Inkjets, particularly ones intended specifically for photos, can make prints that rival any professional print lab. The convenience is wonderful. The cost is not.
Photo-grade paper sells for anywhere from 5 to 20 cents per small sheet. Ink, of course, will add substantially to the total, simply because you use a great creating sharp, crisp images. If you're printing more than a few photos, you'll always save money by uploading them to a print lab. With many online shops you can even skip the shipping costs by opting to pick up your pictures at a local store.
In a pinch, feel free to make your prints right in your home office. For bulk orders, upload your images, let someone else do the work and save money in the process.
Inkjet printers are a wonderful but wacky modern convenience. The text and images they make are exceptionally good, they're dependable and they let you print in your pajamas. The tradeoff is that they aren't cheap to operate. With a bit of caution in your choice of printer and some forethought in how you print, you'll trim your printing costs, potentially save a small mountain of cash and find peace with your home office budget.
Author's Note: 10 Ways to Save Money on Printing
Years ago, a friend provided me with a stack of photo paper that happened to be specifically made for my photo printer. I was ecstatic at the idea of making my own prints at home without having to spring for the costly glossy paper. Then I realized that even with free paper, the cost of ink was so steep that I wasn't really saving any money over online prints. That's the irony of inkjet printing. These devices are wonderful for many tasks, but if you don't keep tabs on your expenditures, their convenience may come back to haunt you.
More Great Links
- Bertolucci, Jeff. "How Much Ink Is Left in That Dead Cartridge?" PCWorld. Nov. 2, 2008. (Aug. 4, 2015) http://www.pcworld.com/article/152953/printer_ink_costs.html
- Consumer Reports. "The High Cost of Wasted Printer Ink." June 2013. (Aug. 1, 2015) http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/magazine/2013/08/the-high-cost-of-wasted-printer-ink/index.htm
- Ecofont. "Ecofont Saving Evidence." (Aug. 1, 2015) http://www.ecofont.com/en/help/ecofont/faq/0030.html
- Grotta, Sally Wiener and Daniel Grotta. "How to Calculate Cost Per Page — and Save Money Printing." Computer Shopper. (Aug. 1, 2015) http://www.computershopper.com/small-business-tech/printers/features/how-to-calculate-cost-per-page-and-save-money-printing
- Hoffman, Tony. "8 Tips to Save Printer Ink." PC. July 24, 2014. (Aug. 1, 2015) http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2412307,00.asp
- Jacobi, Jon L. and Melissa Riofrio. "Ink-onomics: Can You Save Money by Spending More on Your Printer?" PC World. May 2, 2012. (Aug. 1, 2015) http://www.pcworld.com/article/254899/ink_onomics_can_you_save_money_by_spending_more_on_your_printer_.html
- Preton. "Ink Save Options for Printers: Draft Mode, Economode, Toner Saving Mode." (Aug. 1, 2015) https://www.preton.com/ink-save-options.asp
- Quality Logic. "Cost of Ink Per Page Analysis, United States." June 2012. (Aug. 1, 2015) https://www.qualitylogic.com/tuneup/uploads/docfiles/QualityLogic-Cost-of-Ink-Per-Page-Analysis_US_1-Jun-2012.pdf
- Riofrio, Melissa. "The Cheapskate's Guide to Printing." PCWorld. March 3, 2004. (Aug. 1, 2015) http://www.pcworld.com/article/114728/cheapskate_printing.html
- Vogel, Sandra. "Set Up Your Printer to Save Ink and Paper." PCWorld. July 29, 2010. (Aug. 1, 2015) http://www.pcworld.com/article/202178/set_up_your_printer_to_save_ink_and_paper.html
- Wood, Lamont. "Printer Ink: Tired of feeding the cash cow?" Computer World. March 28, 2012. (Aug. 1, 2015) http://www.computerworld.com/article/2503134/computer-hardware/printer-ink--tired-of-feeding-the-cash-cow-.html
HowStuffWorks checks out technology firm ICON and nonprofit New Story, who have developed a low-cost 3-D-printed house.