How to Make Printer Ink Last Longer
Considering how expensive printer ink can be, knowing how to make printer ink last longer can save you a lot of money long-term. There are plenty of ways to do this too! So we’ve collected the absolute best ways to prolong your ink usage below.
Adjust Your Printer Settings
Printers use an unnecessary amount of ink on their default settings. The first step you can take to make your printer ink last longer, is to change your printer’s default settings to settings that use ink more efficiently.
Check your computer for updates to your printer’s default settings. For computers with Windows operating system…
- Click the windows button in the bottom left corner of your screen
- Search “printer”
- Right click on your printer’s name and select “preferences”
There are a few different preferences you can change to save ink.
- Change preferences:
- Set the print quality to “draft”
- Choose to “print in grayscale”
- Go to “document options” and choose to print multiple pages per sheet
Bypass Low Ink Warnings
You’re hopefully familiar with the pop-up notification that appears on your computer or printer when your cartridge is running low on ink or toner. What you might not be familiar with is how to bypass it.
Bypassing low ink notifications is safe when you first receive them, because your cartridge will still have enough ink or toner in it to print hundreds of documents before running out. You can safely extend the use of your cartridge by adjusting your printer settings. For example, here’s how you can bypass low ink cartridge warnings on an Epson printer:
- Open the Windows Control Panel
- Click on “Speed & Progress”
- Uncheck the dialogue box titled “Epson Status Monitor”
After turning off the status monitor, you will no longer receive low ink warnings or the “Ink Cartridge Error.” This means you will need to carefully monitor the print quality of your documents to know when to replace your cartridges. It should be fairly obvious your cartridge is running low on ink or toner when your printouts begin to appear faded or are missing colors.
Reduce Your Use of Large or Bold Fonts
Large and bold fonts use more ink than smaller, “regular” fonts. By reducing the amount of large or bold fonts in your documents, you can slightly reduce ink usage. Use “regular” instead of bold when you can, and use smaller font sizes.
The font style you choose can also affect how much ink is used. Two commonly used ink-saving fonts are Arial and New Courier. Another font option is Ecofont, which you have to download, but supposedly uses 20% less ink than Arial and New Courier.
Proofread Before Your Print
How many times have you printed multiple copies of a document only to notice a glaring typo? By proofreading your documents multiple times before printing, you can easily avoid reprinting documents, and save yourself time and money. This is by far the easiest way to make your printer ink last longer, so don’t forget to proofread before you print!
Don’t Print Everything
It can be tempting to print important records, pictures, or online articles. However, doing so can use a lot of ink overtime. Consider which documents are truly important to print, and which can be stored digitally on a harddrive.
Don’t Buy the Cheapest Hardware
Sometimes, in spite of the precautions you take to preserve ink, you may be faced with an unavoidable problem: Your printer and/or cartridges are cheap and unreliable. Cheap and unreliable printers and cartridges waste more ink than expensive, reliable printers and cartridges. But that doesn’t mean you have to buy the latest and greatest printing hardware.
Printers are generally cheap, and most of your money will be spent on ink or toner for your printer. That said, not all printers and cartridges are created equal. A printer’s efficiency (how much ink it uses versus how many documents it prints) can be greatly affected by the quality of its inner parts, and cheap parts aren’t usually high-quality. This isn’t to say that expensive hardware is inherently better than inexpensive hardware. Just that expensive hardware is more likely to contain high-quality parts, and thus, is more likely to perform better than cheaper hardware. The same goes for ink and toner cartridges.
To avoid buying too cheap of printing hardware, do research and read reviews before you buy a cheap printer or cartridges.
Maintain Your Printer
Once you’ve found a reliable printer, you need to take care of it to ensure it remains reliable. By performing regular cleaning and maintenance before and after printing, and by performing a more thorough cleaning at least once a year (preferably by a professional printer technician), you can prevent your printer from wasting ink unnecessarily.
You’ll know your printer requires maintenance when there are streaks, smears, or spotty ink on your documents. Take action before printing again, and make sure to clean your printer more regularly to avoid similar problems in the future. Your printer will thank you and you’ll be happy with how much longer your printer ink lasts.
Maintain Your Cartridges
Your cartridges require maintenance too, but differently from your printer. To keep printer ink from drying out, you need to store it properly. Here are some way to make your printer ink cartridges last longer:
- Store your cartridges when you aren’t using them. You can preserve ink when your cartridges aren’t in use by removing them from your printer and storing them in airtight plastic bags or containers. We recommend wearing gloves to do this.
- Store your cartridges at room temperature. Ink dries out faster when it is exposed to excessively hot or cold temperatures, compared to when it is stored at a moderate room temperature (about 68 degrees).
- Moisten your cartridges regularly. Using a damp towel (that you don’t mind staining) and protective gloves, you can wipe down your cartridges to clean-up ink spills. This can help to prevent clogs. Just remember to dry the cartridge before reinserting it into your printer.
- Use your cartridges regularly. Try to print at least several pages every week using all the colors in your ink cartridges. Doing so will prevent less-used colors from drying out due to inactivity.
How to Make Printer Ink Last Longer
Hopefully, you’ve found at least a few methods above to try at home on your printer or printer ink cartridges. By adjusting your printer settings and proofreading before you print, you can easily avoid wasting ink unnecessarily, and ultimately make your printer ink last longer. You can also buy a reliable and efficient printer and cartridges, and simply maintain them to reduce the amount of ink they waste.
The price you pay for printer ink can increase quickly if you don’t take precautions to prolong your cartridges’ lifespans. Printer ink eventually expires, but you can continue to use it beyond its expiration date if you take care of your printing tools. If, however, you bought too much ink, and you’re worried it might expire before you get around to using it, consider selling your unused ink and toner cartridges online for cash.