10 Ways to Save Money on Printer Cartridges


This is a guest post by James Adams. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

When the printer seems to be drinking ink instead of efficiently printing documents, there are some steps that can be taken to optimize ink usage. Older printer models use more ink than newer models so consider replacing printers that have been in use for more than three years. New models of printers allow more control over print settings. Spend some time walking through this logical series of steps to evaluate the settings and lower the consumption of ink and toner.


1. Reset the automated cleaning function – When the printer performs an automated cleaning of the print heads, ink is wasted instead of used for printing. While the process is necessary for the printer to function correctly, the frequency of these cleanings can be reset to reduce the ink consumption. Refer to the user manual for instructions. The printer that is used daily will only need the print heads cleaned weekly.

2. Use “draft” printing mode – Within the printer properties, set the default printer to print every document in “draft” mode. Documents that are going to reside in a file that is opened only occasionally can be of lesser quality. When the printed document will be presented to a customer, the print quality setting can be changed for the one print job. Since the default is set to “draft” the next document will be printed in draft mode.

3. Print in monochrome – Set the default color setting to “grayscale” or “monochrome” to use only the black ink. Black ink is much less expensive than color ink. Most text documents are entirely black and white. When draft copies are needed for a color document, the black ink can be used until the final copy is printed.

4. Choose a finer font – Some fonts consume a great deal of ink because each line is thicker. Choose a font that has very fine lines and a narrower footprint within the print line. The research to find a better default font may require the use of some ink, but the long-term benefit will be evident.

5. Use cartridge completely – Never change an ink cartridge before it is completely empty. Wait until the print quality has been directly impacted before removing the old cartridge and inserting a new one. While a little bit of ink in one cartridge may not seem like much, over time the habit of removing a cartridge with usable ink remaining will cost money.

6. Send digital pictures to print service – Printing one picture with a reduced resolution consumes an acceptable quantity of ink. When multiple high-resolution photographs are printed, an entire ink cartridge can be consumed. Save money and use the expertise of a photo printing service for printing photographs.

7. Evaluate compatible or remanufactured cartridges – Out of pocket costs may appear to be lower when choosing to use less expensive compatible ink cartridges. While some remanufactured cartridges may deliver comparable quantities of printed pages, most consumers are disappointed with the cheaper versions. Just for proof, purchase one full set of the compatible cartridges and track the number of printed pages. Then decide which printer cartridge is best for use in your printer.

8. Outsource high-volume print jobs – When a very large document is to be printed, contact the local copy shop and inquire about the cost of their services. The cost of paper, ink, and employee time will be more than working a deal with a copy center. Set a certain threshold for the number of pages that can be printed on the office printer and send all larger documents out to be printed.

9. Refill cartridges – Some printer cartridges can be refilled by a service or refilled in house to save substantial funds on ink and replacement cartridges. Toner cartridges must be refilled by a service, but this can save a great deal of money over the course of a year. Find a reputable refill service and ask if they have deals for frequent ink refills. Monitor the number of pages printed from a refilled cartridge and determine which approach is the most cost effective for printer.

10. Recycle spent cartridges – Many retailers have started to offer money-saving coupons in exchange for spend printer cartridges. Those cartridges are sold to a refill service instead of being thrown into the landfill. Use the coupon to purchase the new printer cartridge and save money on your print costs.

Print quality is important for some documents, but most of the printed pages produced are for internal use and do not require excessive use of ink. When looking for ways to save money on the ink cartridges in the printer, know what the printer is currently doing to consume ink. Familiarize yourself with the settings that can be improved. Reset one and then see how the print quality is changed. Reduce the number of automated operations the printer performs that consume ink. Evaluate business practices that consume unnecessary ink. Reward employees that come up with creative ways to reduce the amount of printed material produced each month. Choose the best practices to prevent being penny wise and pound foolish.

James works as part of the team of writers at CartridgeSave.co.uk who analyse and review Pitney Bowes supplies and printer accessories. If you would like to read more of his work, you can visit their website.

1 thought on “10 Ways to Save Money on Printer Cartridges”

  1. Thanks for these tips.. you’re one of the few who’s recommended refilling. Also it never struck me to ask for the discounts on the exchange of a used an empty cartridge or the Reset printer cleaner setting. Great points and thanks for sharing once again.

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