Looking for an efficient and economical home or office printer? Ink tank printers are a great option combining low printing costs with high-quality output. After careful analysis comparing print quality, speed, ink efficiency and key features, we believe the Canon PIXMA G6020 is the best ink tank printer for most home users, while the Epson Eco Tank ET-5850 is ideal for home office and small business applications.
What to Consider When Buying an Ink Tank Printer
Several key factors determine printer performance and long term costs:
- Print Quality – Resolution and color accuracy. Important for photos and promotional materials.
- Print Speed – Pages per minute for black and white and color. Key for efficiency.
- Ink Efficiency – Page yield from included ink, cost per page. Vital for economy.
- Paper Handling – Paper input capacity and options like scanning, copying and fax. Expand functionality.
- Connectivity – WiFi, Ethernet, USB, mobile/cloud support. Enable flexible printing.
- Cost – Upfront printer cost and ongoing costs like replacement ink. Lower is better.
We compared top models across these criteria to select the best performers that balance quality, efficiency and value. We also highlight some alternative picks for different needs.
Best Overall: Canon PIXMA G6020 Ink Efficient Printer
The Canon PIXMA G6020 offers the best all-around performance and value of any ink tank printer we reviewed. Key strengths:
- Excellent print quality rivaling laser printers. 4800 x 1200 dpi resolution and five individual ink tanks provide vibrant, accurate colors and crisp text.
- Fast color and black printing – up to 15 ipm and 17 ipm respectively
- Extremely efficient – bundled ink yields up to 18,000 color pages or 7,700 black pages
- Flexible paper handling with 250 sheet tray and manual feed slot
- Scans, copies, Ethernet and WiFi connectivity
- Very affordable purchase price and operating costs
With excellent print quality approaching business-level laser printers, very low ongoing page costs around 1 cent, and flexible connectivity options in a compact package, the Canon PIXMA G6020 excels as a home office workhorse. Crisp text and vibrant graphics make it great for printing photos, documents and marketing materials at very low cost. Rapid duplex printing and scanning along with copy and fax functionality check all the boxes for everyday home use.
The G6020 is Pixma’s latest update of their MegaTank line sporting six individual ink reservoirs with improved page yields. Unlike cartridge-based models, you simply refill the tank as needed at a fraction of the cost making this an extremely economical printer in the long run. Improved software and smartphone connectivity round out an excellent overall package that’s easy to set up and performant for the price.
With very few weaknesses, for the majority of home users requiring an affordable but high-quality color photo and document printer, the Canon PIXMA G6020 clearly leads the ink tank segment. The only limitation is paper capacity tops out at 250 sheets less suitable for high volume jobs. But print quality, ink efficiency and value are hard to beat.
Canon PIXMA G6020 Ink Tank Printer
Resolution: 4800 x 1200 dpi (dots per inch)
Ink Types: Dye-based Pigment Black | Dye-based Color (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow)
Print Speed: 15 ipm Black | 15 ipm Color
Ink Yield (pages): 7,700 Black | 6,000 Cyan | 6,000 Magenta | 6,000 Yellow
Paper Capacity: 250 Sheets
Paper Sizes: Letter, Legal, Envelopes (No. 10, DL)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Ethernet, USB 2.0, Canon Print App
Dimensions: 14.7 x 12.5 x 5.8 in
Weight: 14.3 lbs
Runner Up: Epson EcoTank ET-5850 Small Office Printer
While the Canon PIXMA G6020 is tailored more for home applications, the Epson Eco Tank ET-5850 rises to the top as the best ink tank printer for home offices and small businesses. Key strengths:
- Business quality output – laser comparable black text and excellent graphics
- Very fast duplex printing – up to 24 ipm black and 15 ipm color
- High input capacity – dual 250-sheet front trays, plus 35-page rear specialty feed
- All-in-one functionality – print, scan, copy, fax, Ethernet and Wi-Fi
- Low operating costs around 1 cent per page
This configurable workhorse delivers excellent professional quality printing comparable to color lasers with crisp black text and vibrant graphics. Generous paper handling enables runs up to 500 pages with the duplex auto feeder churning through print jobs rapidly even for two-sided output.
The ET-5850 has all the key productivity features in a compact footprint – auto-duplexing, dual paper trays, large touchscreen interface, 35-page rear specialty feed and an automatic document feeder for the scanner. Running costs are economical thanks to high-capacity ink bottles yielding up to 7,500 pages black and 6,000 color.
Reviews praise the ET-5850’s business-centric features, performance and large ink reservoirs that help this AIO printer standout in speed and efficiency. While purchase and operating costs run slightly higher than home models, small offices will appreciate the professional quality output.
If your home office demands faster print speeds, higher input capacity, scanning and expanded business features, the Epson EcoTank ET-5850 checks all the boxes as a multifunction workhorse tailored for offices and small business use.
Epson EcoTank ET-5850 All-in-One Ink Tank Printer
Resolution: 5760 x 1440 dpi
Ink Type: Pigment Black | Dye-based Color (Cyan, Yellow, Magenta)
Print Speed: 24 ipm Black | 15 ipm Color
Ink Yield (pages): 7,500 Black | 6,000 Cyan | 6,000 Magenta | 6,000 Yellow
Paper Capacity: 530 Sheets
Paper Sizes: Letter, Legal, Envelopes (No. 10, DL)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Ethernet, USB 2.0
Dimensions: 22 x 32 x 12 in
Weight: 22 lb
Best Budget: HP Ink Tank 319 All-in-One Printer
Printers can be expensive. Enter HP’s ultra-affordable Ink Tank 319printer perfect for budget buyers. At well under $200, it packs an incredible value:
- Compact all-in-one design
- Surprisingly good print quality
- Cost efficient operation under 1 cent per page
- Reliable paper handling up to 100 sheets
Lacking the page yields and paper capacity of larger models, the Ink Tank 319 still punches above its weight in quality and economy. Using spill-free ink tanks capable of up to 8,000 color pages worth of high performing HP pigment inks, this petite printer looks and acts more expensive than it is.
While only capable of moderate print speeds – 8 ppm black, 5 ppm color – output quality remains impressive for such an affordable device. The 100 sheet paper tray handles basic jobs fine, assisted by a 20-sheet rear specialty feed slot accessing multiple sizes and types. Scanner copies and scans complete the AIO functionality.
For those seeking the lowest upfront cost without sacrificing print quality or economy, the HP Ink Tank 319 Color offers incredible affordability and value without many limitations outside lower speeds and capacity. Ideal for budget home and student use with moderate monthly print volumes under 500 pages.
HP Ink Tank 319 All-in-One Printer
Print Resolution: 4800 x 1200 dpi
Ink Type: Dye-based Color (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow) | Pigment Black
Print Speed: 8 ppm Black | 5 ppm Color
Ink Yield (pages): 6,000 Black| 8,000 Color
Paper Capacity: 100 Sheets
Paper Sizes: Letter, Legal, Envelopes
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, USB 2.0
Dimensions: 17 x 13 x 6 in
Weight: 11 lb
Best Portable: Canon PIXMA GM20 – Compact and Wireless
Need printing and scanning on the go? Check out Canon’s new PIXMA GM20 – the ultimate portable printer. Despite mini dimensions, it boasts full-size functionality:
- Easily fits in bags and moves anywhere
- Convenient wireless and battery powered
- Surprisingly good print quality
- Affordable ink keeps operating costs low
This versatile portable handles sheets up to 5 x 7 inches – perfect for photos, recipes, maps, forms and more. Sharp 9600 x 2400 dpi color output stuns while integrated rechargeable battery enables printing anywhere. Dye-based inks render accurate hues suited to photos and everyday use.
Setting up is a cinch with WiFi, WiFi Direct and Bluetooth removing cables. Canon Print app allows printing directly from phones. While only handling 60 sheets at once, the compact GM20 delivers outstanding mobility with better quality output than its mini printer competition.
For road warriors and mobile users needing affordable high-resolution color and copy/scan capability in the smallest, lightest package, Canon’s PIXMA GM20 portable ink tank printer enables wireless printing anywhere while driving costs down.
Canon PIXMA GM20 Portable Printer
Print Resolution: 9600 x 2400 dpi
Inks: Dye-based (Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow)
Print Speed: 9 ipm Black | 5.5 ipm Color
Ink Yield (pages): 4,000 Black | 7,700 Color
Paper Capacity: 60 Sheets
Paper Size: Max 5 x 7 in
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth, USB 2.0 Type-C
Dimensions: 4.84 x 8.5 x 2.28 in
Weight: 1.15 lb.
Power Source: Battery, Power Adapter
Alternative Picks and Uses
Beyond our top recommendations, alternative ink tank printers better match specific usage needs:
- Canon PIXMA G7020 – Upgrade pick stepping up from G6020 with five individual ink tanks yielding up to 18,000 black and 14,000 color pages
- HP Smart Tank 519 – All-in-one with ADF good for low volume scanning/copying
- Brother INK vestment Tank MFC-J1205W – Compact inkjet all-in-one with lowest operating costs but slower speeds
- Epson Workforce ET-3850 – Entry level Eco Tank for very low volume home offices
- Canon PIXMA G4210 – Mega Tank option sporting largest 7,700 page black ink reservoir
- Epson Eco Tank Pro ET-16650 – Wide-format 13″ printer handling banners and large graphics
Consider key factors like print frequency, quality needs for photos or documents, paper handling requirements and connectivity options. Understanding usage and volume will help select the best model tailored for any environment.
What To Look For When Buying Ink Tank Printers
Keep these key checklist items in mind when shopping ink tank printer models:
- Ink Cost Per Page – Lower is better to save long-term
- Print Speed – Ipms rates for black and color. Higher improves efficiency
- Print Quality – Resolution and ink technology impact sharpness and accuracy
- Paper Capacity – Larger trays need fewer refills for larger print runs
- Connectivity – Compare WiFi, WiFi Direct, Ethernet depending on networking
- Supplies Included – Some bundles provide extra ink and paper
Finding the best balance of quality, capacity, speed and operating costs enables getting the right printer at the best price.
Setting Up An Ink Tank Printer
After unboxing an ink tank printer like our top Canon Pixma G6020 or Epson ET-5850 models, follow these tips for smooth installation:
- Review included printheads, manuals and software/drivers CD
- Install ink tanks securely into color-matched tank sockets after removing sealing caps
- Insert bundled ink-free setup cartridge then run initial printer alignment
- Power on printer and connect to electricity and devices via WiFi/Ethernet
- Add paper into main tray adjusting guides flush with stack
- Install software drivers & apps to enable wireless printing from connected devices
- Reference user guide for loading envelopes or specialty paper types
Once tank inks are added and alignment complete, enjoy thousands of pages of high-quality printing at ultra low cost from your new inkjet printer!
Key Takeaways and Recommendations
- For most home office users, the Canon PIXMA G6020 delivers the best overall value and performance from any ink tank printer available.
- Small offices and businesses needing faster output, higher capacity and scanning should opt for the Epson EcoTank ET-5850.
- Budget buyers will appreciate HP’s super affordable Ink Tank 319 all-in-one.
- Those requiring portable printing check out Canon’s compact GM20 ink tank printer.
- Consider usage frequency and key factors like print quality, speed, capacity and connectivity when selecting the best model for your needs and budget.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How long do ink tank printers last?
With proper care and maintenance, an ink tank printer lasts 3-5 years or more even with frequent use. Key components like print heads do eventually wear out.
- How often should you refill ink tank printers?
Only refill tanks when they start to run low or display warnings – usually after thousands of pages depending on model. Unique ink level indicators make this easy.
- Do ink tank printers clog or dry out?
Like all printers, some drying can occur with infrequent use. Run occasional cleaning cycles and prints to maintain good function.
- Can you print photos with ink tank printers?
Definitely. Most ink tank printers like our Canon and Epson picks provide excellent photo quality output comparable to photo printers thanks to high resolution and ink quality.
- Do ink tank printers use cartridges?
No cartridges – most feature integrated, refillable ink reservoirs that you simply top off with bottle refills available for very low cost per page.
- What paper works best with ink tank printers?
For the best results, use manufacturer branded papers like Canon Pro Platinum models. Plain copy paper still works OK for everyday printing.
- How do you clean an ink tank printer?
Follow manufacturer guidance for periodic cleaning cycles accessing via device menus. More intensive cleanings may require flushing key components if heavily clogged.
- Why does my ink tank printer streak or bleed?
Confirm you are using the right print mode for your paper type. Install new print heads if resolution is compromised. Refill tanks if ink levels are very low.
- How do I align ink tank printer heads?
Your device will prompt for alignment after initial ink tank installation. You can also access alignment utilities via maintenance menus to realign color output.
- Why does my ink tank printer print blank pages?
If tanks were recently refilled, run multiple head cleaning cycles and nozzle checks. If issue persists, replace the print heads.
- Can I print from my phone to an ink tank printer?
Yes, with WiFi enabled models supporting Apple AirPrint, Canon Print, Mopria etc you can send print jobs directly from mobile devices.
- How do I scan or copy with my ink tank printer?
Models like HP 319, Epson ET-5850 and Canon G6020 support scanning and copying like regular all-in-one devices when connected to a computer. Wireless models can also scan directly to the cloud.
- What is the difference between an inkjet vs ink tank printer?
Traditional cartridge inkjets must replace expensive cartridges frequently. Ink tank printers use refillable bulk ink reservoirs reducing replacement costs drastically through thousands more pages.
- Is a laser or ink tank printer better?
Ink tank printers offer better photo printing quality and much lower operating costs but slower speeds than lasers. Lasers offer higher black and white productivity for documents and crisper text.
- Can third party inks be used in ink tank printers?
We recommend using only genuine manufacturer inks designed specifically for your model as quality and performance vary widely with third party alternatives which could potentially damage printers.
- How many pages can ink tank printers print?
Page yields range widely by model from basic printers providing around 1,000 pages per tank refill, up to over 18,000 pages with high capacity options like Canon MegaTank and Epson EcoTank models.
- Why does my ink tank printer say replace ink when tanks are full?
If recently refilled, the printer may need to charge its internal system with ink. Run a few cleaning cycles until it recognizes tanks are filled. If issue persists, replace defective parts.
- How do I check ink levels on an ink tank printer?
Ink tank printers have physical sight windows revealing fluid levels at a glance for each color without needing to run status utilities. This allows easily knowing when to refill each separate reservoir.
- What is the average cost per print for ink tank printers?
Quality models yield prints for only ~1 cent per page – much less than standard inkjets. Over thousands of pages this saves significantly over more frequently replacing cartridges.
- Why does my ink tank printer print blank sheets?
Ensure print heads are clean and clear paper jams if sheets are feeding through. Refill tanks past empty thresholds and confirm printer recognizes latest ink levels. Faulty print heads may need replacement if persisting.