If you’re in the market for a new printer, this is one universal truth: your long term costs are mostly comprised of the ink cartridges.
Some time ago, I found a great price on a new color printer – under $50. So I snapped it up. I found out later that replacement ink cartridges were almost $40, and my usage was such that I had to replace them about every four months or so. This meant I was spending more on ink that it would cost me to buy two new printers a year! Such was the cost of not paying attention upfront to ink cartridge costs.
This means that before purchasing any new printer, you should compare the cost and page capacity of the ink cartridges. If you plan on doing a lot of printing, especially photo printing or using an A3 printer, you may be better off buying a more expensive printer that has ink cartridges that either cost less or print substantially more pages.
When looking at the cost of ink cartridges, pay particular attention to the number of pages the cartridge can print, once again especially for an A3 printer. What you want to do is go for the printer that has the lowest per-page print cost and the features you want.
You may want to consider a laser printer instead of an inkjet printer, especially that inkjet printer that came “free” with the computer you purchased. That “free” printer will usually cost you much more in the long run due to high ink replacement costs and low page count.
The cost of laser printers, like all printers, has fallen enough that it may be cheaper in the long run than an inkjet, taking into consideration that the cost of ink works out to be about one third as expensive.
Laser printers do not print as good in color as in inkjet, so many people have an inexpensive inkjet for color printing and a laserjet for higher volume black-and-white printing.
Can you save money on ink by buying a kit to refill your used cartridge? While this may look attractive, it almost always results in low quality and sometimes a leaky cartridge.
Two better choices are: “generic brand” compatible ink cartridges and remanufactured ink cartridges.
Compatible cartridges are new cartridges that are designed to meet or exceed the manufacturer’s original standards but are priced much lower. It’s sort of like buying the store brand of canned peaches.
Remanufactured ink cartridges are recycled ink cartridges that are “rebuilt” and filled with original quality ink. This is the least expensive way to go, although they are most often available for laser printers, as laser cartridges are better engineered than inkjet cartridges. Be sure you get ones that are remanufactured and not just refilled with ink and that they offer a money-back guarantee if not satisfied.
The bottom line is that you can significantly reduce your printing costs, especially for an A3 printer, by buying the right printer and using the less expensive generic brand or remanufactured ink cartridges.