Updated: Sep 19, 2020
Ink is one of the main considerations for consumers when choosing an inkjet printer for their home or office. In addition to the assurance of print quality, buyers want to know that replacement cartridges will be affordable for the entire life of their printer. If you do a lot of printing, the ink costs can really add up.
If you’re in the market for a new printer or just trying to save ink when printing with your current printer, here are some of the easiest ways to reduce what you spend without giving up high-quality, colorful print results.
1. Know your printer
While the results will depend on your printing needs, it’s possible to estimate output by carefully reading the specifications for the cartridges designed to work with your printer model. Some printers print at higher resolution by default, which requires them to use more ink.
2. Buy in bulk
While it’s not necessary to purchase more than one or two cartridges at a time, there can be significant savings in planning ahead. Some cartridges come in XL sizing, giving you more ink at one time at a discount over buying two smaller cartridges.
Often, ink can be purchased in bundles, so consumers wanting to save on ink cartridges will be pleased to know that buying a multi-pack usually costs less per unit than buying them individually.
3. Go “Instant”
If you have a compatible HP printer, you’ll get the opportunity to sign up for the HP Instant Ink subscription program, which automatically ships new cartridges to your home or office before you run out.
If you print regularly, you’ll save money on printer ink because HP® charges a flat monthly fee for a maximum number of pages, instead of charging for each cartridge sent. Also, any un-printed pages roll over to the next month’s allotment.
HP Instant Ink ensures that you never run out of ink mid-print-job, and can provide significant savings over shopping for cartridges from the store or online.
4. Optimize output
Some of your printer’s default options may be set for the best possible print resolution, even if you don’t need it. Check your printer’s quality settings regularly and choose the default that best represents most of your printed work. Adjusting the default settings for run-of-the-mill print jobs could save you ink - and money.
If you print photos often or need marketing materials to look sharp, set it to the best quality. Otherwise, there’s no need to use all that ink for printing off an email.
5. Choose gray-scale
Did you know that many black-and-white print jobs use more than the just the black ink?
Unless you specify “gray-scale only,” your printer may be giving you more quality than you really need. For jobs that don’t require color, shut off these cartridges within your print settings.
6. Pick the right font
Different fonts use different amounts of ink. Choose a font that’s optimized for ink conservation, and watch your ink usage go down without even trying.
Arial is one of the more popular default fonts but it uses 27% more ink than Calibri, Century Gothic, or the classic Times New Roman.
7. Opt for single color cartridges
Does your “empty” color cartridge feel a bit heavy to you? It may be that only one of the three colors contained within a “tricolor” cartridge is actually depleted.
By opting instead for a printer that separates the colors out into three smaller cartridges (cyan, magenta, and yellow), you can replace the one that’s empty and not waste the other ink in the process.
8. Print with care
Do you really need to print a particular page? Take a moment to assess just how many of your latest print jobs were necessary, and determine if there is a pattern to wasted jobs. You may be able to save files to your computer or read documents on an e-reader instead of printing them out.
9. Maintain your printer
Printer jams and dirty print-heads can make your cartridges start to leak ink or, even worse, cause printer malfunctions. Protect your investment by performing regular maintenance duties. You can do this by using the HP print software center, which checks on your ink levels and can clean your printer to help you reduce overall ink usage.
10. Consider an upgrade
Is your printer more than five years old? If so, it’s probably time for an upgrade.
In addition to being more economical in terms of ink usage, today’s printers can connect wirelessly to your home network, receive print jobs from your phone, and even communicate that they need more ink shipped to your home.
Embrace technology and the savings that comes with it by checking out the newer printer models available.