How to Make HP Print Cartridges Last Longer

By Brad Maddy

Whether you are using a laser printer or a simple desk-top inkjet printer, the cost to print can be extremely high. Ink and toner cartridges contain a limited quantity of ink and toner, but you can maximize the number of prints by taking advantage of a few cartridge-saving strategies. By changing some of the default settings on the printer and using your printer regularly, you can increase the yield of each cartridge and make your HP print cartridges last longer.

Things You'll Need

  • HP printer
  • Printer driver

Step 1

Configure the printer to print in Economode or Draft setting. This reduces the amount of toner or ink used by about 50 percent. In older laser printers, you can put the printer in Economode from the control panel in the "Print Quality" menu. In newer laser printers and inkjet printers, you access the Economode or Draft setting in the printer driver under the "Print Quality" setting. The output will be slightly lighter than normal, but the cartridge will last longer because less ink or toner will be used. Leave the printer in Economode for general use, and change the setting to normal if you have a special need for darker, normal prints.

Step 2

Decrease the density setting on your laser printer. Navigate the printer's "Print Quality" menu from the control panel to find the density setting. As you decrease the density level, the print gets lighter and the printer will use less toner. The default setting is three on a one-to-five scale. In older laser printers, you change the density setting by adjusting a lever or a dial inside the printer near the toner cartridge.

Step 3

Change the print quality settings in the printer driver when you send the print job. In the printing preferences menu, change the settings to print in gray scale or in black and white instead of color to reduce the amount of color ink or toner used. Printing in black and white will use less ink or toner than printing in gray scale.

Step 4

Avoid letting your inkjet printer sit for long periods between uses. If the ink begins to dry out, the printer must use a more aggressive cleaning procedure to prepare the cartridge for printing. The ink used to do this cleaning is spent on that process and cannot be recouped for printing.

Tips & Warnings

  • The cartridge yield printed on the box is a theoretical number of pages that the cartridge can print under certain conditions. Your yield may be more or less that the yield on the packaging.