Everybody who owns a printer and prints color documents at home can confirm the fact that over the period of one year, your printer ink will end up costing you more than the printer itself. Consumer reports discovered that printer ink can set you back anywhere between $13 and $75 per ounce. At that price, ink is far more expensive than oil, and it can take a serious toll on your wallet. The Nerds on Call have a few tips that can help to preserve that liquid gold, or at least to stop paying so much for it.
#1 Try Generic Cartridges
Unless your printer is less than a few months old, there are most likely cartridges that are not name brand but still work perfectly in your printer for a fraction of the cost. On Amazon.com you can enter your printer make and model number to view a wide selection of name brand ink options as well. These printer ink cartridges may have reviews, which you can check to see the print quality in case you are printing photo quality images and need the best of the best. It is important to look for indication that the cartridges include “chip function,” because certain printers will not recognize the OEM cartridges without the chip.
#2 Print Select Areas
When printing from webpages, there are always banners, ads, and navigation bars that get printed in deep color and are a huge waste of printer ink. You can install a free browser extension on Google Chrome called CleanPrint that will strip banner ads, navigation bars, and unnecessary text from web pages so that you can print clear version. CleanPrint allows you to edit and select what you want to include in your print, which means you save both paper and ink.
#3 Change Your Font
Last year in the news, there was a story of a middle school student that proved the government could save $467 million each year in printing costs simply by changing their default document font from Times New Roman to Garamond. The larger the font, the more ink that is used, which is why you should scale down your font to the smallest size that you still find readable. A program called EcoFont uses a typeface that puts a bunch of tiny holes in each letter to save up to 28% of your printer ink. There are both free and paid versions of EcoFont, but when signing up you should try to use a public @maildrop domain instead of your actual email address to avoid spam.
#4 Lower Your Default Print Settings
By going into your printer settings and changing your default print quality to draft and black & white you can save that precious ink little by little. Higher resolution printing means more dots per inch, which translates to more ink used in each document. If you are printing something like a recipe, there is absolutely no need to print in photo quality. When you do want to print high quality images or documents that need graphics, you can always go in and change your settings manually.
#5 Ignore Your Printers Warnings
Often times, printers will tell you that your printer ink levels are low. This does not mean that you are out of ink; in fact, sometimes there is still as much as 30% of your cartridge’s ink left. If these warnings continue but you see no difference in print quality, manually disable them so that they do not interfere with your printing. You can keep printing without replacing the cartridge until you notice a drastic drop in print quality.
If All Else Fails, Consider Replacing Your Printer
There are resources such as annual cost reports that offer information about what printers have the lowest lifetime print cost. If you use a lot of a certain color of printer ink, consider getting a printer with separate ink tanks rather than a multi-color cartridge. If only use one color in your multi-color cartridge, why should you have to pay to replace them all?
With modern printers packing in so much technology such as copying and faxing capabilities, it is a surprise that they are sometimes cheaper than the ink that is needed to print. Nerds on Call hopes that these tips can help you save money on printer ink, and if you are in the market for a new printer, our Nerds can help you in the selection process. We even offer help with setup, installation, and connecting your printer to all of your devices.
About The Author: Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, a computer repair company that specializes in on-site and online service for homes and businesses. Andrea is the writer of a weekly column, Nerd Chick Adventures in The Record Searchlight. She prepares TV segments for and appears regularly on CBS, CW and FOX on shows such as Good Day Sacramento, More Good Day Portland, and CBS 13 News, offering viewers technology and lifestyle tips. See Andrea in action at callnerds.com/andrea/.