Buying a printer is sort of like making an investment, and to reap well from an investment, you have to make a smart choice from the beginning.
That’s why we’ve made this guide to give you the small tips and tricks that help you save up and are cost-efficient and which one only gets to know after they’ve dealt with using a printer for a while.
How to save money on printing costs
Choose the printer that fits your needs exactly
With the variety of functions and features that can be found on printers nowadays, you need to identify the ones you need.
After that, you can decide whether you should get an inkjet or a laser printer.
Read more: How to Choose The Right Printer for Your Needs.
Inkjet printers: They’re characterized by compactness, versatility, and capability to print both documents and color photographs that are of satisfactory quality.
Their vast majority feature all-in-one capabilities, thus, allowing you to print, fax, and scan easily.
Moreover, most of then include a wireless feature and require multiple ink cartridges to keep the device up and running.
Laser printers: They’re the worker bees of the printing industry. You can find them in abundance in offices.
If you intend to print only text documents, you should opt for a monochrome (prints only in black) laser printer to spare some money.
Most monochrome laser printers are highly affordable, have a good print speed, and give you a lower cost per page than a color inkjet printer.
Supertank printers: This type of printers is a great choice for ink-efficiency as they’re a modified version of inkjet printers. They save time by using high-capacity cartridges so you’ll need to make fewer cartridge changes with large-volume work.
Some even use refillable bottles to reduce the costs, while others can go for a duration of 2 whole years without needing more ink.
Shop for an ink-efficient printer rather than a budget-friendly one
The real cost of a printer is more in its required supplies (paper and ink) rather than its initial cost which you pay for only once.
This is especially applicable to ink cartridges as they aren’t cheap.
So you should get a printer that’s more ink-efficient to cut down your monthly expenses in the long run.
Of course, there are ways to extend the cartridge’s life, but it’s better to use them after you’ve already bought an ink-efficient printer from the get-go.
How can you decide on the ink-efficiency of the printer?
The simple reply is The cost per page. And here's how you can determine that:
- Look for the ink cartridge your (target) printer uses.
- Determine the cartridge’s page yield. The higher the page yield, the more cost-efficient the printer is going to be.
- Check if the printer accepts extra high yield cartridges as this increases the cost-efficiency of the printer.
- Dive the price of the ink cartridge by its page yield. The result of this process is the cost per page.
Note: page yield is the number of pages a cartridge can print before the ink runs out.
You should know that the cost of printing a certain number of pages can be higher for a cheaper printer than a more expensive one. Which bring us brings us to this question: Should I focus on the initial price or the cost per page?
Well, it depends on how frequently you’re going to print. If it’s only a few pages every now and then, you should opt for the cheaper printer.
In this case, you should also get a laser printer as it uses a toner (powder) which doesn't dry up inside the cartridges like ink –invariably leading you to buy a fresh set of cartridges.
From all of this, we can conclude that cheap inkjet printers with inefficient ink cartridges will cost you an arm and a leg in the long run.
We can also conclude that you shouldn’t be too quick to think you’ve made a great deal by purchasing that printer on sale or at a low price point if the price of its cartridges is just going to be 10 folds its initial price.
Do your research well
You should also look up the duration it would take before your initial cartridges run out, how much you can print with a single cartridge, and how much the cartridge replacement would cost.
This is why more often than not, buying a more expensive printer for the more budget-friendly line or cartridges is the wiser and more economical choice to make.
A printer-savvy person would also look into the possibility of refilling their own cartridge to cut down on the expenses.
However, this is usually a hard task as manufacturers add tiny chips that track ink or toner life and which make the refilling a more difficult process.
Finally, you should look into the new models and ink plans.
Some of these plans include HP’s promise of an Instant Ink program that automatically sends you cartridges once the ink runs low on the ones your printer is equipped with. It also provides you with a certain number of pages for a fixed monthly fee.
Canon and Epson, on the other hand, have an “Ink Tank” model which you can fill from small bottles of ink. This significantly reduces the cost per page.
Some of Brother’s printers spare you the need to buy refills for a long period of times thanks to the multiple cartridges that they include in the box.