The Canon Pixma G4210 supertank printer.

The Canon Pixma G4210 is not your ordinary inkjet printer. It's the fulfillment of a 3-year-old promise.

When introduced in 2015, supertank printers like the Canon Pixma G4210 aimed to remedy the high cost of printer ink refills. Instead of pricey cartridges, the first supertank printers relied on reservoirs that you could replenish individually with a $12 bottle of cyan, magenta, or yellow ink. Enough to last you two years.

But the early models—first from Epson, then from Canon—couldn't match the inkjets on our Recommended list. The Epson Expression ET-2550, for example, lagged well behind the front-runners in text and graphics quality. The Canon Pixma G2200 performed slightly better, but not enough to earn a thumbs-up from our testers.

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Things have changed in the past few years. The Canon Pixma G4210, $300, is less expensive to own and operate long term than any other model on our list of cheap all-in-one printers. More to the point, it's got the chops to handle most everyday printing jobs.

"The G4210 is the first reservoir-based printer that really shines as a printer, not just a money saver," says Rich Sulin, who leads CR’s printer testing program. "That's why it's a Recommended model."

While some inkjet printers retail for as low as $50, the $300 price on the Canon might be a big red flag, even though it's one of the least expensive tank models in our ratings. 

But you have to factor in the long-term cost of replacement ink. Take the HP Envy 7640, $120. It’s one of our top-rated printers. At a glance, it looks like a huge bargain. When you factor in the operating costs, however, it’s less of a deal.

Using the price of replacement cartridges, data on printing frequency from our reader surveys, and data on ink consumption from our testing, we’ve estimated that running the HP Envy 7640 for four years would add another $530 to the price, according to Sulin. That brings the total cost of ownership to $650.

The Canon Pixma G4210? It would require just $20 more over the course of four years—for a grand total of $320.

Quick Take

Canon Pixma G4210

Price: $300

Text quality
Maintenance ink use
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Supertank models simply offer a much better return on investment—and this Pixma model is the best in its class.

The G4210 comes with many useful features, including WiFi connectivity, fax capability, and OCR (optical character recognition) software, which allows the text in a scanned document to be edited in a word processor program.

The printer cannot auto-duplex (print on both sides of a sheet of paper), and its LCD is black-and-white. That may disappoint those who enjoy previewing photos in color before printing them. Sulin says it's also bigger and noisier than other inkjet models.

But for many, those will seem like quibbles when you consider the G4210's most distinguishing feature. The cost to print a page of text? It's less than a penny.

For comparison's sake, inkjets average 4.4 cents per page and laser printers 3.3 cents, according to Sulin.

"While the Pixma G4210 won't satisfy everyone, it hits all the major notes people care about," Sulin says. "If you can commit the $300, there's no reason to hesitate if you want to save money on ink."

For more info on the replacement-ink cost of specific models, members can consult our printer ratings, which feature more than 180 models.