New printer ink cartridges are expensive. And if you have to print often for your home business, it becomes a frequent expenditure too. But there are several things you can do to minimize the cost of printer ink cartridges (besides printing less stuff). And while you're saving money, you're helping save the planet too because most of these tips for saving money on printer ink cartridges will also help create a more eco-friendly home office.
1. Have your ink cartridges refilled.
Bring in your old printer cartridge to retailers like Walgreens, Costco and Cartridge World to have them refilled for a fraction of the cost of a new cartridge. Cartridges in good condition can typically be refilled 4-6 times. Keep in mind that these retailers only refill selected types of printer ink cartridge models, and some folks report mixed success with these refills.
2. Refill your own printer ink cartridges.
If you're the DIY type, buy a printer cartridge ink refill kit and refill your own. The type of kit will vary from printer to printer. And it takes a careful hand to refill a cartridge correctly without mess.
3. Buy compatible printer ink cartridges.
You don’t have to buy the name-brand printer ink cartridges (a.k.a. OEM or manufacturers' cartridges). Many retailers, such as Staples and Office Max, and numerous online companies sell compatible printer ink cartridges (a.k.a third-party, after-market or generic printer ink cartridges). These new cartridges are designed for your printer but usually cost significantly less.
- Brother Compatible Printer Ink Cartridges - Shop Now
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- Xerox Compatible Printer Ink Cartridges - Shop Now
4. Buy remanufactured printer ink cartridges.
These are printer ink cartridges that have been recycled, refilled and resold. They can be 30-60 percent cheaper than the name-brand cartridges. Typically these are sold online rather than at retail outlets.
5. Recycle your printer ink cartridges.
Even if you prefer to buy new printer cartridges, at the very least make sure you recycle the spent cartridges. Places like Staples, Office Depot and Office Max have rewards programs for printer ink cartridges. Turn in your cartridges and get $3 in store credit or coupons.
Many schools and nonprofit organization collect old cartridges and recycle them as a fundraising effort.
All of the major cartridge manufacturers will provide free shipping to recycle your cartridges, but they usually don't pay for old cartridges. Check your printers' manufacture website for details.
6. Use gray scale or draft printing.
Set your pinter quality setting to "draft" when you don't need a perfect copy. This will use less ink and toner. Print in black and white when color isn't necessary because color printer ink cartridges are typically more expensive.
If my printer uses toner cartridges, do these tips still work?
The difference between a toner cartridge and an ink cartridge is that one is filled with a fine powder (toner) and the other with a liquid (ink). Toner cartridges are used in laser printers while ink cartridges are for inkjet printers.
Many of these tips—such as buying compatible or remanufactured toner cartridges or recycling your cartridges—still work for toner cartridges. However, places like Walgreens and Costco do not refill toner cartridges, and it takes more skill to refill a toner cartridge yourself. But if you'd like to try, shop for toner cartridge refill kits now.