Being able to print things at home is incredibly convenient. And with printers priced so affordably these days, it’s within reach more than ever before. But before you start queuing up all those print jobs, consider the costs when it comes to your ink. It seems like it would be relatively affordable, but the truth is that replacing the ink black and white and color ink cartridges can add up to a cost that’s more expensive that the printer itself. And that’s just for a single refill!
If you’re interested in finding cheaper ink for your home printer, use these tips to save some money on this normally costly task.
Watch for Sales
If you sign up for sale alerts from places like Office Depot or Staples, you can usually get a significant discount on the printer ink that’s compatible with your printer. It might mean stocking up a little before you actually run out of ink, but you don’t want to be forced to pay full price just to get yourself out of a jam. Keep an eye on some of the popular office supply stores to see when these sales are happening.
In addition, you can watch other stores like Target and Walmart for sales – just be sure they actually carry the ink you need for your printer since these retailers usually have a more limited selection of ink cartridges.
Find Third-Party Ink
When you purchase your printer, it will link the ink cartridges that are compatible with your printer in the user manual. You’ll also be able to search on the printer brand’s website to find which cartridges work with your model. In either case, the only options presented to you will be cartridges with the same brand as your printer. HP ink cartridges will be listed for HP printers, Canon cartridges will be listed for Canon printers, and so on.
But one of the little-known secrets is that there are actually third-party providers which make inks that can work just as well in your printer. There are lots of sites out there which sell these inks, but you’ll want to make sure you go with a reputable one. Using poor-quality ink can actually damage your printer, so read reviews about the site and customer feedback before you make a purchase. Some popular sites for finding third-party ink cartridges include:
Pay Attention to Page Yields
You might think you’ve found a total steal when shopping for ink cartridges in a store or online. But before you place your order, look closely at the page yields for the cartridge you’re thinking about purchasing.
Page yield is the number of pages that an ink cartridge can produce. When you take this number into account, a lower price isn’t always a good thing. For example, let’s say you find an ink cartridge online for $20. It’s $10 less than the one you just saw in the store for $30, so it seems like you’re getting an incredible deal. But what if the $10 cartridge has a page yield of 200 pages, while the $20 cartridge can print 600 pages? In this case, you’re paying about 5 cents per page for the $10 cartridge, but you’d actually save more with the $20 cartridge since it only costs 3.3 cents per page. The pricing doesn’t always reflect the page yield accurately, so look into these specifications to make sure you’re spending your money wisely.
Buy in Bulk
If you print a lot of pages at home on a regular basis, it is likely smarter for you to buy your ink cartridges in bulk. You’ll get a better deal by buying large quantities at once, and you’ll have fewer panicked moments of trying to find a replacement cartridge for a good price at the last minute.
Buy Remanufactured Ink Cartridges
Another option is to buy an ink cartridge that has been professionally refilled. While there are ink cartridge refill kits that let you do this on your own, it’s rarely worth the hassle since it’s quite difficult to do and rarely gets the good printing results of a new or remanufactured cartridge. These cartridges are available on several sites, including eBay, at great prices.
As an added bonus, these cartridges are a little more eco-friendly since the actual cartridge isn’t disposed of after a single use, thereby creating less waste. You still get the same results since professionals clean out the cartridge, fill it with fresh ink and test it before reselling. However, you get to do something that’s a little easier on Mother Nature.
Use these tips to save money on ink cartridges. They’ll never be the cheapest thing to buy, but with these tricks you can definitely bring down the costs of replacing this essential item for your home printer.