Peripherals forum

General discussion

inkjet printers efficient use of ink

by glenn623 / July 5, 2007 11:34 AM PDT

I have an epson stylus 6400x and am unhappy with the ink useage. Specifically ink apparently is used each time the printer is turned on. I rarely print in color yet the color cartridges still drain. Worse the printer will not print in black only if the color cartridges are empty or not installed. Does any one know of an inkjet printer that does not have these types of issues. Thanks

Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: inkjet printers efficient use of ink
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: inkjet printers efficient use of ink
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 5, 2007 11:50 AM PDT

1. Leave it on.

2. You want black? Get all the carts filled with black.

You want cheap black print? Get a laser printer next time.


Collapse -
in jet
by glenn623 / July 6, 2007 2:12 AM PDT
In reply to: Cheat?

so my choices are to waste electricity or waste ink.
I dont want ot print only black but if the color is out I would still like the machine to print in black

Collapse -
Did you see how litte it draws just sitting there?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 6, 2007 5:02 AM PDT
In reply to: in jet

I take it that the sub watt my draws just sitting there is too much?

Next time get the laser.

"I dont want ot print only black but if the color is out I would still like the machine to print in black"

No printer I see on the market does that. So your choices are to get the right printer (laser) or cheat like I did and fill up with all blacks.

I may run into a few people that these answers won't do. For them it's best for them to go to Kinkos and print there.


Collapse -
(NT) Oops. sub "my" for "mine..."
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 6, 2007 5:03 AM PDT
Collapse -
printing in all black with no color ink
by xarophti / July 13, 2007 2:14 PM PDT

to the request,
"I dont want ot print only black but if the color is out I would still like the machine to print in black"

Bob stated:
No printer I see on the market does that. So your choices are to get the right printer (laser) or cheat like I did and fill up with all blacks.

My Dell printer has an option in the printer program (which Windows access through the preferences button in the print window) where you can set the preference to "print color images in black and white" Look in your printer preferences program to see if this is an option. I don't know if Epson has a "printing solutions center" type of program the way Dell does, however, so you may have to hunt around.
If you have this option, you may have to manually set this when you run out of color ink. It may not "switch" automatically.


Collapse -
Your dell (at least the one I tried...)
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 13, 2007 11:05 PM PDT

Would not print unless the color carts were installed and had some ink.

There are a few members that want a printer that will print without the color cart installed or when the color cart is bone dry.

Try that?


Collapse -
Dell printer
by xarophti / July 20, 2007 3:50 PM PDT

must admit I haven't taken it down to "bone dry" but damn near. I'm naturally conservative for the most part, I must admit. And yes, you must have a cart installed in that space.

Collapse -
XP sign in suddenly appears....
by rm merrill / July 15, 2007 12:54 PM PDT

after about ten minutes. It's a real pain in the neck and no matter what I've tried to get it back to normal, including sys-restore, nothing seems to work. Someone out there ever had this problem? I have an e-machine w/ Altheon64, 384mb ram that I mostly use for web surfing and e-mails.
My HP all-in-one has a key on the interface to copy/print in black only. Also had a cheapo Lexmark (the ink cost more that the printer) and it had that feature. Gotta look around or research some specs. Good luck.

Collapse -
I have the opposite problem!
by morninglory / July 21, 2007 12:14 AM PDT

My Epson C42UX inkjet printer will only print in color even though my black cartridge has plenty of ink showing. I confess I got both cartridges from an on-line company which I have used for a good while with no problems (not Epson). I have tried every suggestion from my on-line troubleshooter to get my black to print. I have even uninstalled my printer & re-installed it. I guess it could be a bad cartridge but it cost (with discount)$12.00 less than the brand name Epson and I do very little printing, just stuff I want to keep for reference and not clog up my computer. Has anyone else encountered this problem with BLACK ink only? Thanks! Betsy ;-D

Collapse -
by waltnich / July 23, 2007 10:22 PM PDT

My Lexmark at home and HP (ugh)at work both have the option to print color in black. But your color cartriges need to be in there with ink or the out of ink instructions in the printer override the setting until a good cart is installed.
But hey, if U keep driving at how cheap ink is then where's the beef?

The big rub is that the cartridges are reporting out of ink well before they are out of ink. I have a box of empties I save up and send to Easter Seals. I went and weighed them and they all weigh different - a lot different. So I started using them until they printed no longer and those carts weighed a lot less.
But for convienence it is just easier to switch when told.
After all - we get these printers cheap because their profit is in the ink not the printer.
So why not reward them with the ink profit for doing a decent job with the printers, L0L

Collapse -
Ink Jet Ink Use
by Al N. / July 14, 2007 2:38 PM PDT

I have two Canon ink jet printers, IP4000 and IP8500. Both of these allow me to run just black if I want. The 4000 has two black tanks of which one tank is big just for text type work. The 8500 is a Photo type printer and has one black tank. I love these two machines, especially after going through many Epsons. They both also have top and bottom feed which is great! Also, the print head, if it gets plugged, comes out in seconds. Try that with an Epson!


Collapse -
Laser printers?
by rhomp2002 / July 13, 2007 1:41 PM PDT
In reply to: Cheat?

I keep reading that laser printers are so much cheaper. I am still trying to figure out how. for the toner I see charges of at least $60/toner cartridge and up to print maybe 2000-3000 pages. For the inkjets I see 5000-7000 pages and inkjets of $25/cartridge. How then do we end up with cheaper printing user laser printers. Looks to me like lasers are about 2-3 times more expensive than inkjets. The inkjets don't print quite as well but then for most people printing the laser quality is not that important.

Collapse -
No debate from me.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 13, 2007 1:52 PM PDT
In reply to: Laser printers?

But since I own them at office and home I can state it is cheaper by far.

Those that never ran them may be looking for an analysis which I must decline.


Collapse -
In response
by rhomp2002 / July 13, 2007 2:08 PM PDT
In reply to: No debate from me.

Then I must say that without the analysis, the commentary makes no sense at all.

If I print 7500 pages and my inkjet cartridges are good for 5000 pages and it costs me $100/fillup, then my 7500 pages cost me $150 total.

If my laser toner cartridges are $250 for the 4 cartridges and they are good for 2500 pages (which is what most of them are that I see reported), then lasers cost me $750 total.

What analysis can you give to refute that?

Collapse -
Inkjet pages per cartridge
by joe97603 / July 13, 2007 3:03 PM PDT
In reply to: In response

5000 pages for an inkjet cartridge? What kind of printer are you talking about? Typically, I see 200 - 300 pages per cartridge. I see HP states 450 pages and Epson 300 pages for their products. I use a laser because the inkjets kept drying up before they were empty

Collapse -
Sorry, I misstated - here are the figures for my printer
by rhomp2002 / July 13, 2007 3:29 PM PDT

HP 88 Large Black Ink Cartridge 2580 standard pages
HP 88 Large Magenta Ink Cartridge 2190 standard pages
HP 88 Large Cyan Ink Cartridge 1840 standard pages
HP 88 Large Yellow Ink Cartridge 1650 standard pages

That is for an HP OfficeJet Pro K550

Black cartridges are $34.99 and the others are $24.99 from HP online and can be bought for about half that in OEM.

HP 1600 Color Laser Jet is:

Cartridge Average yield1 Page Example

HP Color LaserJet Q6000A Black Print Cartridge 2500 standard pages
HP Color LaserJet Q6001A Cyan Print Cartridge 2000 standard pages
HP Color LaserJet Q6002A Yellow Print Cartridge 2000 standard pages
HP Color LaserJet Q6003A Magenta Print Cartridge 2000 standard pages

Black laserjet is 74.99 and the colors are 82.99. Big difference in pricing for about the same yield.

Again these are the prices from HP online store. You may be able to do better with an OEM product.

Right now I am using OEM cartridges that cost me a total of $65 for the 4 inkjet cartridges and they are working out well. I am on the 3rd ream of paper and no lessening of quality. I am using regular print, not draft, or I would get more pages still.

Collapse -
Now do that on a monochrome laser.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 13, 2007 11:08 PM PDT

Also use the refill cart since you did that on the inkjet.

These analysis have been done to death, the monochrome laser won.


Collapse -
Monochrome laser? why
by rhomp2002 / July 14, 2007 2:34 AM PDT

Part of the reason for printing is the colors. I am comparing like with like. I am also reporting the cost both as HP hsa it and as I have found with my OEM refills.

If I have a printer that does colors, then I should be comparing it with the laser that also does colors, else why would I be using colors in the first place. Then add the cost of the toner up and you have $300+. Add the inkjets from HP and you have $110. The number of pages per each is approximately the same.

If I stick to a monochrome laser, then of course the limited capability would allow the laser to win. However, if I use the capability of the printer to do colors, then there is absolutely no comparison that the inkjet is far less expensive - and that is comparing the costs at the HP store itself - not refills.

Collapse -
Printing Black Only With Epson CX6400 Stylus
by Leroi82 / July 14, 2007 5:27 AM PDT

When the Stylus comes from the factory, it is set to
mix the four ink font together to make black. It is not only expensive but not a very black black color.
There is an easy solution. Go to Control Panel; open Printers and Faxes; Rt click on printer (Stylus CX 6400); on dropdown click on printing preferences; click advanced,click on continue; on left side, place check mark in "Black Ink Only"; click OK.
Printer automatically prints all colors when it is specified on a particular item and then defaults to black onlyfor all other printing. Uncheck the item if you ever decide you don't want to use the black onlt option. I have cut down my purchasing by 60-70 percent. Good luck

Collapse -
Still doesn't solve the issue(s).
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 14, 2007 5:32 AM PDT

1. It still eats a little color as it starts up.

2. It still won't work when the color carts are empty and you have plenty of black.

I understand what the OP wanted but I haven't found a inkjet that does this. As such the nod is to get the right printer or cheat and fill them all with black.


Collapse -
My statement is...
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / July 13, 2007 11:06 PM PDT
In reply to: In response

I decline the analysis because it's been done. You can do the research and draw the conclusion again.

Here I will share my experiences and results and will decline duplication of effort.

Hope you understand,


Collapse -
What inkjet cartridge does that?
by zbuddy99 / December 13, 2009 7:53 AM PST
In reply to: In response

I have sold printers before, and I don't know of a single inkjet that will get 7500 pages on a cartridge. There have been a few HP models that have claimed to get close on cost per page. Yet they have some sort of problem normally (un-replaceable head or what not). Therefore they are a 3 year or so printer.

Collapse -
Good and Bad advice.
by albizzia / July 26, 2007 4:57 AM PDT
In reply to: Cheat?

Yes, "leaving it on" is one way to save ink, though it does waste a little power. You see, this particular model does a "nozzle cleaning" routine each time it is turned on, and that does use some ink. You might think of this as a "workaround" until you can get a different printer.

There are printers that do not do this - most HP models (I have a HP 952C, no "wasted ink" problems) and if I'm not mistaken, most Canon models as well. My HP printer will tell me when it thinks an ink cartridge is empty (it often gets it wrong, says it is empty when there is plenty left) but will print anyway.
The new Canon models have a very good ink level sensor and separate cartridges for each color, but I suspect it might not print if a color is out - check with a Canon expert on that one.

But "filling all the cartridges in black" is a very bad idea. Not only will that interfere with color printing, it might even void the warranty! The Epson has the non-removable printhead separate from the ink cartriges, having black ink where the color inks should be will mean it would be a long time (and a lot of color ink wasted) before it could ever print color correctly again. In some cases it could also interfere with the color registration process, causing the printer to stop working.

You might check in the "Print Options" when going to print, to see if there is an option for "black and white only" printing. That might be a possible workaround for printing with an empty color cartridge.

Coincidentally, my HP printer is usually left off. It will automatically turn itself on when I want to print, via the USB connection!

Collapse -
inkjet printers efficient use of ink
by Smittys2 / July 13, 2007 12:23 PM PDT



Collapse -
Try "Not Printing"
by retexan599 / July 13, 2007 11:47 PM PDT

What I mean is that I am trying to get away from printing, per se. For example, I bought a digital picture frame as the medium for showing my digital camera photos. Why print the photo unless you really have to? Sometimes you do, of course, but a lot of the time you don't need to have a printed photo. Similarly, for text, I try to use email. Also, when possible, I transport files on a memory card that fits in my wallet if I want. Sometimes I think that the more computers we have, the more paper and ink we use!

Collapse -
Try a Kodak 5300
by frustrated bigtime / July 14, 2007 1:09 AM PDT

I did endless research when my HP1000 wouldn't work with any of the new computers (HP won't provide a driver for it, and it just happens to keep printing forever in black even if the color is dried up, and has a huge #45 black cartridge holding 42 ml for $30 that lasted me 6 months) and the Kodak wins hands down in the pages per dollar of ink used. I tried HP4240, it only made it to 125 pages in black draft before it ran out, their statistics say 170 pages for one cartridge of black, the 4.5 ml size for $17 at Office Depot. The Kodak has already printed a couple hundred pages of text (using draft) and it hardly made a dent in the black ink. I had trouble the first time I tried to print photos from a card, because I didn't know how to remove the printhead and reinstall when I would get an error message that it was misaligned or missing. Once I got the reply from Kodak and did it, it worked like a dream and no glitches since. After the 4240 fiasco I bought a HP 5180 (before I knew the Kodak existed) because it at least had a 16ml black cartridge showing on the box. Alas when I got home and started checking on the price of replacements, they only make a 10 ml to fit it. The 16 ml that comes with it is to keep you going past the time you have to return it to the store. So I returned it without even cutting the tape on the box. :o))

Go to Kodak website and look for their usage chart - I think they are being conservative. And even better - they use pigment ink instead of dyes. You know how water or dampness on an inkjet page melts the ink and it runs off in puddles of color? Kodak ink is water resistant and doesn't melt. I just stuck a page under the water faucet and wet it good, I can tell when it's completely dry the ink will still be in place. Your photos won't start fading in the sun either.

Collapse -
Epson vs HP
by goddessofmusic / July 14, 2007 2:19 AM PDT

My HP Photosmart C5180 has six color cartridges, costing around $10 each. The advantage is that if any one of the cartridges runs out -- as long as they are in place the black will print on its own. Each can be replaced separately,and a message tells which one is out, unlike the tri-color cartridges of other printers. The color is also richer.

Collapse -
Get a Lazer
by marpincan / July 14, 2007 3:50 AM PDT

I had an epson and an hp injet. I bought a color lazer and a mono lazer and tossed both inkjets in the garbage. The mono is a konica minolta page pro 1350w and the colour is a konica minolta 2500 w. These are both bottom end printers but produce excellent results. With the mono printer, i can order a toner refill kit (6000 pages)for around $20.00 plus shipping on ebay. The color printer refill kits are more expensive and you need 4 (black plus the 3 basic colors). Cost for all 4 refill kits is about $120 on ebay. (good for around 3000 sheets). The cost difference for the refills is why I have the 2 printers. Also note that the drums are only good for 16,000 to 20,000 prints (for most home use the printer should be obsolete by the time you reach this number). I have had these printers going on 2 years now and refilled the mono one once. - no problems and easy - also note that the cartriges that come with the printer are only filled to give 1000 or so prints - then you have to replace or refill. I find refill easier than for an ink jet and you should be able to refill a cartridge about 3 times before you need to replace it. Then the choice is to replace it or buy a new printer (depending on cost).
What ever brand of printer you may decide to buy if operating costs are important to you, my advice would be to first check the cost of supplies on ebay.

Collapse -
A point or two not discussed previously...
by grtgrfx / July 14, 2007 2:19 PM PDT

First, you should consider a BW laser printer and a color inkjet if you don't mind gray output for some print jobs. But even if you chose a color laser cartridge like Konica-Minolta or HP, their cartridges have capacities far greater than those in an inkjet.

Second, I don't think any inkjet cartridge prints more than 300 pages and many (especially the photo-realistic printers) hold ink for considerably less. Cartridges are (conservatively) rated for printing with 5% coverage per page. That means if you're producing a mostly-text document with a few charts, it'll use far less ink than if you print a full-page image of a photo you took. So right there the printer companies are misleading you with a rating based on minimal usage for business documents. If you print photos your usage may drop to under 100 pages per cartridge.

The idea that an ink cartridge for an inkjet can print much more than 1/10th of a laser cartridge's capacity is just wrong. So there alone, the cost of 4-6 low-capacity color cartridges may be more than one black laser cartridge and print far less.

Finally, laser printers do not "prime" their print heads on startup or use any ink during cartridge replacement. They only output toner when an image is put on paper. Right there you save 1-2% on your ink usage.

Looking at all these factors, the most important question you need to ask is not "how expensive is the ink," because that will be obvious -- laser ink is cheaper all around. The real important question is "which printer produces the most attractive reproduction of my color image...inkjet or laser?" Usually inkjets just look more natural and less streaky for printing color images, and that's why they are popular. Their drawback is that consumables are pricier and need replacement more often. Lasers are more economical and need less fussing, since there are no print heads to clog, but output still isn't as good even after all these years. Save a laser to supplement your inkjet. Leave 'em both off to save energy. Print black only to save cartridges.

Collapse -
You are so wrong about the number of pages inkjets print
by rhomp2002 / July 14, 2007 3:14 PM PDT

If you look above, I copied the page capacity of the larger inkjet cartridges of my own printer from the HP website. The page capacities are over 2000 pages per cartridge. The black is over 2500 pages per cartridge.

I know myself that I get at least 4 reams of pages before I need to change the cartridges and get good print results as well.

I also have used refilled and OEM cartridges with no problems as well.

I think you need to revisit your comments and check with the latest printers as they have changed drastically. Maybe in the older printers the cartridges were only good for 300 pages but the newer ones are good for far more.

Popular Forums
Computer Help 49,613 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,349 discussions
Laptops 19,436 discussions
Security 30,426 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 20,308 discussions
Windows 10 360 discussions
Phones 15,802 discussions
Windows 7 7,351 discussions
Networking & Wireless 14,641 discussions

CNET Holiday Gift Guide

Looking for great gifts under $100?

Trendy tech gifts don't require a hefty price tag. Choose from these CNET-recommended useful and high-quality gadgets.