9 smart ways to save on printer ink

Running an inkjet printer can be an expensive business, but follow these tips and you'll conserve ink and make savings that will really add up over time.

9 smart ways to save on printer ink
  1. Printing family and holiday snaps will quickly run down your ink supplies. Instead, use online or drugstore photo-printing services — they will work out cheaper than home prints and be better quality, too.
  2. Use a smaller typeface (or font) and reduce the line spacing. You'll fit far more text onto a page and so save ink.
  3. Site your inkjet printer or spare cartridges in a cool place. If you keep them near a radiator, or next to your computer's fan, they will heat up and clog much sooner.
  4. If possible, print your documents or photos in batches, all at once, rather than spreading out the printing over a period of days or weeks. Every time you restart the printer, it runs a head-cleaning or maintenance cycle that uses valuable ink. According to some studies, changing your printing habits in this way can cut your ink use by half.
  5. Download ink-saving software to your computer. There are many free programs that help to optimize ink use. Try www.inksaver.com and follow the on-screen instructions.
  6. Avoid switching off the printer mid-cycle — always let the print head return to its resting position.
  7. If colour isn't critical, print web pages and documents in black only. Black ink is often less costly than coloured inks. You can usually opt to print in black only whenever you send a document to print.
  8. The manufacturer's own ink cartridges can cost nearly as much as the printer itself. Look out for cheaper versions made or refilled by other companies. Don't mix brands, as inks from different manufacturers may not combine well on the page.
  9. Always think twice before you print — is a paper copy really necessary?

Warning: Laser printer toner is nasty stuff. If spilled, pick it up with sticky tape immediately.

  • Avoid breathing in toner. It poses a health risk, particularly if you suffer from bronchitis or asthma.
  • Don't use a vacuum cleaner to pick up spilled toner — its fine particles can cause the motor to catch fire.
  • Do not wash your hands or surfaces with hot water. The toner particles will melt and be much harder to remove. Use cold water.
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