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Advice given on printer purchasing

January 24, 2017

inkvstonerUK telecoms company BT discussed “what to buy and how to save money” when it comes to printers.

The company’s article notes that “the high cost of printer refills make them look like a licence to print money, but there are ways to make your printer much cheaper to run”, stating the paperless office has been predicted “since the early 1960s, but the need to make a paper copy of something you see on-screen has hardly diminished”.

As with “most kinds” of technology, printer prices have “plummeted”, so “perfectly usable inkjets are now available, new, from around” £30 ($37/€34), though “the printer itself is only part of the ‘total cost of ownership’ and that’s where things get sticky”, BT adds. Consumables, whether inkjet or laser, “cause problems”, with inkjets “in particular” costing a “fortune to run”.

The article recommends that “it’s important to think about what you need to print”, as inkjets are “great all-rounders”, but there is a “better option” if you “never need to print in colour” in laser. With some costing “little more than inkjets”, such as Samsung’s M2022 at £49 ($61/€56), the only “catch is that these cheap models can only print in monochrome”, but are “fast and produce pin-sharp prints” as well as being cheap.

BT notes that replacement inkjet cartridges have a higher cost per page, while the laser “will still be on the toner cartridge it came with” five years later if you print 180 pages a year, while the Canon inkjet given as an example would give a cost per page of 11 pence (13 US cents/12 euro cents) based on the PIXMA MG2550 costing £19.99 ($24/€23) and its replacement black PG-545 costing £23 ($28/€26). This makes for almost £70 ($87/€81) for the machine and ink “over five years” in comparison.

BT points out “that’s assuming you get one cartridge with the printer”, though the “rough calculations” don’t include “ink wasted when the inkjet printer needs to clean its printhead – which it will do if it isn’t used regularly”. Conversely, the laser doesn’t “have this problem” and can “sit idle for months without wasting toner”.

On refills and new cartridges, BT notes that “ink and toner supplied” by the OEM “tends to be the most expensive”, with inkjet manufacturers “at least” making “great claims about the investment they make in ink development to give optimum performance”. It adds that “this is a fair claim if you’re printing high-quality photos on premium paper”, but is “less convincing if you just want to print web pages onto cheap photocopier papers”.

Calling third-party solutions “one way to cut printing costs in a major way”, laser printer owners “have a distinct advantage” in that toner “is far less finicky than inkjet ink”, with refills “usually work[ing] extremely well”. The Samsung M2020 “can be refilled for around £15 ($18/€1), but “care is needed to avoid” getting toner everywhere, and printer cartridges “contain parts that wear out with use”, though “most can be refilled several times with no ill effects”.

Inkjets “don’t have such an easy time”, with chipped cartridges preventing third-party use in some cases, but refill companies “are a clever bunch”, and you can refill “in various ways” from “doing it yourself with ink syringes” to buying remanufactured. BT recommends trying options “before you find one that works well”, and to beware of OEMs claiming warranties are voided by using them.

Finally, on saving money, the company notes that consumers can switch printers to draft mode to make consumables “last longer”, and if using a colour inkjet you can switch to monochrome printing to save money”, while concluding that “the best way to save money with a printer is to not use it at all”, with PDF printing of documents giving a “perfect copy that can be saved for reference”.

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