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Last Updated on June 15, 2020 by Christian Ralph

Printer consumables are often overlooked when considering a printer purchase. However, given their important role in ensuring the maintenance and functionality of your equipment, it’s clear that consumables rank highly on the office supply list of any organisation. Below are five facts that you might not know about this familiar, yet under-appreciated, printer accessory.

  1. Consumables are more than just cartridges. Printer ink cartridges, toner cartridges and other supplies including printer drums and printer fuser units are all classified as “consumables,” or products that are purchased recurrently as part of your printer’s regular maintenance.
  2. Printer consumables are recyclable. Of the more than 65 million printer cartridges sold in the UK each year, only about 15 per cent are recycled or reused. Many of the top printer manufacturers such as OKI, HP and Lexmark offer recycling programmes which allow you to return your used ink and toner cartridges via freepost. Visit your printer manufacturer’s website to learn more about how you can reduce waste, help the environment and ensure that your consumables do not end up in landfill.
  3. Manufacturer-approved consumables are best. Budget ink and toner cartridges can not only affect the quality of your printing, they can also potentially damage your printer and invalidate your warranty. Consumables recommended by your manufacturer have been designed to work with your hardware and deliver quality prints. Although it may be tempting to consider alternative products, always purchase manufacturer-approved products from an authorised reseller.
  4. 4. High-capacity consumables can increase the affordability of your printer.  Purchasing an inexpensive printer doesn’t always equal additional savings if you are replacing ink and toner more often than necessary. Depending on the model, cartridges can last anywhere from a few pages on budget inkjet printers to 40,000 pages on top laser models before requiring replacement. Be sure you’ve selected a printer that is appropriate for your usage needs and consider models with high-capacity cartridges to reduce your overall cost per page.
  5. There’s more to ink than you think. Each manufacturer specifically formulates and patents the ink in their cartridges to work with their printers. Since third-party inks are likely to be different, there’s a greater chance off clogging the print head – a fine sieve that the ink passes through on its way to the paper. Clogs result in imperfections such as streaks, smears or dotting and if the print head is part of the printer, rather than in the cartridge itself, repairs may be costly. Always consult the printer information provided by your manufacturer before considering third-party consumables.

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