Ink Cartridges: 15 Tips To Save Money


For many homes and offices around the world, printers are part of everyday life. Printers provide many important functions, ranging from personal finances, education, entertainment and social uses.

Replacing an ink cartridge can sometimes end up costing you more than replacing your printer with a newer model. However, there are a few things you can do to lower the cost of printing and make your ink cartridges last longer. Here at Internet-Ink, we have compiled a list of tips to help you save money.

Saving money with ink cartridges can be divided into three sections: Printer Settings, Editing Your Document and Ink Cartridges.

Printer Settings
printer settings to save ink

Change Printer Settings

The default printer settings are designed to keep users buying ink cartridges again and again. This is achieved by making sure the device prints in the highest colour quality possible, meaning you use up ink quicker. By changing these default settings, you can simply and significantly reduce how much ink your printer uses. Ink that lasts for longer means you have to buy less.

Print in Grayscale

Often printers are set up to print in colour, but you can change this. Changing your printer settings so that it prints in greyscale or just uses the black cartridge will save you using up all the colour ink which is more expensive. If you are printing black with the colour cartridge, this is the fastest way to use up ink supplies. Also, when you print in black using a black ink cartridge, only one layer of ink is applied. However, when printing in black with a colour ink cartridge, roughly 3 layers are applied.

Change the Resolution

By default, printers are usually set to print in the highest resolution possible. If you change this setting to a lower quality such as draft mode, you will print using less ink. More often than not and depending on your printer model, you can’t tell much of a difference between high resolution or draft mode, so you might as well print in the mode that makes ink last longer.

Consider a New Printer

Like all pieces of technology, eventually your printer will become out of date. An old printer won’t perform as well as it used to and could up wasting ink and costing you unnecessarily.

When buying a new printer, you want to consider a few things. Firstly what do you want it for, print photos, just printing documents, do you want a scanner, does it need to be wireless? These are all things to consider because why would you buy a printer packed full of features you’ll never use.

Also, don’t just buy the cheapest printer, because in the long run, these are the devices that end up costing you the most money. Shop and read around, and don’t rush into buying a new printer.

Powering On and Off

Keep an eye on the way the printer is turned on and off. Each time your printer is switched off and back on again, it goes through an automatic cleaning process that uses up ink. If you are going to use the printer again within 24 hours, leave it switched on to avoid this.

If you are going to turn your printer off for a longer period of time, turn it off correctly using the printers power button. Powering off a printer correctly ensures the ink cartridges inside are parked correctly to prevent them clogging up and drying out.

Another thing to consider is to avoid interruptions to power when printing. This will cause the printer to begin printing the first page of the document again, creating unwanted pages and wasting time and ink.

Ignore Warning Messages

The warning messages on printers are there to let you know when a cartridge is low before it runs out of ink. In reality, this means that often the warning message appears a long time before the cartridge is actually out of ink.

Roughly speaking, there is still 10-30% of ink left in a cartridge when warning messages appear. Instead of throwing away ink cartridges as soon as warnings appear, keep printing until quality drops off.

Editing Your Document edit document to save ink

Use a Smaller Font

It fairly obvious, using a smaller font size means you will use less ink. Changing from 14 point to 12 point can greatly reduce how much ink you use, without making that much visual difference to the text.

What’s more, you can also use different fonts to save ink. Using slimmer, straighter font and avoiding italics and bold where possible saves ink.

Use Print Preview

Before you commit to printing something, use print preview to check what you are actually printing. Maybe you are printing a webpage or document that contains unnecessary images which you can avoid printing with a preview.

You can also use Print Preview to check that extra unwanted documents are not going to be printed.

Check Spelling and Grammar

Run a spell and grammar heck before you print, read your document through carefully and edit accordingly. Reprinting is one of the biggest ways to waste ink, and it can be avoided by simply double checking you document.

If you do need to reprint, only print the pages that need reprinting and not the entire documents again. For example, if there was a spelling mistake on page two of a five page document, only reprint page 2 instead of the whole document again.

Use Printing Software

There’s printing software available that checks every page is printed in the most ink friendly way possible, making sure your cartridge is fully used.

The software can be used to monitor printing and ink use and can also be used to adjust documents, change page setup, printer settings, fonts and more to make sure you get the most pages as possible from each ink cartridge.

Ink Cartridges
make ink last longer

Keep Ink Cartridges Clean

Unclean cartridges may print poor quality prints that look as if your ink is fading. Clean out the bottom of the cartridge using cotton wool and warm water to make sure there are no clogs.

To keep the ink flowing and to stop it drying out, try to print at least once per week, even if it’s just a test page.

Shake the Ink Cartridge

Sometimes ink can become stuck to the side of the walls inside the cartridge. This stops it flowing down to the print mechanism properly. By giving the cartridge a quick shake, you can dislodge stuck ink and get a few extra pages worth of printing.

Keep Cartridges Sealed

If you aren’t going to use the ink cartridge for a while, keep it sealed in the bag until you are going to use it. Storing ink cartridges properly keeps the moisture in the ink, making sure it doesn’t dry out before you come to use it.

Buying Ink Cartridges

When buying ink cartridges, you want to get the best deals possible. You’ll want to decide whether you want original ink cartridges or compatible ink cartridges.

Original ink is made by the printer manufacturers where as compatibles are made from third parties. Compatible inks produce results that are equal to original inks, but for a much lower cost.

Often, compatible inks are made from recycled cartridges, so not only will you be getting a better price on your ink, but you’ll also be helping the environment.