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Getting the Most Prints for the Least Cash

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If you print a lot of coupons like I do, or use your printer frequently for other tasks, you’re probably wondering how you can get more prints for your money. Well, after considerable research and trial and error- here’s what you need to know . . .
A lot of people mistakenly think the solution to stretching their printing budget lies in buying ink from discount vendors online. While ink can often be purchased for a discounted price online, it isn’t always of the best quality. If you do decide to buy ink online stick to brand name ink cartridges and never assume that a cartridge is one without asking. Many online vendors allow you to search their inventory by matching their products with brand name ink cartridges or printers, but often times their cartridges are generic knockoffs which may not be of the same color quality or volume.

If you’re really looking to save some big bucks on printing supplies your best bet is to upgrade your printer. People often buy cheap printers thinking that they’re getting a great deal, but this is often not the case. Printer companies commonly sell cheap printers which require expensive ink cartridges. Sometimes the ink cartridges for a printer might even seem reasonably priced, but upon further inspection you may find that you’re getting very little ink for your dollar. Most web based office supply stores provide product information about how many prints on average you can expect to get from a cartridge, however some companies tend to over state their capabilities. If you really want an accurate evaluation of a printer’s output check consumer reviews or test it out yourself. Bring it home and print as many prints as you can. If the printer doesn’t support the company’s claims return it before the store’s return deadline. Depending on what type of printer you have there are other factors that can affect the accuracy of print counts.

The type of printer you have dramatically affects how much you will spend on ink. There are two basic types of printers, inkjet and laser. The majority of households purchase inkjet printers. These printers are usually inexpensive. Some of them allow users to print excellent quality photos and professional documents at home. However, these printers have a number of drawbacks.

  • The ink for these printers is significantly more expensive than the toner required for laser printers.

  • Inkjet printer cartridges can dry up if kept close to a heat source such as a baseboard heater, or if they aren’t used frequently.

  • Inkjet printers adjust their ink output according to the paper used. For this reason you should only use inkjet paper for inkjet printers. If you use generic printer paper, which is generally more porous, your printer will use more ink and the quality of your prints will decline.

  • Inkjet paper is more expensive than other types of printer/copier paper.

  • Inkjet printers require the use of all colors even if you are only printing in black.

Laser printers use toner instead of ink. Toner consists of plastic and iron particles which melt to the paper with special heated rollers called a fuser unit. This offers several advantages over inkjet printers. Since there is no ink the cartridge will never dry up which means there is never any ink wasted. The absence of ink also allows for the use of cheaper paper without compromising print quality or increasing the amount of toner required for a print. Another benefit of toner is that it is cheaper than ink and comes in a larger cartridge which provides far more prints per cartridge.

The average inkjet printer will produce 150-200 pages per cartridge while many laser printers produce 1,000 to 8,000 prints for a standard home printer. Laser printers designed for heavy office use can produce even more prints per cartridge. This is a huge difference cost wise. A laser printer can produce a document for less than a penny while many inkjet printers may cost 20-30 cents to print the same document. Toner cartridges can be refilled for even greater savings, but make sure that you are buying toner manufactured by your printer company. If you decide to refill cartridges you will eventually need to replace your drum unit separately

When I upgraded to a laser printer several years ago I compared printer prices, machine reliability, and operating costs. After thorough research one winner emerged, a monochromatic laser printer manufactured by Brother. I paid around $150 for it. Some of the selling features included are:

  • Energy star certified

  • 8,000 page output per toner cartridge (high yield cartridge)

  • All in one printer/scanner/copier

  • Simultaneous double sided printing

  • Black and white only output (no more accidental color ink wasted)

  • Ink saving mode

  • Crisp, clear prints

Please note that other printers may have emerged on the market since I purchased the model above several years ago. The purpose of this article is not to sell Brother printers, but to make you the reader, a more informed consumer, and to help you spend less money in the long run.

Now that you know Which Printer to Use, Here are multiple free Printable Coupon Sources that update Daily!

Additional Coupon Tips-n-Tricks

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2 thoughts on “Getting the Most Prints for the Least Cash”

  1. i usually just set my printer to print black and white without using colors, but that’s also because i though laser printers were hundreds of dollars. it looks like maybe i need to check into a new laser printer for printing documents and coupons instead! thanks
    Love shower


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