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Cutting down on printer costs

Cutting down on printer costs

Doing a bit of research before buying a printer and its cartridges can save you a lot of money. We tell you what you should at and why buying a cheap printer is a mistake.

Buying a printer seems like an easy task. They all perform the same job, so the cheapest, so long as it’s from a well-known company, should suit you just fine. Or so you’d think. The cost of a printer, if you use it regularly, is generally tiny as compared to the cost of the ink. It’s no secret that companies get you to commit to a printer by lowering its cost and then recover their money by selling cartridges. So what do you need to pay attention to when you’re buying a printer? Let’s find out.

Lasers are cheaper in the long run Laser printers are more expensive than inkjets, but have lower running costs. Even if you don’t use your printer very frequently, you’re likely to recover the additional expense over time. For example, HP Deskjet Ink Advantage 2515 All-in-One Printer, available at a price of Rs5049, is compatible with a cartridge that costs you Rs2.99 for each print, as per the HP website. On the other hand, the HP LaserJet 1020 printer costs Rs2,200 more, but its cartridge gives you a better yield, costing you just Rs1 per page you print. What’s more is that laser printers print faster and are more capable of printing smaller fonts.

Expensive printers have cheaper cartridges Typically, the more you’re willing to spend on a printer, the more you’ll save on printing costs. So when buying a printer, what you need to know is the yield of the cartridge it is compatible with. HP is the only manufacturer that tells you the yield of the cartridge. In their recent test, though, Right Choice magazine made a similar case across all brands, from Canon to Epson.

Check prices before buying If you’re going to stick to the original printer cartridge, always check prices before you buy. While the official websites often offer the best rates for smartphones and laptops, this isn’t the case with printer cartridges. A good 15-minute hunt across several shopping websites could save you a great deal of money. Here’s a price check for a few cartridges from Canon and HP:

Ink Flipkart Snapdeal IT Depot HP website Canon website
HP 802 Tri-colour Rs675 Rs642 Rs655 Rs1,040 NA
HP 862 black ink Rs698 Rs676 Rs725 Rs710 NA
HP 901 officejet Rs845 Rs817 Rs849 Rs849 NA
Canon 821 black ink Rs782 Rs697 RS780 NA Rs805
Canon CLI 8 black ink Rs845 Rs809 Rs840 NA Rs845
Canon PGI 820 Rs795 Rs762 Rs795 NA Rs795

Buy combined ink cartridges only if you need to A combined ink cartridge comes with three primary coloured inks – cyan, magenta and yellow. However, when one of these inks gets over, you have to replace the entire cartridge even if there is ink remaining for other colours. For example, if you print photos with skies often, your cyan colour ink will run out faster compared to other inks.

Fonts make a difference to your ink consumption Certain fonts take up a lot more ink while printing as compared to others. Right Choice magazine reported, for example, that Times New Roman and MS Office’s default font Calibri can produce 27% more pages than Arial. Verdana produces the fewest printed pages.

Beware of high print resolutions Higher print resolutions can drive up your ink consumption without making a significant difference to your print quality. For example, a printer can come with a default printing resolution of 600 by 1200 dots per inch which can go up to 9600 dots per inch. But the difference between the two cannot be distinguished easily.

Printing occasionally can increase running costs If you don’t use your printer frequently, your printer can use ink to clean its printing head. Depending on the frequency at which you use your printer, the ink required to clean the head can vary. Still, as it’s ink not being used to print pages, it leads to an increase in your ink expenses.

Print in draft mode to save ink If quality isn’t important in what you’re printing, change your settings to save ink. To print in the faster, lower quality draft mode on Windows: Click Office button > Word Options > Advanced. Scroll down to Print options; check the tick box that says ‘Use draft quality’. Repeat this step and deselect this option if you want to print in better quality.

Use good quality third-party ink cartridges You can get cheap ink from third parties (also known as non-OEM ink) for a number of printer models, whether the cartridges are new or refilled. But be careful while buying one. Some third-party ink cartridges can produce great quality prints at a fraction of a cost of a branded cartridge, but some cartridges may have compatibility issues with your printer.

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