Printer ink is notorious for being expensive. More costly than the price of the printer itself, Consumer Reports puts the price of branded OEM ink (such as HP, Canon, or Epson) at $13 to $75 per ounce, while a bottle of vintage Dom Perignon currently sells for $160, or $6.31 per ounce. With printer ink costing at least twice as much as premium champagne, you’ll certainly want to get every drop’s worth. We’ve broken this article into two parts: in the first part, we’ll talk about simple and proven strategies or printing habits that can prolong the life of your ink cartridge. In the second part, we’ll talk about methods you can use to tap out every last drop of ink from your cartridge.
How to Prolong the Life of Your Ink Cartridge
Avoid Large Fonts and Bolds: Large fonts and bold text require more ink, so save by slimming down the size of your text. Some ink saving fonts to try are Arial and new courier. To save even more, download Ecofont–a font style that uses 20% less ink by including small white circles within each character.
Proofread Before Your Print: Examine your documents carefully before printing them out – you just might save yourself a reprint.
Play With Your Printer Settings: Printers have been purposely set to guzzle ink before leaving the factory. Luckily for us, it’s an easy enough change. Simply update your printer’s default settings. To do this on a Windows-based computer, click start > printers > right click on your printer and choose “preferences”. Changes worth considering include:
- Setting the print quality to “draft”
- Choosing “print in grayscale” to prevent color printing
- Choose “document options” to print multiple pages per sheet
Only Print What You Need: Do you want to print an article or recipe off a website, but can do without all of the ads and photos that appear on the page? Go to printwhatyoulike.com, enter the URL for the page, and you’ll be able to delete those ink-guzzling extras with just a few simple clicks.
Use Print Preview: Have you ever printed something from the internet just to find that it didn’t fit the page? To avoid such a big ink waster you can hit “print preview” before sending anything to be printed, and you’ll be able to catch and correct any issues before the ink makes it to the paper.
Check for Clogs: Has your cartridge stopped printing like it’s supposed to? Do you receive streaks or smears on your page? Before you trash it, make sure a clogged nozzle isn’t to blame. To confirm this, try running your printer’s printhead cleaning feature. This will wick out any ink that may have settled and dried over the printhead nozzles during a long interval between print jobs.
Saving Work Instead of Printing It: Would a saved digital record work just as well as a printed copy? If that’s the case, save the file to your hard or flash drive and cut out the printing process.
Third-Party Print Cartridges: Reputable aftermarket suppliers of printer ink not only offer a cost-effective alternative to big name brands, they can also provide you with cartridges that deliver a higher yield. According to a study by PC World, “Our tests show that all of the third-party ink in our test group yielded more prints per cartridge–on top of costing less…”
It’s important to note, however, that not all aftermarket ink is created equal. Make sure you choose a reputable company with a strong warranty and flexible return policy. this will serve as an indicator of that company’s adherence to high standards of quality and customer service. LD Products stands by all of its remanufactured and compatible ink cartridges with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
How to Get Every Last Drop of Ink From Your Cartridge
If you’re receiving a warning from your printer that it’s out of ink or running dangerously low, go ahead and ignore it. In PCWorld’s article “How Much Ink is Left in That Dead Cartridge?,” a test revealed that most ink cartridges still hold anywhere from 8 to 45% of their ink when the message appears. So how do you get the remaining ink from your cartridge? There are a couple of ways:
Printhead Cleaning: You may sometimes think you’re running low on ink when you start getting streaky prints, but it may only be because your printhead needs cleaning. There are a few ways to remedy this but the easiest way is to run your printers printhead cleaning feature to get rid of dried ink in the print head. This specially happens when your printer hasn’t been used for awhile.
Shake it: When your prints start to look faded, it’s not always because your cartridges are running empty. Sometimes it could be because some of the ink has dried up and is clogging the nozzles. Apart from the hair dryer method, you could also try flipping the cartridge upside down and then gently shake it. Easy on the shaking though, we only want to get the ink unstuck, not break the cartridge.
Hair Dryer Method: Another way to get every last bit of ink from your cartridge is to make sure your cartridge nozzles are clear. Blowing the nozzles with hot air thins out whatever ink blockage is there and enables the rest of your ink to come out.
Paper Towel method: Similar to the hair dryer method, the paper towel method also aims to clear out dried ink from the nozzles to help the rest of the ink come out.
Cover the Sensor: Some ink cartridges come with a chip which detects ink levels. And more often than not, this chip sends out an empty cartridge warning too early. When it does, it sometimes won’t let you print unless you change cartridges. To address this issue, cover up the chip sensor with dark electrical tape. Take that, you chip!
Cartridge Swap: Another way to convince your printer that you’ve changed cartridges is by swapping the cartridges. This should only be tried with black and tri-color cartridges like the HP 67 series. Do not try it if your printer uses individual black, cyan, magenta and yellow cartridges. All you need to do is put the black cartridge in the tri-color slot and the tri-color in the black slot, – then put them back in their correct slots and try printing.
You need to know when your ink cartridge is really empty. When it truly is, be sure to change it promptly. Printing on a depleted cartridge can melt your print head and damage your printer (yikes!). It always pays to have a spare cartridge ready for when your cartridges are really empty.
One way to make sure you always have a spare cartridge without blowing your budget is to shop compatible cartridges which usually cost a lot less than an original brand cartridge while still giving you the same clear prints you’ve come to expect from OEM cartridges.
If you have other techniques in squeezing every last bit of ink from you cartridge, leave us a comment!