Printers: Save money on printing How to save printer ink

Using your printer costs you money every time you click ‘Print’. 

At Which?, we test printers for their running costs to help you find the best cheap printer, but there are other tricks you can use to reduce printing costs further. 

Cheapest printer font

We've put together a few of our top ink-saving tips.

How we test printers – find out about the unique printer tests we run so you can buy the best printer with confidence.

Change your font

Changing the font you use in documents can have a real impact on ink use when printing and save you money.

We drafted a letter and then printed it as many times as we could until the ink ran out, repeating the process for seven different fonts, choosing the 12 point font size, or the nearest size that still kept our letter to one page.

Times New Roman, Microsoft’s default font, went furthest, producing 27% more pages than Arial. Verdana produced the fewest printed pages.

Print in draft or black and white

If quality isn't important in what you're printing, change your settings to save ink. 

To print in the faster, lower quality draft mode: 

Click File > Print > Options. Tick the Draft output box > OK > OK. (Repeat this step and untick Draft output to print in better quality.)

To print in black and white:

Click File > Print > Properties. In the Properties box, select Black & White > OK > OK.

 Use less colour 

Buy the best cheap third-party ink

You can get cheap ink from third parties (from a different brand to the brand of your printer - also known as non-OEM ink) for a number of printer models, whether the cartridges are new or refilled.

In our tests, some cheap third-party inks produced great-looking prints at a fraction of the cost of branded ink.

Are cheap ink cartridges any good? – Read our advice on cheap third-party printer ink and choose the best printer ink for you.

Buy cheap ink cartridges online

The cheapest place to buy printer branded ink is usually online. We price-checked 120 ink cartridges at popular high-street retailer PC World and compared the prices to popular online retailers including Amazon, Play and 7dayshop.

At the time of our price check, the cheapest online retailer was, on average, more than £6.58 cheaper than buying the same cartridge at PC World. However, you need to allow delivery time when buying online. Don’t wait until your cartridge completely runs out before you order.

Choose the 'Print Friendly' option online

Some websites will have their own ‘print friendly’ icon – usually positioned in the top-corner of the page. Clicking this to print removes unnecessary blocks of colour before you print.

By using an add-on such as Print Friendly in your internet browser you can make similar savings printing lots of websites and be selective about the areas of a page you want to print.

 Printer friendly 

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