Ink Tank Printers

I am sorry if this has been covered in another thread. If you do not print using an ink tank printer on a regular basis, will the ink in the tank dry out before you have reached ink printing capacity?


Others may like to add their experiences.

The issues more likely

  • The ink drying out in the print head nozzles and blocking the print head, while the tanks remain full of wet ink. Especially if you turn the power off to the printer when not in use, preventing the regular cleaning cycles?
  • The ink cartridge chip telling the printer the cartridge has reached it’s expiry date and refusing to print.
  • The cleaning cycle built into the printer wasting most of the ink as it regularly repeats. Common with starter cartridges which have less ink.

We’ve had a number of ink jet printers with the first dating from 1993. Never had a problem with the ink drying out in the cartridge.


I more specifically want to find out about ink tank printers as opposed to ink jet printers.

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An ink tank printer is an ink jet printer with a large, refillable ink tank per colour. The jets in each will be the same at the nozzle level. In general if decent quality ink is used and the device is always powered up they run their own cleaning cycles but regardless, ink can dry in the nozzles if no printing is done for extended periods.

The printers have a cleaning function that usually works when that happens. It uses lots of ink to try softening and washing away the clog. Sometimes a special cleaning product needs to be run through when the clog is serious.

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Unlikely, unless you don’t place the cap back on the tanks securely/properly. I would be topping up the tank before they are completely empty to ensure that the ‘dregs’ in the tank don’t thicken causing blockage somewhere down the print line to the print heads.

The capacity is technically limitless, as one can continue to top up the tanks as necessary. The print heads do have a limited life and if the printer is used regularly, these might need replacement every 2+ years to maintain optimal print quality. Ink Tank Printers are more designed for high output (large number of print job) environments.

If the printer isn’t regularly used, like any inkjet printer, residues can dry over time causing the print head jets to block. This might require special cleaning or replacement in such cases.

Ink tank printers are usually more expensive than their ink cartridge counterparts. If one doesn’t use the printer regularly, one needs to assess whether the extra cost for the printer or extra cost for the cartridges is the better proposition.

If you are a Choice online member, Choice has looked at some ink tank printers in the past.

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My apologies. The suggestion of infrequent use had me skip to thinking you had meant inkjets with replaceable cartridges.

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No problems Marc. I currently have an inkjet printer (HP) but the colour cartridges need to be replaced far too quickly even for my limited use :frowning:

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