10 Ways to Save BIG on Printer Ink and Toner
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Printer ink can be SO expensive!
Did you know printer ink can cost more than fine champagne per drop?! Luckily, we’ve got 10 ways to save big on your printer ink so you can print loads of coupons we post here at Hip2Save without breaking the bank.
1. Invest in a laser printer.
It seems that the longest lasting, most reliable, and most affordable (in the long run) printers are laser printers. Although laser printers may cost more initially, they tend to be faster, use less toner, and are much cheaper on a monthly basis (i.e. cost of inkjet cartridges versus laser toner cartridges).
If you’re looking to purchase a laser printer, check out Amazon’s best sellers page, updated hourly!
Hip Tip: When your laser printer shows the toner is low, take the cartridge out and look for a little window on the side of the cartridge. Cover it with a piece of black electrical tape, and you may be able to get MANY more pages of ink out of it. The window lets light in and tells the owner to buy a new cartridge (in reality, there’s usually still plenty of toner left in the cartridge).
If your toner cartridge doesn’t have a “window” but instead has a slow rotating gear on the side of the cartridge, you can get more prints by resetting the gear and turning it backward manually.
*But please note that this DIY tip may not work for all printers.
2. Consider compatible printer ink cartridges.
If you already own a printer and need to purchase ink cartridges, consider buying compatible ink or toner cartridges at retailers like Staples and Office Depot/OfficeMax. Compatible ink is like buying a generic brand for a certain store (a separate company creates their own version of the cartridge to work in your printer), such as the Staples brand. Some compatible brands may be inferior to the original ink from the manufacturer, but many compatible printer cartridges work just the same!
You can also find a lot of compatible brands on reputable sites like Amazon, 123InkJets, 4inkjets, CarrotInk, ComboInk, CompAndSave, and eBay – just to name a few. These sites offer big savings with occasional promotions, and the compatible cartridges often work just as well!
3. Use Costco’s Inkjet Cartridge Refill Service.
One of the best prices for getting your ink cartridges refilled is by using Coscto’s Inkjet Cartridge Refill Service as you can save up to 70% when compared to new cartridges! Prices range from $7.49-$10.49 for original Brother, Canon, Epson and HP inkjet cartridge refills. Just bring your empty cartridges to the Costco Photo Center and shop while they refill your cartridges – they’ll even be ready in one hour!
4. DIY! Refill your own ink cartridges.
If you have some time and don’t mind getting a little bit messy, refilling your own ink cartridges can save you quite a bit of money. That’s because refill kits cost about 50% less than new cartridges and you can use them at least 4-5 times! You can purchase refill kits at office supply and discount stores or even purchase them online at Amazon, Walmart, and Target with prices starting around just $7.
5. Buy remanufactured printer ink cartridges.
Remanufactured printer cartridges have been recycled, refilled, and resold for up to 60% less than the name-brand cartridges. A legit re-manufacturer will disassemble, clean, and test the cartridge before replacing any worn parts and refilling the toner, resulting in a quality cartridge.
6. Use HP Printers? Consider HP Instant Ink.
If you have an eligible HP printer, consider enrolling in HP’s Instant Ink replacement service. Monthly plans (which are based on pages printed, not cartridges used) start as low as FREE – $2.99/month and there’s no annual fee or commitment. Ink, shipping, and even cartridge recycling are all included!
Your printer uses the Internet to let HP know when to send more ink. Special HP Instant Ink cartridges are sent to you by mail or included with your printer. And since these cartridges have more ink than HP XL cartridges, you’ll replace them less often. They even provide postage-paid shipping materials to return used cartridges, and they’ll recycle them as part of your service!
7. Change your font.
When printing documents, avoid using serif fonts whenever you can since those little tails on the letter ends use up more ink. Century Gothic is one of the most eco-friendly fonts when printed in smaller sizes (such as 10 or 11-point versus the traditional 12-point) as it a thinner but somewhat wide font. Garamond, Times New Roman, and Courier are also good alternatives.
You can also purchase a license for Ecofont Sans, which is a true type font that has tiny holes in each letter. When printed at smaller sizes, the holes are not really noticeable due to ink bleed.
8. Print in Grayscale with Draft Quality.
When you don’t need a perfect copy, set your printer quality to “draft” and print in grayscale or black and white, which will use less ink and toner. Printing in grayscale when color isn’t necessary is optimal as color printer ink cartridges are typically more expensive.
9. Only print what you need!
PrintWhatYouLike is an easy tool that lets you print only the parts of a page you want. Just paste in the website address and you’ll be able to alter or remove any segment of a page. Easy peasy!
10. Recycle your printer cartridges.
- Office Depot/OfficeMax: When you recycle your ink and toner cartridges in-store, you’ll get $2 back in rewards per recycled cartridge when you make a $10 qualifying purchase during the same month (limit 10 cartridges per month). You’ll get your rewards certificate after the end of the month for every 1,000 points you earn which are redeemable for future purchases at Office Depot and OfficeMax stores. *If you’re a teacher, read the recycling tip down below!
- Best Buy: Recycle your old ink or toner cartridges at your local Best Buy store and earn $2 in Recycle Rewards on your next in-store purchase of $40 or more (limit three items per household per day).
- Staples: Earn a $2 Staples store credit to spend on anything in-store or online when you have spent at least $30 on ink or toner in the past 180 days, valid for up to 10 ink cartridges per month.
Are you a teacher? Read this!
The Office Depot Recycling Rules program rewards teachers with a gift card to purchase much-needed classroom school supplies while highlighting the importance of recycling. Recycling Rules allows teachers, school administrators, parents, and students to register their classrooms online.
After a classroom signs up for the Recycling Rules program, Office Depot will supply it with FREE recycling boxes and information about the program. The boxes can be filled with empty ink and toner cartridges (any brand) and/or small electronics. Once the boxes are filled, they can be shipped back to Office Depot FREE of charge. Classrooms are rewarded (based on the value of their recyclables) with Office Depot gift cards that can be used to purchase the supplies they need.
What are your tips for saving on printer ink?
Written by Mary for Hip2Save. Mary is a proud mom to 3 kids in Austin, TX, who thrives off running long distance, bargain shopping, warm weather, a yummy latte…and a little Candy Crush from time to time. She loves quality time with family & friends and sharing great deals with others.