Printing can severely eat into a small business’s budget. With all the options available, how can businesses determine the cost of color printing and make the right printer choice?

The technology: Inkjets and lasers

Inkjet printers use liquid ink sprayed through microscopic nozzles onto the paper, while laser printers instead use toner cartridges with heated fusers.

While it’s possible to buy a basic inkjet or laser printer for almost the same price, budget laser printers may only be capable of printing in black and white.

However, what you save on the printer you may lose in running costs. The inks in desktop inkjet printers are some of the most costly liquids available, and replacing ink cartridges can get expensive. Inkjet printers can also require frequent cleaning and may suffer clogging if left unused.

On the plus side, inkjet printers can print on heavier specialty papers such as gloss photo paper to produce prints, or directly onto printable CD or DVD blanks.

In comparison, laser printers do not suffer from clogging and can be left idle. However, they only print onto standard-weight paper and quality can be affected by uneven toner.

Color vs Mono

Color cartridges cost significantly more than black for both inkjet and laser printers. Some printers use a mixture of inks just to print a black and white page, which can increase costs. In contrast, mono laser printers are generally cheaper and smaller than their color counterparts and are also economical on ink.

Key features

Choice suggests considering various features, including speed (usually pages per minute), wireless connectivity, tray sizes and printing options.

The consumer watchdog also suggests various methods of minimizing costs, including using the duplexing feature as well as ‘draft’ mode, which consumes less toner. For inkjet users, refilling cartridges can save money over buying new cartridges.

Generally, the more you print, the greater the savings in using a laser printer compared to inkjet. Inkjet printers have an average price per page of around 20 cents, while cheap black-and-white laser printers can cost only 6 cents per page.

Laser printers are also considerably faster in printing and have greater text print quality than their inkjet rivals. Budget inkjets print around six pages per minute of black text, compared to the 20 pages per minute of even low-end monochrome laser printers.

The choice is yours

Ultimately, it is important to decide what type of documents you will mainly be printing. If you are only printing invoices or other monochrome documents, then a monochrome laser printer may suffice.

You can also save on printing costs by implementing printing rules, such as always printing in duplex and making monochrome the default option. Pop-up warnings on the printer can help remind users of the environmental impact of their printing.

While color printing is costlier than monochrome, the right printer can make a world of difference to your stationery budget and ultimately your business success. Contact our experts to learn more about choosing the right printer for your orgnization.

Check our Print Cost and Workflow Improvement Assessment to get the idea of the potential print costs savings and workflow.

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