There is no question that toner is the most expensive part of owning a laser printer. Statistics show that the average laser printer life span is approximately five years. Over that five-year period, you will pay seven times as much for toner and toner cartridges as you paid for your laser printer. If your printer lasts more than five years, you will pay even more.
Here are a dozen ways (plus one) to help you save your toner cost.
1. Before you purchase a replacement toner cartridge, do a little homework. You need to know "what type" of toner or toner cartridge you are buying. Everyone's printing needs are different. For example, you may want to use one type of toner cartridge for draft printing and use a higher quality cartridge for your final print. Regardless of what you decide to do, you will always save money when you make an informed purchasing decision. Avoid the headaches that occur from spontaneous, uninformed purchases.
2. Buy compatible toner cartridges. Compatible toner cartridges are brand new toner cartridges made by third party companies. They are manufactured to the exact OEM specifications of your laser printer. The manufacturing technology for compatible cartridges has significantly improved in the past few years. The technology used by these compatible toner companies is as good as the technology used by major printer manufacturers.
3. Buy remanufactured toner cartridges. Third party printer companies produce remanufactured toner cartridges. They take empty toner cartridges, empty any excess toner waste and then refill the cartridge with the toner designed for your printer. These cartridges are then put through a quality check process to insure the drum and other cartridge parts are working correctly.
4. Buy a toner refill kit. A toner refill kit gives you the tools and instructions required to refill your own toner cartridge. It usually takes less than ten minutes. Be sure to follow the step-by-step instructions carefully. You can expect to refill a toner cartridge approximately three times before it must be replaced.
5. Replace the toner drum instead of entire cartridge. Many toner cartridges allow you to replace just the drum instead of the whole cartridge. Replacing just the drum will save you money.
6. Shop around for toner and toner cartridges. Don't purchase a toner cartridge or toner from the first company you come across. You can often find bargains by doing a little shopping and comparison. For example, you can go to an auction site such as eBay and check their prices for toner or toner cartridges. Some companies let you use coupons to save on purchases. Many toner companies will ship your toner order free. A little comparison shopping can save you a lot of money.
7. Buy in bulk. You can usually cut your cost by volume purchasing. For example, you can purchase multiple toner cartridges instead of just one. You can purchase bulk toner to refill your own toner cartridge. Once you have a toner refill kit (see number 4 above), all you will need in the future is the toner. You can usually get the toner from the same company where you purchased your toner refill kit.
8. Don't replace your toner cartridge at the first sign of streaks on your paper. Many people think they should immediately replace their toner cartridge when they see a light streak on their paper. Don't change the toner cartridge. Take it out of your printer and gently shake it several times. Your toner cartridge usually has ten percent of its toner still in tact. By gently shaking it, you can get several hundred additional pages of quality print. Repeat this process until you can no longer print more than thirty pages of streak-free pages before you must shake it again. Then, replace the toner cartridge.
9. Buy toner cartridges with separate drums. Some laser printers have the toner cartridge and drum in a single unit. Other printers have these two components separated. When possible, buy a toner cartridge with a separate drum unit. A drum will typically last about 20,000 pages whereas a toner cartridge will yield only 3,500 pages. Over time, laser printers with a separate drum will cut your cost because you can replace the drum multiple times compared to the toner cartridge.
10. Check the toner cartridge yield before you purchase. If you do a little homework, you'll be able to determine how many pages a toner cartridge is expected to print. For example, a toner cartridge may print 5000 pages with five percent coverage. The industry rule of thumb is that the number of pages a cartridge will print is based upon five percent coverage. This means that only five percent of the page will be printed on. Of course, this estimate will vary if you use a lot of graphics, text, bold letters, etc. However, with these estimates you can get some idea of which printers and toner cartridges will cost more or less over its normal life cycle.
11. Enroll in a toner recycle program. One way to cut cost is to enroll in a toner-recycling program. These programs allow the company to recycle their unused toner and toner cartridges. These programs provide refilled toner cartridges, which are much less costly. Some recycling programs also help in collecting and refilling your toner cartridges. If you have a problem, they will provide free assistance.
12. Order your toner and toner cartridges online. In most cases, you will find that purchasing your toner cartridges online will save you a lot of money. These online toner companies do not have to maintain a storefront. They can pass this savings in overhead along to the consumer. These online companies also sell multiple types of toner cartridges. Most retail stores sell name brand cartridges, which are more expensive.
13. Always purchase from a reliable toner company. Last, but definitely not least, always purchase your toner and toner cartridges from reputable online companies. You can avoid a lot of headaches on that "great toner deal" by following a few simple guidelines. Visit our website to learn "What You Should Know Before Purchasing a Compatible Toner Cartridge Online". About the Author
Larry Andrew has owned and operated his own educational consulting business for over twenty years. He has extensive experience in teaching, computers and software. He is the publisher of http://www.compatible-toner-cartridge-guide.com