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The Best Fonts for Saving Money on Printer InkYou guys, a 14-year-old figured how to save the federal government $136 million per year. My biggest accomplishment at 14? I learned to ride my bike with no hands. :(

It started when Suvir Mirchandani was a sixth-grader at a Pittsburgh-area middle school. After realizing his class was using a ton of printed material, he looked for ways to save on printer ink. After some experimentation, Suvir found that his school district could save as much as $21,000 a year–just by switching to Garamond.  

After his data was published in the Journal of Emerging Investigators, Suvir took his research up a notch. According to CNN:

“Suvir concluded that if the federal government used Garamond exclusively it could save nearly 30% — or $136 million per year. An additional $234 million could be saved annually if state governments also jumped on board, he reported.”

Some have questioned the actual federal savings on this, but the fact remains: you can save money with the right font.

Fonts Put to the Test

In 2010, tested a handful of fonts on two popular printers: “The Canon Pixma MP 210 was picked to simulate the printing of home users while the Brother HL-2140 laser printer was used to test business use,” the site reports.

Starting with Arial 11 as the baseline, they tested ten of the most frequently used fonts, choosing a font size of 10 or 11. They used a software program to make sure each font had the same amount of coverage, adjusting size as necessary.

So which fonts and sizes did they find saved the most?

Saving money on printer ink

Fonts for Saving Money on Ink: The Winners

While didn’t test Garamond at the time, they found that Century Gothic used the least amount of ink. Ecofont, a font specifically designed to conserve ink, came in second. Times Roman was third.

They found that a simple font switch resulted in a savings of $20 to $80 a year. It’s not like you’re going to buy your first yacht with this savings, no. But a little savings here and there adds up. And you can combine this tactic with other small tips for saving money on printer ink:

  • Use the “draft” printer quality setting
  • Reduce quality when printing graphics
  • Recycle your old ink cartridges for a discount


Do you have any helpful methods for saving money on printer ink? Sound off in the comments.

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10 comments… add one

  • AMW April 18, 2014, 8:29 am

    That is awesome! I love ways to save money that don’t really require much effort!

  • J. Money April 18, 2014, 9:18 am

    What the heck? Haha… I need to be more productive with my spare time :)

    (Also – thx for pimping me over at your new LifeHacker blog – much love!)

    • Kristin Wong April 18, 2014, 9:38 am

      Hehe! Right? Crazy kids.
      No problem–it was a great post!

  • VimAnswer May 1, 2014, 1:19 am

    I did my own search of the best printer to get and recommend the three year old Brother HL-2270DW. If interested you can see my analysis here:

  • Carole January 30, 2015, 6:45 am

    Often, my writing is wordy. I save ink by editing before I print. I edit also when emailing to folks with tiny, modern attention spans.

    • Kristin January 30, 2015, 8:04 am


      Haha, kidding, of course. I know! I tend to be wordy, too. Sometimes it’s easier to write too much than it is to write succinctly.

  • Carlos June 15, 2015, 3:53 pm

    Another easy tip: print in grey instead of black. Text color in 80% grey will save you 20% ink and the text will remain legible.

  • paul October 18, 2015, 8:01 am

    While I understand the savings generated in $ by less ink use, there is the added expense of the actual paper. On a document with 513 pages, I switched the font to Centry Gothic, size 10, and eperienced an increase to 600 pages. That is more paper to fill up landfills, and possibly enough to offset ink savings in $ terms, depending on the quality of the paper.

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