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Tips on how to use less printer ink and save money while working from home

Posted at 5:20 AM, Jan 11, 2021

(WXYZ) — With so many people still working from home, your household printer may be working overtime, not to mention your ink cartridges. Consumer Reports has some advice on ways to save on ink.

When it was announced, it sounded like a great promotion from printer maker HP – free link for life – 15 pages worth a month. But then in the fall of 2020, HP changed its mind and said it would begin charging customers.

After outcries on social media, HP reversed course and reinstated the program for existing customers.

“And HP isn’t the only one with a subscription plan. Brother, Canon, and Epson each have their own versions too," Consumer Reporters Tech Editor Octavio Blanco said.

Most of these plans relay on a company remotely monitoring your ink levels, and then sending you cartridges when you're low. No matter how you get it, Consumer Reports offers clever tips to help you save money by saving ink.

"Consider a refillable tank printer. The ink that comes with it should last you a long time and replacement bottles are a fraction of the cost of cartridges," Blanco added.

Another option is switching to a black-and-white laser printer. They use toner instead of ink to produce speedy, high-quality text, and they're generally more cost-efficient than inkjets.

“A simple, yet effective, way to save ink is to change your font to Times New Roman instead of Arial. Our testers got 27-percent more mileage using it," Blanco said.

Also, consider trying third party ink cartridges – although some printers can detect them and won't print. One last tip, keep your Inkjet printers turned out.

"Our testers found a noticeable reduction in ink use—even on some of the most ink-hogging models," Blanco added.

Leaving your printer on avoids the extra cleaning cycle your inkjet would do if turned off and on again.

If you're worried about the cost or environmental impact of leaving your printer on, Consumer Reports says Inkjets consume very little power when they're not in use, so, your ink savings should considerably outweigh those concerns.