Category: Copiers/Printers, Mobile Printing, Print Management

Much of our work has gone digital, but printing is still important to many companies. Industries such as healthcare, legal, government, and education still rely on hard copy printing for many of their needs. But printing, especially color printing, is likely causing you avoidable costs.

Printer technologies: Inkjet vs. laser

To understand how color printing cost is affecting your business, let’s start with the basics. Printers have been around for many decades, but today most of them fall into one of two technology types: inkjet or laser.

As its name implies, inkjet printers use liquid ink sprayed through a microscopic nozzle to create images or text on the paper.

Contrary to its name, laser printers do not use an actual laser beam to create letters and images on paper. Instead, a laser fires onto a metal drum. The drum uses static electricity to attract toner particles to the drum which are then heat-fixed onto the paper.

Laser printers are known for creating sharper, more detailed printed pages than inkjet printers. Laser printers also don’t clog, as inkjet nozzles can.

Inkjet printers can print on heavier specialty papers such as glossy photo paper to produce prints, while laser printers can only print onto standard-weight paper.

Black and white vs. color printing

Because of the above-noted differences in printer technologies, you can often buy a basic inkjet or laser printer for almost the same price.

However, budget laser printers may only be capable of printing in black and white, also called mono, while an inkjet printer at a similar price will likely have color printing capability.

Replacement cartridges

Mono laser printers are generally cheaper and smaller than their color counterparts. They are also economical on ink or toner because color cartridges cost significantly more than mono for both inkjet and laser printers.

Replacement cartridges are generally the most expensive part of owning and operating any printer. Color cartridges cost more than mono cartridges. Also, while inkjet cartridges are known to cost comparatively more, laser cartridges can often print more pages per cartridge.

Color printing costs

One of the most important questions in comparing printing costs determining if laser printers and toner cartridges or inkjet printers and ink cartridges are more cost-effective. Let’s look at how to answer this question.

The cost per page for inkjet printers is generally higher than for laser printers. This is because page yields are much lower with ink cartridges.

As with many products, the cost per page also varies between printer brands and models. In general, inkjet printers have a higher average cost per page, about 20-cents for a colored print and 7.5-cents for black and white.

For laser printers, the cost per page is usually lower, about 5- to 8-cents for black and white and 12- and 15-cents for color laser prints. However, the cost of color laser prints can rise to as high as 60-cents per page for photos and heavy graphics.

Further, less expensive printers generally run at a higher cost per print because they are less efficient and consume more ink or toner. For example:

  • A relatively cheap $100 printer might have a 5.5-cents mono an 8.9-cents color cost per page.
  • Contrast this with a $1000 printer, which might have a 3.9-cent mono and 8.1-cent color per page cost.

The bottom line

While there are many pros and cons between inkjet and laser printers, color printing for both types of printers is more expensive than black and white printing. Color printing may be costing your business significantly more, especially if you are using cheaper color printers. Docutrend has expertise in print costs and workflow improvement. We can assess your current printing demands and advise you on choosing the right printers for your company, as well as suggested printing rules like a default mono setting, that can help reduce your printing costs. Contact Docutrend today to get started.