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Why Printer Ink Is Important To Total Cost Of Printer Ownership

2011-08-31

When most people buy a printer, they think about printer ink in the same way that they think of batteries for an electronic product. Much of the attention and thought that goes into selecting a printer is primarily on the price tag attached, with very little focus being given to ink usage or costs. But the total cost of ownership is actually a lot higher with ink factored in to the picture. Selecting a printer is a little like selecting a car, the cost of fuel and mileage should also be considered carefully.

When printers first became available to the home user market, they were starting at around $500 for a basic model. According to a study conducted in 2002, the average cost of a printer was as low as $170. Now it's as low as $100 for a simple, black and white model. Although electronics are always becoming cheaper, there is another reason for why printers are selling at almost giveaway prices. Printer companies realized a while ago that by raising the prices of their printer ink kits, they could reduce the prices of printers, sell more printers and make more money in the long term by selling their ink at exorbitant prices. Many stores even sell their printers at a loss, knowing that the money will be made back from ink sales.

The reason that this business model has been very effective over the past decade or so, is because a shocking number of consumers have no idea about it, and simply focus all their brain power on the attractive prices of the printer. But the total cost of ownership is very different with the inclusion of OEM ink cartridges. While a printer may cost $150-$200, anyone who uses their printer regularly will find that they are spending that much annually on printer ink. Office users face an even bigger nightmare with the amount of paper that they print daily.

That is why the cost of printer ink is so decisive in the overall costs of owning and operating a printer. Original ink cartridges do not just contain ink; they also include an expensive new print head. This practice is another factor which keeps ink prices so high, and is said to actually be unnecessary. Printer manufacturers claim that a lot of money is spent on research to ensure that their ink is of the highest quality, yet most consumers feel that that's hardly a good enough reason for ink prices to be what they are. When buying a printer, try to factor in the total cost of ownership; otherwise that cheap new printer could end up costing more than a pretty penny.

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