We help you decide between an ink tank or a laser printer so you can make a smart buy for your business.
Ten years ago, you only had two types of printers to consider for your office. Inkjet printers were mainly used in home offices and laser printers were the primary printer for businesses. When ink tank printers entered the market in 2015 (a more economical kind of inkjet printer that uses ink bottles instead of cartridges) those lines became blurry. Now there are a number of ink tank printers that can hold their own against almost any laser, but deciding between the two printer types can be challenging.
In this guide, we break down the pros and cons for both…
Ink Tank Printers
Ink tank printers are the newest trend in inkjet printing and have become popular with more people working remote and rediscovering their need for a home printer again. They offer all of the same features as a traditional inkjet printer, but instead of using ink cartridges to create a print, they use ink bottles and a tank system. Similar to filling up your car with gas, you refill the built-in tank with ink when your printer is running low. Like a toner cartridge, ink bottles can create thousands of prints at low cost per page, which means you can print whatever you need without worrying too much about your budget.
- Cheap printing costs. Ink bottles are affordable and can print for thousands of pages before needing to be replaced.
- Prints a range of media in detail-rich color, including documents, photos, brochures, presentations and more
- You can find ink tank printers for a range of printing demands, including the home, office and even high volume photo prints.
- Slower print speeds. Most ink tank printers average print speed is between 5-25 ppm depending on the printer model – the cheaper the ink tank printer, the slower the print speed. Plan to be patient if you print a lot of pages.
- High upfront costs. Depending on what kind of printer you need, prices range anywhere from around $200 for a basic home printing option to over $1,000 for a heavy-duty business machine with all the bells and whistles.
- Beware of clogs. Similar to the traditional inkjet, ink tank printers will clog if they go used for a long period of time. For best results, be sure to print regularly so you keep the printhead primed.
Best Ink Tank Printers
Ink tank printers are available for all kinds of print volumes and use cases, including printers for home offices, corporate offices with weekly high-volume needs, black ink only and even an ink tank designed specifically for photo printing. We’ve included our favorites options for each printer brand below.
|Best Home Office||Best Large Office||Best B&W Only||Best for Photos|
|Functions||Print / Copy / Scan||Print / Copy / Scan / Fax||Print Only||Print / Copy / Scan|
|Technology||Ink Tank||Ink Tank||Ink Tank||Ink Tank|
|Prints in Color?||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Print Speed (Black / Color)||10 ppm / 5 ppm||24 ipm / 15.5 ipm||20 ppm||16 ppm / 12 ppm|
|Cartridge Series||Epson 522 Ink||Canon GI-26 Ink||Epson 532 Ink||Epson 552 Ink|
|Black Yield||4,500 pages||6,000 pages||6,000 pages||6,700 pages|
|Color Yield||7,500 pages||14,000||N/A||~ 6,200 pages|
Best Home Office
Epson EcoTank ET-2850 – Buy on Amazon
The EcoTank ET-2850 is a newer EcoTank printer and one of the least expensive. Designed for home offices and families that share printing duties between work and school, this is a great low cost option if you are looking for an affordable ink tank that can handle basic print jobs at high volumes. Print / copy / scan features come standard and automatic 2-sided printing makes it easy to print on both sides of the page with the push of a button. The one feature it is lacking is a fax option, but other EcoTank models, like the ET-4850 , are available if that is a feature you need. Set up and ink installation is a breeze, with the black ink bottle printing up to 4,500 pages and each color ink bottle prints up to 7,000 pages. Save more with LD’s compatible Epson 522 ink bottles, at just $6.99 each.
Best for Large Offices
Canon MegaTank Maxify GX7021 – Buy on Amazon
The MAXIFY MegaTank GX7021 is built to power your business. Yes, the printer is expensive, but it eventually will pay for itself with the savings you get from the ink bottles. Offering some of the highest yields of any ink tank, the black ink bottle prints up to 6,000 pages each color bottle prints up to 14,000 pages – that’s a cost of less than 2 cents per page! Low cost compatibles from LD Products are available for $11.99 each. The printer is fast too, reaching speeds of up to 24 ipm, a 50-sheet automatic document feeder is included and a 600-sheet paper trays ensures you can keep printing without worrying about frequent paper replacement.
Best B&W Only
Epson EcoTank ET-M1170 – Buy on Amazon
The EcoTank ET-M1170 is a solid printer for busy offices that only need to print in black. Epson designed this printer as a replacement for your typical monochrome laser printer. It uses just one Epson 532 black ink bottle that prints up to 6,000 pages and offers the standard features you would find in most laser printers, like print / scan / copy options, automatic two-sided printing and wireless printing. Printing with a compatible ink bottle is a great way to reduce your printing costs even further, available for just $8.99.
Best for Photos
Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8500 – Buy on Amazon
Offices with high color photo printing needs will love the savings that they get with the Epson EcoTank Photo ET-8500. This EcoTank comes with 6 ink bottles, including a pigment-black for text and 5 dye-based colors in photo-black, cyan, magenta and yellow, so you get precise color matching on all of your photos. The 522 black ink bottle prints up to 6,700 pages and each 522 color bottle prints 6,200 pages. LD Products offers compatible versions of these ink bottles for $9.99 a piece. You can forget picking up photo prints at Target or CVS with 4″x6″ photos averaging around 4 cents a piece, and the printer handles other creative media too, like cardstock, CDs, DVDs and premium art papers.
Laser printers are a fixture in almost every office because they print thousands of pages at fast speeds for a relatively low operating cost. Printers are available in monochrome (black printing only) and color, and both printer types use toner cartridges to create a print.
- Laser printers are fast. Whether you need to print five pages or fifty pages, laser printers get the job done in seconds.
- Toner cartridges print for thousands of pages before needing to be replaced. Even though they are expensive, they tend to have a very low cost per page because of that high page yield.
- Better suited for printing text and work documents in bulk.
- Built to last for many years with routine maintenance.
- High upfront costs. Laser printers are complex, which warrants their high price tag, and that price only goes up if additional features and printing capabilities are required.
- Expensive cartridges. Toner is also expensive, with prices ranging anywhere from $100-$300 each, depending on the cartridge series.
- Limited paper types. These printers are designed for the office and will do just fine with a multi-purpose copy paper or laser paper. But if you need to photos or are using paper with a special coating, you may need to look elsewhere. Depending on the printer, these kinds of paper may damage the machine.
Best Laser Printers
|Best Home Office||Best Large Office||Best B&W Only||Best Color Laser|
|Functions||Print / Copy / Scan||Print / Copy / Scan / Fax||Print / Copy / Scan / Fax||Print / Copy / Scan / Fax|
|Prints in Color?||No||Yes||No||Yes|
|Print Speed (Black / Color)||30 ppm||22 ppm||36 ppm (black)||Up to 33 ppm|
|Cartridge Series||HP 134X Toner||HP 206X Toner||Brother TN-760 toner cartridge||Brother TN-436 / 433 toner cartridges|
|Black Yield||2,400 pages||3,150 pages||3,000 pages||4,500 pages|
|Color Yield||N/A||2,450 pages each||N/A||4,000 pages each|
Best Home Office
HP LaserJet MFP M234dw – Buy on Amazon
If you are looking for a simple, reliable monochrome laser printer, the HP LaserJet MFP M234dw is a great choice, offering fast print speeds and all-in-one functionality that suits any small home office. This printer makes it easy to stay productive with automatic two-sided printing and a paper tray that holds up to 150 sheets of paper, plus it’s able to print on a wide range of paper types, including envelopes, labels, postcards and cardstock. It prints using a single black HP 134A toner that yields up to 1,100 pages. But for the best value, we recommend printing with the high yield 134X, which offers double the prints at a lower cost per page. LD Products will be carrying a compatible version of this cartridge series soon, sign up to be notified when it becomes available here.
Best for Large Offices
HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M283fdw – Buy on Amazon
The HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M283fdw is designed for busy offices, with print / copy / scan / fax functions and 4 color cartridges that keep your workday running uninterrupted. Featuring fast print speeds, an automatic 2-sided printing and a 50-sheet automatic document feeder that can quickly manage large stacks of paper, this printer is perfect for large workgroups that print frequently. Toner cartridges are offered in a standard yield and high yield size. The standard yield cartridges are slightly cheaper but the higher yield HP 206X cartridges are a better choice for high volume printing, with the black toner printing up to 3,150 pages and each color cartridge printing 2,450 pages. LD Products offers a compatible version of both cartridges for just $79.99 each, and you can save more with a bundle pack of four for $315.96.
Best B&W Only
Brother MFC-L2750DW – Buy on Amazon
The best printer for basic monochrome printing is is the Brother MFC-L2750DW, a no-frills laser jet with fast print speeds and great features for any office like single-pass duplex printing, a 50-sheet automatic document feeder and multi-page copy functions. The printer offers copy and scan options too and easy wireless printing from your smartphone. When you are running low on toner, Brother sells two different toners for this printer, a standard yield TN-730 black toner cartridge that prints 1,200 pages and a high yield TN-760 toner cartridge, which prints 3,000 pages. Printer owners will also need to replace the drum, generally after the use of 3-4 toner cartridges. LD Products offers compatible versions of the TN-760 and DR-730 for a super low price. Get the compatible high yield TN-760 toner cartridge for $34.99 and the compatible DR-730 drum unit for $29.99.
Best Color Laser
Brother HL-L8360CDW – Buy on Amazon
Home offices or small business that need to print in color but don’t need as many of the advanced features as the HP laser printer mentioned earlier, will be happy with the Brother HL-L8360CDW. A touchscreen makes navigation a breeze and with built-in Wi-Fi, ethernet and NFC one-touch printing options, your office can easily stay connected. The paper tray comfortably holds up to 250 sheets of paper and automatic two sided printing keeps teams productive. The toner cartridges are economical too, with the high yield black TN436 cartridge printing up to 4,500 pages and color TN433 cartridges printing up to 4,000 pages each. To save money on prints, check out LD’s compatible cartridges, the black cartridge is available for $19.99 and each color cartridge is $23.99.
|Thank you for reading this post! This article is written by a team of ink experts at LD Products - a Long Beach, California-based company that specializes in compatible ink and toner. With over 20 years of printing expertise, we’re committed to helping you save money on printer ink without sacrificing quality. If you found this content helpful, we’d be grateful if you supported us by visiting LDProducts.com for all of your ink and toner needs. We appreciate your support!|
*Savings based on price comparison between remanufactured/compatible cartridge prices on www.LDProducts.com and OEM cartridge and printer prices from the listed retailers: Amazon and Staples. All products are reviewed independently. As an Amazon associate, LD Products earns from qualifying purchases through links on this page. All prices effective as of April 14, 2023. OEM names are registered trademarks of their respective owners and are not affiliated with, and do not endorse LD Products.