The cost of printers has come declined sharply in recent years, but that does not mean printing is getting any cheaper. The actual printer may be relatively inexpensive, but the ink that makes it work can be extremely costly. In some cases, the cost of a single set of replacement ink cartridges can be more than the printer itself.
If you want to keep more money in your pocket and spend less of your cash on ink, there are a few things you can do to lower your costs. These tips can help you reduce your printing costs without sacrificing the quality of your output.
Always preview before you print. If you have ever printed an email or web page and been confronted with page after page of junk material, you know how important it is to preview the document before you hit print. Checking the number of pages ahead of time and printing just what you need will preserve your precious ink and lower your printing costs.
Print in draft mode. Draft mode uses far less ink, and the quality is acceptable for all but the most formal requirements. If you are printing a simple email or quick note, draft mode should be just fine.
Use printer tools sparingly. You can align your print heads, clean the printer nozzles and perform a host of other tasks, but those jobs all use ink. Printer maintenance casts can use up a lot of ink, and that could cost you a lot of money.
Choose black and white mode whenever possible. A color ink cartridge can cost twice as much as a black one. Printing in full color mode increases your printing costs substantially without providing much benefit. Unless you are printing a photograph or business document, you can probably get away with black and white.
Use photo services to print your photographs. Speaking of photographs, it is probably cheaper to have your pictures printed at a retail store or through an online service than it is to print them yourself. Photo printing uses a lot of ink, and that makes the cost per print higher than you might think.
Think before you print. You may not need to print that document at all. If all you want is a permanent record, you can save the screenshot, email or other document to your computer. You can save the file as a PDF, a universal format that just about anyone can read. You can then save the PDF to your computer, email it to others or save it to the cloud, all without expending an ounce of ink.
The price you pay for the printer is only the beginning. The real cost comes after — when it is time to start printing documents and photographs. Looking at the big picture is the best way to trim your printing costs and get the most for your money.