Have you ever wondered why a lot of printers targeted for home and small office consumers are cheaply priced? You may not be aware of it, but it is an open secret in the printer manufacturing industry that printer manufacturers deliberately peg their prices of their printers down. The reason why they could afford to do so is that they fully expect to make up for their unrealized profits with the price of their printer ink cartridges.
It totally makes sense from a business point of view. When you buy a particular printer model, you are committed to buying the printer ink cartridges specifically made for it, no matter how expensive they are. And printer ink indeed are expensive. This can feel a bit oppressive when it seems that you have no choice but to buy costly ink cartridges in order to keep using your printer.
Thankfully, you do have a choice and there are ways to keep your printing costs down. Here are five tips and tricks that you can use to save money on printer ink.
Tip #1: Choose Your Printer Wisely
The first act that you should make towards saving on printer ink is to start from the very first step, which is in the purchase of your printer. Before you buy a particular printer model, do your research first on how much its ink cartridges will cost you.
A lot of consumers look at the cost per volume of the ink. However, this piece of information can be deceptive because it does not really tell you how many pages an ink cartridge can produce. An ink cartridge that contains this much ink can sometimes print just as many pages as an ink cartridge that only has half the amount of ink as the first one. Instead, you should look at the page yield of each cartridge.
Tip #2: Consider Your Choices
Aside from the yield of the ink cartridges, you should also consider the technology used on the printer. For instance, laser printers are more costly than inkjet printers, but laser printers are actually more cost-effective in the long run. Laser printers generally have a higher page yield cartridge than inkjet printers.
If you are going to do a lot of color printing, you should also opt for a printer that has separate tanks for each color instead of a printer that has one tank for black and one tank for colors. Not only are these separate color cartridges a lot cheaper but you get to replace tanks only as needed.
Tip #3: Print Wisely
This tip may sound silly, but you should print a document only when you need to. You can definitely extend the life of your ink cartridges this way simply because you are not using them. On the downside, the ink in your cartridges may dry up from non-usage so make sure that you print something at least once a week.
When you print your documents, you can use draft settings and grayscale printing instead of the full color gamut if the document you are printing is only for your reference. In this way, you only get to spend on black ink cartridges on a regular basis. Black ink is cheaper than colored ones.
Tip #4: Trick Your Printer
It is a sad but undeniable fact that your printer is programmed to lie to you. It is proven that some printer manufacturers install sensors or software in their printers that are meant to tell their consumers that the ink cartridges are already empty when they can still yield a few pages more. Manufacturers like Epson and Hewlett-Packard have faced class-action suits against them for precisely this reason.
But even if your printer lies, you can trick it into telling you the truth. Some computer-savvy users have shared tips like putting a strip of electric tape over the sensor of a laser printer to trick it into printing until the toner is really out. There are a lot of such tricks that you can find on the Internet for your particular printer model. You can also turn to ink-saving software to help you extend the life of your ink cartridges, but make sure that you do your research about the software first before you buy it.
Tip #5: Buy Remanufactured Ink
The last tip is to buy generic or remanufactured printer ink cartridges instead of the so-called genuine ones. Generic inks are definitely cheaper than original inks, and many suppliers give discounts on bulk orders. You can also opt to take your empty ink cartridges to an ink refilling station.
The caveat here is that the printer may refuse to work with the refilled cartridges and your printer may end up damaged. But then again, sometimes it is better to buy a new printer than to replace its printer ink cartridges.