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How to Print More Pages with Your Ink Cartridge

Cheap printers, expensive ink. This is no longer a surprise to consumers. Though a tempting deal at first glance, cheap printers have a very expensive downside: its ink cartridges.

How to Determine Real Ink Cartridge Cost

There are many ways to measure how expensive an ink cartridge is. The most visible way is by the retail price of an ink cartridge. The second and perhaps more accurate way of determining printing cost is by your cartridge's cost per page. To calculate cost per page, simply take the price of your ink cartridge and divide it by the number of pages you expect your cartridge to print (page yield). This information is usually available on the packaging or you can also find it online.

For example, to get the cost per page of an HP 63 black cartridge, we take the cartridge price -- $18.50 -- and then divide it by its page yield -- 190. That gives you a cost per page of 9.7 cents or $0.097.

When you're able to calculate the CPP (cost per page) of an ink cartridge, you can more educated decisions on what ink cartridge to buy. For example, high yield ink cartridges print more pages than a standard ink cartridge. Compare the cost per page of an HP 63XL high yield black ink cartridge (8.3 cents or $0.083) with a standard HP 63 black (9.7 cents or $0.097). You'll always find the CPP of a high yield ink cartridge to be lower so if you print with regularity, we strongly suggest you get high yield counterparts of your cartridges.

But if you're really serious about saving, you simply can't get any lower than the cost per page of aftermarket ink cartridges. Let's compare the CPP of an original HP 63XL high yield black cartridge (8.3 cents or $0.083) with an aftermarket HP 63XL black ($18.99 / 480 pages = 3.9 cents or $0.039). Now, that's real savings!

Ways to Get More Ink from Your Cartridges

This is not to say that all inkjet printers have costly ink cartridges. Fortunately, there are ways in which you can save on ink and get more mileage out of your cartridge.

1. Economy Printer Settings

One way to get more ink out of your cartridge is by tweaking some printer settings. If you're printing documents that don't require to darkest black or most vibrant of colors, you will use less ink if you tone down print quality. To do this, if you're printing something from the browser, right click and select Print. Go to "Print Using Dialog Box". On the popup that opens, select your printer from the list and click on the "Preferences" button. Go to the Paper/Quality tab, and look for "EconoMode" checkbox within the Print Quality section of the popup.

2. Print in Black and White

I personally print online articles and recipes and this little tweak has helped me save on colored ink. If you're printing something off of the internet and don't really need it in full color, select Black and White when you print. It also helps to be mindful of what banners and ads irrelevant to your content would also be printed. Most articles have a printer icon somewhere near the title of the article that help you eliminate unwanted ads and banners but there are still articles that don't have this feature. For articles that don't have the printer icon, what you can do is highlight only the text you want to print and then right click, select Print. That way you only print the content without irrelevant ads or imagery.

3. Use Grayscale Mode

Another way to save on ink is to select the Grayscale option. To do this, if you want to print something from the browser, right click and select Print. Go to "Print Using Dialog Box". On the popup that opens, select your printer from the list and click on the "Preferences" button. Go to the Color tab, and look for the "Grayscale" checkbox within the Color Options section of the popup. Check the checkbox and hit the OK button. Proceed with printing.

4. Change Fonts

Some online content use thick bolded fonts that use up a lot of ink. You can remedy this by copy pasting the article onto Microsoft Word or Google Docs and then changing the fonts to something that won't use a ton of ink.

5. Empty your Ink Cartridges Better

It has been said that cartridges have a good amount of ink left even after it says it's running empty. You may even think you really are running low when you start getting streaky prints. The truth is, your printhead may just need to be cleaned to remedy this. You can either run the printhead cleaning function of your printer or clean your ink cartridge's nozzles yourself with a damp lint-free cloth.

When ink cartridges have been sitting unused for a few days, ink tends to dry up. If your prints come up bad after not printing for days, try taking out the cartridges and give it a good shake to move ink that may have settled inside. You can also use a hairdryer to clear out whatever blockage may be on your cartridge nozzles. Another way to clear blockages is by using the paper towel method.

Know When To Give Up

You also need to know when your ink cartridge is truly empty. Printing with a depleted cartridge can melt your printhead and cause expensive irreversible damages to your printer.

Other Ways to Save on Printing Costs

If you're looking for ways to get more ink out of our cartridge then it's probably because you want to avoid spending too much on ink. Here are more ways in which you keep printing costs low.

1. Higher Yield Cartridges

High yield cartridges are available for almost all printers but not a lot of consumers are aware of them. High yield cartridges are basically larger versions of standard cartridges and are indicated by the words XL appended to the cartridge name. For example, the high yield counterpart of an HP 952 standard cartridge (prints 1,000 pages) is the HP 952XL (prints 2,000 pages). Some cartridges even come with extra high yield versions indicated by XXL appended to the cartridge name (ex. Epson 788XL).

2. Lower Priced Aftermarket Ink

More and more consumers are switching to budget-friendly aftermarket cartridges that deliver the same superior print quality of original brand ink cartridges. So if you want to keep printing without the burden of expensive ink cartridge costs, make the switch to third-party cartridges!

3. Switch to Laser

One way to get rid of the problem of expensive-ink guzzling inkjet printers is to get rid of it altogether by switching to laser printers. At first glance, it looks like laser printers and toner cartridges are expensive because of the higher retail prices compared to inkjet printers and ink. A very big PRO of laser toners is its higher page yield compared to ink cartridges, meaning you can print so much more--as in 10 times more--than with one ink cartridge. And if you do the math and get the cost per page of using laser printers, you'll find that the long-term savings are astounding!

Let's take an HP LaserJet M402n printer for example. The HP M402n uses HP 26A toner cartridges with a cost per page of 4 cents or $0.04. The HP 26A prints 3,100 pages, which means you won't need to hit the stores to get a replacement cartridge for quite some time. Compare that with the CPP of an HP 63 black, 9.7 cents. You print more pages and save about 60% in the long run.

Imagine if you used aftermarket toner cartridges. Long story short, the CPP for an aftermarket HP 26A toner cartridge is 1.6 cents or $0.016.


There are now many ways to lower your printing costs. Technology is constantly expanding and consumer demand is more powerful than ever. Take the Epson Ecotank and Brother Inkvestment printers, for instance. Consumer demand for more affordable ink and longer lasting cartridges paved the way for such technologies. On the other hand, subscription-based services like HP's Instant Ink program are for those with as-needed print demands. For the printer user, there are just so many options to save on ink that it no longer makes sense to simple settle for the same old expensive standard OEM ink cartridges.

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