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Make Your Ink Cartridges Last Longer

How to maximize the life of your ink cartridges

Printers are dirt cheap these days. High quality inkjet models are readily available for around $50. The hp 4300n printer, as a specific example, is highly affordable. How can the manufacturers afford to sell them so inexpensively? The answer is simple: they make it up by charging inflated prices for the ink cartridges."

Today's printing tasks really soak up the ink too! With everyone printing high resolution photos and graphics from the web, it's a wonder they don't just give you the printer for free so they can sell you those high-priced ink cartridges. Some ink cartridges cost almost as much as the printer (literally)!

Tips for making your ink cartridges last longer:

  • Print documents that are in black and white with a black ink cartridge. If you print black with a color ink cartridge, various colors are mixed to create the black ink. This depletes your color ink cartridge a lot faster than it would deplete a black ink cartridge.
  • Printing rough drafts in draft mode (the lowest resolution setting) will use up your precious ink cartridge much slower than a higher quality setting. When you're ready to print the final version you can switch back to high quality mode.
  • If you need a copy of a document for archival purposes only (for instance a receipt where you paid a bill online), use the lowest resolution possible (but be sure you can read it).
  • Don't print the entire document if you only really need to print a portion of it. If you print 1/2 of a document every time, your ink cartridges will last twice as long. And if you can skip printing the images your ink cartridges will last even longer!

    Simply select the desired part of the document, right click, then click "print".

Other suggestions for saving on ink cartridges:
  • If you have a cheap printer (in the $50-$75 range), give refilled ink cartridges a try. The printer manufacturers are quick to tell you that refilled ink cartridges can damage your printer. That's true. But it rarely happens.

    Think of it this way: If your ink cartridges cost $30 new and $15 refilled, after you have purchased just three refilled ink cartridges you have saved almost enough money to replace that $50 printer with a brand new one. Anything after that is gravy!
  • When you do find yourself shopping for a new printer, take into consideration the cost of the ink cartridges. One printer might require ink cartridges that cost $30 or more while the one sitting next to it might use ink cartridges that cost $17!


Ink cartridges are very expensive. By using the simple suggestions mentioned above, you can make your ink cartridges last a lot longer and your purse strings a little tighter.

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