Save money when printing: How to get the most out of your inks

Lengthen the life of your inkjet and laser printer consumables with a few easy tips

How to get the most out of your inks

A genuine Brother toner

Generic cartridges: yay or nay?

While some people swear by generic cartridges, others warn of damaged printers, messy documents and horrible experiences in general. It doesn't help that your local consumable store employee is encourage to sell generic cartridges to realise a higher profit margin.

We can't advise definitively either way, except to say that you are using them at your own risk. Though cheaper, generic cartridges are unlikely to offer the same quality and even page yields as genuine consumables and, as such, they may simply not be worth it in the long run.

Don't take your printer at its word

Just because the printer says the inks have run out, doesn't mean they have. Unless your documents are noticeably degrading, more often than not a consumable has more life left than it is willing to admit. Despite the use of chips and high tech gadgetry that allow consumables to communicate directly with a printer, the consumable level information you receive on the computer and on a printer's LCD panel may not be entirely correct.

If you do receive a notification that your ink is empty, take it out and have a look. Extract and replace the same toner or ink in the printer to see if it registers anymore life. You can even give ink cartridges a shake before replacing them, to ensure ink isn't sitting idly on the bottom. Though these are last-ditch attempts, they might help you get out those a few precious pages before finally conceding and heading to the store.

Shop around for cartridges

Even if you do stick with genuine consumables (and we recommend you do), shop around to ensure you get the best price. Though consumable prices tend to stay the same for months at a time, the price difference between a large chain and an independent reseller can make shopping round worth the effort. Five minutes of research, for example, found an independent reseller selling genuine cartridges and toners for $5 to $40 cheaper than a large reseller.

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