Ink Jet Printers

Ink Jet Printers are deceptively inexpensive, often around $50, or “free” with a computer bundle. The expense comes with the ink. If you have one with both black and color cartridges, you can end up spending $25.00 or more for each cartridge. The price to print one page is very high. The cartridges seem to get smaller with every new model.

Thankfully, if you have one of these printers, you can minimize the expense by adjusting the print quality to a “draft” setting. If you are only printing pages for your own use, this is a great ink saver. If you need to print higher quality, such as a business letter, or resume, you will need to adjust the print quality. Some printers do not hold this setting when you change ink cartridges, so be sure to make sure this setting is where you want it. On Lexmark printers the default seems to be “use the ink as fast as possible”.

There are ink re-fill kits, you probably have received lots of spam about them. Lexmark and other printer manufacturers say that use of re-fill kits or off-brand ink cartridges will void your warranty. The re-fill kits can be messy, and the ink has caused some printers to gum up.

Older printers that worked great on Windows 95 and 98 are not supported, and will not work, on Windows 2000 or Windows XP. Ink jet printers also tend to be less useful for operating systems other than Mac or Windows. Hopefully, as Linux, and other Unix-like operating systems become more mainstream, manufacturers of “inexpensive” printers will support the free and low-cost operating systems. Be sure to find out what printers will work with your operating system of choice out of the box.

To avoid these issues, spend a little more up front for a laser or laser jet printer. They cost more, but their ink cartridges, which also cost more, last a lot longer. One can shake the ink cartridge of a laser or laser jet printer and get another ream of paper printed. Ink jet printers will probably not do a ream of paper even if set on draft mode. Printers that are more useful in a business context, are also more likely to have support in the Linux and Unix-like operating systems.

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