EcoTank Vs Cartridges

Updated: Feb 13, 2024 3:37 PM


“EcoTanks” are a line of ink cartridges made by Epson that are easily refillable with ink bottles, whereas regular inkjet cartridges are usually single use then need to be properly recycled. Which type of cartridge is best for you will depend mostly on how much you print.

Many of the best printers and top all-in-one printers use one of these cartridge types. Keep reading to learn more about the differences between EcoTank cartridges and regular cartridges, which type is best for you, as well as the pros and cons.

Key Takeaways_

  • Epson EcoTank ink tank printers include refillable ink cartridges, whereas standard printers include replaceable and expensive ink cartridges.
  • The initial cost of entry is higher with EcoTank printers, but the reduction in ink cost leads to savings over time. Both create decent print quality.
  • EcoTank printers can dry out when not used, ruining a good batch of ink and lowering the ink level.

Differences Between EcoTank Cartridges and Cartridges

EcoTank vs Inkjet Cartridges

The main difference between these two types of cartridges is that you can refill EcoTank cartridges in a variety of ways. Regular cartridges, however, must be disposed of when they are dry, even if you have found a top-tier ink-efficient printer.

AspectEcoTank CartridgesRegular Inkjet Cartridges
Ink DeliveryRefillable ink tanksDisposable ink cartridges
Cost per PageLower cost per page in the long runCan vary by color and brand
Initial InvestmentHigher upfront cost (cheapest option is around $200)Lower upfront cost (Many options under $100)
ConvenienceConvenient for high-volume printingEasy cartridge replacement
Environmental ImpactReduced plastic waste from cartridgesA wide variety of printer models
Availability of ModelsLimited to Epson’s EcoTank lineVaries depending on the cartridge type
Continuous Ink SupplyLess likely to run out of ink during a print jobMay run out of ink unexpectedly
Page YieldHigh ink capacity and yield per bottleVaries depending on cartridge type
Cartridge ReplacementRefill ink tanks with bottlesReplace cartridges when empty
Comparison of EcoTank and regular inkjet cartridges

As for sustainability, you never throw away EcoTank cartridges, making them a great choice for integration into inkjet printers. Loose ink also tends to be cheaper than standard cartridges.

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No matter which type you choose, be sure to clean and maintain your printer regularly to ensure a good lifespan.

Initial Cost

Printers with EcoTank cartridges or any refillable ink cartridges tend to necessitate a pricier initial purchase than a standard inkjet printer with replaceable cartridges. The intention is that you will begin to save money once you stop having to replace cartridges and instead rely on third-party ink.

STAT: High printer ink prices have always been a source of frustration for consumers. Ink tank printers were introduced a few years ago to address this pain point, and the Epson EcoTank printer line is one of the most popular ink tank options around. (source)

These savings will happen, but only if you regularly use the printer. If you are an occasional user, the entrance cost might be prohibitive. However, there are tips for learning how to keep printer ink from drying out.


Both types have compatibility concerns. Inkjet printers with replaceable cartridges often require the exact cartridge as made by the original manufacturer. This allows them to raise the prices on these carts, as they have no real competition.

EcoTank printers may not integrate with the ink you are thinking of purchasing, as they can only use certain types of ink from certain companies. For a look at printers with such an ink tank, read our Best Epson buying guide.

Drying Out

If you barely use your printer, go for a standard cartridge-based model. This type is made for occasional use. EcoTank printers are made for regular use, so if you don’t use them, you run the risk of drying out the ink.

This cancels out any savings you may experience by going with a refillable tank.

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