Print Twice as Many Pages Per Ink Cartridge

Last Updated Oct 27, 2009 5:42 PM EDT

PretonSaver Home makes a lofty claim: It'll save you over $100 annually on ink and toner and/or double the yield of your cartridges.

This Windows-only utility accomplishes this by removing overlapping pixels (of which there are many, apparently) from the printed page, thus reducing ink consumption.

But does it work? And, more importantly, does it work better than your printer's own Draft mode, which ultimately accomplishes the same thing?


First I tried printing a few "mixed" Web pages (containing both text and graphics) on my laser printer. The good news: The PretonSaver Home-powered pages looked virtually indistinguishable from the regular ones, despite the driver's claim that I'd used 13 percent less ink.

The bad news: The printer's own "toner saver" mode did just as well.

With a color inkjet, the PretonSaver and non-PretonSaver pages were again nearly identical unless you looked really closely.

When I switched to photos, however, the PretonSaver images looked a bit lighter, but no less sharp. Very good overall, very passable. The inkjet's economy mode produced very poor results in comparison.

I really like the PretonSaver driver's instantly calculated savings, slider-adjustable level of "savings aggressiveness," detailed reports, and other interesting data. Whether it's as accurate as it claims, that's tough to say.


I don't like PretonSaver's $39.99 list price (it's currently on sale for $35.99), though I suspect users who do a lot of printing could recoup that cost fairly quickly.

My other complaint is that the software won't work with 64-bit versions of Windows. That's likely to prove problematic for owners of fairly new PCs. I'm not sure if the Standard, Premium, and Enterprise versions of the product have the same limitation; Preton's site doesn't list system requirements.

Thankfully, there's a fully functional 30-day trial version available, so you can see for yourself if you like the cut of PretonSaver Home's jib. I definitely do, but need 64-bit support, stat.

By the way, don't miss Dave's recent post on another ink-saving solution: a free "green" font.

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    Rick Broida, a technology writer for more than 20 years, is the author of more than a dozen books. In addition to writing CNET's The Cheapskate blog, he contributes to CNET's iPhone Atlas.