Ink Guzzling Printers

When it's time to buy new ink cartridges for your printer, the cost can be a real shock. Consumer Reports' tests of nearly 30 big-name printers found they are gobbling up ink before it ever hits a page.

Keeping a printer in ink is one of life's really annoying expenses.

"It ends up costing me probably close to $78 every time I need to change."

You may not realize it, but printer ink is one of the most expensive liquids you can buy.

So when Consumer Reports' readers complained their printer ink seemed to be disappearing, testers got on the case.

Paul Reynolds of Consumer Reports says, "Ink is used as the printer prepares to print after not being used for awhile. So if you print infrequently, that could mean more ink used for maintenance chores like cleaning the print heads."

Consumer Reports designed a special test to see how much ink was actually making it onto paper. Testers printed 30 pages of text or color graphics intermittently over a three-week period.

Some printers were much less efficient with ink. The worst offenders used as much as 120 dollars a year in ink that never gets used to print anything!

They're the HP Officejet Pro 8600 and the Lexmark OfficeEdge Pro 4000.

Test data also showed most brands had printers that used a lot of ink for well as ones that were easy to ink.

Paul Reynolds of Consumer Reports says, "If they can keep ink usage down for some, they should be able to keep it down for all printers."

But one brand stood out-Brother. All three of the Brother printers tested were frugal with ink at start-up.

And a Consumer Reports Best Buy-the Brother DCP-J140W at 80 dollars.

You can save on ink no matter which printer you won by following this advice from Consumer Reports. First, try to print all at once rather than every few days.

Also, leave your printer on between jobs. The tiny amount of standby power used will cost much less than the ink used up when the printer turns on.

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