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How Printer Ink Affects The Total Cost Of Ownership Of A Printer

2011-08-16

Calculating the total cost of ownership of a printer can be tricky. Although printers can be fairly inexpensive, ink cartridges are often fairly expensive. To get a true picture, the cost of ink must be taken into consideration when calculating cost of ownership of a printer.

Most printers will give their owners about five years of service, so when purchasing a printer it's wise to factor in the price of compatible cartridges. Keep in mind that the price of the cartridge is relative to its yield. Although most companies do not divulge the amount of ink, knowing how much ink is in a cartridge is actually irrelevant to the cost per page. The yield per cartridge is a standard that measures how many pages of print a cartridge should produce.

The yield reported by the ink cartridge manufacturer, although standardized throughout the industry, is actually only a starting place in determining a total cost per use for an individual or a business. The standard is based on average percentage of page coverage; different uses of a printer may vary greatly from this average. For example, yields for a Canon printer are reported based on 5% coverage. Photos and highly colored copies will use more ink. The cost will depend on the average number of pages printed per week along with the color and size.

There are some businesses that do very little printing, but enough to justify the purchase of a printer. Taking the cost per page into account, if the volume of printing done is relatively low, in some cases it may be more cost-effective to purchase a lower priced printer, even if the compatible ink cartridges are more expensive. If you print enough for the cost per page to be relevant, then the cartridge with the highest yield per cost will often be the best choice.

Print software can be purchased which by controlling the ink amounts used can effectively reduce the cost per page. However, these programs can be expensive and the price of the software should be weighed against any savings it may offer. Other factors that also go into determining ink costs are whether OEM cartridges are purchased, or generic brands which are often just as effective. The cost can also be affected if the printer owner decides to have ink cartridges refilled.

Reviewing the cost of printer ink, and how to determine those costs, is the only way to calculate the total cost of ownership of a particular printer. A printer purchase can be a large investment for a business or an individual. It makes sense to consider all the factors involved when making a purchase or evaluating costs.

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