Printer Toner VS Ink.  The Ultimate Guide To Saving Money On Printer Inks And Toners

OMG Printer Supplies Are Expensive

It’s no secret, the cost of printer inks and toner can be absolutely insane!  Families, students, businesses small and large are all being held hostage by the printer manufacturers.  After all, you can’t print anything without their supplies. Sure, it’s a great business model, and there are several companies (including ours) that sell their supplies but for the general consumer, it’s definitely a cash burning pain point that we’d all like to get rid of. 

In this guide I’m going to give you some pointers on how to really save money on printer supplies.  Some of these tips I think will really surprise you. In fact, these are all tips I have used myself and in our own company.  So without further ado, here’s how to truly save money on your printer inks and toners. But let's start off first with printer toner vs printer ink.

Printer Toner vs Ink

There are two types of printer cartridges you’ll find in your standard home office or business. These definitions were sourced from

  1. Inkjet Cartridges or inkjet cartridge is a component of an inkjet printer that contains the ink that is deposited onto paper during printing.  Each ink cartridge contains one or more ink reservoirs; certain producers also add electronic contacts and a chip that communicates with the printer.
  2. Toner is a powder mixture used in laser printers and photocopiers to form the printed text and images on the paper, in general through a toner cartridge. Mostly granulated plastic, early mixtures only added carbon powder and iron oxide, however, mixtures have since been developed containing polypropylene, fumed silica, and various minerals for triboelectrification.[1] Toner using plant-derived plastic also exists as an alternative to petroleum plastic.[2] Toner particles are melted by the heat of the fuser, and are thus bonded to the paper.

Of the two types of cartridges, laser toner cartridges are the cheapest, but more on that later.  Let's first start with how to completely cut out the costs of printer supplies. 

How To Cut The Cost Of Printing

Ok, so here we go.  Let’s first talk about how to completely cut the cost of printer supplies from your budget.  Now, this won’t relate to every single situation out there. But, we definitely think most might be able to work with this. And at the very least, you can forget about having to take out a small business or student loan just to keep your printers printing.

Use Google Suite

Definition From Wikipedia wikipedia

G Suite is a suite of cloud computing, productivity and collaboration tools, software and products developed by Google Cloud, first launched on August 28, 2006 as Google Apps for Your Domain.[1] G Suite comprises Gmail, Hangouts, Calendar, and Currents for communication; Drive for storage; Docs, Sheets, Slides, Keep, Forms, and Sites for productivity and collaboration; 

So how do we use G Suite to cut our printing costs?  At our company, we try to print as little as possible.  That’s right, even at a printer supply company we’re working hard to cut our own cost.  Go figure. Without getting too technical, we use G Suite to share all of our documents across the cloud.  So, instead of printing out our word documents, spreadsheets (that would be insane), or powerpoint presentations, we share them online with each other.  

If there’s a collaboration meeting that comes up, the presenter adds his presentation to Google Drive, and invites everyone to a Google Hangout meeting where everyone can see the presentation on their laptops.  This completely eliminates the need for the presentation to be printed out for each person that needs to be in attendance. Now that I mention it, that also eliminates the need for everyone to be in the same room.  Pretty cool. 

With that being said, using G Suite to share and edit your documents, spreadsheets, collaborations, and presentations across your company will absolutely cut your printing costs.  Best of all G Suite is free. Not bad right? The cost to print = $0.00

Here’s a link to a youtube video of someone smarter than me talking about G Suite.

Find out more here at Google Suite

Use Someone Else’s Printer

You read that right.  To cut your printing cost, use someone else’s printer.  It might sound a little bit odd or coldhearted, but hear me out.  

Color inkjet and toner cartridges are the most expensive of the bunch.  There are times though that you’re going to need things printed in color.  That could be anything from a research paper for your high school or college anthropology class or if you’re a small to medium size business, brochures or catalogues that you’ll need to pass on to clients.  So how do you at the very least, cut the cost when you have to print these types of materials out?  

Well what I have done and still do to this day is use someone else’s printer.  I’m not talking about using my neighbor Earl’s printer, but going to a place like FedEx to print out full color brochures, advertisements, and catalogs. Although it does cost money to do this, you’ll eliminate the need to use your color printer and loads of color ink to print them out. Using this in combination with Google Suite will dramatically cut those costs.

Same for students.  If you’re a student and need a presentation or document printed out in color, instead of shelling out money for an inkjet printer and literally spend close to $100 bucks on ink cartridges every time the printer runs out take it somewhere else.  You’ll save money in the long run first without having to buy a printer, and second not having to buy the inkjet cartridges to keep that thing running. Check out the prices to print at FedEx or your school library first before purchasing any type of printer.  Save your money for beer and pizza. That’s more fun anyway. 

Buy A Black And Gray Laser Printer

Ok, so you’d still like to print but want to save money around the office.  That’s totally fine. We have to print around the office from time to time too.  So how do you cut your printing costs when you still want to print around your home or office?  Buy an inexpensive black and gray laser printer that takes inexpensive toner.  

This one I’ve been thinking about for a while.  That’s because after talking with our office manager, we both came to the conclusion that we really don’t need to print in color around the office.  Sure it would look nice to see a full color MapQuest map printed out, but what’s the point? It’s just going to end up in the recycling bin anyway, plus we’re using Google Suite. Why not just print in black and gray exclusively?  

Leah of Fox Drug of Torrance uses our black toners exclusively 

We use our Hyperion compatibles



Just make sure to check the prices of the supplies before you make your printer purchase.  Again, color printers are the ones that have the priciest supplies. So try to stay away from those all together.

Buy A Color Laser Printer 

OK, so you really want to have a color printer.  In that case go with a laser printer. Inkjet printers actually use ink when you’re not evening using it.  Just that alone tells me I’m not using that thing. A laser printer runs more efficiently and the supplies are less expensive and last a lot longer. 

Here are some options to consider when using a color laser printer.


Use All Compatibles Toners

Using all compatible printer supplies will greatly reduce those costs.  Just be careful of which compatible brand you use. No matter which brand you use, the color will never come out 100% the same as OEM.  That’s right, never. It will come close, like our line of toners or they’ll be way off. You’ll just have to decide how far off you’re willing for those colors to deviate from OEM. 

Use A Mix Of Compatibles And OEM Toners

If you’re wanting only the best 100% colors for your color laser printer, we suggest using a compatible black toner cartridge and OEM color cartridges. This combination will ensure you’ll get the best color output while still reducing the overall cost to print.  

Use all OEM Toners Then Sell The Empties

I understand that there are people out there that only want to use OEM toner cartridges for the printer.  In all honesty, you’ll probably see the best results with OEM supplies but that doesn’t mean there’s no way you can save on these.  This is an option I don’t believe I’ve heard or read anyone in the industry use. But this definitely works.

After you’re done with your empty OEM toner cartridges, sell them to a recycling service to get a small amount of that money back.  That’s right, there are companies out there that will pay you for your empty toner cartridges. Even better, they give you free shipping labels so that you can send them out to them.  Pretty nice when some of these companies might even pay up to $20 bucks for certain cartridges. Just keep in mind that this only works for OEM toner cartridges. Also, you’ll need to send at least 20 empty cartridges per shipping label or you’ll be charged for the shipping.  

Our favorite place to go to sell used empty OEM toner cartridges is  If you need any further help with this just let us know.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it.  These are the exact ways to save money on printer supplies.  There is though one option I did leave out and that is, if you have to buy an inkjet printer, buy a new one (they come with free inkjet cartridges) and when the inkjet cartridges are empty, throw the printer away (but absolutely donate it) and buy a new one. The printers are cheap and the supplies are expensive.  This will basically reduce the overall cost of running the printer. This option is probably the most environmentally irresponsible and the most wasteful but you get the idea.  

In the end, you can see there are several ways to drastically reduce the cost of printer supplies and even, take those costs all the way down to zero if you really want to. Just be aware of the cost to print per page,  the quality of the compatible toner cartridge, and if you need to even have a printer in the first place.  

I really do hope this guide helps you all out as much as it helps us in our office.

Please feel free to email me at erik@horizonink if you have any further questions on how to cut the cost of printing in your home or office.  




Ivy Baker

Ivy Baker

I liked that you pointed out that it would be smart to check if your toner is compatible with your ink. That is great for me to know because I want to get a new printer this month. I will want to do a little research on what types of toners I can use with the model I am interested in.



Wow! really nice blog. You have explained it very details. I think it benefited me. Not only me, but this blog will also help other people. Anyway, I am also an employee of Printer toner company at . Thank you.

Scott Barajas

Scott Barajas

Nice article!!

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