Some printers seem to burn through ink, costing you more in cartridges. But is it possible to spot a wasteful printer at a glance? It could come down to how different printers clean themselves…
If you’ve been following our printer tests over the past few years, you’ll know that many printers don’t just seem to waste ink, they do waste ink.
Inkjet printers have to clean their ink nozzles to keep printing at their best. This uses ink. Our testing has shown that some printers clean themselves much more frequently than others, which could mean that only a third of the ink in the cartridge ends up on your prints.
Printer claims and automatic cleaning
In a store, the only indicator you have about printing costs are the manufacturer’s claims on the packaging stating the number prints you can expect from a set of cartridges. It’s based on printing pages in quick succession until the cartridges are empty. But that’s not how you print at home, and it doesn’t take into account the ink printers use to clean themselves.
We run an ‘occasional printing’ tests, printing only a few pages at a time and leaving time between prints, switching the printer off between uses. This allows for printers to undertake their automatic cleaning cycles, just as they would at home.
Interestingly, we’ve found there are similarities in the cost of printing with certain brands of printers and, more specifically, with printers that use the same ink set.
There are brands that are consistently cheap to print with, which suggests that it should be possible for all manufacturers to produce printers that don’t use excessive amounts of ink on cleaning without print quality being affected.
And the difference between a cheap-to-run printer and a wasteful one is huge. Picking the priciest will cost you up to around £7 more in ink for 30 prints, more than quintupling your ink costs.
So how wasteful is your printer? Have you stuck to a certain brand because you’ve found you get through more prints for your money?