Journey though Your PC - Printers

This week we look at one of the most common peripherals on your PC – the printer!  There are so many printers on the market these days and some of them are extremely cheap - some under $50.  But what are the real costs of ownership of a printer?  The initial purchase price is actually the smallest amount you will pay over the lifetime of the printer - the cost of consumables (replacement ink or toner) soon exceeds what you paid for the printer.  So it can often be false economy being drawn in to the super cheap buys.  So how do you work out how economical your printer is?

First you need to find out the "average yield" of your toner or ink catridge.  This is how many pages can be printed with the cartridge and it should be written on the packaging.  There is a standard called ISO/IEC 24711 (for inkjets) and ISO/IEC 19798 (for toners) which means that the measurements are consistent across different printer, ink and toner brands. Divide the cost of the ink or toner by its average yield to arrive at a cost per printed page.

For example, consider an inkjet cartridge costing $23.00 and an average yield of 200 pages.  $23.00 divided by 200 = 11.5 cents per page.  Compare this with the extra large cartridge for the same printer.  If  it costs $42 and  has an average yield of 700 pages, that’s a cost per page of 6 cents. It’s clear which one you should be buying!

Typically, laser printers are more economical than inkjets but this isn't always true especially for the cheap lasers.  Make sure you do the above calculation before making your purchase. 


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