5 Tips to Save on Printing

You may think you’re getting a good deal for your printer, but the cost of using it may not be as attractive. One can easily spend the equivalent of a new printer for a week’s worth of printing jobs. Read on for tips on cutting printing costs.

Printers are getting cheaper by the day—you can get a decent one these days for as little as $50. Some stores even give them away for free. Printing costs, however, remain more or less the same as they were five years ago. In fact, a week’s printing costs in a typical office would be enough to buy another printer or two. So basically, if you print 10 pages a day for a month, you would’ve spent enough to buy a new computer!

Fortunately, there are ways to save on your printing costs without diminishing your print quality or forcing you to cut down. Here are five simple tips to help you out.

1. Choose the right printer. The first thing you should understand is that some printers simply use more ink or toner than others. Consider the price and compatibility of the cartridges; many printers come cheap because their cartridge formats are expensive, hard to find, or being phased out. If you’re on the market for a new printer, consider getting a laser one—it costs more up front, but the toner lasts several times longer than ink. This is especially ideal if you mostly print text documents that don’t require color.

2. Look twice, print once. How many times have you had to reprint a page because of a minor typo or error? You’ll be surprised at how much ink is wasted on pages that end up in the bin. Before pressing the print button, double-check your work to make sure there are no mistakes. Use the Print Preview option to check for any spare pages. If a page has only one or two lines of text, see if you can condense the document to eliminate the page altogether. It might seem like a small change, but the savings really add up.

3. Set the Draft mode as default. Draft mode sets your printer to use as little ink as possible while keeping the text readable, so you don’t waste ink or toner on unnecessary prints. If you need to use a higher quality setting (such as for photos), make sure to put the printer back on Draft, otherwise the high setting will remain and be applied to your next printing job.  Note that Draft may be called something else in other printers; common names include Economy, Economode and Fast Draft.

4. Don’t print from browsers. Sure, it’s convenient to use the Print option directly from your browser. But if it’s just the text you need, why print out the banners, hyperlinks, white space, and other elements on the page? You may not notice it, but what should be a page of text often becomes five pages of junk when you print directly. Instead of printing from the browser, select the text you want, paste it onto Notepad (Word can still pick up some of the code), then print from there.

5. Print regularly. Do you notice that your ink seems to run out even when you barely use it? This is because of the routine maintenance programmed into most modern printers. When your printer makes that wheezing sound as you turn it on or off, it’s actually cleaning the print heads—and in the process using up some of the ink. Much like an unused car has to be started once in a while, a printer needs regular work to stay in top shape. Try to print at least one page once a week to keep the cleaning function in check.