Ah, Printer ink. At a teaspoon of ink for $20-30 each, it is like liquid gold.
Now that many of us work at home, our ink costs are rising.
I got my HP Inkjet printer on a Black Friday Sale for under $80. But then I was spending $30-$60 a month on ink for my inkjet printer!
So I began an exhaustive search of how to save money on printer ink.
I found three methods:
- A reliable company for generic ink cartridges
- Investing in a printer that cost less to print per page
- Applying some printing hacks to save ink expeditures
RELIABLE GENERIC INK CARTRIDGES
Generic ink and ink refills have greatly improved in the last two decades. Early refills were more of a DIY ink-covered disaster of drilling holes in empty cartridges while trying to refill ink yourself.
Fortunately, now there are some good generic ink cartridge manufacturers around.
The company I am most happy with is ValueToner. They have a wide variety of makes and models for both inkjet and laser printers. The ink is often available in XL size for cheaper than the basic ink size for my HP inkjet. Score!
The best prices I have seen for ValueToner are on Amazon and sometimes eBay.
Investing In a Printer That Costs Less Per Print
The cheap inkjet printer I bought on a Black Friday sale was more expensive in the long run. Every time I replaced the color and black ink it was almost as costly as the original printer!
It got much less expensive to run with ValueToner ink, but inkjets are still kinda pricey.
So when that inkjet printer died, I decided it was time to invest in a laser printer. But boy are laser printers expensive!
I did some research and found a few good starter models that didn’t break the bank. Here were my top three picks:
Canon Image CLASS D570 Monochrome Laser Printer with Scanner and Copier – Black
This was just under $160 at Amazon, no special sale. It was more expensive at Staples and Adoroma, but it is a Black Friday sale kinda item.
An advantage is it can do double-sided printing if you wished to save money on paper.
The downside is it only prints in black. I decided I would forgo color printing for this purpose.
It has a pretty easy-to-use copier and fax, wireless set up to print from my iPad.
The big expense is the toner cartridges. $79 for this model. But this is still a savings over spending $25 for 200 or so pages. And there are ample generics laser printer toner options in the under $20 range.
I chose the ValueToner toner cartridges. For the Canon D570, its 4 toner cartridges for $41! That’s Up to 2,400 pages per toner cartridge, times four cartridges.
Conservatively 8,000 pages printed for $41 seemed pretty good to me!
A few runner-up printers I looked at were from the Pantum line. These are at an entry-level laser printer customer price point of around $160, and had some nice features. I didn’t opt for this printer line because I couldn’t find a generic ink for them. However, getting about 1,800 to 2,000 pages per toner cartridge at about $75 from an OEM printer is still a big savings over my inkjet ink costs.
PRINTING HACKS TO SAVE INK
- The first way to save money on printer ink is to print less. Ask yourself if you really need a hard copy of something.
- In print options, only print the pages you actually need of a document.
- If it is your own document, or you can change a font when printing, Calibri uses less ink than Times New Roman.
- Econo print or fast print uses less ink than best print.
- Choose grayscale instead of color, or switch the ink color to a color you use less to make your ink use more even.
- When printing a webpage, find in your printer settings where you can remove background images and advertisments.
You can make some extra cash by recycling your empty inkjet printer cartridges. Find out more about How to Make Money on Empty Ink Cartridges in our next article