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Best ink tank printers 2021: top ten printers you can top up yourself

Canon PIXMA G6050
(Image credit: Future)
PRICE
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
VERDICT
REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

The most recent revolution to rock the world of inkjet printing is the advent of the refillable ink tank and it’s easy to see why. By moving away from expensive ink cartridges to bottled ink, you can save up to 90% on your consumables cost. Whether you are printing photos at home, color documents at college, or monochrome manuscripts in the office, we have rounded up the best supertank printers money can buy in 2021. 

Ink tank, or ‘supertank’ printers are simply inkjet printers that have swapped their disposable cartridges for onboard ink reservoirs that you can fill up with bottles of ink. As well as being much cheaper to buy, you can fit more of this bottled ink in the tank, which means less printer downtime. Canon’s MegaTank, Eposn’s EcoTank and HP’s Smart Tank systems all work in the same way and though the inks are incompatible between brands, they are all very easy to top up and all offer similarly dramatic savings. They all reduce the amount of waste plastic to the same degree too. 

In this rapidly expanding category, we have tested color and monochrome printers and included models deigned for home and business use. Large and small, affordable and expensive, our list considers all of the best refillable cartridge-free ink tank printers available in 2021.

Best ink tank printers at a glance

  1. Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850
  2. Canon MAXIFY GX7050
  3. HP Smart Tank Plus 570
  4. Canon PIXMA GM4050
  5. Epson EcoTank ET-7750 
  6. Canon PIXMA G6050
  7. Epson EcoTank ET-M3170
  8. HP Smart Tank Plus 559
  9. Canon PIXMA G3560 
  10. Epson EcoTank ET-2760 (ET-2756 in UK)

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Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850

(Image credit: Epson)

1. Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850

Top-end supertanker works for business

Specifications
Category: Color all-in-one inkjet printer
Print speed: 32ppm (mono)
Paper capacity: 550 sheets
Paper size: up to A4
Weight: 17.8kg
Reasons to buy
+High paper capacity+Low running cost
Reasons to avoid
-High purchase price

As part of Epson’s Ecotank Pro line, the ET-580 is built for high productivity and aimed at the busy medium-sized office. There’s room for more than a ream of paper on board and it prints almost as quickly as a laser. It comes with plenty of ink (enough for 4,500 mono pages and 2,800 color) and laden with features. The robust ADF (automatic document feeder) can hold 50 sheets of A4 and photocopy both sides of the page automatically. Wi-Fi is built in with Wi-Fi Direct, AirPrint and every other wireless connectivity option covered. It’s all controlled by a user-friendly touchscreen interface that will save you time spent standing at the printer. In short, the Epson EcoTank Pro ET-5850 offers everything you could need in an office printer with the added attraction of rock-bottom running costs. 

Canon MAXIFY GX7050

(Image credit: Canon)

2. Canon MAXIFY GX7050

Refillable 4-in-1 for the SMB

Specifications
Category: All-in-one color inkjet printer
Print speed: 24ppm (mono)
Paper capacity: 500 sheets
Paper size: up to A4
Weight: 13kg
Reasons to buy
+Twin paper drawers+Low running cost
Reasons to avoid
-High purchase price-Slower than a laser

The Canon MAXIFY GX7050 comes in at the top of Canon’s refillable MegaTank product line promising high productivity and plenty of office-friendly features for the small to medium sized business. It’s a smart-looking four-in-one with color printing, scanning, copying and faxing covered. There are two deep paper trays capable of holding 250 sheets of A4 each and enough ink from a single set of bottles to print uр tо 14,000 color раgеѕ, оr uр tо 6,000 black and white. Wi-Fi is built in with every wireless protocol from AirPrint to Google Cloud Print catered for. Being an inkjet, it can print on a diverse range of blank media including glossy photo paper.  

HP Smart Tank Plus 570

(Image credit: HP)

3. HP Smart Tank Plus 570

Smart Tank small-in-one

Specifications
Category: Color all-in-one inkjet printer
Print speed: 11ppm (mono)
Paper capacity: 100 sheets
Paper size: up to A4
Weight: 6.2kg
Reasons to buy
+Low running cost+Strong wireless connectivity
Reasons to avoid
-Limited paper capacity-No auto duplex

The HP Smart Tank Plus 570 is a compact all-in-one printer aimed at the home office that has the added benefit of refillable ink tanks. It is well-equipped dual-band Wi-Fi compatible with AirPrint and Google Cloud Print and a 35-sheet automatic document feeder. Duplex printing is manual, so you have to turn the page over yourself to print both sides, but the value for money offered by the cartridge-free ink system makes it worth consideration. Enough bottled ink is included in the box for 12,000 black and white pages or up to 8,000 color. 

Canon PIXMA GM4050

(Image credit: Canon)

4. Canon PIXMA GM4050

Mono MegaTank makes a lot of sense

Specifications
Category: All-in-one mono inkjet printer
Print speed: 13ppm
Paper capacity: 250 + 100 sheets
Paper size: A4
Weight: 9.2kg
Reasons to buy
+Lots of ink in box+35-sheet ADF
Reasons to avoid
-Not for photo paper-Not Mac compatible

The Canon PIXMA GM4050 is a fully featured black and white all-in-one aimed at the small office. Where a monochrome cartridge printer would not make economic sense, a MegaTank printer does because the running costs are so low and the purchase price is also made more competitive by streaming the design. It is actually upgradable to color, by adding a tricolor cartridge, but if you can get away with printing only in mono and you you don’t ever use a Mac (it’s not at all Apple-friendly) then this competent printer will save you money.

Read the full review: Canon PIXMA GM4050

Epson EcoTank ET-7750

(Image credit: Epson)

5. Epson EcoTank ET-7750

Expensive EcoTank delivers economical prints

Specifications
Category: All-in-one color inkjet printer
Print speed: 13ppm (mono)
Paper capacity: 250+100 sheets
Paper size: A3
Weight: 9.2kg
Reasons to buy
+Vibrant A3 photos+Lots of ink in box
Reasons to avoid
-High purchase price-Large footprint

It looks a little ungainly with the refillable ink tanks ruining the symmetry of this otherwise compact A3 all-in-one, but it’s the refined EcoTank system that sets this model apart from the competition. If you can swallow the high price tag, your ongoing ink costs will be very low and Epson’s five-color printing guarantees excellent image quality, especially with photos on photo paper. The box includes a remarkably generous ten bottles of ink which will keep you printing for the next 3,600 photos.

Read the full review: Epson EcoTank ET-7750

Canon PIXMA G6050

(Image credit: Future)

6. Canon PIXMA G6050

MegaTanks make this costly inkjet a bargain

Specifications
Category: 3-in-1 color inkjet printer
Print speed: 13ppm (mono)
Paper capacity: 250 sheets
Paper size: A4
Weight: 8.1kg
Reasons to buy
+Cheap to run+Neat ink tank system
Reasons to avoid
-Small display-No front USB

Canon’s cartridge-free printers are particularly easy to top up whenever you see the ink in the window getting low and they come with plenty more ink in the box, enough to print 7,700 full color images, or 18,000 in black and white. The Canon PIXMA G6050 is small enough to sit on a desk without taking over and big enough to hold 250 sheets of paper. Wi-Fi is built in, auto duplex printing is covered and both the print and scan resolutions are good and high. It prints a beautifully bold photo and crisp text that won’t run, thanks to the use of a pigment black ink.

Read the full review: Canon PIXMA G6050

Epson EcoTank ET-M3170

(Image credit: Epson)

7. Epson EcoTank ET-M3170

Slick supertank ships with plenty of black ink

Specifications
Category: All-in-one mono inkjet printer
Print speed: 39ppm
Paper capacity: 250 + 35 sheets
Paper size: up to A4
Weight: 7.3kg
Reasons to buy
+Lots of ink in box+Rapid print speed
Reasons to avoid
-No front USB port-Small output tray

The Epson EcoTank ET-M3140 is a well designed and fully featured all-in-one cartridge-free inkjet for the small office. It cannot print in color, but that means there’s more room for black ink on board and the box includes three bottles giving you a total yield of 18,000 pages. Bottled ink costs around 90% less than cartridge ink, so your TCO (total cost of ownership) is very low, despite what might seem a high purchase price. It prints quickly at 39 pages per minute and can auto duplex (print both sides of the page), while the ADF (automatic document feeder) can dual scan. It’s also very well connected with Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct and NFC all available.

HP Smart Tank Plus 559

(Image credit: HP)

8. HP Smart Tank Plus 559

Inexpensive printer and ink

Specifications
Category: All-in-one color inkjet printer
Print speed: 11ppm (mono)
Paper capacity: 100 sheets
Paper size: up to A4
Weight: 5.1kg
Reasons to buy
+Very low TCO+Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Reasons to avoid
-Slow print speed-Small display

Inkjet printers with refillable tanks are usually expensive, but that’s not the case here. The HP Smart Tank Plus 559 is a compact all-in-one aimed at the home office with an exceptionally low TCO (total cost of ownership). There's enough ink included in the box to print up to 12,000 black and white and 8,000 pages of color so you won’t need to think about buying more bottles for some time. It is also particularly well connected with Bluetooth built in as well as dual-band Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Direct. The print speed is a little slow, but this high-resolution printer and scanner ensures decent quality photocopies. 

Canon PIXMA G3560

(Image credit: Canon)

9. Canon PIXMA G3560

Entry-level MegaTank is all you need

Specifications
Category: All-in-one color inkjet printer
Print speed: 10ppm (mono)
Paper capacity: 100 sheets
Paper size: up to A4
Weight: 6.4kg
Reasons to buy
+Lots of ink in box+Banner printing
Reasons to avoid
-Slow print speed-Small display

The Canon PIXMA G3560 is an affordable all-in-one aimed at the home office and sporting the latest evolution in Canon’s refillable MegaTank system. The four ink reservoirs are incorporated seamlessly into the compact body and the bottles themselves are an improved drip-free design. Wi-Fi is built in with Wi-Fi Direct and AirPrint compatibility available. Unfortunately, duplex printing is manual only, but it can print onto a wide variety of media including photo paper, envelopes, stickers and even banners up to 120cm long. It ships with five bottles of ink, which is enough for 12,000 black and white pages, or 7,700 color.

Epson EcoTank ET-2760

(Image credit: Epson)

10. Epson EcoTank ET-2760 (ET-2756 in UK)

Refillable tanks give this 3-in-1 an edge

Specifications
Category: All-in-one color inkjet printer
Print speed: 33ppm (mono)
Paper capacity: 100 sheets
Paper size: up to A4
Weight: 5.5kg
Reasons to buy
+Plenty of ink in box+Economical to run
Reasons to avoid
-No Ethernet port-No automatic document feeder

The Epson EcoTank ET-2760 (known as the ET-2756 in UK) costs considerably more than Epson’s cartridge based all-in-one printers, but in the long term, the refillable tanks promise to reduce your consumables cost by up to 90%. This is a well specified and fully featured three-in-one device with Wi-Fi, duplex printing and a rapid monochrome print rate. What really sets it apart from the cartridge crowd though, is the generous amount ink included in the box — enough for 7.500 black and white pages, or 6,000 color.



Jim Hill

Jim is a seasoned expert when it comes to testing tech. From playing a prototype PlayStation One to meeting a man called Steve about a new kind of phone in 2007, he’s always hunting the next big thing at the bleeding edge of the electronics industry. After editing the tech section of Wired UK magazine, he is currently specialising in IT and voyaging in his VW camper van.