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Archive for February, 2010

What Is Printer Ink Yield, and How Is It Figured?

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Reading the price tag of a printer ink cartridge is not always reliable when it comes to the ink yield. The ink yield number is the estimated number of pages that a specific cartridge can print. However, a higher priced ink cartridge does not necessarily guarantee a higher ink yield as many would assume. Fortunately, a standard yield test has now been implemented for text documents but a standard test for photos is still in development.

Many printer ink cartridges will use the ISO/IEC measurement to report their ink yield and are therefore easily compared regardless of the individual manufacturers. The ISO is the International Organization for Standardization and the IEC is the International Electrotechnical Commission. The aim of both is to provide unbiased standards and measurements for those involved in development and distribution, but they also provide the most accurate readings for consumer knowledge. As opposed to findings made by a specific company, the ISO/IEC gains nothing by spreading false reports.

The ISO/IEC test is performed by collecting nine primary cartridges, black or tricolor, and recording the data of each one individually. From there, the nine are separated into three sets of three to be tested on three separate printers. Variations between the printers as well as the cartridges are taken into account and recorded meticulously. After the initial findings are run through basic statistical formulas, the “percent lower confidence bound” is determined. This number is reported as the yield and appears on the packaging of most ink cartridges in a very user friendly manner. For example, instead of reporting the “X percent lower confidence bound,” it will read something more like “X number of pages.”

The most important aspect of the process is to remain consistent when testing each of the nine cartridges. To do this, the same text pages are printed in the same font and size for every cartridge, set, and brand. This allows for accuracy when a consumer is comparing separate products.

Most will utilize the ISO/IEC measurements, but some companies choose to perform their own ink cartridge yield test. While they follow the same basic procedure that likely proves accurate reading, they may not provide for a proper comparison across other brands. This would be because the ISO/IEC test and independent test may use different fonts, size, or test format. Even though the difference would not be visible in a small number of pages printed, when calculating with an entire cartridge, the difference can be significant.

Pay attention to not only the ink yield on printer ink cartridges, but give some consideration to who carried out the test for proper comparison to ensure accuracy.

The Most Environmentally Friendly Options for Printer Ink

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

We all know how expensive printer ink can be. It consumes a significant part of a business’s budget and can lead the home user to be very discriminating in what they print and when they use their printer. Some individuals and businesses even store and read documents electronically rather than incur the expense involved in printing. This is environmentally friendlier than printing but unless such documents are backed up regularly you could lose them when your computer crashes. So what is to be done if you want to save on printer ink cartridges as well as be kind to the Earth?

Recently there have been a number of alternative kinds of printer ink designed to be better for the environment and some of them are actually less expensive than the standard printer ink that has been used for years. Soy oil, for example, has been used with great success in printer ink cartridges, producing copy that is almost indistinguishable from inks used in the standard printer ink cartridge. Carrot ink is also a viable alternative for printer ink and no, it’s not orange! By using plant-based alternatives for printer ink, recycling is easier and less costly. A printer ink cartridge filled with this type of nature-based printer ink can also be much more budget-friendly if you shop around for the best price. These printer ink cartridges are found mostly in the United States. While buying printer ink cartridges from foreign manufacturers might appear to save a few dollars they usually contain toxic heavy metals like lead, mercury, arsenic, cadmium and selenium.

There are other ways to save on printer ink without compromising your efficiency. Previewing what you are going to print is a good way to save your printer ink cartridges; if you need to print information from a page on the Internet you should eliminate all the ads contained on the page before you print it. You can also adjust the font so that it is readable but takes up less space on the page. For instance, Bookman Old Style takes up much more space than Arial Narrow. Be sure to recycle your printer ink cartridges; this will save money as well as helping the environment! Buying remanufactured printer ink cartridges is frugal as well as Earth-friendly.

Printers are also being re-invented to save our environment from waste and toxins. One of these uses coffee and tea dregs as its source of ink. When this one is mass produced you can drink your coffee and print with it, too! We are sure to see many alternatives to the standard printer ink cartridge and some wonderful new types of printers in the near future.

Is Soy Printer Ink The Wave of the Future?

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

More than simply an environmentally-friendly choice, soy printer ink provides a quality product without the hazardous consequences. Soy ink is one example of technology and invention leading to a sustainable alternative quickly becoming the industry standard. In terms of reducing the environmental impact and lowering the carbon footprint of an office, soy printer ink is one viable choice that lessens the environmental burden of high volume print production without influencing office standards and resources, rather raising the bar for quality. While the plastic portions of printer cartridges are already recyclable, ink can be as eco-friendly as the cartridge when using soy instead of a petroleum toner.

As the name suggests, soy ink is derived from soybean oil, which is a highly renewable and fairly inexpensive to purchase in bulk, which makes ink production and as a result the printer ink sustain and cheap. Soybeans as a manufacturing resource are highly renewable with a low environmental impact. Almost half of all soybeans grown in the United States do not require irrigation and while growing remove damaging carbon dioxide, the common greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. Ultimately soy ink is naturally low in volatile organic compounds (VOC), which are chemical compounds that react to sunlight while evaporating, releasing harmful air contaminants. Soy ink poses less health risks to those exposed on a consistent basis whether in a publication’s production or in an office copy room.

Also during the recycling or de-inking process, soy ink is easier to remove from newsprint than petroleum-based ink. As a result, there is less paper fiber damage and the paper remains brighter after stripped of soy ink compared to conventional inks. The recycling waste of soy ink printed paper is not hazardous and is cost effective to treat. Soy ink provides more vibrant color results, greater lithographic stability, and according to a study conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency, soy ink can be spread further, so the printing process would require less ink, which means replacing printer cartridges less often. 

While soy ink is the wave of the future, currently the disadvantages haven’t been completely resolved. Depending on the paper used soy ink can rub off with skin contact. Soy ink has yet to be successfully developed for personal printers and ballpoint pens. As the demand for soy ink increases, so does the need for soybean production, which carries a fear of the consequences of over dependency on one crop. As the price of petroleum rises, so in turn does the price of conventional printer ink, where as the price of soy ink is easier to regulate. Soy ink is more than an alternative choice; it’s becoming the obvious choice.

Finding Printer Ink for a Discontinued Printer

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

New printers aren’t too expensive, but sometimes you’ve got an old, reliable model that you simply don’t want to give up. Unfortunately, if your printer model has been discontinued, finding a printer ink cartridge can become very difficult, and you might feel forced to upgrade to a newer model. With a bit of searching, though, there’s a good chance that you can find printer ink cartridges to last you for quite a while, regardless of your printer’s age or make.

For instance, if the printer was recently discontinued, it might be possible to find printer ink cartridges online at the manufacturer’s website or on auction sites such as eBay. Be careful–you should look for expiration dates when buying from auction websites, and ask if you can’t find one. Printer ink does go bad, and it won’t be much use to you if it’s more than a few months expired. Look for websites that offer some type of warranty on the ink that they sell. You can also sometimes find re-manufactured printer ink cartridges, which should work just as well as brand new units. When you find a website that sells your ink, stock up, but don’t buy more than you can use. Think about your printing habits before purchasing.

Many websites sell refillable ink cartridges, which can be a godsend to computer users with discontinued printers. Even if the printer manufacturer has completely stopped making and selling cartridges for your model, there’s a good chance that a refill kit is available, and modern kits are easy and safe to use (not to mention cheap). Only buy refill kits that are made for your model of printer, as the ink in one printer ink cartridge can vary greatly from the ink in another, and using the wrong type of ink could result in a spill that ruins your printer. Be warned, refill kits will void your printer’s warranty, although if your printer’s discontinued, there’s a decent chance that your warranty’s already expired anyways.

If you can’t find any printer ink for your printer model, you might be absolutely forced to get a new printer. The good news is that printers are typically quite cheap (the manufacturers make up the cost by selling ink at an inflated price). Look for a model from the same company that made your discontinued printer and you’ll likely find a unit with many of the same features. In some cases, ink cartridges between two similar models of printer are actually interchangeable, so take a look before you buy–you might be able to use your discontinued printer for years to come.

Common Printing Mistakes That Cost Computer Users Money

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

Printers are cheap but printing gets expensive. When purchasing a computer system, a printer is usually the least expensive part, but with $10 to $30 printer ink cartridges, printing quickly becomes the most expensive peripheral over time. Fortunately, by avoiding a few simple mistakes, users can reduce the cost of printer ink.

Remember this – printer companies want you to buy more ink. So, the “normal” quality will likely be much nicer than what is necessary. It is important to remember the purpose of a particular print job. While a resume or photo may require the highest quality, a memo or a joke to share can be printed at draft quality without affecting its effectiveness. This will save a lot of printer ink. Also, color printing is more expensive than black and white. For example, the HP Deskjet F380 has one black ink cartridge and one color cartridge. The color cartridge actually has three separate colors. If one of those runs out, the whole color cartridge needs replacement, even if there is still plenty of the other two colors. So, by using black and white unless color is absolutely necessary, printer ink costs can be minimized.

The wrong sort of printer can also make printing very expensive. The cost of printer ink can make a cheap inkjet printer end up costing many times more than a professional laser printer in the long run. From the Hewlett-Packard home page, an HP 02 black ink cartridge prints 660 pages and costs $20, or 33 pages for a dollar. A HP 42X laser toner cartridge costs $249 and prints 20,000 pages. That’s 80 pages for a dollar, less than half the cost per page compared to an inkjet printer. For large volumes, the difference grows quickly.

One of the most effective ways to reduce costs is to not always buy new cartridges. Refilling cartridges can be done at many shops or with home kits. Essentially a printer ink cartridge is am electronic spraying mechanism attached to an ink tank. Once the tank is empty the cartridge is empty. However, the spraying mechanism still works. So, by refilling the ink tank, a user can extend the life of an ink cartridge and reduce cost. Remember that the mechanism will break eventually, reducing quality or simply not printing at all. Some toner cartridges can be refilled as well, with the same benefits and problems. So, for a $20 dollar advertising contract pitch, everything probably should be brand new. But for coupons and emails, draft quality with refilled ink cartridges will save a lot of money. In printing, proper judgment prevents expensive printing mistakes.

What Printers Have The Most Expensive Ink?

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

When in the market for a new printer, an individual should research which printer models require the most expensive ink. The answer may surprise you. More often than not, the most expensive inks are required for the cheapest printers. At first, this may not seem logical. The reasoning behind this is that the manufacturers of such printers must compensate for reduced printer prices by inflating the price of the cartridges need in order for the printer to operate. On average, consumers spend three times as much on ink over the course of a year than they do buying a new printer.

Consumers are often baffled as to why printer ink is astronomically so much more expensive than the printer itself. One reason for the cost disparity, aside from recouping lost printer profits, is the often hidden fact that while the cartridges are sold for a cost range of $10-30, the ink per gallon actually costs thousands of dollars. Studies have shown that even if printer manufacturers were to cut the cost of their ink cartridges in half, they would still be able to make a decent profit. Unfortunately, these companies continue to believe that if a consumer is willing to pay the current prices, there is no real need to cut prices.

The severe disadvantage that the consumer faces is the fact that they are often not given enough information regarding the various types of ink cartridges in order to make the best economical purchase. In 1966, The Fair Packaging Act was passed. This act forced manufacturers of all products to list quantity amounts on the labels of their products. Oddly enough, one of the products exempted from this law was ink, and the result of such essentially left people in the dark regarding what they were buying. 

In recent years, there have been a few alternatives introduced to replace high-priced ink. One example is home refill kits. The downside to these is the frustration some consumers experience attempting to refill the cartridges. Another option introduced along with the eco-friendly movement is the introduction of refurbished cartridges, which are available at most office supply chains. These are cartridges that have been recycled by previous users and are specially refilled at the store. However, perhaps the most cost-efficient ink saver is already in every driver of inkjet printers in the form of the economy or draft mode a user can set their printer to, which will print all documents with a reduced amount of ink. Overall, the best way to combat the high cost of ink is to research printers and their corresponding ink cartridges prior to making a purchase.

Tips To Avoid An Ink Spill When Refilling Your Printer Ink

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Let’s face it, ink cartridges are not cheap. If you run a business or simply utilize a printer for personal use, you are well aware that printer ink can come at a high cost. Ink cartridges need to be changed fairly frequently, and the process of changing the cartridges needs to be executed perfectly, or it may lead to a small disaster. Stained carpet, ruined clothes, damaged equipment and costly repairs are all possible outcomes in the event of an ink-refilling mishap. To avoid wasting time and money, pay attention to the following tips on how to avoid an ink spill while refilling your printer ink.

The first necessary step to avoid an ink spill is to set up and maintain your printer properly. When possible, always use the original ink cartridge, which is the cartridge that is sold specifically for the make and model of your printer. These cartridges contain chips and circuits that are constantly in contact with the equipment. If for any reason (such as high cost or unavailability) you opt to use a non-original cartridge, make sure to use a recycled one that has been tested and approved for use. Untested cartridges can burst inside your printer and cause major damage.

Many times an ink spill is caused when the injectors (the tube from which the ink is released) get dry and blocked. In order to avoid this, use your printer frequently. You may also periodically print a page in color to ensure that your printer is functioning properly. Printing in color is a good way to test your printer since a page printed in color page uses and tests all cartridges at once. If you detect a faulty cartridge, change it immediately. Another important maintenance tip is to use high quality paper when printing. Low quality paper does not absorb ink efficiently, hence leaving it humid and runny. This ink can then stain or dirty the inside of the printer. Also, low quality paper can leave a trail of dust, which can in turn cause internal problems. 

When changing ink, it is imperative that you follow the exact procedure as stated in the instruction manual that comes with your printer. Make sure your hands are clean as you handle the sensitive equipment. To clean the printer manually, you can purchase a can of compressed air that removes particles. Simply lift up the flap to open the tray of your printer, then point and spray.

Printer Ink Tips That Can Help Your Printer Last Longer

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Printer ink is very valuable. It serves as the engine for the printer. Hence, printing wisely can also prolong the functioning capacity of your printer. However, printer ink and printer ink cartridges do not come cheap and like any other resource, can easily run out at a time when you need them most. If you’re concerned about making the most out of your printer ink and saving money, adhere to the following tips in order to help you extend the lives of your printer and ink cartridges.

First of all, adjust your printer settings so that it will print in economy mode. Printer settings have an option for print quality. Simply select “economy mode,” “fast print,” or “draft print” quality. By selecting one of these feature, you can reduce the amount of ink used when you print. Your printer will even print at a much faster rate. Aside from selecting this printer feature, you may also use fonts that are more printer-friendly. There are fonts that are slightly smaller than others and therefore require less ink when printing. For instance, Ecofont will approximately save as much as 20% of printer ink in comparison to other commonly used fonts. This type of font can be downloaded on your computer for free. To sum up, use smaller fonts and avoid bold texts as much as possible. 

Another tip for eco-printing is to use ink-saving software, which is also available online. This type of software will help you reduce the amount of ink that is consumed each time you print, even when printing in high resolution. GreenPrint is an example of this software. It operates to analyze your print jobs and informs you of possible ink waste. With this software, you can even print to a PDF, which is completely ink and paper-free. GreenPrint will also tell you how much paper it was able to conserve.

Of course, it is important to always practice good printing habits. Keep in mind that black ink is much cheaper than colored ink. Whenever possible, print in grayscale or in black and white settings. Before printing, thoroughly check your work for mistakes and do the necessary revisions before printing. Avoid having to print over and over again because of overlooked errors. The Print Preview feature can also help you avoid mistakes. This tool gives you a preview of how your file will look like after printing it. Whenever possible, organize the sizing and make use of the available paper space. Also, avoid using cheap toners and cartridges, as they could affect the performance of your printer. Keep all these tips in mind to ensure a longer, more functional relationship with your printer.

How Much Can Printer Ink Cost A Small Business In A Year?

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

To understand how much printer ink can cost a small business in a one year period, it is important to first possess a fundamental understanding of the cost-per-page for each individual printer being used. The cost-per-page metric is the industry standard used for comparing ink used to ink cartridge costs. To estimate the cost over a one year period, a small business should estimate the number of pages they expect to print multiplied by the cost-per-page for their printer.

PC Magazine recently published a standard printer cost- per-page chart for some of the most popular small business use printers in the industry. What they found after considering all printer costs, including the cost of the ink cartridges, was that the cost-per-page for black and white copies can range from 1.4 cents to 4.4 cents per page, while the cost-per-page for color copies can ranges from 6.9 cents to 10.7 cents per page. If we consider an average price-per-page based on the ranges from the charts in PC Magazine, a small business that prints an average of 5,000 pages per year, may spend approximately $150 for black ink and $450 for color ink. A small business with a higher volume of printed copies, such as 10,000 pages per year, may spend approximately $300 for black ink cartridges and $900 for color ink cartridges.

PC Magazine also noted in an article titled “The True Cost of Printer Ink” that often times the printers that cost less up front have much higher printer ink costs during the life of the printer. Additionally, each individual printer cartridge can yield a different amount of pages. These are very important points for small business owners to consider. Since many are working with small budgets, they may opt to buy the printer or printer ink cartridge with the lowest ticket price. However, this could end up being the most expensive option over time.

Another consideration when purchasing and managing the inventory for printer ink, is the printer ink expiration date. Over time, the condition of the printer ink liquid can change. For example, nozzles may become clogged, and the ink quality may decline. For these reasons, ink manufacturers label ink cartridges with specific expiration dates. Considering the cost of printer ink, it is important for small business owners to monitor these dates and to use the products before they expire. In conclusion, when considering the annual cost of printer ink, a small business should evaluate the cost-per-page for each printer model in addition to the page output for each individual printer cartridge. What may seem like an up front bargain could in actuality end up costing significantly more over time.

Do Refurbished Ink Cartridges Last As Long As New Ink Cartridges?

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Unfortunately, printer ink cartridges aren’t made to last indefinitely. At some point, they must be replaced. While the first thought that may come to mind when an ink cartridge runs out of ink is to simply buy a new one, there are other options when it comes to replacing them. Buying a refurbished ink cartridge is certainly one option, but do refurbished cartridges last as long as new ones? In short, yes they do.

Because the printer ink in inkjet cartridges is eventually used up in the printing process, the ink is usually placed in a replaceable cartridge. Due to physical space limitations, printer ink cartridges only hold a limited supply of ink. Once the ink in the cartridge runs out, it must be replaced in some way. Refurbished cartridges can accomplish this. Refurbished (sometimes called “remanufactured’) printer ink cartridges are much like Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) cartridges, except with one major difference. An OEM cartridge is completely new in every way, while a refurbished cartridge is typically a used OEM cartridge that has been overhauled, tested, and refilled. First, the used cartridge is taken apart and cleaned. Next, each part of the cartridge is tested to make sure that everything is working as designed and any defective parts are replaced with new ones. Finally, the cartridge is refilled with printer ink. Often, the ink is either identical to or the same quality as the printer ink used in OEM cartridges.

If well-made, a refurbished printer cartridge can last as long- or perhaps even longer- than a new one. The parts are essentially the same as those of a new cartridge, and since the ink reservoir is the same size, it should hold the same amount of ink as the original. The important thing to remember is to research who refurbished the product. If the manufacturer refurbished its own ink cartridge, it’s likely that the product was subjected to a stringent evaluation process, and it comes with a warranty or return policy in the event it doesn’t function properly. However, most refurbished cartridges produce output that is the same as that of a more expensive, brand new cartridge.

Refurbished printer ink cartridges can offer many advantages over new cartridges. Not only do they cost less to buy, but the ink in them lasts just as long as the ink in new cartridges. Beyond the equal performance, refurbished cartridges are also an environmentally friendly choice, as using them diverts non-biodegradable from ending up in landfills. Lastly, refurbished cartridges are widely available both in brick-and-mortar stores as well as online. All in all, purchasing either refurbished or remanufactured ink is a smart option.

Logos and brand names of manufacturers such as HP, Canon, Epson, Xerox, Samsung, Apple, Brother, Dell, IBM and others are registered trademarks of their respective owners. All references to brands are solely made for the purpose of illustrating compatibility of toner and ink cartridges. Their use on does not imply endorsement or association by respective owners.