How to make your printer ink last longer

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The printer in your office has a surprisingly long shelf life. Depending on how your employees use it, the complexity of the print jobs, the type of consumables and ink being used, and your maintenance schedule, you can expect most modern printers to last years or evendecades. 

Fortunately, there is a way to extend the life of any printer by following a few best practices, some of which have long been established as effective, but also a few that might surprise you. 

While every make and model of printer is hopefully built to last, there are a few steps to take that will ensure employees don’t print extra jobs unnecessarily, that hackers won’t be as likely to cause damage remotely (which can even make the printer inoperable), and that employees are making the most use of the device without attempting to print in ways that can cause damage.

1. Use high-quality paper

One of the smartest strategies in terms of extending the life of a printer is to make sure you use high-quality paper. 

This ensures not only that the paper won’t jam up in the printer and cause damage but also that the ink adheres to the paper and prints efficiently. Poor quality paper has a tendency to rip or cause ink problems that can be detrimental over a long period of time. 

More importantly, using the best quality paper is easier on the print heads and ink cartridges. 

2. Use only high-quality ink cartridges

It’s tempting to use off-brand ink cartridges in any printer, and matched with poor quality paper will be a recipe for disaster. 

Every printer benefits from using high-quality consumables; when the ink is made specifically by the manufacturer or is officially approved, it means there is less of a chance that the ink will leak into the printer or damage the print heads.

Coupled with high-quality paper, you can expect a printer to last far longer over time.

3. Contract with a provider for regular service

There are two main advantages when it comes to regular, scheduled printer maintenance. 

One is the obvious benefit of making repairs, cleaning out the device, and making sure the firmware is up to date. A well-maintained printer will last longer. 

A second benefit is that contracted, scheduled printer maintenance is ideal in terms of looking for any recurring issues. Service repair personnel can look for issues that could cause damage (short term or long term) and resolve any issues that might make the printer not last as long.

4. Use shorter standby mode times

Another suggestion for making a printer last longer is to consider using a setting that puts the device on a standby mode sooner. Some devices will allow you to set how much time it takes before the printer will go into standby, and some even allow you to set whether the printer dims the display only and then eventually goes into a full standby mode.

When you use these settings, it’s possible to set the interval - say, going on standby after five minutes or after 20 minutes. Using a shorter interval for standby mode can help devices last longer because they are not receiving power, which means all of the internal parts are not consuming power and are less likely to need any repairs.

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5. Improve your workflow automation process

It might seem unrelated, but a smart workflow automation process can make a printer last longer. The reason is that this process should be designed to help employees make the most of your printing infrastructure at the company, coordinating jobs, designing them for the best production, and even eliminating waste and extra print jobs. The more employees know about what will be printed and how it should be organized, the less work the printer has to do.

Here’s an example of how that works. Let’s say the marketing department at your company is creating a new brochure. A workflow automation process will help the employees organize the documents, envision how they will look after final production, and coordinate the print jobs as a team. This means the final outputs won’t tax the printer as much (or the consumables).

6. Train employees on how to use the printer

Another tip related to making a printer last longer has to do with employee training. 

We’ll all seen this before - a print job is configured wrong, and an employee doesn’t know which settings to use and causes damage or problems with the device. 

By training employees to use the printer, you will make sure they know which features to use and how to make the most of the device, but you will also increase the life of the device because most (if not all) print jobs will be configured properly. 

The side benefit here is that employees who know how to use a printer will actually generate fewer print jobs, which in turn makes the printer last longer.

7. Maintain printer security

You might not think of security as being related to printer longevity, but the two are connected. When you update the firmware, maintain network security, and ensure that a device can’t be breached by hackers, it also means you are ensuring the device will last longer. 

The reason is that, if there is a breach through the printer, it is possible the printer will need to be removed from service or even destroyed as part of the security protocols. 

And, if you maintain security measures, it also means hackers can’t break into the printer remotely and cause damage to the device or even make it inoperable.

Overall, these steps ensure that a printer won’t be used incorrectly or in a way that taxes the device unnecessarily. You’ll find that well-trained employees will make the most of the features and settings, and by using high-quality paper and ink you can extend the life of any printer. That makes the initial investment in printer technology even more valuable for any corporation.

John Brandon

John Brandon has covered gadgets and cars for the past 12 years having published over 12,000 articles and tested nearly 8,000 products. He's nothing if not prolific. Before starting his writing career, he led an Information Design practice at a large consumer electronics retailer in the US. His hobbies include deep sea exploration, complaining about the weather, and engineering a vast multiverse conspiracy.