Tips to Reduce Toner Usage

At Gold Business, we care about saving the environment.  In this article, we cover some ways that you may be able to reduce the consumption of toner and thus reduce your printing costs.

Reduce Output Resolution
Our printers have a "Resolution" setting.  At lower resolutions less toner particles are used to create the image.  As a result, the printed output may not be as dark as it may be at higher resolutions.  If your printer is currently set to use resolution of 600 or 1200 DPI, try changing it to use 300 DPI.  Not only will you use less toner, but your printer will print faster.

Select EcoPrint or Black & White
In general, color cartridges cost more to run than monochrome (black).  Therefore, if you are printing a document which has no color you would think that the printer would just use the black cartridge, but this may not always be the case.  The color used in the document could appear black to you, however, could slightly be off-black.  When this happens, your printer tries to use the combination of black and color cartridges to match the color your computer is sending it.  If you are printing something that should be black, tell your printer to print everything in black and white or gray-scale.  This will tell your printer to not worry about matching exact color and just use the black cartridge for your entire document.

Turn on Toner Save Mode
Most  laser printers have a feature that can automatically reduce the amount of toner which is being used while still keeping a reasonable quality output.  Turn on the Toner Save feature for your printer.

Reduce Print Density
If you have a multi-function (print/scan/fax) machine you may be able to reduce toner usage by reducing the density of your copied documents.  The copies may look a little lighter, but may work just as well.  Remember, as the toner cartridge wears out you may need to increase the copy density for acceptable output.  Some laser printers have density settings although they are not scanning or copying documents.

Reduce Stop/Start cycles
If you are using a laser printer you may notice that the printer does some whirling before and after every printed document.  If you are printing a single page the printer goes through a start-up cycle, prints the page, and then goes through the slow-down cycle.  The additional time and turning incurred during the start-up and slow-down cycles can greatly wear out the components inside your toner cartridge causing to lighter printing and increases the likelihood of developing defects.  While no printing is occurring, the components in your printer and cartridge spin just as if something was being printed.  In addition, toner continues to accumulate on the drum even though there is no printing.  This extra toner is swept into the waste-bin of the cartridge, reducing the supply of toner available for printing.

Of course, if you only need to print a single page, there is no way around this issue.  However if you are printing a document with many pages and you notice that your printer keeps stopping and re-starting during the output of the document (meaning that your computer is not keeping up with the printer), there is an opportunity to reduce stop/start cycles.  This could occur if you are printing documents from your accounting software for the year end taxes.  The computer may need to crunch numbers before the page is ready for printing.

To reduce stop/start cycles use the Printer Properties | Advanced tab and tell the computer to start printing after the last page is spooled.  Typically this setting is set to start printing immediately to improve user experience and reduce the perceived wait.  When you change this setting, your document will start printing when the computer is done generating the entire document, so there will be an initial delay between the time you start your print job and the time the print job starts printing on the printer.  

This setting will reduce the number of times your printer needs to stop and wait for the computer to generate more pages.  

Alter Printer Settings
Most of the printer settings mentioned above can be found in your printer driver.  Before pressing OK on your print dialog choose to edit "Printer Properties" or "Printer Settings".  This will alter the print settings for the document you are currently printing.  Once you found the settings you like, you can make them your permanent default settings by altering the printing properties from the Control Panel on Windows machines or general printer settings on a MAC.