How To Save Printer Ink & Make It Last Longer

Saving on printer ink is one of my top priorities. Printer ink is expensive, and if you run a business, it can cost a fortune. However you can buy printer ink cartridges bulk at a discounted price and save money in return.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the things that I do to keep costs down. Let’s take a look. 

Clean The Printer Head

My prints can sometimes come out a little “streaky.” They look as if the ink is smeared somehow. 

While many people will order a new cartridge at this point, I’ve learned not to do this. Much of the time, I haven’t run out of ink. Instead, the printer head is just dirty. 

Check the head of the printer cartridge. Often, if I haven’t used it for a while, there’s dried-on ink. 

Just remove this with a clean cloth and reinstall. I often find that the printer prints like new after a simple wipe: no need to swap out the cartridge for a new one. 

Remanufactured Inks

Using remanufactured ink cartridges can be a great way to get the cost of printing down.

Remanufactured cartridges are where you send the cartridge back to the manufacturer to restock it with ink and repair any damage. The resulting ink cartridge is cheaper than buying outright. 

Many vendors, such as and Amazon, sell remanufactured inks, allowing businesses to buy inks for less. 

Do A Print Preview

Here’s another little trick that I love: using print preview. 

Print preview lets me check that I am printing in a way that saves on ink. So, for example, I can verify that I am using black instead of color. I can also check the formatting and font size. 

Use Ink-Friendly Fonts And Avoid Bolds

Before I began investigating this subject, I didn’t realize that different fonts use a varying amount of ink. 

Furthermore, it turns out that some of my favorite fonts were ink guzzlers. 

Arial, for instance, is problematic. The reason is how the printer constructs the font. 

When you zoom in on each character, you see that it’s a line of constant width. It’s the same number of dots wide for all sections of the letter. 

Now compare that to a font like Times New Roman. That font uses thinner sections for certain parts of letters. Overall, it uses about 25 percent less ink for a given volume of text. 

Many fonts are more ink-efficient than Arial. These include Calibri and Roboto Thin. 

Bold fonts are a problem for the same reason. When I was printing in bold, I found that I ran through my ink cartridges more quickly. Bold requires more ink: plain and simple. 

But cutting down on the use of bold, my office and team slashed their ink usage. After that, each cartridge provided much better mileage. 

Use Ink-Saving Settings On Your Computer

I recently discovered that Windows comes with settings that allow you to save on ink. 

Wait a second: what does Windows have to do with ink? 

It turns out that Windows has a printing preference that you can use to specify how you want to use your printer. 

All I did was go to Control Panel, open Devices and Printers, and then select Printing Preferences. Here I could play around with options that allowed me to cut down on the total ink I used. 

Don’t Print Before Proofreading

Like most people, I make mistakes in my work. So do my colleagues. It’s human nature. 

I get around most of these errors by using spelling and grammar checkers, but they’re not perfect. Sometimes I need to go through the work myself and read it with my own eyes. 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve printed something out, only to find that it’s wrong. I then have to throw the paper in the bin and start all over again. It’s a massive waste of ink and money. 

Manually editing work before sending it to the printer helped me enormously. I could eliminate most errors and then get prints that I didn’t have to redo. 

Use Draft Mode

Draft mode, I discovered, is precisely for the situation described above. It is for when you want to print something but don’t know if it is perfect or not. 

Draft mode uses less ink than full-quality print. But I found that I couldn’t really tell the difference. If a print was for a client, I do it the normal way. If it is for internal use, I use draft mode. 

Use Greyscale

Greyscale is a tool that I found that lets me print in black and white only, helping me to achieve more affordable ink.

Again, all I did was go into Windows settings and select greyscale. It means that Windows will always print in black and white unless I tell it that I want color. 

This setting stops members of my team from accidentally printing out vast numbers of pages with color elements, except when necessary. 

So, there you have it: how to save printer ink and make your cartridges last longer. 

Adam Hansen

Adam is a part time journalist, entrepreneur, investor and father.