Manufacturers market Energy Star printers as economical because the products use less energy – but the major expense of operating a printer is not its energy usage. Neither is it the paper to create a document. The biggest cost component of a printed page is the ink cartridge, says Lyra Research Inc. According to Lyra, the cost of a black and white page produced by a laser printer ranges from 5 cents to 8 cents, whereas a page with color costs from 12 to 15 cents. We think spending $1.50 every time you print an article is reason enough to conserve ink when possible, and here are 5 ways to do just that:
5 ways to save money on printer ink
- Compare Printer Cost-Per Page, Not Printer Sticker Price
Even if you identify a cheap closeout printer model or a printer that a company is liquidating at a low price, the key figure that determines if a printer is a “good buy” is the printer’s cost-per page, published by the printer’s manufacturer. This cost is based on the most economical cartridge option available for that printer, which probably means that, to save money on ink, the tester used a high-capacity cartridge.
- Purchase Digital Photo Prints from an Online Vendor
A home printer is not an economical way to print your digital photos. To save money on printer cartridges, instead of purchasing and consuming color ink cartridges by printing a large volume of digital photos yourself, arrange to have your photos printed and mailed by an online store, such as WinkFlash or Snapfish. Most offer coupons you can get from a deals site, such as RetailMeNot, so always search for a coupon code before ordering! To identify the shop with the least expensive rates, but that produce the best quality photos, search online for company reviews by entering the keywords “digital photo prints company reviews.”
“always search for a coupon code”
- Select Ink-Saving Printer Driver Settings
You can adjust a printer’s functions via its options and settings. You can view them by choosing to print a document and going through the print screen options, or via the printer driver, which converts commands and files into a form the printer can work with.
Quick Tip: Your printer driver can be accessed via the ‘Devices and Printers’ panel on your PC’s Start Menu or Start Screen. Click on your printer icon, and adjust settings via the ‘Customize your printer’ option.
Here’s how to change your print settings: In a Windows application, open a file to print (such as a Word document), select Print Preview and Printer Properties, and then choose Draft or Economy mode. To make selections for ink density or output quality with a printer driver, you access the driver from the Control panel and/or Devices and Printers page (see above), and select a toner-saving print option, such as Toner Save Print.
- Use Virtual Printer to Confirm File Print Selection
GreenPrint is a free utility that acts as a virtual printer, intervening in the print process to give you the option to confirm a print request, just in case you selected an entire 50-page document to print more from habit than from actual need. Once the utility presents the document, you can remove any portion of the document you don’t actually need to print, including blank pages to save money on printer ink. The software also allows you to print to PDF, rather than paper.
“virtual printers can help you go green”
- Use Refilled Printer Cartridges
The price of a refilled printer cartridge is much less than the cost of a new one, and the cost of ink you can use to refill cartridges yourself is even less. Although the chance that a refilled cartridge will fail is higher than that of a new cartridge, the Draft mode quality of a printed document created with a refilled cartridge is adequate and cost effective. Equally important, you can save a lot of money on printer ink using refilled cartridges.
To truly save on printer ink – spend for your needs
Every user of a computer printer, particularly those who produce a high volume of prints, begrudges the cost of ink or toner. But you can reduce these costs in a number of ways, although in some cases, your upfront costs might be higher with one option rather than another.