The secret behind inkjet cartridge types

What are the main types of inkjet cartridges?

Inkjet cartridge types

There are basically two types of cartridges in use by home inkjet printers: integrated cartridge types and ink tanks. We will now explain the difference between them, because it is crucially important for you to know how to deal with these two different inkjet cartridge types.

Integrated cartridge type

Integrated ink cartridge
Integrated ink cartridge

Predominantly used in Hewlett Packard, Canon and Lexmark printers, in this type of inkjet cartridges the printing head and the reservoir containing the ink are integrated in a common body.

This means that if your printer uses integrated cartridges, every time you buy a new cartridge, you actually also buy a brand new print head. The integrated cartridges have, of course, both pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Whenever your print head gets dried or clogged for some reason, buying a new cartridge radically solves the problem, because the new cartridge also contains a new print head.
  • Im most cases the integrated cartridges are easier to refill and this is normally done with simple syringes.

Cons:

  • Usually an integrated printer cartridge costs more per millilitre of ink, as they normally contain considerably less ink than ink tanks.
  • The integrated color cartridges include all three basic colors and even if just one color gets depleted, the entire cartridge has to be refilled.

Separate ink tanks

Separate ink tanks
Separate ink tanks

With the separate ink tanks the ink is actually contained in ink containers, while the print head remains an integral part of the printer.  When you buy new ink tank type of cartridges, you actually buy just new ink containers, whereas the print head stays in the printer and doesn’t change.

Pros:

  • Usually the ink tanks cost less per millilitre of ink than the integrated cartridges, because they do not include print heads and normally contain more ink than the integrated carts.
  • You can easily replace or refill just one ink tank once it is depleted.

Cons:

  • You have to be extremely careful not to allow your print head to get dried or clogged. In case your print head gets dried or clogged for some reason, buying new ink tanks will not solve the problem. Moreover, replacing the print head on such printers may be quite costly as they are not considered consumables, but spare parts.
  • The separate ink tank types of cartridges are usually more tricky to refill, because most of them include several internal chambers that have to be pressure equalized for correct printing.