Monochrome laser MFP
It’s about the most expensive liquid on the planet. Gold, oil, and even human blood cost less by volume than printer ink, so here’s how to squeeze every drop out of each cartridge.
In a 2007 study commissioned by Epson and undertaken by research company TUV Rheinland, it was found that many models of printers could still have as much as 60% ink volume remaining when the printer tells you to replace the cartridge! Epson commissioned the study to back up their claim that multi-ink tank model printers (which mainly only use individual color tanks for each primary color and black, some models taking up to 9 different ink tanks) are more efficient when it comes to wasted ink. In general, they are correct, as a printer with individual tanks typically will usually only prompt to replace the cartridge when it is actually close to empty, and it won’t prompt you that it’s empty if only one of the colors (as in the case of tri-color cartridges) is empty, even if the other 2 colors still have ink remaining.
HOWEVER (I made this big because it’s a HUGE caveat), they did not factor in the automatic cleaning cycles nor the dreaded priming cycle in the case of Epson inks specifically. These 2 automatic and unavoidable processes are done automatically at seemingly random times. There is surely an algorithm for when the printer should perform these things, as in the case of the priming cycle, this is always done immediately after a new ink tank is installed. This is the reason your Epson (or some Canon and HP models) will tell you you’re only empty of one color, and then when you put a new one in, it frustratingly tells you it’s empty of another color.
So what does one do?! We have a few tips that may help you wring out every precious wisp of essential paper-juice from those cartridges.
Tip 1: Spend less money on your ink and toner
“Well Chris, that was stupendously obvious, you think I didn’t already know that?!” Sometimes I wonder… Given how often I hear friends, family, and customers who tell me about their recent hassle-filled trip to Staples or even Wal-Mart where they spent 20%-60% more than they would have paid for equivalent quality ink or toner from us! Then I usually find out they still think the remanufacturing industry is still guys in a dank basement or garage injecting ink into barely usable cartridges.
Nobody selling similar remanufactured inks or toners still does this, the self-refill kit was an early-90’s phenomenon that doesn’t cut it still today. Today, in most cases, inks are re-chipped or reprogrammed in order to work and provide advanced ink level monitoring, and toners are rebuilt entirely with new or refurbished components which renew them back up to OEM standards. This means there is virtually no difference on most of our products how they will function when compared directly to the brand name OEM products, but with the goal of reuse and recycling EVERYTHING rather than building brand new cartridges with new materials. You can see how much you can save easily by checking our online web store here.
Tip 2: Buy high-capacity (XL) sized inks and toners
This may be more costly up front, which always hurts, but when you compare page yields, and calculate the actual cost-per-page, you’ll notice instantly that the high-capacity (or high-yield) cartridges are a better deal. As we touched on before, don’t even bother with the “Economy” sized inks, they are cheaper up front, but give you practically nothing for your money compared to high-yield cartridges.
Follow this formula: (Price of Ink cartridge) ÷ (Estimated page yield) = Your cost-per-page
HP #74 Black: Our price – $13.99 ÷ 200 pages = ~.07 per page
HP #74XL Black (High yield): Our price – $29.99 ÷ 750 pages = ~.04 per page
Clearly the high yield has a huge advantage of being almost half price of the standard yield when looking at the cost-per-page.
When we start to compare black ink as compared to a laser printer that takes black toner we see a larger difference (Tip: laser printers usually have much lower cost-per-page, particularly monochrome/B&W)
HP #74XL Black (High yield): Our price – $29.99 ÷ 750 pages = ~.04 per page
Brother TN-450 (High yield toner): Our price – $39.99 ÷ 2,600 pages = ~.01 1/2 per page
Give it a try yourself! Find your ink or toner here and then use this handy calculator to check how many pages you can expect.
Tip 3: Use a different font for documents you print
Surprisingly, this is an amazingly effective ink-saving choice. With the proper font, you could use as much as 40% less ink on the things you print!
In 2014, a student named Suvir Mirchandani began a science project that turned into a consulting gig for the US government and a published paper in a research journal. He essentially studied four different typefaces: Garamond, Times New Roman, Century Gothic and Comic Sans. The clear winner was Garamond, saving as much as 24% ink compared to the others.
Another study of note is the University of Wisconsin program which switched its default font from Arial to Century Gothic (a nice little font if I may say so as a typeset nerd/fontophile myself) and it saved them an estimated 30% in ink and toner coverage.
We’ve also discovered a font that is geared toward only one thing: saving ink. It is very readable and uses a unique way of leaving voids in unneeded areas of each letter while still appearing to be a full letter. This font is called Ecofont, and you can discover how it works here. It’s pretty cool.
Tip 4: Avoid unnecessary cleaning cycles
Sometimes it’s unavoidable when the printer decides to do it on its own, but you don’t always need to run that print head cleaning cycle if your prints are looking funky, streaky, or “gappy” (those are all technical terms, wink, wink).
If your printer takes just 2 cartridges (a black and a tri-color), then you have print head-integrated cartridges, which means, as opposed to ink tanks, the print head is an integrated part of the ink cartridge. This makes the automated print head cleaning just an unnecessary waste of ink. Follow this video to see how to manually clean your print head on this type of cartridge:
If you have a printer with a fixed print head that uses ink tanks (see photo to right for examples), in most cases the automatic print head cleaning cycles built into the printer are the only
option to clear up poor print quality. But as ol’ Bennie Franklin liked to say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To this end, we recommend printing something out on a bi-weekly to monthly basis.
Sounds simple, but why will that help? The #1 cause for poor print quality on an inkjet printer is due to dried ink clogging up the thousands of microscopic print head nozzles that dispense the ink. Keeping them in use before they have a chance to dry up is an easy way to keep this from happening. YES, printing something simple like Google’s home page will use up some ink, but it uses a smaller amount of ink than a full cleaning cycle, which (almost counter-intuitively) saves you ink in the long run.
Tip 5: Use “draft” or “Eco” mode for text printing (or if you don’t need high-quality images)
While every printer has a different configuration, and some do not have “Draft” or and Eco-mode (sometimes called ink-saver or toner-save mode), choosing this as your default print mode will definitely conserve more ink or toner. These steps should work on most printers to enable this mode on your Windows computer:
- In Windows, click on the Start button (Or press the Windows Key on your keyboard) and choose Control Panel.
- Choose Printers and Other Hardware from the menu that opens.
- Choose View Installed Printers or Fax Printers.
- On the window that opens, look for your printer’s name. Right click on the printer’s icon and choose Printing Preferences, sometimes Printer Properties.
- On the Print Quality tab, choose Draft or Fast (varies depending on the printer).
- If you want to conserve your color ink, choose Grayscale Printing on the same tab (just remember you’ll have to uncheck that box if you want to print something in color).
- Press OK. That’s it; now your printer will automatically print in Draft Mode (and in grayscale, if you chose that option) until you change it back. To change it, simply follow the same instructions and choose Standard for print quality.
We are extremely happy you’ve read up on our most coveted, super-secret tips for maximizing the life of your cartridges. Now that you know how to easily get the most out of your inks and toners, I can’t believe you’re not already looking to save even more money on the inks and toners you need! To help you out there, you can click the button below to start saving money buy buying high-quality eco-friendly supplies from us!
If you have your own tried and true method of saving ink or maximizing the life of this very expensive commodity, we’d love to hear them for future revisions, leave a reply below!
If you’ve been doing your part in the effort to recycle ink and toner cartridges and other small electronic devices but feel it’s burdensome, difficult to manage and don’t really like the idea of not getting cash back but rather reward points toward purchasing product from the company managing the recycling program, there’s now a better way. Continue reading
If you like the idea of using aftermarket or re-manufactured ink or toner cartridges in your printer and have been doing so for years, there’s nothing more frustrating than buying a new printer and finding out there are no aftermarket supplies for it yet. Why is that? The answer is pretty simple, greed on the part of the major printer manufactures.
Here’s what happens, each year the printer manufactures need to come up with new models to please the masses, this in and of itself is good and it’s how business is done. Consumers want bigger and better, it’s just the way we are. All of the big players in this field like HP, Canon, Epson and Brother make huge profits on selling the ink and toner for their machines, that’s no secret. They want to keep that market all to themselves they will sell some printers at a loss or break even knowing that once you have their printer you are now locked into buying their ink, period. The one place that they can lose market share is through the re-manufacturing industry so they have to try and find way’s to disrupt the flow of aftermarket ink and toner cartridges.
The best way for them to do this is by inventing new cartridges, chips, software and ink that their new printers will use. OK, so you ask how would this disrupt the re-manufacturing industry, simply, we now have to reverse engineer these cartridges before we can re-manufacture them and they know that. This presents a slew of decisions and problems that we the re-manufacturing industry have to solve before you the consumer ever see a re-manufactured cartridge on the shelve.
The first is will the printer be a hit or a bust? Imagine if we spent hundreds of hours on reverse engineering cartridges for a new printer, creating the inks, collected enough empties to start production and then find out the public just did not like the product and decided not to buy. All of that time and money is wasted. So one of the holdups for us is keeping an eye on who the winners will be and who will be the losers, this takes time.
Next, the ink or toner that many of these new models use has just been formulated so they to have to be reverse engineered in such a way that they meet all of the specifications of the original without infringing on any patents held by the parent company. Again before spending thousands and thousands of dollars we need to be certain that there will be enough demand for those particular cartridges. Once we know that, the ink manufactures will figure out the formulation and start mass producing the ink and get it over to the manufacturers.
But even with all of these hurdles, believe it or not the most critical part of this puzzle is getting our hands on enough empties to meet the demand. The OEM (Original Equipment Manufactures) know this and know that this is the weak link in the process. If they can stop or curtail the supply the re-manufacturing industry would grind to a standstill. So what have the OEM’s done? They have implemented all sorts of programs and legal barriers to prevent or make it very difficult for us to get the empties we need! They are basically trying to strangle us by preventing us from getting the raw materials we need, and I thought we lived in a free enterprise system.
HP has made a global effort to remove as many empties from the marketplace under the guise of recycling. Since they started this campaign they have been very successful in keeping millions of cartridges from being re-manufactured. Now the difference between recycling and re-manufacturing is huge. What HP has done is built a huge facility that uses tremendous amounts of energy breaking these cartridges down into their different components with some being used in the production of cartridges but most just being melted down to make something else. It has been proven that re-manufacturing uses much less energy than what HP is doing. Also by re-manufacturing the product is being reused for it’s intended purpose which saves time, money and resources. HP should be ashamed of how they are deceiving the public. If they really wanted to help our environment, they would collect there own cartridges and re-manufacture them and sell them back to the public at a reduced price. We all know that will never happen.
Lexmark has brought to court and won on a little known law about how and when someone can use a printer cartridge for re-manufacture. In a nutshell any manufacturer can use a toner that has been used once in the United States as raw material for production. But if the same toner was used once offshore he can’t use it and could face huge fines by Lexmark, you can read about it here. Our industry collects empties from around the world that feeds our industry and then in turn pass on the savings to the end user, you the consumer. The only reason Lexmark dragged this law out of the closet is they are desperate and need to find and use any and all means available to them to try and stop us. The sad part about this whole story is that the courts are backing them up. To add insult to injury, Lexmark is asking that the offending parties buying the empty cartridge pay what the cost of the toner would have sold for here in the United States in a retail store! Here’s what that means, let’s say a toner sold for $150 in Staples. The re-manufacturer has been paying $3 for that empty cartridge, then he has to put it though the process of re-manufacturing and then sell it for a profit. The middle man gets it and then sells it to the retail operation to sell to the consumer at a reduced price compared to the original, let’s say for this example it would sell for $99.99.By Lexmark asking that the re-manufacturer pay the OEM price of $150, he just put that person out of business. This is free enterprise? Laws like this should be removed from the books or modified for modern times, this is insane. Our government talks about creating jobs and then we see this type of behavior.
Epson has sued and won using basically the same strategies, US business’s can only use empties that are acquired in the United States. Again the only reason businesses would do something like this is they are very concerned about the inroads we as an industry are making. We are taking market share and they don’t like it, but as the old saying goes, if you can’t stand the heat, get the hell out of the kitchen. Using these tactics will in the end backfire and not work.
The consumer has spoken and they are saying they are sick and tired of paying so much for printer cartridges. We are listening as should the OEM’s. They know our products work and if they had any sense they would jump on the band wagon and re-manufacturer their own cartridges and make some money off of them in stead of just shredding them or spending millions of dollars on legal cost trying to prevent our industry from providing the consumer with an alternative.
We at Ink & Toner Solutions keep a list of ink jets and toners that are in R&D. As our customers ask for these items we explain to them the process and then put them on a list so we can inform them as soon as their cartridge model comes on line. Our customers like the savings but more importantly they understand that they are also doing their part in helping save our planet by using recycled products. Hell if you can spend less money, get the same quality as the original product and help to recycle at the same time, why would’t you do it?
We would love to hear your comments on this situation. Have you run into this before? Did you find a solution?
Click The Link Below To See If We Carry The Cartridges You Need. If You Don’t See What Your Looking For Contact Us.
So what is toner? We get asked that all the time. First off let’s make sure we are all talking about the right kind of toner, what we are not talking about is the cosmetic toner, you know that lotion or wash designed to cleanse the skin and shrink the appearance of pores.
No, the toner we are talking about is what’s inside the toner cartridge you buy for your printer, it’s the actual medium that lets your printer lay down the images and text that you see come out on your paper.
The toner itself is an electrically-charged powder with two main ingredients: Pigment and Plastic. The role of the pigment is to provide the coloring, black, cyan, magenta or yellow that produces the text and images on the paper. This pigment is blended into plastic particles so that it will melt when it passes through the fuser which gets heated to a high enough temperature to melt these plastic particles.This quality gives toner powder a number of advantages over liquid ink. Using heat to melt the toner onto the medium causes it to firmly bind to almost any type of paper which means the text won’t smudge or bleed easily which is sometimes the case with liquid inks used in ink jet printers.
This is toner at it’s most basic level which should suffice for this article. Needless to say there is much more in depth explanations that go into the chemical composition and scientific research of toner but that is not the scope of this post, we just want to give a brief overview of what toner powder is and how it works in the printer you use every day.
Each manufacturer spends millions of dollars on R&D and testing in an attempt to make their toner the best on the market. Toner product and the materials that make up the toner is an ever evolving industry. Consumers always want more, for example when toner was first introduced into the market there was only black. Now due to demand we have color laser printers, each toner color had to be invented and researched to produce the desired results. Customers wanted faster print times, that meant the toner had to be changed so it could melt on the paper at faster and faster speeds.
So, how does this toner powder get onto the paper? Well the toner is usally held in what we call the toner hopper which is inside the toner cartridge that you buy. The printer gathers the toner from the hopper with what is called the developer unit.
The developer is actually a collection of small, negatively charged magnetic beads. These beads are attached to a rotating metal roller, which moves them throughout the toner in the toner hopper.
Because they are negatively charged, the developer beads collect the positive toner particles as they pass through. The roller then brushes the beads past the drum assembly. The electrostatic image has a stronger negative charge than the developer beads, so the drum pulls the toner particles away.
The drum then moves over the paper, which has an even stronger charge and so grabs the toner.
After collecting the toner, the paper is immediately discharged by the detac corona wire. At this point, the only thing keeping the toner on the page is gravity, if you were to blow on the page at this point, you would completely lose the image as the toner would simply blow away. The page must pass through the fuser to affix the toner. The fuser rollers are heated by internal quartz tube lamps, so the plastic in the toner melts as it passes through.
Here’s a simplified schematic of the major parts of a laser printer showing the toner hopper, corona wire, fuser, drum assembly and developer roller. When the paper is grabed from the paper tray it passes through the various parts of the printer at a high rate of speed. This is evident from watching how long it takes from the time you hit print to the time your page comes out complete with text and images. If you pick the page up as soon as it comes out of the printer you can still feel the heat form the fuser that melted the toner onto the paper.
So what is the main advantage of a laser printer Vs a ink jet printer? Speed, precision and economy. A laser can move very quickly, it can print with much greater speed than an ink jet. Laser printers do tend to cost more than ink jet printers but that is offset by the fact that it doesn’t cost as much to keep them running. Toner powder last a long time and still be usable, unlike ink jets that can dry up if you don’t use them. If your looking to print high quality photo’s better to get a high end ink jet, if your looking to print a lot of text documents or even color presentations for office use, get a laser printer.
Let us know what you think of the post, we love to hear from our readers so we can improve and write blogs that our readers want us to write.
What is Remanufacturing?
In our industry it’s reusing and refilling ink and toner printer cartridges so they can be used again. Used cartridges are collected though out the world by individuals, businesses and the remanufacturers themselves. Once the empty cores are at the remanufacturers location they are sorted to determine which cartridges can be remanufactured and which ones can not be used. The defective cartridges are recycled in a responsible way so they don’t enter the trash stream and end up in a local dump. They are broken down into usable components and reused. The usable cartridges are then disassembled and cleaned and any necessary replacement parts are added at this point. New toner or ink is added, and the cartridges are tested to insure that the quality is at the level of the original manufacturer. Continue reading
Have you been noticing that your laser printing cost are going up even though you have been trying to cut down on printing to save money? It seems the more you try to save by cutting down the higher your toner cartridges are costing. A report by Melissa Riofrio in PC World explains why this is happening and again it’s just corporate greed. Continue reading
So we all talk about recycling and I like to believe that most of us are concerned enough about it to actually do our part to that end. In our industry which is involved in recycling the empty ink and toner cartridges that come from the small home user to the largest corporations we try to collect as many of these empties as we possibly can and get them into the recycling stream. One of the problem components of this recycling process has always been what to do with the powder toner. Well, here’s one man that has found an answer. Continue reading
I’ve been in the printer cartridge business now since 2004 and have had the opportunity to witness many changes not the least being the quality of re manufactured ink & toner cartridges. From the day of individuals filling in their basement with no quality control to the present where large business’s using the latest equipment and quality control methods are putting out superb products. So how is one to know what is a quality printer cartridge and which are junk. Continue reading
HP has had a recycling program for electronic hardware since 1987 and has recovered over 2.3 billion pounds of product that are reused or recycled. Our hats are off to HP for this effort due to the serious effects E-waste has had globally. Millions of tons of E-waste are collected and shipped off to third world countries and dumped for the locals to sort through and gather materials they can resell. They get paid pennies for this labor and when they have recovered everything of worth, the town is left to deal with the waste. So for HP to help in this area is great, but what about HP’s new Planet Partners program for recycling inkjet’s and toners? Continue reading
So it’s time to buy a new printer. The one you have at home or office has either bitten the dust or you just want to upgrade, sounds simple enough, right? Continue reading