Does this sound familiar?
“Oh great. I need new ink/toner cartridges for the printer. That’s another x amount of money out of the bank…”
It’s ok, you’re not alone. Even as a seller of ink and toner cartridges, we understand that their cost is an issue for many! Especially if you do lots of printing; it doesn’t seem like five minutes before you’ve got to buy new ones again, right?
But you need to buy them. You can’t suddenly stop printing all together. So what can you do to make the money you’ve put aside for new ink and toner cartridges go further?
Well the first thing you need to do is make sure you find a supplier that’s not going to rip you off. Make sure that their prices offer fair market value (for what it’s worth, our prices are price checked against the market every day).
Then it’s a case of being a bit savvier when you shop, and then a bit cleverer when you’re using your new cartridges. The following 7 tips will help you to maximise your ink and toner, saving you money in the long run:
1. Buy multi-packs of cartridges
Whether it’s just a colour multi-pack or one with black ink cartridges in them too, buying your cartridges in packs will work out cheaper than buying them all individually. What’s more, because you’re spending that little bit more upfront, you might also be able to benefit from a discount for buying in bulk depending on where you buy them from.
2. Just buy black cartridges if you don’t really need colour
This really boils down to what kind of printing you do on a regular basis. What’s your printer used for most? Of course if you’re a marketing agency, for example, that prints out a lot of leaflets and eshots etc., then yes you will need to buy colour.
But what if over 90% of your print outs are just emails? Or what if you mainly just print off documents to proof and scribble on? Could you not get by with just black ink and toner?
Think about what you print. The point here is if you don’t desperately need colour ink or toner, you could just stick with black.
3. Investigate the page ranges of cartridges when buying a new printer
Yet have you ever considered the long term cost? Sure one printer may look cheap to buy, but it could be worth looking to see what the page range is like for the cartridges that it uses. So for example, whereas one printer may cost £40 and another one £70, the latter could well use more efficient cartridges, meaning you’ll be spending less in the long run.
Before you buy a new printer, find out what cartridges it uses and see how many pages it can print on average before they will need replacing.
4. Buy compatible cartridges instead
We bang the compatible drum because we think there are too many misconceptions about them.
Yes, if you pay a tenner for some down the market, you may well be taking a risk.
But spend a little bit more on a good quality compatible and you really shouldn’t know the difference. The best compatibles will have been made to produce results that will either match or exceed your expectations. In addition they still cost a little less than originals, too.
Just make sure they come with a warranty like you would an original. And contrary to some beliefs, compatible ink cartridges won’t invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty of your printer!
Read our blog post specifically about this topic here.
5. Stop printing every little thing!
This is something we addressed in our post on saving paper around the office, but this can also help you to save ink and toner, too.
Are you guilty of printing off something that you really didn’t need to? An email, maybe? Or a sheet of A4 containing two lines?
If you tidy up your printing habits those little bits of ink and toner saved will soon add up.
This issue made international news when a 14-year-old claimed that the US government could save up to $400 million each year by ditching Times New Roman and using Garamond font in official government publications and documents, instead.
Although his calculations were quickly shot down by experts, his point is still very much valid. Certain fonts are smaller and lighter than others, meaning they use less paper and less ink.
Again, this all comes down to what kind of printing you’re doing. But unless you really need BIG BOLD FONT, maybe use a more subtle one as your default. Just experiment and find ones that work for you.
7. Be aware that not all the ink and toner in your cartridge will be used for printing
This is difficult as you might not be able to do anything about this one! But some of the ink and toner in your cartridges won’t ever touch a piece of paper.
Some will just go to waste. And some will also be used to clean printer heads. Yep, some printers use ink and toner from cartridges to clean build up in their heads. Depending on the settings of your particular printer, you may or may not be able to control this.
This is just something to consider before buying and budgeting for new cartridges.