Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How to Get the Best Value With Printer Cartridges

By: Kathryn Dawson

You're no doubt aware that printer cartridges are a major expense when it comes to printing. Luckily, there are many strategies you can use to be the maximum value from your printer cartridge. These strategies cover both the way you use your cartridges as well as how you buy replacements.

First we'll look at some tactics to get the most out of your ink.

If you don't use your printer regularly, remember to print out a page once a week. Otherwise your cartridges could dry up and become unusable. A weekly test print keeps things moist and prolongs useful life.

Select the appropriate printing mode for the job in question. Documents to be used in house, for example, can be printed at lower resolutions with a subsequent reduction in the amount of ink needed. For plain text, you can select the 'black only' option so that the printer will only use the black cartridge.

Another tactic is to proofread your documents before printing. This will minimise the amount of printed paper you'll have to throw away.

These tactics to extend the working life of your cartridges can help lower your outlay on ink. But your greatest savings will come from the savvy purchase of replacement cartridges. This involves both what types you buy and where you buy them.

When it comes to buying replacement ink, you have three major choices - OEMs from the original manufacturer, compatible items from third part producers under license, and refurbished cartridges. Which one you choose depends on the extent of your need for reliable and high quality printing.

If your business really depends on high quality printing, then the smart move would be to go for the OEM cartridges. As they're manufactured by the producer of your printer, these cartridges and their ink is of the highest standard and compatibility. They offer the ultimate in reliability but you have to pay for this. Later, we'll look at some ways to minimise your outlay for original items.

Compatible cartridges are produced by third party producers under license from the OEM. These offer excellent quality as they're built to OEM standards and subject to quality control. The great thing is that they're much cheaper than OEMs. Compatible cartridges offer the best option for most users. One thing to bear in mind is that not all cartridges are available as compatibles owing to patents.

Refurbished or remanufactured cartridges are old units that have been cleaned up and refilled. These are the cheapest types but have the greatest potential to cause you problems when printing. One major factor is the ink used. If the producers skimp on the ink, your results will be less than satisfactory and your cartridge could clog up. Nonetheless, they do represent a budget option if you're prepared to take the risk.

You could also refill your cartridges yourself by buying kits containing a syringe and bottles of ink. Other than being a messy procedure, good results depend on the quality of the ink provided. However many people find this a viable option. If you use hp photosmart c4580 ink cartridges, you can get black and colour inject refill kits for just a few pounds if you buy online.

And now we come to the best places to buy replacement cartridges. Your options are office supply shops and general shops on the High Street or online. Buying online is the smarter choice for many reasons.

For one thing, it's extremely convenient. You can find the product you want at the best price and place your order in minutes. The best online vendors offer free delivery the next day.

Secondly, and most importantly, you'll find the best prices online. It's a competitive market and online dealers have no showrooms or sales staff to maintain. This results in prices that are far lower than in conventional outlets.

One thing to consider is that ordering in bulk usually results in even greater savings. You can store cartridges for years so ordering in bulk is another way to reduce expenses. For example, if you're in the market for hp c4180 ink cartridges, you can pick up a three pack compatible grey photo ink cartridge for 29.97 pounds, a saving of over ten pounds.

So stop paying too much for your printer cartridges. Just find a quality dealer online and start making savings right away.