It's one of the most boring things you can possibly have to worry about, but needless to say a printer without ink isn't much use to anyone.
It can also be rather expensive to keep a printer fuelled up if it's something you use a lot. But you needn't spend more than absolutely necessary, and here are some tips to help get the best value for stocking up your printer.
If there's anywhere online you can get a deal, it's going to be Amazon. Whichever printer you own, whatever brand or model, there's a better than average chance that you'll be able to fill it up using Amazon.
And let's face it, deals are a big part of why people shop at Amazon. There will always be a time your ink is on sale. Stock up when it is.
It's also a great source for finding compatible ink cartridges for your printer made by third-party brands. These are often cheaper than manufacturers' own solutions.
As mentioned, there are numerous third-party brands out there producing compatible printer cartridges at a lower price than the manufacturers themselves.
Take a HP 564XL printer ink cartridge as an example. For an HP-branded one, you could pay $70 on Amazon. Third-party versions are as low as $20. But there are more risks over quality, so you should always check out user reviews first before biting, but the savings are there to be made.
Many third parties jump on the cheaper ink bandwagon though. In the UK, for example, the leading supermarkets will usually offer their own brand products alongside the manufacturers' and they'll always be a significant saving.
Refills and subscriptions
One sure fire way to save a few bucks is to refill the cartridges yourselves. Yes, you can do that, and if you can lay your hands on a suitable kit, the link below will guide you through the whole process.
There are also subscription models starting to come in, with HP Instant Ink being the most well known and widely used. With this you don't even have to leave the house, ink will appear at your door as you need it.
Plans start as low as $3 a month and the idea is that you subscribe based on how much printing you do. You need a compatible printer, but it will automatically order you new ink when you need it. You're never without, you never have to go to the store, and you could save as much as 50 percent on your regular ink spend.
Upgrade your printer
Sure, a new printer probably costs a bit more than you'd like to spend but it could work out better in the long run. Newer printers are more efficient than ever, and efficiency means less ink use and less total spend on your part.
It might take a little while for the cost benefits to ramp up, but in the end, they will. If you need some suggestions, check out our roundups of the best printers you can get right now.
And if you have your own secret to saving when buying printer ink, be sure to drop into the comments and share the wisdom!
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine