How to save printer ink and print more efficiently

How to save printer ink and print more efficiently
(Image credit: Getty)

How to save printer ink and print more efficiently is key to saving you money on your printer costs in the long run. Sure you might have got a great deal from our best all-in-one printers or best photo printers guides, but ongoing ink costs could be an area you can make a further saving.

Yes, you can simply buy cheap printer ink by using our best discount ink cartridges deals guide but if you're printing incorrectly you'll just end up buying more and more.

By getting your printing more efficient you can save money by making the ink you have last longer so you need not buy so much.

Here's everything you need to know about how to save printer ink and print more efficiently.

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Buy printer ink in bulk

Before we get into how to save printer ink and print more efficiently, it's worth making sure you're buying the replacement ink cartridges as efficiently as possible. Sure you could pop into your local store and grab a few ink cartridges if you're in a rush, but ideally you can plan ahead. 

This way you can order your ink in bulk, to save money, knowing when you need it based on your need. So it's not just about finding the best discount ink cartridges and buying in bulk, but also about keeping track of your usage. 

Perhaps make a note in your phone of when you buy, and how much, so you can see how long that lot lasted. Then set an alarm so you're ready to top up next time, giving you time to shop around first to find the best deals.

Get a printer ink subscription

Another buying option that could save you money is to pay a subscription fee. In some printer cases, this is an option that allows you to sign up and pay a flat monthly fee.

HP Instant Ink, for example, charges a flat rate for the number of pages you print, rather than breaking it down by ink cartridge costs. This can be easier to keep track of and manage printer costs in the longer term.

Check your printer resolution

Your default printer setting may be a very high resolution. While this can look great it may not be necessary for what you're doing. Try a few different resolution settings to see how low you can go without sacrificing quality. 

Keep in mind, once you find this level, you don't always have to use it. But it pays to print low quality when you can then change the setting to high-resolution if you need – rather than the other way around which could waste ink.

(Image credit: Getty)

While most printers will default to a color print mode, you can also select the grayscale option when you print. Even when printing in "black and white" you may find your printer uses more ink and also actually uses more than just the black ink.

By going for the grayscale option you make sure that only the black ink is being used and that it is kept to an efficient amount for the job.

Maintain your printer

Keeping your printer in optimal working order can actually save you ink and money over time. Print heads can get blocked up after lots of use which can lead to ink leakage. This ink need not be wasted.

Simply clean out your printer's standard nozzle every now and then and you'll find that an efficient printer is also an affordable one to run. The fact this also extends the life of your printer too is just a bonus.

Best photo printers

(Image credit: Canon)

Use the right font

Did you know different font types use varying amounts of ink? Yup, by printing off in whatever font the document may be formatted with could end up costing you on ink.

As a rough guide, Arial is one of the more popular default fonts yet it uses 27 percent more ink than Calibri, Century Gothic, or the classic Times New Roman.

Upgrade your printer

The newer your printer the more efficient it's going to be, is the general rule, as printer manufacturers are always bringing out more ink efficient models.

If you do want to upgrade, keep in mind it's worth going for a printer that uses separate color cartridges rather than a single multi-color option. This way you can replace each color as it's used up rather than needing to swap out a multi-color cartridge where there may still be other colors in there unused and wasted. 

Perhaps keep it efficient and go for one of the best compact printers to save on ink and desk space

Luke Edwards

Luke is a veteran tech journalist with decades of experience covering everything from TVs, power tools, science and health tech to VPNs, space, gaming and cars. You may recognize him from appearances on plenty of news channels or have read his words which have been published in most tech titles over the years. In his spare time (of which he has little as a father of two) Luke likes yoga, surfing, meditation, DIY and consuming all the books, comics and movies he can find.