Consumer Reports: ink-guzzling printers - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Consumer Reports: ink-guzzling printers

(WMC TV) - Printer ink is one of the most expensive liquids you can buy. In fact, by price per ounce, it can cost more than fine champagne.

So when Consumer Reports' readers complained their printer ink seemed to be disappearing, its testers got on the case.


"Ink is used as the printer prepares to print after not being used for a while," said Paul Reynolds of Consumer Reports. "So if you print infrequently, that could mean more ink used for maintenance chores like cleaning the print heads."

Consumer Reports designed a special test to see how much ink was actually making it onto paper. Testers printed 30 pages of text or color graphics intermittently over a 3-week period.

Some printers were much less efficient with ink. The worst offenders used as much as $120 a year in ink that never gets used to print anything. Those included the HP Officejet Pro 8600 and the Lexmark OfficeEdge Pro 4000.

Test data also showed most brands had printers that used a lot of ink for maintenance. But they also revealed printers that were easy on ink. 

"If they can keep ink usage down for some, they should be able to keep it down for all their printers," Reynolds said.

One brand stood out in the tests:  Brother. Reynolds said all three of the Brother printers tested were frugal with ink at start-up. Consumer Reports recommended the Brother DCP-J140W at $80

The magazine's testers said one way you can help save on your printer ink:  leave the printer on between jobs. They said the money you save from not wasting ink at start-up should more than cover any additional utility costs.

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