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Printing out can very often lead to being a very expensive investment for both businesses and home users. Although you may be thinking today you can get a printer for a low price, the printer itself isn’t the main expense. The consumables that are used to run the printers will end up costing more than the printer itself. Printer ink and toner can end up becoming a very big annual expense for any user that prints on a regular basis.

There are many different types of printers to choose from offering a range of different features and some more cost efficient than others. These features can include wifi, the ability to print double sided or not, speed of printing (pages per minute - ppm) and more. But first decision that needs to be made when concerning the cost of the printer is using an inkjet or laser printer.

Inkjet or Laser?

An inkjet printer can cost as cheap as £30 for a basic printer with the cost rising for having extra features. An inkjet needs to have ink cartridges to be able to print o Laser printers can be as cheap as £100 for a basic monotone and rising in price for extra features.

When comparing cartridges you will more than likely see that the cartridge is either a genuine (also known as OEM) and compatible. It should quickly become apparent that compatibles are far cheaper than genuine cartridges. I will explain in detail why this is the case in the next section.

Genuine ink cartridges usually cost between £15 and £30. An average ink cartridge will print off around 180 – 190 monotone pages before running dry. This works out to be around 8p per print at the cheapest. Compatible cartridges can be as cheap as £10 for a pack of three working out at £3.33 each. These work out costing just under 2p per print.

The cheapest genuine toner will cost around £80. Although toner is a lot more expensive to buy, it lasts a lot longer than inkjet and has to ability to print off 3500 pages which works out costing 2p per page. Compatible Toners can be as cheap as half the price of genuine cartridges costing £40 which works out costing 1p per page.

These figures are the high end of how many pages to that will get from an individual cartridge based on 5% page coverage. The reality is that the amount that you will get greatly depends on how much each page is filled, which in the real world will never be a constant. So buying a toner does not guarantee you 3500 pages.

Genuine or Compatible Cartridges?

Things now get more confusing as there are also two different types of each cartridge that you must choose between, genuine and compatible. A genuine cartridge is made by the same manufacturer as the printer (Samsung printer, Samsung toner). This means that Samsung have put time and resources into getting that cartridge to work as well with the printer as it possibly can, allowing the best quality prints and minimal risk of errors.

Compatible cartridges are made by third-party retailers that only focus on making the cartridge work with the printer. Without the resources and time spent to make the cartridge work as well as possible they are able to sell for a lot cheaper than genuine cartridges. But although you may save money, you’re risking having lower quality prints and its possible that the cartridge will even cause damage to the printer resulting in you have to hire an engineer to fix it (which will cost a lot more than what you saved by choosing a compatible!).

It’s very clear that compatible cartridges are the best option, but it’s understandable that this may not be in everyone’s budget. If this is the case there are other alternatives. Genuine cartridges will usually get sent to a third party to get refilled with ink/toner and have any worn down parts replaced and then be resold. These are usually referred to as being recycled or remanufactured cartridges. A remanufactured cartridge can be up to 50% cheaper than a new genuine. How reliable these cartridges are can vary, depending on the third party that did the remanufacturing. The quality of the print will never be up to the standard of a new genuine but is likely to be better than a compatible. But it can be a risky decision knowing which third party remanufacturer to trust.

Your Decision

So which option is the best for you? Inkjet is a much cheaper initial cost and isn’t too expensive to run if you don’t print much but how much is that? Laser printers are far more expensive; will you get your money’s worth? It can take a lot of thought and consideration before investing into a printer and the risks and benefits should be carefully considered and how it will affect your budget.

Another Solution

There is another option available when considering the cost of your printer. At Morgan Office we offer a Managed Print Service that lets us take care of your ink/toner needs for a monthly charge. Not only will be supply you with genuine cartridge, but we will work out what’s the best solution for you, saving you time and effort.