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Things to Consider When Buying a New Printer

Updated on February 11, 2015

In-Store 'Experts'

The leading electrical chains have a number of sales assistants trained and waiting to pounce when you enter the store. Most have basic product knowledge training which will get them by in most situations, but they also have advanced training to sell exactloy what the company wants them to sell!

The basic process is as follows... Quite often, manufacturers will offer incentives to the electrical stores based on sales of certain products. This money is then payable to staff as a bonus when they sell that certain product from said manufacturer. Therefore, the sales assistant is more likely to want to sell a £30 printer where they get a £5 bonus over an £80 printer with no bonus.

Result = Sales assistant is happy to have made a bonus, meanwhile the customer thanks the sales assistant for saving them money... for now that is.

Don't Always Buy The Cheapest Printer!

Do your research before going to the big electrical chains... In our experience, they will invariably try to sell you a very cheap printer knowing you'll be back to spend big on replacement Ink Cartridges. This is what the manufacturers are after as they make more profit from ink sales than they do from printer sales, especially as your friendly sales assistant is likely to point you in the direction of OEM genuine cartridges.

Such printers are usually available under £40 or even on occasion £30 and can be found stacked high on the end of an aisle. They are most likely to use the more expensive Black and Colour 2 tank cartridge system which is very inefficient for a number of reasons discussed below.

The major reason for the excessive cost is the fact that you are paying for a new print-head (contained within the cartridge) every time you buy a replacement, as opposed to the more efficient and wallet friendly individual cartridges that are installed into a permanent (or semi-permanent) print head within the printer.

A set of replacement cartridges can cost as much as, and in some cases more than the initial cost of the printer. People have been known to buy a cheap printer, use it until the cartridges are empty then just purchase another printer.

You usually get a low capacity set of inks with a new printer so another large outlay of cash is just around the corner. In addition, the colour ink tank capacity is split between 3 colours (Cyan/Magenta/Yellow) so for example, whilst 18ml of ink looks quite a lot, it's only 6ml of each colour.

Printing a high proportion of prints heavy in a certain colour will inevitably lead to wastage and having to replace the ink tank when just one of the colours has run out.

A cheap printer is also cheap for a reason, often lacking the features, print speed and build quality of more expensive models. The well known phrase "Buy Cheap, Buy Twice" is definitely the case here!

SO... What Should I Buy?

Obviously the choice is yours but we definitely recommend spending that little bit more on a better quality printer that takes individual ink cartridges, where you can immediately start reaping the rewards of saving on Ink Cartridge costs. It needn't be a massive initial outlay and sometimes £20 or £30 can be the difference between a good choice and a bad choice!

For example, a step up to a £70 printer may mean that your first set of compatible replacement cartridges costs £10 instead of £35. So after one set of replacement cartridges has been purchased you're not far off spending a similar total amount, but with the following benefits

  • Replace cartridges individually when they run out, preventing wastage
  • Most individual compatible cartridges have clear casing - See when cartridge is empty
  • Cheaper every time you need to buy Ink
  • You now own a better quality printer for a similar outlay

If you mainly use your printer for mono prints such as documents, invoices, dispatch notes etc. then maybe it would be more beneficial to buy a mono laser printer. Starting from as little as £50 for a small home laser printer, you can then buy a 1,000 page yield (@ 5% coverage) toner cartridge from as little as £20, making each copy roughly 2p/page.

Happy shopping!


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