Printer running costs can soon add up - whether you regularly print documents such as online returns forms, have to print more now you're working from home or need to help your kids with their homework. To ease the pressure on your bank balance, we've rounded up some easy ways you can cut costs when relying regularly on your printer.
Simply playing around with your device's settings could help you make your ink cartridges last a little longer. As can updating your printer drivers, downloading the manufacturer's app and thinking carefully about which ink you buy.
Considering replacing your printer entirely? If so, make sure you consult our expert reviews. A sub-£40 printer can be a tempting purchase, but the long-term costs can soon add up if you frequently have to stock up on ink - our lab tests have sniffed out the printers that offer detailed prints while remaining cheap to run.
Keep scrolling for our money-saving printer tips.
If your home printer supports wireless printing, it's worth consulting the product manual and downloading the official partner app for your device.
Assuming you've misplaced the manual, head to the Google Play Store on Android or the App Store on iOS and search for the brand name - 'HP' or 'Canon', for example.
Partner apps can prove very handy, as they allow you to control your printer and line up printing jobs from a smartphone or tablet on the same wi-fi network. Most will allow you to customise your prints, too, so you can adjust orientation, paper size or colour.
Popular printing apps include:
If you decide to use a partner app on your mobile, make sure it's kept up to date. Ensuring you're running the latest version of the app will protect you against bugs.
Your printer manufacturer's branded ink can cost up to five times as much as third-party ink, so you can make huge savings by switching.
This is a simple tweak that you can make in settings, but it could potentially make a big difference to your running costs and save you from powering through paper faster than you'd like.
You may have to enable this function manually, but some printers have automatic double-sided printing. If you regularly print long documents, it's worth paying a little more for a printer with this feature.
If you try to print out an email and get hit with a frustrating 'this printer is out of ink' message, there could potentially be a way around the issue.
Copy the text that you're trying to print into a document - such as Google Docs or Microsoft Word. Once that's sorted, highlight the text in your document and change it from black to a colour before printing. If your printer is out of black ink but still has some left in the colour cartridge, you might be able to print the text in red, for example.
But note that not all printers allow this - some won't print at all if the black ink has run out.
If your prints are ruined by white lines or splodges, there's a good chance the print head is clogged. To get back to pristine prints, you'll need to run the printer's cleaning program.
The exact steps you'll need to work through will vary depending on the type of printer you're using. But most of the time, you'll need to head to 'Device settings' on your computer and follow the on-screen instructions.
For example, if you're using an Epson printer, you can use the Head Cleaning utility in Windows by following these steps:
If only certain colours are causing strange results, try swapping out the associated ink cartridge. You should also check for leakages inside the cartridge door - clean up spillages with a cloth or cotton bud.
Printer drivers essentially allow your printer to talk to your PC, which is why keeping them updated is so important. In fact, older printer drivers may include bugs that could be banished for good simply by updating.
If you're unsure whether your printer is running on the latest drivers, you can check by running through these steps:
Manually refilling your empty ink cartridges is cheaper than buying a brand new cartridge from your printer manufacturer.
If you'd like to give it a go, you'll need to order an ink refill kit. Most of these come with printer ink, plastic gloves, a syringe, a rubber stopper and some small drill bits to make holes in the cartridge. Once you've got everything you need, you can finish the job in four steps.
Make sure you're using the right printer paper before you line up your photo-printing jobs. Printing on the wrong paper can cause ink to run across the page, which is no good if you were planning on displaying that picture at home.
There are various types of photo paper, usually referred to as basic, everyday and premium. The weight of each option is slightly different - premium paper is far denser and therefore less likely to curl.
You should also consider the paper finish. Most of the time, you'll be choosing between gloss or matt.
From going hands-on with hundreds of printers in the Which? test lab, we've found that some inkjet models waste a lot of ink during cleaning cycles. Unfortunately, that means you could end up having to order expensive new cartridges far more often than you expected.
Which? Best Buy printers won't cost you a fortune to run. To sweeten the deal, they're also easy to use and, in some cases, offer support for mobile printing. On the other hand, our dreaded Don't Buy printers are let down by underwhelming print quality.