Inkjet Printer Ink: Reader Rants and Hacks
Ever since my Tips & Tweaks newsletter "Save Money on Inkjet Printer Ink" hit the Web, my in-box has been flooded with messages. I've received recommendations, rants, and down-and-dirty tricks.
So in this follow-up installment: feedback from readers. But first, a public service announcement.
Oh No: Laser Printers Are Health Risks
There's always something. Two decades ago I quit smoking. Last year I had to give up caffeine. Now it may be my laser printer going out the door.
Researchers from the Australia's Queensland University of Technology say the particles emitted from some laser printers were as harmful as cigarette smoking. They tested 62 printers; 17 of them generated enough fine particles that were easily inhaled and a "significant health threat." Swell.
The other 45 laser printers fared better: 37 got a thumbs up, 6 dumped low levels of the ultrafine particles, and 2 released medium levels.
While the news story names names (Canon, HP Color Laserjet, Ricoh, and Toshiba) it doesn't say anything more about the printers other than "popular models in the U. S. and Australia sold internationally." The San Francisco Chronicle has the full scoop in its article, which gives the specific names of printers tested and other details. And if you have a couple of hours to kill, you can read the entire report. [Thanks, Jamesmcb!]
Dig This: Here's something to look at if you have time to waste: A photo gallery of some amazing things discovered by home inspectors. My buddy Mike D. told me about the site and said, "I especially like the people who used an old car radiator to heat their house, and the guy who put a light switch in the shower."
PC World's Printer Advice
Our resident printer expert, Associate Editor Danny Allen, told me that I'd missed a couple of his favorite Print Shop columns: "Top Sites for Bargain Seekers" and "Guide to PC World's Top Printer Tips and Tricks."
And since my earlier Tips & Tweaks came out, a couple of other useful items hit the Web site. If you want to print wirelessly, take a look at "Liberate Your Printer." If you have three minutes, watch a PC World video that tells you how to save money with a handful of printing tricks.
Photos vs. To-Do Lists
One reader asked me an excellent question: Do I use my inkjet to print photos or shopping lists? The reader was wondering whether I use refilled cartridges to print photos, and if I'm worried about the ink quality.
I'm not at all concerned because I take a CD filled with image files to Costco and have the folks there do all my photo printing. I don't know if it's cheaper, but I find it way more convenient than standing by my printer and waiting. But I can tell you that my mother has printed photos with refilled cartridges and the color looks good.
Unfortunately, I don't know how long it'll look good. A reader [Thanks, orenhs] told me about the "Survey of Print Permanence in the 4x6-Inch Consumer Digital Print Market in 2004-2007." It's a report from Henry Wilhelm, a dedicated guy who shocked the industry with independent tests of photo longevity; everyone who uses off-brand ink should read it.
Dig This: The next time your printer jams, thank your lucky stars it's only paper.
Reader Favorite Inkjet Refillers
In that Tips & Tweaks I mentioned earlier, I talked about Cartridge World as a vendor I've had hands-on experience with. That's not an endorsement; it's just a report of my good experience with the company's cartridges. Today I'm passing along a few ink vendor names that readers sent me. It's just their opinion. Make sense?
"Having owned numerous small businesses, I have an extensive background in dealing with and solving multitude of printer issues, starting with a DMP-400 circa 1980. Having dealt with damn near every online ink cartridge supplier, I settled on iTrimming for my home printers, both multifunction. These people are cheap, polite, and most important really quick on their shipping."
--Peter C., Sunrise, Florida
"I have three inkjet printers running to cover golf tournaments and ink is a big factor in the cost of doing those jobs." His printers are ancient and he said, "My supplier is Abacus24-7--I haven't had any trouble with the service and recommend it to anyone with an older printer."
--Kirby H., Vancouver, Washington