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Top 10 Ways to Save Money on Printer Supplies
May 15, 2019
Reading time: 9 minutes
For anyone who depends on their printer at home or for work, printer supplies are a necessary part of your routine. From dealing with ink and toner cartridges to keeping up with your paper supplies and handling occasional printhead problems, these items can quickly add up and even cost more than your printer.
To help both home and business users save money on their print supply routine, we’ve compiled the top 10 ways to save money on printer supplies.
We’ll start with a pair of unique options from HP® and then share the most useful tips that just about anyone with any conventional printer can use to save.
1. High-yield HP Original ink and toner cartridges
Dealing with ink and toner cartridges is probably at the top of most users’ lists when it comes to keeping up with desktop printing supplies. Higher volume users are especially accustomed to replacing, recycling, or refilling their spent cartridges on a fairly regular basis. The first way we’ll talk about scaling back your printer supply expenses is buying higher yield cartridges from HP.
This ends up with you cutting out half of the biggest part of most supply routines, and is a great way to save money on shipping or travel expenses you may usually associate with refills or ink and toner cartridge recycling.
You’ll find even more capacity when you add HP®’s high-yield PageWide cartridges to your basket of large format printing paper supplies, which offers up to 2.5 times the usual output versus standard printer cartridges. At the very least, you can save a lot of time thanks to HP printer supplies, providing a structural advantage for businesses or professionals who depend on frequent large or wide-format printing.
2. Affordable replacement plans with HP Instant Ink
HP Instant Ink is a convenient ink subscription service with four tiers tailored to different print volumes. Alongside high-yield cartridge compatibility, it’s one of two signature features you’ll see noted in the reviews for many HP printers across a variety of different lines and configurations.
Your HP Instant Ink plan centers on your print volume each month, rather than how much ink you use. For low volume users who only print important documents or paperwork, the service opens with a free monthly plan capped at 15 pages per month. If you need more, just pick whatever best fits your routine. Each paid tier also has its own accompanying rollover plan and cost breakdown for overflow pages.
The service peaks at a high-volume option of 300 pages per month for just $9.99, with the opportunity to roll over the maximum number of pages, up to 600, and only $1 more for each additional 20 pages. That’s a lot of potential value for anyone printing on a larger scale.
With your cost based on print volume, you no longer need to worry about the extra impact of printing color photos. Even better, the whole system works automatically, with HP Instant Ink-enabled printers detecting low levels and automatically shipping a replacement cartridge directly to your door. HP® also accounts for environmental impact with options to recycle your spent ink cartridges at no extra cost to you.
Essentially, you won’t have to worry about surprise low-ink warnings when you need to print most, and no more hunting for a refill station or struggling to find the right cartridge type. Just sign up at your preferred level and adapt as you go. There’s no penalty for canceling your account or changing plans later, either.
3. Use draft mode, ink-saving fonts, and grayscale
Although it may not be possible with every print job, relying on draft settings when printing plain text or grayscale with images is a great way to extend the lifespan of your cartridges. Even shifting a small portion of your output to draft or grayscale can make a dent in your recurring costs.
Avoiding bold formatting for type is another small way to save extra over time. While it can sometimes be hard to judge accurately, using lighter formatting can also make an impact, particularly if you want to avoid the potential uncertainty of using draft print settings as a hedge.
Remember too, that some fonts use less ink than others. Changing your default font to Century Gothic, Calibri, or Times New Roman will save you ink on each print. One to avoid is Arial - it’s one of the more ink-heavy fonts out there.
4. Remember duplex printing for appropriate projects
Duplex or double-sided printing may conjure memories of tediously flipping pages by hand, but many HP printers are designed with a convenient, cost-saving automatic duplex printing feature, known as ADP for short.
Of course, printing double-sided pages may not be appropriate for every job, but incorporating it into your routine can definitely save you a lot of paper over time. Just check the relevant setting during your print setup and your ADP-enabled printer will do the rest.
5. Use more efficient single-color instead of tri-color cartridges
While a tri-color printer cartridge offers some added convenience compared with handling individual cartridges for each color, they actually tend to use ink less efficiently than the traditional, single-color option. The primary reason is that a tri-color cartridge condenses three ink cartridges into one.
As a result, when your print routine skews more heavily toward one of the three colors, you end up having to replace the entire cartridge before you’ve actually used up all the contents.
When looking at the product page for any HP printer, you can easily identify what type of cartridges it uses and find direct links by checking under the Ink & Papertab. You can also click over to the specs tab and scroll down to the replacement cartridges heading where you’ll find a list of all compatible cartridge types, including standard cartridges and any appropriate high-yield XL options.
6. Build up your supply stock and save with cartridge multi-packs
You may save more or less depending on your printer configuration and the individual costs associated with its compatible cartridges, but generally buying cartridges in bulk is a good way to save. It cuts a bit off your purchase price at checkout and saves you the hassle of shopping for a replacement the next time one runs out.
Instead of reordering, just pull out a spare and return the spent cartridge to HP® for free recycling and avoid contributing to the growing e-waste problem. Of course, for enterprise and commercial scale operations, finding the right dedicated source for wholesale printing supplies may be the best focus for your search.
7. Remember to keep up a basic printer maintenance routine
Although it may seem obvious, avoiding damage and wear to your printer can help it continue to function efficiently over the life of the device. Keeping both your printer and workspace dust-free and relatively dry are the best ways to reduce environmental strain and prevent unexpected damage or leaks. With a little effort you can save not only on your routine expenses but hopefully extend the overall lifespan of your printer.
Another possible cost saver is remembering to power down your printer when it’s not in use. Many HP home printers actually incorporate fast on/off features that can help here.
8. Thoroughly proofread documents before printing
Printing documents with mistakes or other errors is a great way to waste not only paper and ink, but energy and time as well. We can all save on headaches and unnecessary waste by taking a thorough look at all of our jobs before we hit the print button. Prevent waste (and embarrassment) by discovering any errors prior to printing. It justifies spending a little extra time on your final reading.
Beyond simply proofreading and looking for errors in the text, you should also take a thorough look at your print settings and format before you send the job to your printer. That way you’re sure to print only the portion of a text or webpage that you need.
For example, it’s easy to accidentally tack on page after page of comments or discussion when you print from a website or message board without specifying a page range.
9. Recycle and reuse scrap paper
If you have access to a shredder or even just a sturdy pair of scissors, scrap paper can be a great source of packing or storage material.
You can even repurpose one-sided throwaways as scrap paper for daily notes or reminders. For creatives and small businesses looking to streamline their overall workflow, this is a great way to reduce environmental impact while saving time and money on your own supply shopping.
Recycling printer hardware and wide-format printing supplies like oversized prints and leftovers may be more challenging, but with some extra care, they can still find use as a shipping material, particularly as padding when folded over.
10. Determine whether your printer is the best fit for your routine
Although improving technology and product availability has dramatically changed printer shopping, even in the relatively recent past printers have had a bad reputation for wasting too much time and money.
The usual hassle of refilling ink and stocking the right kind of printer paper is enough by itself, to say nothing of the difficulties that can go along with an older machine.
This means you may be spending more on printer supplies because of a less efficient device, whether it’s too small to keep up with your print volume or just too old for regular use. In those situations, an affordable new HP printer paired with HP Instant Ink or high-yield cartridges is a great way to save on supplies for the entire lifetime of your device.
Just shop the size and Instant Ink plan that best suit your needs, and keep your eyes peeled for HP®’s many ENERGY STAR®-certified printers when economy is a priority.
Save time and energy in your print routine
Printer supply routines of all sizes typically have some impact on your finances and schedule, for good or bad. Hopefully, some of the suggestions here will help trim down your costs and cut down on time spent shopping for cartridges in person.
When you’re ready, simply visit the printer supplies section and enter the name or model of your printer, or the number associated with your usual HP ink cartridges, to find compatible ink and toner cartridges. You can also shop for new paper stock and replacement printheads when the need arises.
About the Author
Dwight Pavlovic is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Dwight is a music and technology writer based out of West Virginia.
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