Printers are getting less expensive all the time but keeping them fully stocked with ink seems to be getting more expensive. No sooner do you load new ink cartridges than you get messages warning you that the ink is running low.
A recent investigation by Consumer Reports magazine found that some printers use up to 50% of their ink for non-print functions, such as cleaning the print heads.
Kevin, of St. Louis, Mo., says he purchased the Kodak ESP C315 all-in-one printer specifically because the ink was cheap. The results, he says, have been disapppointing.
“Had the printer a little over a year,” he writes. “I have made less than 150 prints. Had to replace ink cartridges. Replaced both and now the printer will not print in black. Ran three test pages trying to remedy problem and it says the color ink is out.”
Keven says he suspects the problem is with the printer itself and not the ink cartridges.
John, of Warner Robbins, Ga., was happy with the way his Epson printer was working but was aggravated by the the consumption and cost of the ink. He switched to the Kodak ESP 5250.
“I print literally 10 or less docs per day and go through ink at the rate of a cartridge every month,” John writes in a ConsumerAffairs post. “In my opinion it is twice the rate of ink consumption of the Epson.”
Despite the complaints about Kodak, Consumer Reports found the worst offenders in the ink-wasting category were the HP Officejet Pro 8600 and the Lexmark OfficeEdge Pro 4000.
How do you know if your printer is wasting ink? The best way is to print a document and listen to the noises the machine makes before it starts printing. If it goes through a series of motions before it starts to print, it is performing maintenance chores. The more sounds it makes, the more ink it is using.
There's nothing you can do about the ink your printer wastes on maintenance activities, but there are some things you can do to conserve the precious liquid. Believe it or not, using a smaller font will help. Also, avoid bold text.
This might sound obvious but don't print needlessly. That means going over a draft on the screen to make corrections. Don't print until you get to the final draft.
Print only what you need. Instead of printing a complete page, just copy and paste the paragraphs you want into a new document and print that. When printing a document, just print the text, not the graphics.
There is a free app called GreenPrint. It analyzes your print jobs and points out waste. You can print to a PDF with GreenPrint, using no ink or paper.
Another way to save on ink costs is to carefully manage your printer settings. Most printers allow you to choose a quality level when printing. The higher the quality the more ink it uses.
Save “high quality” for photographs. If possible, make “low quality” the default setting.
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