potential clogging

    These printers support higher-volume printing, and the heads might clog if you don’t print many documents. Manufacturers take steps to make their print heads clog-free, but this might need you to keep the printer powered on or to run regular maintenance cycles.

The Pros

  • Cost

    These printers might cost you more up front, but their more economical printing saves money in the long term. For example, Epson claims that its EcoTank printers can save 90% in print costs compared to regular cartridge-based models.
  • Replacement frequency

    The five words you never want to hear when trying to print a large document are “The printer’s out of ink”. You’re less likely to hear that when using an ink tank printer because it carries more of the stuff. For example, depending on the model, an Epson EcoTank unit will carry as much ink as around 77 cartridges. That means you can keep on printing without rooting around for spare ones.
  • More sustainable

    Because you’re buying more ink per container with an ink tank printer, you don’t generate as much single-use plastic waste as you would with an inkjet cartridge. Whether you recycle these containers or not, it’s better to use as few of them as possible, which makes ink tank printers more environmentally friendly.

A cartridge-free printer might not give you the high print speeds and proven long-term reliability of a laser unit, but it might suit you if you’re a prolific printer and don’t want the expense of a laser option. Inkjet printers also offer instant-print capability compared to lasers, which must warm up due to their heat-based printing engines. Ink tanks make ink jets a more viable contender for higher-volume business environments and are worth adding to your list of candidates when making your next printer purchase.

Finding a printer that’s right for you

Whatever your business needs may be, you need printers that are up to the task. Here at Probrand, we supply a wide range of IT products to help our customers keep their technology up to date. Browse our collection of printers to explore our inkjet printers and many more.