Simple tips to extend your printer ink

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Printer ink is like liquid gold; in fact it is probably more expensive than that!

With that in mind, it is important to make sure you use it wisely.

If you find yourself going through a lot of ink, there are some relatively simple ways that you can make sure you squeeze every last drop out of that cartridge.

Leave your printer on
It seems counterintuitive when we are talking about saving money to consider leaving an electronic device switched on, however, this will save you a lot of ink.

Every time that you turn your printer on it completes a maintenance cycle that uses up quite a bit of ink.

According to tests conducted by Consumer Reports, many printers used as much ink to clean the print heads as they did for actual printing.

The tests revealed that leaving the printers on contributed to a noticeable reduction in ink consumption.

It also found that most inkjet printers consumed very little power when they were not in use, so it is not a situation where you are robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Print smarter
If you don’t need high quality printing every time, you really should print in draft mode.

Depending on what you are doing, it can be somewhat difficult to find in the printer preferences tab or the print dialog box, but this will save you a heap of ink in the long run and is well worth investigating.

Another tip is to remove all the useless ads and logos from a page if you are printing from the web. Good websites will offer printer-friendly versions of their stories, which automatically remove colour ads and images, but if they don’t try copying just the text if that is all you want and just print that instead.

Change fonts
When Consumer Reports tested fonts, it found it was possible to get 27 per cent more ink from cartridges when using Times New Roman rather than Arial. Calibri and Century Gothic both outperformed Arial as well. 

Do you have any tips that you use to make your printer ink last longer?

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Written by Ben

7 Comments

Total Comments: 7
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    I have an old Brother printer and have to order online to get cartridges. Generic/refilled ones do not work. There is a lot of ink left in the cartridge when the printer says it it empty. I put a piece of black insulation tape on the cartridge where it reads the level. I can get quite a few more uses out of them.

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      I do the same with an old Brother (printer!) that I have. Just be careful, when the ink does run out, you wont know until there’s no printing on th epage. At that stage it’s too late to replace the cartridge. The printer will have to purge all the air from the pipes and nozzles, which will use more ink than you save. I know… Ditto if you leave these for over a year between uses!

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    As said above, some printers do a clean each time they are switched on. Some are more intelligent and moniter actual printing times and make the decision to clean, based on how much printing you do. I read on the web that if you print 1 document periodically (once a week? or every couple of days) that will “tell” the printer that there’s no need to do a clean. I have done this and it works.
    I use 3rd party inks in my Canon printer – they work ok and have done so for years.
    On my Canon printer you can over ride the cartridge empty message and keep printing, however that will eventually empty the cartridge completely, which will mean you have to do a “deep clean” after inserting the new cartridge, so it may not save any ink after all. Also, you run the risk of the ink residue drying out in the print head. That “can” be cleaned, although it is a specialist job.
    I also have a very old monochrome laser printer. I bought it second hand over ten years ago. It still has the cartridge that came with it… I use that for any printing that doesn’t have to be in colour. Last year I had to do a letter box drop of a 4 page document to every home in my suburb. Hundreds of pages! No problem. Used the laser.

  3. 0
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    I only have a Brother black ink printer. I agree it is best to be kept on. Also any colour printing I take to OfficeWorks .. this is very rare.
    Merry Christmas to all also a safe and Happy New Year.

  4. 1
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    I use a Canon printer and I got a useful tip about cleaning the print head. It was a bit frightening but it involved removing the print head and running it under a warm water tap until the colours stopped running. There is a You Tube video showing how to do it and it works very well.

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    Having struggled for a decade with cartridge printers I jumped to try the new Epson ink tank printer when launched in 2015. After 5 years that same printer continues to provide inexpensive, trouble free printing today. The purchase price starts at $300 (Epson on-line) and replacement ink bottles cost $17 each (so $68 for a set of 4 colours) which will print 5000+ pages.
    I gather now Canon also supply ink tank printers and Brother also though a different approach.
    I’d recommend anyone using a cartridge printer switch immediately to an ink tank printer – you will not regret it.

  6. 0
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    All of the above, got sick of buying solid gold ink, we only print black and bought a laser black only, $65, cartridge was a get you started one, lasted 12 months with the use we have, bought aftermarket cartridge for a good price $42.00, 2 years later bought 2 cartridges on special at half price. $42 for 2. these should last us for a few years now.
    The laser doesn’t clog or block up, every 6 months remove cartridge and give a shake and away we go again.
    This is the way to go if black only is ok, no maintenance and no blackmail with ink printers doing a check every 5 minutes to use your ink up.
    We sometimes don’t turn the printer on for months and it works first time every time. No swearing.
    We gave up on Brother printers years ago with their system, if you leave the printer on it will keep self testing until the colour cartridges are empty and then it wont print black, as someone said cover the indicator on the empty cart and the printer we had would still print black.


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