Best Tank Printers of 2022

Tank printers can save you tons of money on ink. These models performed well in our labs, too.

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Epson EcoTank Printer Photo: Epson

Let’s get straight to the point: At Consumer Reports, we’re finding it increasingly hard to recommend inkjet printers. They’re cheap, in general, but don’t print text very well, they aren’t particularly reliable, and they use ink cartridges that can be very expensive. Which is why, in our survey research, owner satisfaction with them is quite low.

The good news is that if you do want or need an inkjet printer—say, you frequently print in color and often have jobs that include graphics—a tank-style printer can at least save you money. Instead of expensive ink cartridges, tank models have reservoirs that can be refilled easily and very inexpensively with a bottle of ink.

Unlike traditional inkjet printers, which can sometimes be found for as little as $100, tank printers generally cost a few hundred dollars. But if you take a step back and look at the overall cost of ownership, they make a lot of sense. With an inkjet printer, it’s not uncommon to have ink costs that exceed $100 a year. With a tank printer, on the other hand, you’re looking at $5 to $10.

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The performance of tank printers has also improved. Early on, the models we tested fell short of cartridge-fed inkjets when it came to producing sharp text and images, but that’s no longer true.

Today’s tanks are much easier to refill than their predecessors, as well.

“Replacing the ink on the first few generations of tank models used to be a messy affair, because the filler nozzles were just simple openings,” says Rich Sulin, who leads CR’s printer testing program. “Better design that locks the bottle in place during refills has solved the problem.”

Our printer ratings currently include 22 tank models from three brands: Canon MegaTank, Epson EcoTank, and HP. Canon and Epson both earn favorable scores in Consumer Reports’ owner satisfaction ratings. (There isn’t enough data to give HP’s tank printers a grade.)

But we don’t recommend Canon MegaTank printers at this time, because they received a Fair rating for predicted reliability. The results are based on surveys of 122,422 Consumer Reports members who purchased a new printer between 2014 and 2021. We use a statistical model to estimate problem rates by the end of the fourth year of ownership for machines not covered by an extended warranty or service contract.

In response to CR’s findings, Canon said in a statement that it’s committed to providing products that meet or exceed the expectations of its customers.

“We are continuously assessing our products and listening to our customers in order to manufacture digital imaging solutions that provide ease and convenience,” the company said. “We appreciate the support, feedback, and loyalty from our customers over the years.”

Here are four Epson tank printer models that performed well in our labs. Like a majority of the printers in CR’s ratings, they include WiFi networking for wireless printing.

A Budget-Priced Tank Printer

An All-Around Performer

A Tank Printer for Big Jobs

Brilliant Photo a Price

Allen St. John

I believe that technology has the power to change our lives—for better or for worse. That's why I’ve spent my life reporting and writing about it for outlets of all sorts, from newspapers (such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times) to magazines (Popular Mechanics and Rolling Stone) and even my own books ("Newton’s Football" and "Clapton’s Guitar"). For me, there's no better way to spend a day than talking to a bunch of experts about an important subject and then writing a story that'll help others be smarter and better informed.