Printer ink is the most frustrating purchase ever. This is because printer ink varies in quality and price, and you never seem to know what you’re doing and what’s not (is reconditioned ink okay? Should you stick with brand name ink? What about subscription services?).
Now that so many of us work from home and buy our own printer ink, we thought it would be a good time to dive deep into the world of printer ink costs so that you never run dry or at least don’t spend luck on ink.
The biggest consideration when it comes to saving money on printer ink is buying the right printer, says Rex Freiberger, CEO of Gadget review, a technology and lifestyle publication.
“Many of the cheaper printers waste ink and have no way of preserving the ink,” says Freiberger. “It’s worth investing in a more expensive printer to keep your cost per page down.”
The Basics of Buying Printing Ink
Here are our tips on how to save money on charging your printer with ink.
Don’t buy ink directly from big brands
They charge a substantial mark-up and save money when you buy third parties, says Freiberger. There are companies out there that specialize in selling generic ink cartridges and Ebay is the best place to find them, says Lou Gimbutis, chief buyer at Real estate solutions in Charlotte, North Carolina. He says the five-pack of cartridges he needs costs over $ 70 at a major retailer, but he can find the five-pack on Ebay for $ 9-14. By buying ink in bulk, he pays just over $ 1 per cartridge.
Be aware, however, that many manufacturers require the use of their brand new ink cartridges or the warranty will be void, says Thomas Cirignano, an author who prints numerous copies of his manuscripts for editing.
“I believe some brands of printer can actually monitor your internet-connected printer to see if you are violating this ink policy,” he says.
Try the reconditioned cartridges
These ink cartridges are available at a fraction of the cost, says Cirignano. A new set of three color and one black branded cartridges costs around $ 100 for the Cirignano printer. On Amazon, he buys a full set or remanufactured three-color cartridges and two of the larger black cartridges for less than $ 20 with free shipping.
“The key to buying good quality refilled cartridges is reading the reviews and checking the ink company’s warranty policy,” he says.
In recent years, when many cartridges have added smart chips, there are companies offering cash for empty cartridges. It’s a win-win situation, says Cirignano.
Consider refilling the ink cartridges
These allow you to buy ink separately and pour the ink into yourself. This is a messy DIY project, and it’s easy to get it wrong. But if you’re good at DIY and don’t mind making a little mess, you could save more than 50 percent on printer ink, Freiberger says.
Still, Gimbutis says that in his experience, refilling ink and toner is more of a problem than it’s worth. Since 2004 he has owned a company based in his own country that relies heavily on direct mail. Therefore, he tried almost all possibilities to reduce his printing costs. Liquid ink cartridges tend to be relatively small, so the frequency of refills per 1,000 pages printed is high, says Gimbutis.
“It’s also a messy process: the best of intentions often leave blotchy fingertips, surfaces, and sometimes even printers.”
Toner cartridges for laser printers are larger and need to be refilled less often. However, the process is time consuming and not always successful. To refill toner cartridges, you need to drill a hole in the cartridge, fill it with powder, and then reseal it. Either way, you usually need a new chip that your printer will recognize every time you do this. Otherwise printing will be refused.
Check the subscription services
Most of the major printing companies now offer subscription-based ink services that are inexpensive depending on the plan. For example, HP offers a plan with a monthly fee to print a certain number of pages per month. The fee includes the ink, shipping and recycling and runs across the front month-to-month. If you need to print more pages, you will be charged the same price per page as in the basic plan. The most popular plan is $ 5 a month and includes 100 pages of ink.
There are also new pressure bottles
In recent years, some major printer brands (Epson, Canon) have been releasing ink into bottles, which may be put into reusable tanks. These are combined with EcoTank printers and the ink is considerably cheaper than comparable ink (around 3 cents per black page). The downside is that the actual printer is relatively tall, so this should only be viewed as a way to save money for those who print really often.
Danielle Braff is an employee of The Penny Hoarder. Check out her other work Here.
This article originally appeared on www.thepennyhoarder.com