The True Cost

The price tag on any given printer really tells only half the story. Many times the cheapest printer for sale isn’t necessarily the cheapest printer to own. And what’s the most affordable printer for you in particular? Depending on how many pages you print and how much it costs to print each page, a high-priced printer with expensive cartridges could be a lot cheaper to own in the long run than a less-expensive printer with low-cost cartridges.
Coming up with that long-run cost for comparison isn’t always easy.

Before you can calculate the real cost of a printer, you need to know the cost per page. To get it, you need two numbers for each cartridge: the yield (how many pages the cartridge can print) and the price. But until recently, there’s been no good way to find out the yield.

Printer manufacturers will tell you the yield they’ve found and, usually, the estimated cost per page. But printing different images, manipulating driver settings, or changing how you determine that a cartridge has reached the end of its life can all alter the yield you come up with. Without knowing if different manufacturers’ tests are comparable, you have to take the claims with a proverbial grain of salt.

So the next time your shopping for a printer. Take the time to do the math. Just because the price tag looks good, doesn’t mean your bank account will.