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Toner: The Hidden Cost in Any Printer Purchase

If you’re not careful, what you save in the purchase price of a printer goes down the drain when you have to buy replacement toner cartridges or ink cartridges.

There’s no denying that the cost of printers is low – unbelievably low, as a matter of fact. You can find brand-name photo printers for under a hundred dollars, and workhorse laser printers for under two hundred dollars. Color inkjet printers remain a bargain, starting at around a hundred and twenty-five dollars. If you’re not careful, though, what you save in the purchase price of a printer goes down the drain when you have to buy replacement toner cartridges or ink cartridges. 

When deciding which printer to buy, it pays to determine the cost per page printed. That cost is calculated by the cost of the cartridge you use. Let’s say, for example, that you purchased a black and white Brother Laser Printer for $150 and an HP color inkjet printer for $150. A new Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) toner cartridge for the Brother printer costs about sixty-five dollars and will print about 2,500 pages. The black ink cartridge for the HP only costs about thirty dollars. Great deal, right? No, because the black ink cartridge will only print about 800 pages. The Brother cartridge will give you a cost per page of a little over two-and-a-half cents, whereas the HP cartridge ups the ante to three-and-three-quarters cents per page. That may not sound like a lot, but over the course of printing the equivalent of ten cartons of paper, or 50,000 pages, you’ll pay $625 more for the HP ink than you will for the Brother toner. 

But what if you’re not in the market for a new printer, and are churning out page after page with the printer you now own? Chances are, you’re paying a premium price for that Original Equipment Manufacturer LaserJet toner cartridge or inkjet printer cartridge. A great way to bring down your cost-per-page is to choose a less expensive option to replace your laser toner or inkjet ink. The two least costly options are compatible ink cartridges and re-manufactured ink cartridges.

Before you listen to the hyperbole from printer manufacturers that say that compatible and remanufactured cartridges will ruin your printer or produce inferior quality printed pages, ask yourself this: Don’t printer manufacturers have an enormous economic stake in making sure you buy their brand name printer cartridges? Of course they do. They sell their printers at such a low cost precisely because they know that you’ll need replacement print cartridges, from which they make huge profits. 

Compatible laser toner and ink cartridges are made and sold by companies other than printer manufacturers. You can find reputable toner and inkjet cartridge sellers online who take pride in providing products that meet or exceed the specifications set forth by printer manufacturers. Compatible cartridges will work fine in your printer, and won’t void your printer’s warranty. Essentially, they consist of a previously used casing with all new parts and new toner or ink. Similarly, re-manufactured cartridges are previously used and refilled with toner or ink, but are rigorously tested to ensure their quality.

The bottom line is that toner is the hidden cost of any printer purchase. Why pay for your printer time and again by paying premium prices for OEM cartridges when you can save up to 76 percent of the cost by buying compatible or re-manufactured cartridges?

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Last modified: August 25, 2022

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