Last week we looked at the 2 ink cartridge system which is normally found in most entry level printers. This week, we will be looking at the 4 ink cartridge system which has individual ink cartridges. This ink technology utilizes four separate ink cartridges that all run on a separate print head which is located within the printer.

Single Ink Cartridge System (S.I.C.S)

As of late 2015, the entry level market for cheap single ink printers were dominated by Epson which offered an entry level, single ink cartridge system printer that rivaled those of other 2 ink cartridge system printers. These printers came around to about R 300.00 – R 500.00 (model dependent), but since then Epson has stopped manufacturing these printers and have moved to printers with Continuous Ink-System Printers.

As such printers with single ink cartridge systems, lean towards more mid-entry level printers that can start above the R 1 000.00 price range. Though the printers might be more expensive, they generally have more features installed to make the price tag worth while. If the cartridge isn’t secured properly, the print head could swallow in air which could either block or overheat the print head(model dependent), but rarely happens.  Not only that, but the ink cartridges are much cheaper per cartridge compared to the 2 ink Cartridge System. The great advantage of single ink vs. 2 ink is when you run out of yellow, you don’t have to purchase a full set of cartridges, but only the one that is needed which means if you are only printing in cyan and it runs out, you will only be replacing the cyan and not the yellow and magenta as well.

As mentioned before, the print head is inside the printer with a cavity where the cartridges are inserted. The ink is then transferred from the cartridge to the print head and from the print head to the page. With the print head inside the printer, it is secure and away from accidental damage unlike with 2 ink cartridges which can damage if dropped and the printer can last for a very long time under normal printing circumstances.

In a Nutshell


  • You only replace the ink color you need to
  • Printers generally have extra features
  • Cartridges are much cheaper compared to the 2 ink cartridge system


  • Printers can be rather expensive
  • No real Entry-Level home options available
  • Ink cartridges not installed properly could lead to air being sucked in.

When all is said and done, it is up to the consumer to choose which ink cartridge system works the best for their needs. We hope that this has been informative for you to choose a printer that would suit you in your home or office.

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