What Is a Continuous Ink Printer?

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Updated February 6, 2023

If you are new to the world of document reproduction, you may wonder what a continuous ink printer is. After all, many of the best printers feature different designs and capabilities, including continuous ink models. A continuous ink printer is a type of inkjet printer that creates a steady stream of ink droplets within a predefined parameter, similar to when learning about an ink tank printer. The design of a CIJ printer, as it is called, allows them to print on various substrates beyond simple paper, which is something an average digital printer cannot do. This makes them highly useful in business and commercial applications, similar to when learning about supertank printers.


  • Continuous ink printers, otherwise called continuous inkjet printers or CIJ printers, are known for constantly spraying ink during use.
  • The print head and nozzle do not touch the surface, so they are useful on a wide range of substrates.
  • CIJ printers are known for being fast, efficient, accurate, and a great tool for quality printing solutions.

However, with all the different products and varying prices out there, it can be hard to find a continuous ink supply systems printer. Although, businesses tend to be the ones that make use of bulk feed systems. But along with the larger supply of ink, printing costs tend to rise with continuous ink systems. 

Insider Tip

Continuous inkjet printers go through a lot of ink due to the design, so prepare for constant refills of that ink bottle.

They also spray ink without blurring or dulling, which is something that cannot be said about traditional inkjet printer ink.

What Are Continuous Ink Printers Used For?

The efficiency and convenience on offer with this type of printer design make it the perfect companion for industrial and commercial ventures. So you’ll often find companies using continuous inkjet printers to make flyers, t-shirts, mugs, and even architectural drawings and the like. Remember, this type of printer excels with a variety of substrates, so you don’t have to print on paper.

Benefits of Choosing a Continuous Ink Printer

There are many serious benefits to choosing a continuous ink model, even if these designs are too expensive for average consumers.

  • Material diversity – As previously mentioned, CIJ printers excel with a wide variety of substrates, so the paper is just the beginning. Many people use these printers on cardboard, porcelain, fabric, and more.
  • Speed – CIJs are known for being incredibly fast during print jobs. There is a reason why the ink spouts out continuously, after all. This increased speed is one of the major reasons this type of printer has succeeded in the industrial sector.
  • Accuracy – In addition to being on the faster side, CIJ printers are also extremely accurate, which runs contrary to what you would think of a printer that continuously sprays ink.
  • Great for barcodes – This type of printer is often used to print batch loads of bar codes simultaneously. This is yet another reason why CIJ printers are popular in business sectors.

STAT: In continuous inkjet printing, any droplets not needed to produce the printed image or text are given an electrical charge as they pass through a charge electrode. (source)

Continuous Ink Printer FAQs

In which sectors are continuous inkjet printers used?

Printer manufacturers market CIJ printers to various industrial sectors, like the food manufacturing industry. These printers excel on uneven surfaces, making them shine in industrial settings.

Ink tank vs ink cartridge: Which is better?

There is no better, as it depends on personal preference. For industrial applications, ink tanks are likely better, but think about ink cartridges for smaller jobs. Continuous-stream inkjet printers are also an option for many.

Who should use ink tank printers?

Anyone looking to make plenty of prints via the print head before refilling the ink should look into this type of printer. They do not use ink cartridges, so you won’t have to search for compatible cartridges or check out expiration dates or expiry dates.
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