There are many people who still rely on inkjet printers as the workhorse printers of their home or home office. Injket printers remain most useful when it comes to printing color documents, as quality color laserjet printers are still quite costly when it comes to maintenance and toner. But with the availability of low-cost black and white color, you are most likely spending more money than you need to be by keeping an inkjet printer around as your primary printer. I’ve always advocated a two-printer solution for the home and home office setting, but for those of you who still have inkjet printers as their primary printers, here are a few money saving tips:
1. Some inkjet printers will use all of the cartridges (black and color) to print a black and white document. You heard that correctly! Most injkets come with a black cartridge and one or more color cartridges — and some will use COLOR ink along with black ink when you are printing, for example, a simple black and white Word document. To fix this problem, go to the printer settings — there should be a box that allows you to force the printer to use black ink only. Since most of your printing is probably B&W, you only have to go back in and change this setting when you want to print color. There’s no reason to use up your expensive color cartridges for printing black and white text documents.
1a. Be wary of what you are printing when you print from the internet. Many people will print a web page that has many links attached and pictures, too. If you print these pages with color, you will be wasting ink. Do you really need to see all the links in the document printed in blue? Does the Google Map or Mapquest map need to be printed on an 8.5″ x 11″ COLOR page? I don’t think so.
2. Print the bulk of your work in Draft mode. Practically every laserjet printer has a settting whereby you can change the quality of the printed text. These modes are usually called something like Draft Mode, High Quality mode, etc (similarly to the way you may see quality-level settings when printing photos). As you may have guessed, Draft mode uses a lot less black ink than a higher quality mode (you did see tip #1 above and force the printer to print black and white text with the black cartridge only, right?). You may find that your work looks fine in draft mode and that you never need to use a high-quality mode. But if you are only printing out an essay or a resume that you are planning on correcting, there’s no need to use a ton of ink to do so.
In summary, because maintaining an ink jet printer can be expensive, you need to do what you can to minmize the amount of wasted ink; hopefully the above tips will save you some money — money you can then use to purchase a laserjet printer.