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The Hidden Costs of Home Printing

Over the years, the cost of a new home printer has dropped dramatically. Today, you can buy a Multifunction Inkjet Printer (Printer/Scanner/Copier) for as little as €40.

On the face of it, that might seem like a bargain and for the hardware, it probably is, but hidden behind that initial low cost printer are some exhorborant ink costs. The cheapest printer to buy is generally not the cheapest printer to own.

Colour Inkjet Printers generally use either a 2 Cartridge (Black & Colour) or 4 Cartridge (Black, Cyan, Magenta, Yellow) print system. The 2 Cartridge System, on the face of it, is the cheaper of the two to replace. The problem is that, because the Cyan, Magenta, Yellow inks are all in the one cartridge, when one of those colours empties, you have to replace the whole cartridge. If you do a lot of photo printing, you will find that your colour ink cartridge will need replacing quite often. The price of ink cartridges can start at approx. €16.00 for replacement black cartridge and  €20.00 for a colour cartidge.

I mentioned above about 4 cartridge print systems. These have a seperate ink cartridge for Black, Cyan, Magenta and Yellow inks. If one of these colours runs out, you can simply replace that colour there is no need to replace them all. To replace all 4 cartridges will obviously be more expensive than replacing the inks in a 2 cartridge system, you should get substatially more prints for your money and will need to be changed less frequently. Individual colour cartidges for a printer which supports them start at approx. €17.00

The choice of paper when printing is also very important. Printing photographs on to normal printer paper will leave them dull and lifeless. A better solution is to use Photo Paper. Unfortunately, Photo Paper can cost many times more than normal printer paper. Plain ordinary paper can be purchased for as little as €2.99 for 500 sheets. Photo Paper can cost from €4.99 upwards for 50 to 60 sheets! Using the right paper for the job will dramatically improve the final print.

There are bargains to be had out there though. There are many shops who will refill ink cartridges for you much cheaper than buying a new cartridge. Explain to the shop the type of printer you have an ask them if they guarantee the quality of their inks. Most cartridges can be refilled and over the lifetime of the printer, this can save you a small fortune. Also, if you buy A4 sized sheets of photo printer, try to fit multiple photographs on the one sheet.

One last tip. Many printers come with a Draft Mode / Economy Mode. If your print does not need to be of the highest quality, consider using this mode to print your regular documents and only switch to standard or high quality when you need to. I
Happy printing!