3 Ways to Save On Inkjet Printing

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As a business owner, printer ink can be a expensive necessity, so I'm always seeking new ways to eke out "just one more sheet" and keep within my monthly budget. Here are a few tricks I use to save a trip to the office supply store...

Print Using Draft Mode
Sure, it's tempting to use the highest quality setting when printing for every document, but more often than not, I'm usually printing out an assortment of non-essentials for reference. Switching the printer default to draft mode saves a ton of ink for most documents. They also print much faster, offering savings in the category of invaluable time.

For reference, Digital Photography Now has an excellent series of images illustrating the differences in printing quality by setting (though, note the examples are from way back in 2002, and printer manufacturers have made great strides in improving printout quality), also explaining how draft mode usually works:

  • Reducing printout dpi (dots-per-inch) - changing the dpi from 600 to 300. This method may result in about 5% -10% savings but will have the side effect of a light printout.
  • Reducing toner density levels - the printer will change the print density from 3 to 1. This method may generate 8% to 15% savings, with a much lighter output.
  • Half toning - changing the color from black to gray. This method generates marginal savings for non-color documents and will have the side effect of a low-quality light printout.
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Print Documents From Reader Mode
Printing a website from screen onto paper is generally a big waste of ink. Yet we all do it! Consider all of the unnecessary graphics, menus, ads and other site elements printed out with each website page. Switching to your browsers reader mode helps strip websites of extraneous elements, resulting in less ink used with that Yelp review or Evite invitation. Even if a browser doesn't come with a built-in reader mode, there are plenty of plugins and options available to accomplish a filtered printout-ready version.


Add a Continuous Ink System
A continuous flow system is an attachment hooked up to a much larger ink storage system, bypassing the use of small capacity ink jet cartridges to feed a printer's nozzles. For anyone who requires printing out documents en masse daily, this could be a big cost saving measure worth investigating. Prices range from just $14.99 for the empty containers and nozzles themselves, to $130 for a pre-filled system for major brands like Canon, HP, Brother, and Epson. Another consideration is switching to a monochrome laser printer, which offer a better "per sheet cost".

More info for ink jet printer users:


(Images: Gregory Han, Inksupply.com, Pocket)