Do you print a lot of documents in your home office? Check out our guide to which brand has the cheapest ink.
How can a small business owner cut down everyday expenses? Reducing printing costs is a big improvement, especially with the costs of printer ink. It doesn’t help that printer manufacturers try to maximize ink sales and use it as their main income stream. That’s why it helps a lot to know which printer brand has the cheapest ink.
Before we answer this question, it’s worth noting that some models have much cheaper ink than others. Mainly, you’ll want to look for refillable ink tank printers. These printers don’t use complex, costly, wasteful ink cartridges. Instead, they feed the printer heads from a bulk ink system with a tank. All you need to replace is the ink itself, which comes in convenient little bottles.
What’s more, you won’t need to replace the ink as often. A conventional printer could easily guzzle up 20 or even 30 ink cartridge sets for the same amount of pages as one refill bottle. Let’s compare some of these most ink-efficient printers.
Printer Ink Cost Comparison
The Epson EcoTank ET-2750
- Resolution: 5760 x 1440
- Speed: 10.5ppm (text), 4.8ppm (image)
- Max paper size: A4
- Functions: Print, Scan, Copy, Fax
- Included ink: Up to 14,000 pages
Epson’s EcoTank printers are pioneers of the ink tank revolution. The Epson EcoTank ET-2750 is their all-in-one option, which is ideal for a small office. older generations, the new ones have the tank near the front for easier refilling. The ink tanks have an auto-stop function that prevents overfilling and spilling when the tank fills up.
You’ll get somewhere between 6,500 and 8,000 black-and-white pages out of one EcoTank ink bottle. That means you’ll pay about 0.3 cent for an average page.
One set of color ink bottles will get you between 5,000 and 6,000 pages. This translates to a cost of roughly 0.6 cent per page.
- Unlikely to dry out
- High-quality print
- Auto-Duplex printing
- Low running costs
- High initial cost
- No multi-size auto document feeder
The included ink can last up to 3 years at the average printing rate for homes and offices. At Amazon, you can get a full set of Epson ink refill bottles for a reasonable cost. Also, you can calculate what you’ll save by switching out your current printer for an EcoTank with Epson’s EcoTank savings calculator.
The Canon Pixma G3200
- Max speed: 7.1 ppm (text), 3ppm (image)
- Resolution: 4800 x 1200
- Max paper size: Legal
- Functions: Print, Scan
- Included ink: Up to 7,000 pages
The Canon Pixma G3200 is one of Canon’s foremost MegaTank printers. Much like the Epson EcoTank, it uses bottles with a yield equivalent to about 30 ink cartridge sets. It’s a simpler printer with basic features.
More specifically, you can expect up to 6,000 black-and-white pages from one Canon ink bottle. That brings us down to around 0.3 cents for a grayscale page.
You’ll get up to 7,000 multi-color pages in one pop. So, it’s less than 0.8 cents per page.
- Cheap running costs
- Light and compact
- High-quality prints
- Good for graphical work
- Lacks automatic paper feed
- Not very fast
It’s a bit slower than the Epson, but not by much. If you only need a simple, affordable printer with low ink costs, a Canon Pixma G3200 is an excellent choice. One thing worth noting is that the Canon Pixma G3200, like the Epson EcoTank, can also work with third-party ink bottles, available on Amazon, like these. While quality will be lower and warranties may not hold, you could reduce your printing costs even more.
The Brother MFC-J995DW XL
- pages (monochrome): 12 ppm (black-and-white)
- Resolution: 6,000 x 1,200
- Max paper size: Legal
- Functions: Print, Scan, Copy
- Included ink: Up to 7,200 pages
Unlike the previous two printers, the Brother MFC-J995DW XL uses ink cartridges. However, these are extra large, high-yield cartridges known as INKvestment tanks. If you need a powerful all-in-one printer with a large paper capacity, this is probably your best bet.
Super High-yield black cartridges produce up to 3,000 monochromatic pages, which means a cost of 1.1 cents per page. Not bad at all for an inkjet cartridge printer.
Color PrintingColor bundles are good for about 1,500 pages. That translates to 4.2 cents per page.
- Fast printing
- Good wireless connectivity
- Intelligent ink level monitoring
- Duplex printing capabilities
- Uses cartridges
- Colors aren’t perfect
Compared to an Epson EcoTank or Canon Pixma G3200, a Brother MFC-J995DW XL is less cost-efficient in terms of ink over time. However, it’s an affordable and versatile machine, and the cost per page is still way below the average for inkjet cartridges.
Refillable Tank Printers vs Laser Printers
Laser printers have a long-standing reputation as cost-efficient options with high-yield toners that help you save money over time. They typically come with an included toner cartridge that’ll give you a few hundred pages before you need a replacement.
Replacement cartridges typically give you a few thousand prints, much like a full ink tank. At a quick glance, it may sometimes look like the more economical choice. However, toner prices and total running costs will add up over time. For example, you’ll need to replace the drum and fuser elements and other consumables over time. Plus, toners cost much more than the simple refill bottles you’d use with refillable tank printers.
Laser Printer Advantages
- Laser printers are significantly faster
- Prints fade less and are more water-resistant
- No need for ink-wasting cleaning runs
- More precise text
- Higher paper capacity
If you print massive volumes of text-only documents with very little graphical content, laser printers are often the best choice. They’re more dependable for fine print, and you can print in bulk without much attention. Price-wise, black toners come pretty close to refillable tanks for text-only workloads, but they’re still more expensive.
Refillable Ink Printer Advantages
- They start up faster
- Generally smaller and lighter
- Superior color blending
- Better for photos and graphics-heavy documents
- Work well on more paper types
- Ink bottles produce less waste
In addition to the better prices, refillable ink printers are better for images than laser printers. You’ll get smoother photos and logos. Plus, if you only print a few documents at a time, they may be the faster option, since laser printers take some time to warm up. And you won’t have to worry about leaking toners, which is one of the worst things that can happen to printers.
Refillable ink tank printers also open up the possibility of third-party inks, which can bring prices down even further than the official price-per-page rankings. Lastly, refillable ink printers can handle any kind of printing paper and some other printable materials. Laser printers are pickier, and anything heat-sensitive or reflective is off-limits.