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How To Make Ink Cartridges Last Longer

How To Make Ink Cartridges Last Longer
By Simon Williams
December 28, 2018

In a busy office environment, making your ink cartridges last longer can save thousands of dollars. Not to mention that there is nothing more frustrating than running out of ink when trying to print important documents for a deadline.

Side Note: We launched our automatic ink replacement service for this purpose alone.

If you feel like you’re constantly replenishing your ink cartridges, take note of our top 11 ways to make ink cartridges last longer. Read on to find out how to squeeze every last bit of ink (literally) before you recycle your cartridges.

1. Question what you are printing.

The most efficient way to make ink cartridges last longer is to stop and think about what you are printing. All too often, in our haste, we print unnecessarily. Not only does this wreak havoc with the environment in wasted paper, it’s a surefire way to drain your cartridges. Before you go to print, ask yourself these 2 vital questions: 

  • Do I need to print these documents?
  • Can they be printed in black and white?

The average user can increase the lifetime of an ink cartridge by up to 50% through this method alone. Take the time to consider whether you really need to print the document.

2. Don’t be fooled by ‘low ink’ warnings.

Okay, it’s true. When a printer says it’s out of ink that often is not the case. While it isn’t recommended to push your cartridges to their absolute limit as dry ink can damage your printer, you may be cutting yourself short. Many studies have shown that there is still a significant amount of ink left in a cartridge, even after the printer flashes a warning sign.

So, before you go replacing your ink too quickly, keep your eye on the printing quality to understand more about your ink cartridge length. You’ll soon know when your cartridge is really out of ink as the printing quality will plummet significantly.

3. Select sensible font sizes and typography.

Using large fonts or bolded typography will naturally use more ink. If you can avoid increasing the size or thickness of your fonts, you’ll find you can squeeze slightly more out of your ink cartridges. Not to mention saving on paper if you are using smaller font types. In addition, you should also make sure you pay attention to the style of font you are printing.

Whilst this sounds strange, cursive and thicker fonts can also use a lot more ink.

4. Proof read all documents.

No doubt in the past you have printed a document to then spot a mistake. We’re human. It happens. However, let’s say 10% of all your prints are errors. This is 10% of wasted ink that you can immediately avoid to make your ink cartridges last longer. You can even use tools such as Grammarly to proof-check for spelling mistakes.

Sorry, it’s an obvious one but we cannot count how many times we’ve done it ourselves!

5. Do not turn off your printer.

If you print regularly then it is a good idea not to switch your printer off. Each time a printer is started, the printer runs a cleaning cycle that purges the print heads and pushes fresh ink through the nozzles. Whilst this is a good idea to perform on occasion, it simply isn’t needed each time the printer is turned on. If you are concerned about the environment, be sure to purchase a printer that runs economically.

Older printers typically are expensive to run and use a lot of energy. Whereas new printers, despite their advanced features, are far safer for the environment.

6. Check your printer settings.

You may not know this, but your computer has built in preferences to help make ink cartridges last longer! If you are using Windows, locate the Devices and Printers section in the Control Panel. Right click on your desired printer and select Printing Preferences. From there you should be able to select one of the following recommendations, depending on your needs!

Draft Mode: By selecting draft mode, you will use considerably less ink. Draft mode is designed to print faster with slightly less precision in order to give you a draft worthy version of your documents. The quality will not be as good when compared to a regular print job, however, it should suffice if you need to do a quick review.

Grayscale Printing: Printing with grayscale will immediately save your colour ink cartridges! This option can help conserve those precious colour cartridges by only printing your document in black and white. Honestly, not everything needs to be in colour!

You can also change your printer’s default settings from within your application. Let’s say you are using Microsoft Word or Photoshop, there will be settings within here before you print that will allow you to customise the print type. Spending a little time to really assess what quality you need will naturally save you much more ink over the course of time.

7. Save work, instead of printing.

Sometimes, a physical copy of your document or files are just not needed. Before you jump the gun, consider saving a copy of your document on your phone or in the cloud. Google® Drive and Amazon® Drive are two simple storage solutions that are easily accessible with an internet connection. This will also keep your desk a lot cleaner too!

8. Don’t buy the cheapest printer.

We have a common saying here at Cartridges Direct. When you buy cheap, you buy twice. Whilst spending less on your printer may sound appealing, the lower performance and poor output will cost you long-term. How often do you replace your printer? If not very often, think about the savings you will make on replacement ink cartridges overtime.

For the perfect balance of affordability and efficiency, opt for a mid-range printer that delivers better overall results.

9. Use high quality, genuine ink cartridges.

It’s a common misconception that ink cartridges are all the same. Depending on the method of manufacture, some cartridges deliver much greater yields than others, and are capable of producing many more printouts. When it comes to purchasing replacement cartridges, opt for an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) cartridge or a high-quality compatible. You should also be careful of purchasing counterfeit ink cartridges.

This is an industry wide problem that also happens to fund some terrorist organisations. Be sure to purchase your replacement ink cartridges from a reputable provider that is renowned for selling only genuine products. Counterfeit ink cartridges are extremely inefficient when it comes to printing.

10. Purchase XL ink cartridges. 

Whilst slightly more expensive, XL printer cartridges will naturally reduce the number of times you need to replace your toner. Okay, so this is not a tip that will make your cartridges last longer, however, we know all too well that replacing ink cartridges can be frustrating. By purchasing XL printer cartridges, you will also be saving on money too. Typically, the XL version of compatible printer cartridges will be cheaper per volume of ink than a regular cartridge.

11. Maintain your printer regularly.

As with all technology, regular maintenance is essential to maintain performance. For optimal condition and printing outputs, have your printer cleaned at least once per year by a professional technician. Alternatively, you may be able to do this yourself by following an online guide. But be careful, if you are not 100% confident then it’s best left to the professionals.

The final word.

By following the steps above, you can extend the life of your ink cartridge from anywhere between 50-100%. When you’re done, be sure to enroll into an official printer cartridge recycling scheme to ensure that your empty ink cartridges do not end up in landfill. If you have any questions about what type of ink cartridges are suitable for your printer, head on over to our live chat. We would be more than happy to assist.