How to save money on printing costs at home

Author: Paul Wilkinson

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Having a home printer is perfect for busy households and can be handy for the kid’s homework or getting some work done in the home office. Thanks to the progress of printer technology over the years having a printer at home is no longer just a luxury and there are plenty of budget printers out there offering amazing value for money.

Unfortunately, the costs don’t stop there. Keeping stocked up on cartridges and paper means every page you print is costing you money, not to mention potential maintenance and replacement costs if something goes wrong. Instead of being put off by potential printer costs there are ways to enjoy having a printer in your home and still keep things affordable.

The printer

While there are plenty of basic budget printers available be wary about just going for the cheapest option. Today’s technology means there are now a range of features and benefits that a printer can offer to help you reduce your home printing costs, so paying a bit more to begin with could save you money in the long run. Here’s what to look out for when buying a cost-effective printer.

Inkjet vs. laser

Inkjet printers often have the cheapest upfront costs and their cartridges may even be cheaper than laser printers, but they may be more expensive in the long run. If you don’t need a specific type of printer and have the choice of either inkjet or laser, think about what you’ll most often be printing and what for. Inkjet can use extra ink over time and the average cost per page is also costlier over time. If you don’t have high print demands then inkjet is suitable, otherwise, opt for the efficiencies offered by a laser printer. You can find out more about inkjet vs. laser here.

You should compare inkjet and laser printer costs depending on your needs

Economical printers

You can usually find out the average cost per page for each printer and many brands have released more economical printers aimed at keeping printer costs down. Look out for new printing technology such as refillable ink tanks that help keep costs low as well as cheaper toner or ink.

Energy efficient

Printers with a focus on energy efficiency are often more economical for printing costs as well as saving you money on energy and electricity which most don’t consider when buying their printer. Look out for good energy ratings and energy awards to get the most efficient printer.

Robust build

While you can’t take it at face value if a brand says their printer is robust, you can look for awards and customer reviews to confirm that it’s a quality printer. This should save you money and time on maintenance and replacement costs. There’s nothing worse than splashing out on a new printer only to have to pay for a repair not long after.

Top tip – cut down on maintenance costs with inkjet printers by printing one page a week. This will help stop the nozzles getting blocked, a common inkjet problem. The Google homepage is always good to print as it includes all the colours but won’t use up a lot of ink.

Opt for a print with a strong build to save on maintenance costs

Bonus features

While an all-in-one printer won’t necessarily reduce your cost per page it is a good way to get a bit more value for your money. You should also try and find a printer with duplex printing. Printing double-sided can half your paper costs, plus you won’t have to keep stocked up on bulky paper taking up precious space in the home office.

But not all the features

While there are some features to look out for don’t be seduced by an all singing and dancing printer if you don’t need it. Why pay for fancy cloud printing and sharing if you don’t need it? Be realistic about the features you need and only opt for a printer that meets your demands.

Ink and toner

Most of your ongoing printer costs will be on your ink or toner. Keeping these costs as low as possible will go a long way to ensuring affordable usage.

Low price

It may seem obvious to look at the costs of ink and toner before you buy your printer, but many people forget to do this. When comparing your printers look at their ink or toner prices alongside how many pages they can print in mono and colour to figure out the best value.

Look for low prices and high yield ink and toner to save printing costs

Image Source: Brother

High yield

Try and opt for a printer that offers high yield cartridges especially if you have more demanding home printing needs. These can print more pages in one cartridge to save you buying ink or toner as frequently and saving you significant costs over time.

Compatible ink

If your heart is set on a printer with pricier original ink you can always look out for compatible ink instead. Our compatible ink at Printernet, for example, can help save you money when it’s time to top up.

Included ink or toner

Keep your eye out for printers with a good ink or toner supply included with the printer to start with. Some can offer enough to print more than 1,000 pages all included in the upfront costs of the printer. While you should still be wary of the price of the ink or toner as you’ll have to buy more eventually, this could help you get more value for money at least initially.

Refillable ink

Look out for newer ink and toner technology aimed at saving you money. The Epson EcoTank range, for example, features an innovative refillable ink tank system and is designed with home use in mind. This range has been shown to dramatically reduce ink and printing costs over time.

Refillable ink printers like the Epson EcoTank range can help you save money

Printing habits

Once you’ve found your perfect printer with ink or toner at a good price there is still more you can do to continue to keep your printing costs down. Changing your printing habits and sticking to these best practices is a great way to keep your ongoing costs as low as possible.

Only print when necessary

The most obvious way to save your money is to not print, at least not unless you need to. Ask yourself if you really need to print something or if there is an alternative option such as emailing it to someone.

Stick to mono

Colour printing is pricier so stick to black and white when you can. If it’s for your own personal use, then there’s probably no need for colour even if you’re printing images or graphs. This will keep your costs down, so you won’t mind splashing out on a full-colour print when it matters.

Sticking to mono printing can help save on printing costs

Start scanning

If you do opt for a multifunction printer then try scanning documents instead of just printing them or making copies. Depending on your printer you may be able to scan directly to email, or simply scan to your device and email or share documents.

Use the right paper  

Keep paper costs down by using cheaper paper for your everyday printing and reserving thicker stock for important projects or reports. Be careful though as cheap paper that is poor quality has been known to cause more paper jams which could affect your maintenance costs.

Use print preview

Print preview is often underutilised, but it can save you on precious ink and paper. Spot mistakes before you print and avoid using up ink and paper on wasted copies.

Look at formatting

Double check your formatting to try and fit more on a page. See if you can rearrange paragraphs, reduce double line spaces, minimise margins or even cut down on the text itself to fit as much as you can onto one sheet. You can also change the font itself, either reducing the text size or opting for a font that takes up less space such as Calibri instead of Arial Black. Finally, in the Word print dialog, you can change the number of sheets you print per page, and similarly, in PowerPoint, you can choose to print more slides per page.

Re-arrange formatting and double check in print preview to save on costly printing mistakes

Use draft mode

In your printing settings, you should be able to set your printer to draft mode. Depending on the make and model it might be called something different such as economy, but this setting will print at a lower resolution such as 300dpi to save on ink. For text and many other documents, you won’t even notice the difference, plus this setting will speed up your print times as well.

Don’t keep pressing the print button

How many times have you pressed the print button before checking the printer and finding out that there is a paper jam or another problem? Then when you’re ready to print again, you find yourself with ten copies of the same document. If you go to print and nothing happens, check your printer and all the settings first to avoid wasting paper and ink.

Want to know more about printing costs and how you could save money with a budget home printer? Contact us today to find out more.

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