Do you feel like you’re spending loads of money on expensive ink? Want to cut down on your running costs but still produce high quality printed documents? This article will provide tips for reducing how much ink your printer uses, as well as ways to save money on your next ink cartridge purchase.

How to get cheap ink for a printer

Whether you are a business owner or a consumer, you will know how expensive ink cartridges and refills can be. However, there are a few things you can do to reduce your ink or toner costs. Here are a few tips to get your hands on cheap all in one printer ink:

1) Sign up to an ink subscription service

Many companies offer a subscription service, that delivers printer cartridges when you need them. An example of this is HP Instant Ink, which is linked to your printer, and automatically places an order when its running low on ink or toner. Other printer manufacturers offer similar programmes. Epson has Epson ReadyPrint, while Brother and Canon have subscription services on their websites. This is a stress-free solution and ensures that you only buy replacement cartridges when you really need them, ultimately leading to nice cost savings.

2) Buy third party ink cartridges

Buying your ink cartridges from the Original Equipment Manufacturer can be quite costly. Don’t be scared of looking for third party, “non-OEM cartridges”. Many are well made and are a fraction of the cost, saving you a load of money. Just be sure to check out any customer reviews on the third party website, just to make sure the printer cartridge will be compatible with your printer and there have been no complaints. Buying from a third party supplier is the number one way to get your printer ink cheapest.

3) Take your empties to an ink refill centre

Recently, companies have been popping up all over the place that offer to refill your empty ink cartridges. This is usually cheaper than buying completely new ones and is also less wasteful. Do some research and see if one of these companies has centre near you and go there to start cutting your cost and conserving money.

4) Choose your printer wisely!

If you want to be able to buy cheap printer ink, there are a few things to consider before making an investment in a new printer. There are two main types: laser printers and inkjet printers. Budget laser printers are usually more expensive than inkjet printers with a higher up-front cost. However, a laser printer doesn’t use ink, it uses toner, and toner cartridges last much longer and are cheaper in the long run than ink cartridges. Having said that, an inkjet printer is best for photos and images, with its rich color. Most printer brands offer both options, it just comes down to what you want and what the products offer.

Reduce your printer’s ink usage

Aside from buying cheaper cartridges, it is also important to think about how you can use less ink when printing, so that you don’t have to buy as many refills, and end up spending less money. Below there’s some advice to help you waste less ink and shrink your cartridge or toner costs.

1) Check before you print!

We’ve all been there… Printing off your lovely new Word document, only to realise that you’ve spelt your name wrong at the top of the page! Although a completely harmless mistake, that piece of paper now has to been thrown away, wasting all that expensive ink. One of the biggest ways you can reduce your ink costs is to make sure you’ve checked your job for errors, before hitting the print button. This will save tons of ink or toner and slash your printing costs.

2) Change your printing settings

If you need to print something out but don’t need a super high quality result, using your printer’s “draft mode” is a great way to save ink and money. This is perfect for printing out emails, where print quality isn’t really a problem. If you’re using Windows, open up your printer settings and look around the menu until you find the “draft mode” option (this is sometimes called “economy mode” for some printers). In this mode the printer will use less ink but print in draft quality, increasing the life of your cartridges and saving money. Some operating systems may have a similar option which is called “grayscale”, which prints in black and white to save your color cartridge.

3) Change your font

Changing the font you use can actually be a surprising way to reduce your ink consumption. Switching to a script with thin letters and avoiding thick, bold letters can greatly cut down usage of inks. Fonts such as Times New Roman, Century Gothic and Calibri are good suggestions to use less ink when printing out text.

4) Don’t print the whole webpage

When you press print on a website, the document will include a lot of unneeded information and comments. Make sure you only include the content and articles that you want to (you can select which pages you want when the dialog box pops up). Google Chrome also has a handy browser extension that does this work for you, putting everything you want from the site into one file, leaving out all the extra details.

5) Save your documents rather than printing

Rather than printing a web page or article, it may be sufficient to just save it as a PDF to be accessed later. This is often a good option and can keep you operating your printer cheapest, by not using it for unnecessary printing, and leading to big savings. This can be done with a simple right click on any website.

6) Look after the print heads

A common issue with inkjet printers is that the print heads become clogged with dried ink and start to malfunction. If this happens it make take a few print jobs for the quality to improve again. To stop the inks drying out, it is a good idea to let a print run through at least once a week, even if you have nothing to print. Although this may sound like a waste, it is better than having to replace broken cartridges, and definitely less of an overall cost.

7) Keep your printer turned on

Regularly turning your appliance on and off causes it to start a maintenance cycle to clean the print heads on each reboot. Leaving it on or in standby will prevent this from happening. There’s no need to worry about an environmental impact here either. They use almost no energy when they’re not actually printing.

8) Use the ink until it has fully run out

The final tip is to not be put off by warnings saying that you are running low on ink. Make sure to carry on using the cartridge until the effects are visible on the page. The warnings are often very premature and there is usually plenty more left in the cartridge to do at least a few more pages. Most people would throw out the cartridge at this stage, but don’t!

Printer and Ink FAQs

1) Where can I buy ink?

Inks and toner for printers can be bought online or at stationery stores like Staples. Buying direct from the manufacturing company is also a good idea. Canon, Epson and HP all have their own online store fronts which are likely to contain more information about your specific printing devices and you may be able to message them directly for extra support. Ink costs won’t vary too much between retailers, but it’s definitely worth shopping around if you want the best deal.

2) Are there some printers that don’t use ink?

Laser printers don’t use ink. They use toner. These printers have a high up-front cost are generally more expensive than inkjet printers. However, toner cartridges last much longer than ink cartridges meaning laser printers are mainly used for high volume, bulk printing, whilst inkjet is more suitable for low-volume printing.

3) Which printers have the cheapest ink cartridge?

The Canon Pixma range of printers is a fantastic option for someone who wants to buy cheap inks. They use the Canon PGI-570 and CLI-571 which are very affordable, particularly if you choose the version from the third parties .

The Epson XP-355 is another example of a device that takes a cheap cartridge. The appliance itself is also affordable and a great way to do quality printing whilst saving money.

A final cheap photo printer option is the HP Photosmart 6520 model, which takes the HP 364 cartridge. This one is well known for producing great photo and image reproductions with nice colour, which it manages to do whilst still having an affordable cartridge.

All these products are great pieces of technology and would serve all consumers well.

4) Which printers can print double-sided?

Duplex printing is when a printer can automatically print on two sides of a single sheet of paper. It is rare that this feature is included on affordable devices, but it is common on large, business and office printers that have many users. If your printer does support Duplex printing, then enabling it will conserve a lot of paper, and will lead to large cost savings. Basically two pages for the price of one page!

5) Where can I print cheaply if I can’t at home?

If you can’t print at home, fear not! There are lots of places you can go to print out your documents. Office supply stores such as Staples will do as many pages as you want, although they are likely to charge a premium fee for the service. Other options are public libraries and universities or sometimes in Post Offices. On the other hand, if you are regularly printing documents and photos then it is definitely worth looking into buying your own personal printer. This would of course reduce the amount of money you find yourself spending, but for the occasional print job, using one of the above tips may be more suitable.

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