Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Great Debate: Ink vs Toner

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between ink and toner? Is toner something every printer needs? And what’s the big deal about those laser printers? Are they really so much better than inkjet printers?

You’ve got questions and we’ve got answers!

Ink vs Toner

Ink and toner do the same things: they are both responsible for transferring pigment onto paper during the printing process. But the similarities end there. Ink and toner are used in different machines and are composed of vastly different substances.

In a nutshell, ink is a liquid substance that is used in inkjet printers. This is most likely the kind of printer you have for your basic home office setup. Toner, on the other hand, is a solid—a powder, to be precise—and is used in laser printers. Laser printers are more likely to be used by businesses or in other professional settings due to their increased quality and performance, but we’ll discuss them more in a minute.

Since ink and inkjet printers go hand-in-hand, as do toner and laser printers, we’ll next look at the pros and cons of each setup.

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Drying Time: Toner Wins!

Ink is often petroleum-based, although you can find some more eco-friendly vegetable oil-based inks as well. Inks that dry quickly are ideal, as you know if you’ve ever carelessly handled a hot-off-the-presses printout and left horrible smudges across the paper.

Toner, on the other hand, doesn’t need any time to dry. The laser printer literally melts the fine powder onto the paper. Sounds crazy, but it works like a charm! On a related note, toner is more water resistant than ink, so if you accidentally get a page a bit wet, it usually won’t make the text incomprehensible.

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Refill Hassle and Cost: Ink Wins!

If you want to simply buy a brand-new cartridge each time your printer runs out of ink or toner, you’ll be parting with a lot more of your hard-earned cash when you buy toner rather than ink. However, as laser printers tend to be used in professional environments rather than for basic home use, it might not be your money being spent, but the company’s. But generally, ink is much cheaper.

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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Compatible Ink

Did you know that you don’t have to buy ink from your printer’s manufacturer in order to keep your warranty? Have you ever wondered if there’s a difference in quality in compatible ink? Are you not really sure what compatible ink even is?

Here we’ve compiled a quick guide so that you can know everything you ever wanted to know about compatible ink and can make smart choices when you buy.

What Is Compatible Ink Anyway?

Compatible ink is just another way of saying generic ink. Each printer company makes its own ink cartridges for its own printers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean those are the only cartridges that will work in a particular brand of printers. Third-party manufacturers also produce cartridges that will work in brand-name machines. The primary benefit of compatible ink is the difference in cost: compatible inks are significantly cheaper than top-of-the-line inks.

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If you are cautious about using compatible ink, you’re not alone. It’s certainly wise to do your research and choose compatible ink that will perform just as well as your particular printer’s brand-name ink. However, you can think about it this way: do you ever buy generic medications? How about generic foods? Generic car parts? It’s the same basic idea. Generic doesn’t have to mean lower quality, but it does mean greater savings.

Is Compatible Ink the Same Thing as Re-manufactured Ink?

No, compatible ink cartridges are not the same as re-manufactured ink cartridges. Compatible ink cartridges are newly produced and have never been used before. Re-manufactured ink cartridges, on the other hand, have been recycled: they’ve been used at least once already, gone back to the manufacturer for refill and repairs, and then have been sold again. It’s possible to buy re-manufactured compatible ink cartridges, but the two terms refer to different things.

Will I Void My Warranty by Using Compatible Ink?

No, you will not void your printer’s warranty by using compatible ink. In fact, it’s illegal for printer manufacturers to require you to use their own brand of ink. You are free to use compatible inks in your printer without risking a voided warranty.

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How to Make Your Ink Last as Long as Possible

If you’re in a pinch and pinching pennies, you may have taken a good, hard look at your budget and mapped out ways to cut your electricity, water and food bills.

But there’s another money drain sitting in your house that you may not have thought of: printer ink.

Yes, printer ink is definitely expensive. So what can you do to get the most bang for your buck? Check out some of the helpful tips we’ve compiled to help you make your ink last as long as possible.

Choose Your Fonts and Formats Wisely

Not all fonts are created equal. Some require much more ink when printing because the letters are naturally wider or bolder. Some of the best fonts for preserving ink, according to a study by Printer.com, include Century Gothic, Ecofont and Times New Roman, all of which resulted in about a 30 percent reduction in ink costs compared to Arial.

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Another smart move is to reduce the overall font size whenever possible. Even switching from size 12 to size 11 can help reduce the amount of ink that is used without compromising on readability.

Finally, change the color of your font to a different color, such as grey. In order to find that “sweet spot” in color, experiment with how light you can make the font before it becomes difficult to read. However, even changing from black to the darkest grey will take away some of the pigment necessary for printing, thus saving you ink and money. Don’t forget to change the color scale on images, too.

Shake it Up!

What do you do when your ink pen stops working? Most people give it a vigorous shake to move the ink further down. The same concept applies to printer ink cartridges. If your computer is prompting you to replace the ink cartridge, give it a good shake and see if that placates your computer alert for just a little while longer.

Another way to make use of every last drop of ink is to use a hairdryer to soften up any ink that may have hardened in the cartridge’s pores. The dry, hard ink can form when a printer isn’t used very often, and the buildup can reduce the flow of ink and trick the computer into thinking that there’s not much ink left in the cartridge. But removing the cartridge and holding a hairdryer about a foot away for a couple of minutes can provide just enough heat to soften up the hardened ink and get things running again. An alternative is to simply wipe away the buildup, but if you are already running pretty much on empty, the hairdryer method will preserve that hardened ink and make it usable again.

Don’t Replace the Cartridge Right Away

Computers are quite sophisticated, so surely they know when the cartridge is truly empty, right? Wrong! You’ve probably been in the habit of trusting the little alert that pops up on your computer, warning you to replace the cartridge. Resist the urge to immediately yank out the old cartridge and plop in a new one. If you ignore the alert and carry on printing, you’ll find that you can get a good number of pages out of it yet.

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Picture Perfect Printing

In the digital era, most people tend to store their pictures in online photo albums rather than have physical copies printed. This method might be convenient, but you have to admit that some of the magic of photographs is lost when everything stays exclusively online, locked behind a screen. What about the iconic coffee table photo album? Or a scrapbook for a cherished friend? How might you share photographs with friends and family who simply don’t go online?

There will come a time when you’ll want to print a photo, and you’ll soon discover that regular printer paper just doesn’t have the same effect. You’ll also notice that the colors in your photo are faded and dull. What gives??

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Fear not! You’re simply lacking a few basic tools to produce the stunning, high-quality prints that you were once used to collecting from professional developers.

Do You Need a Special Photo Printer?

If you have a high volume of photos to print and/or your project requires the absolute best in quality, it’s probably a good idea to consider investing in a specialized professional-grade photo printer.

These printers are known as dye-sublimation printers and, as you might have guessed, do only one thing: print photos. This means you’ll need a separate “regular” printer for your documents. But the unique heat-transfer method of a dye-sublimation printer means that your photos will come out sharp and clear.

High quality prints mean high resolution, so for photographs that are the best-of-the-best, look for a printer that will offer you 4,800 x 1,200 dpi or higher. Be prepared to spend extra money for extra quality, of course.

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A Brief Guide to Eco Friendly Ink

If you’re eco-conscious and feel a small wave of guilt every time you throw away another ink or toner cartridge, you’re not alone. The good news is that like-minded folks within the industry have already come up with some creative solutions to reduce the environmental impact and waste generated by discarded ink and toner. Here are some of their brilliant innovations.

Cartridge Recycling

It’s been estimated that over 350 million ink cartridges in North America alone end up in landfills every year. That’s a number almost too high to fathom, but one thing’s for certain: that’s a lot of plastic sitting around doing nothing but slowly leach chemicals. It’s even worse if the cartridges end up floating in the ocean—as all too many waste products do—because the effect on marine life is immediate and deadly.

There’s a lot of doom-and-gloom statistics about the waste of our modern consumerist lifestyle, but you don’t have to sit around feeling helpless about it. You probably already recycle cans, glass and cardboard, so why not recycle your ink cartridges as well?

For many people, it seems like a hassle to recycle ink cartridges because you can’t simply pop them into the same recycling bin as, say, your plastic milk cartons. However, you do have several options.

One way to recycle cartridges is to contact the manufacturer directly and request postage-paid bags or envelopes in which to return the empty cartridges to their facilities.

You can also drop off your empty ink at big-box stores, which often have collection points designed specifically for this purpose. Some charities also have collection points in malls or other high-traffic locations.

It takes a little bit of planning at first in order to decide the easiest way for you to recycle your cartridges, but after that initial trip, it’ll be no sweat.

Re-Manufactured Ink Cartridges

Once your recycled cartridges find their way back to the manufacturer, what happens next? Typically the manufacturer will refill the cartridge and replace any broken or missing parts, if possible. It is then sold as a “re-manufactured” cartridge, which is often cheaper than a brand spankin’ new cartridge.

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What’s more, cartridges can be re-manufactured as many as 3-4 times, keeping up to 2 pounds of waste out of landfills and saving 2 ounces of oil every time. There’s simply a lot that goes into making a new cartridge than the average person probably realizes.

So if you’re totally committed to being environmentally friendly in as many ways as possible, you can support cartridge recycling efforts by buying re-manufactured ink. Do be sure to do your homework, though, as some re-manufactured ink cartridges may not be compatible with your machine.

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Why You Don’t Want Your Ink to Run Dry

Sure, I know what you’re thinking: “Of course I don’t want my ink to run dry. It’s horrendously inconvenient!”

That’s very true. But did you know that dry ink can also harm your printer? Find out what happens when ink runs dry and how to avoid ruining your machine.

Dry Is Not the Same as Empty

To be clear, there is a difference between ink drying out and ink running out. If you run out of ink, it means that your ink cartridge is totally empty. Your printer probably won’t even let you print anything when this happens, but if it does, you’ll just get reams of blank (or worse, faded and incomprehensible) paper shuffling out into the tray.

If your ink dries out, it means that the liquid ink inside the cartridge is, well, dry. Or rather, the ink closest to the print head will dry out. The printer might not realize that all is not well with the ink and will therefore fail to warn you, and attempting to print with dry ink can cause some damage.

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Why Ink Dries Out

So why does this happen in the first place? In a word: evaporation. You might think that the ink is safe and snug inside its cartridge, but the fact is that it is still exposed to air. The pores through which the ink exits the cartridge may be tiny, but that makes no difference. The liquid will slowly evaporate, leaving behind solids that you simply do not want to contend with.

How to Stop Your Ink From Drying

The best way to avoid having your ink dry out is to simply use your printer on a semi-regular basis. You don’t need to print pages and pages every day, but printing a page or two every couple of weeks is a good idea in order to clear away the drying ink and bring fresh, totally liquid ink down into the pores.

Much like your car battery will go kaput if you don’t start up the engine for weeks or months, your ink cartridges need to be used in order to remain useful. It may seem silly or downright impractical to print things that you don’t need, but you’ll end up spending more money in the long run if you are constantly having to replace your ink or repair your print head.

Be sure to occasionally print something in color if you have color inks—each individual ink cartridge is at risk of drying out. And if you’re not sure what to print that could be of any use to you, try printing some coupons or perhaps a crossword puzzle!

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Dell Toner Cartridge Types and Advantages

One of the biggest advantages for users of dell printers is that the brand has made it extremely easy to find the right type of printer toner cartridges for your needs. Selecting the type of toner cartridge that you need is as simple as choosing the type of printer that you have. The options that you have to choose from include:

The multi-functional laser printer

The monochrome laser printer

The inkjet/photo/all-in-one printer

The color laser printer

Even if you do not know your printer type, Dell offers an easy identification method so that you will be able to easily find the type of printer ink cartridge that you need. This makes the process of purchasing ink hassle free.

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Benefits of using a Dell

When you use Dell products, you can have confidence that you will be able to not only easily determine the type of printer ink cartridges that you need, but also easily find genuine and cheap printer supplies that are Dell products. Whether you are looking for the ink for a photo printer that is considered an all-in-one, or a monochrome laser printer–you will be able to easily find and purchase the printer ink.

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Benefits of a Wireless Printer

There is no question that the way business is conducted today is much different than it was even a short decade ago. Today, people keep up with what is going on via various mobile devices such as a smartphone or tablet. Having to stop and boot up your computer, locate the file that you are looking for and then waiting for the printer to connect is a huge hassle that most people try to avoid. While the cost of quality wireless printing supplies can be high initially, they will pay off in the convenience they offer to you and your day-to-day life.

Some of the primary benefits offered by wireless printers are highlighted here.

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Networking capabilities

A quality wireless printer will allow you to connect all of your electronic devices, including your tablet, laptop or other electronic devices. In the past, this had to be done with individual wires and connections. Don’t you hate all those wires? However, with a wireless printer, once it is hooked to Wi-Fi, it can be remotely connected to your devices allowing you to print when and where you desire. Convenient, right? This will also reduce the tripping hazards in your home, since a significant number of cords are finally eliminated.

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All About the Printing Press

If you are a lover of history and printing, then you will enjoy learning more about the history of the printing press. This is a device used for applying ink evenly onto paper or cloth. The printing press is often considered one of the most important inventions of Western civilization. In fact, the printing press is what helped Europe elevate its status throughout the world.

Around 1450, Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press. Before then, multiple copies of manuscripts were done by hand. This made it a difficult and laborious task that could take years to complete. The invention of the printing press changed all of that. Now, more manuscripts could be made in just a few weeks as opposed to what might take a lifetime by hand. Not to mention, it enabled the mass circulation and publication of literature.

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How was it designed?

Well, the printing press got its inspiration from the presses farmers used to make olive oil. It also used a heavy screw to place the printing block against the paper. Sure, there was no such thing as cheap printer supplies back then, but this started an educational revolution of sorts. In fact, Thomas Carlyle (Sartor Resartus, 1833) had this to say about the printing press, “He who first shortened the labor of copyists by device of movable types was disbanding hired armies, and cashiering most kings and senates, and creating a whole new democratic world: he had invented the art of printing.”
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How to Care for Your Printer

Life should be easy enough where you can pick up and leave at the drop of a hat. Actually, with your laptop, tablet, care essentials and portable printer, you can do so! Of course, when you’re traveling, you still want to make sure your electronic devices are properly cared for. If you are out and about, you might not always have a convenient place to perform any fixes. That is why maintenance is key.

Packing your printer

There are several things you must do in order to pack up your printer properly. First off, you want to keep your printer ink cartridges in a separate bag. Even if you do indulge in cheap printer supplies, you want to make sure they last. If there are any bumps on your trip, it is possible for the ink to leak even if they do come with protectors. It’s better to be over cautious as opposed to under cautious.

Secondly, keep all of your printer’s doors and panels firmly shut. You don’t want any debris or even water sneaking in. Imagine if the panels were open and a water bottle leaked inside of your printer. The horror! If your printer doesn’t already have a travel bag, place it in a large plastic bag. This repels both dirt and moisture. Do the same with your printer toner cartridges.

Third, read the manual to find out the most efficient methods for storing your printer. As a general rule, you should keep it situated the same way that you would normally use it. Also, it is not a stool. Try not to stack anything on top of it.

Last, but certainly not least, pack the connecting cables in their own back. This makes for easier retrieval. It also helps with loss prevention. You don’t want to go through your luggage searching for various cables.
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