How To Compare Color Laser Printers – Toner And Consumables Guide

If you want to know how to compare color laser printers for your business, it’s a good idea to find out the approximate running costs associated with replacing toner and other consumables your machine may need to run. This article will explain how to do this if you really want to be sure the printer you have chosen is perfect for your home or business.

When buying a new printer, the actual machine is only the start of your expenses and replacing the consumables such as toners will end up costing you a lot more in the long-run. That’s why it is very important you know what you’re in to start with, and you choose a printer that is cost-effective and suits your needs.

When you compare color laser printers to color inkjet printers, laser consumables are typically cheaper than inkjet consumables and are much more cost-effective in the long run. With inkjet printers, the initial cost of the machine is low, but replacement costs are high. With laser printers, on the other hand, the initial outlay for the machine is a bit more, but they are cheaper to run overall. As an example, an inkjet high-capacity cartridge may last you 500 pages, while for a laser cartridge it maybe 1500 pages.

What Is Cost Per Page?

So how do you compare color laser printers for cost-effectiveness? What you need to do is work out the printer’s cost per page, which is how much it will cost in general to print 1 page. Per-page costs are generally higher for cheaper budget-type models, and lower for the high-end models. So in general, the bigger your investment on a machine to start with, the lower your overall costs in the end.

Smaller, cheaper units suited for home and small office use tend to have per-page costs of around 13 cents for color, and 1.5 to 3 cents for monochrome (black and white). Medium-range business printers have per-page costs around 5.5 to 12 cents for color and 1 to 2.5 cents for monochrome, while the very best high-end models can have effective per-page costs in the 5 to 10 cents range for color, and 1 to 1.5 cents for monochrome.

These numbers are all approximate to the general way of things in the market, and individual models will differ of course. So it’s a great idea to find out your toner replacement costs before buying your machine.

Also keep in mind that the cheaper, lower-end machines usually take smaller toners, so they must be changed more often too. Smaller toners usually work out to have a higher cost-per-page than a larger toner cartridge.

The lower-end models that do take the smaller toner cartridges do have an advantage though. These toners usually contain everything you need in the one cartridge, the actual toner, the imaging component, and the toner waste receptacle. They are more expensive to buy but easier to replace.

With some of the higher-end models these components are separated which requires slightly more maintenance to keep the machine running, but it’s well worth it because your overall costs to run the machine are lower.

Also, a handy hint to expand the lifespan of your consumables is to set the printer a lower resolution, which for some documents you won’t even notice a change in quality. This way you will use less toner powder over time.

How To Calculate Cost Per Page?

To calculate the cost per page of a certain printer to compare color laser printers, find out the cost of its consumables, and also their lifespan which is known as the “page yield” in the printer specifications. Page yield is simply the number of A4 pages that consumable can last for but is just an estimate.

Now you have the cost of consumable and the page yield, use the following formula to work out the approximate cost per page of the printer:

Cost per A4 page = Cost of consumable (ie toner) / Page Yield

If the printer uses multiple consumables, you need to calculate this for each individual consumable and then add up the costs to give you the true cost-per-page. Using the cost per page to compare different color laser models is quite helpful, especially when comparing two printers of the same manufacturer.