Tips for Squeezing More Printer Ink Out of Every Cartridge

If you use your printer a lot, it can seem like it is always asking to be fed more toner or ink. With the price of printer ink sometimes seeming like it is up there with weaponised uranium, this can be a bit of a strain on your wallet, so understandably you want to eke out every last possible page from your cartridges. Printing only when you absolutely need to and only using colour when it is crucial to the purpose of the printout are the no brainer things to do, but what else can you do to ensure you get the best value for money from your printer?


Photo by Daniel Foster

Printer Maintenance

Whether you have an expensive printer you use for commercial stuff or just a normal home multi function printer, scanner and copier, keeping it in the best working order will ensure nicer copies and prints without wasting ink or losing ink on unusable copies that get jammed in the mechanics somewhere. Make sure you pay attention to manufacturers’ guidelines for your model, and have something like a HP printer maintenance kit for your model with things like replacement fusers to hand. If your printer is old and due for a replacement, then look out for economy models that are designed to guzzle less toner and be generally cheaper to run.

Check Your Settings

Whatever operating system you are using, there will be options for your default print settings. These can often be altered in things like Word prior to each individual print out, so the best thing to do is choose the most economical settings as the default and only do higher quality or colour prints as exceptions when you need them by altering the print settings for that job only. Use ‘draft’ type settings and black and white as your default and you will use much less ink while still getting a copy that is good enough for reading or making notes on. If you want to go even further, you can consider using ‘eco fonts’ which are designed to use less ink, and printing two pages to every one side of A4 (which also saves on paper for a double win economy wise – print double sided too for an even bigger paper saving advantage).

Get Those Last Bits of Ink

With laser printer cartridges, you can often get several more pages after you think the cartridge is dead (i.e. when the printouts have become pale or streaky looking) by removing the cartridge and shaking it hard for a few seconds. The ink for this style of printer is a dry powder, and this will loosen any stuck bits of this dust so that they can be used for a few final prints before you truly need to replace the cartridge.

Getting the most out of your printer ink is a good idea for both financial and ecological reasons, so save ink where you can and make sure you don’t take out that cartridge until it really has given all it has to give!

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