How to Calculate Cost Per Page for Laser and Inkjet Printers

Choosing a printer has to consider not only the cost of the printer but also the cost of replacement ink cartridges. Over time ink and paper costs can exceed the cost of the printer several times over.

Cost per page is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a printer. Cost-per-page calculation helps illustrate how much it costs to print one single page. If you want to calculate the true cost-per-page for your printer, you should consider the following factors: cost of ink cartridges, cost of paper, electrical power consumption, maintenance kits, and labor costs. However, for the simplest cost-per-page analysis you can consider from cost of ink cartridges.

Although the printer prices are coming down, the ink and toner cartridges are usually very expensive. In fact most printer manufactures generate their revenues from the sale of ink or toner cartridges rather than the sale of printers themselves. Therefore before buying a printer, you should calculate the printing cost per page by dividing the ink cartridge price by the yield. Yield is the number of pages that can be printed with one particular inkjet cartridge or toner.

In general, price of inkjet printers are more affordable than laser printers device but one of the disadvantages is inkjet cartridges need more frequent replacement, laser printers may be less costly if you have a small home officeTypical cost of ink cartridge replacement for inkjet printers varies between $10 to $40 and can print less than 1,000 pages. For laser printers, toner cartridges have a higher unit price than inkjet cartridges, but have a higher capacity, the cost per page therefore is much lower. A toner cartridge can print between 2,500 to 10,000 pages before replacement.

Calculating Cost Per Page

Black and White Pages: Cost per black and white page is calculated by dividing price of the black ink cartridges by the black cartridge’s page yield.

For example, if the price of an inkjet cartridge is $20 and its yield is 440 pages, then its cost per page will be $20/440=$0.045 (4.5 cents per page).

If a high-yield black toner cartridge costs $90 and has a page yield of 6,000 pages, then its cost per page will be $90/6,000=$0.015 (1.5 cents per page).

Color Pages: A color printer typically uses several cartridges to print a color page. Thus, to estimate cost per color page, you must calculate cost per page of each color cartridges, then combine that number with the black and white cost per page to get the final cost per color page.

For example, if you buy an inkjet printer and the cost of its color ink cartridges (cyan, magenta, and yellow) is $15 each, and can handles up to 600 pages each. Meanwhile the cost of a black ink cartridge is $10 and can print up to  500 pages. The final cost per color page calculation is equal to 9.5 cents per page (($15/600) + ($15/600) + ($15/600) + ($10/500) = $0.095).


Before you buy a printer, you also need to calculating the cost per page, because by doing this you can know whether or not you can save more money for cartridges and ink in the long run. Always remember that if you buy high capacity ink cartridge, of course the cost per page will be lower than the regular capacity one because its less frequent replacement.