It’s the warning you hate to see: Your printer is low on ink. If the cost of replacement cartridges has you seeing red, you’re not alone. Consumer Reports explains how saving money on ink actually starts by choosing the right printer.
First, you want to choose a printer that doesn’t waste a lot of ink on maintenance cycles and one that doesn’t have high costs to replace that ink.
In its laboratory tests, Consumer Reports calculates both factors, so you can see just how much a printer will really cost you over time.
Save money on printer ink:
Inkjet printers that use cartridges typically have very high ink costs and aren’t known for being very reliable.
But one model that does well in Consumer Reports’ tests that has a low price and moderate ink costs for an inkjet is the all-in-one printer Brother MFC-J1010DW, $100. It uses about $68 worth of ink each year.
Ink costs are based on typical printer use, which is roughly 30 pages of text and 10 pages of graphics each month.
If you do a lot of printing in color, there’s a better option that will actually save you money over time—even though the up-front cost is higher.
Tank printers don’t use ink cartridges. They have reservoirs that you refill with bottles of ink.
And compared to cartridges those bottles are a bargain!
Consumer Reports’ Printer Buying Guide:
Ink for the Epson EcoTank ET-2400, $250, only costs $5 a year. And if you own it for a few years, it becomes one of the cheapest printers in Consumer Reports’ ratings.
If you don’t need to print in color, Consumer Reports says a black and white laser printer is your best bet. The all-in-one Canon ImageClass MF264dw, $150, only costs about $13 a year for toner. And it gets top marks for text quality and speed.
No matter what kind of printer you’re using, Consumer Reports says there are ways to save ink or toner, such as using draft mode, using printer-friendly all-text versions of stories, or changing your font to Times New Roman—which Consumer Reports says gets you 27% more mileage on ink compared to Arial.