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Multifunction Printer Ink Usage Comparison and Cost: How to

Updated on October 11, 2011

The cost of replacement ink cartridges must be taken into consideration when purchasing a new multi function printer. More often than naught, consumers purchase a new printer without first researching the price of the ink cartridges. This can be a very costly mistake indeed.

It is not uncommon to find brand new printers in second hand stores and garage sales. Why you ask? The simple answer is that it would cost more to purchase the new ink cartridges than it would to buy another printer. This is especially true of the “free Printer” often packaged with computer systems. Of course it is free; the real money is made in the replacement ink cartridges.


Comparison Shop Printers

All of these printers have the same basic functions and are basically in the same price range. They are all Energy Star Compliant and they all offer a good all around value. So how does one make an informed decision as to which printer offers the best value? The main difference is in the cost of ink over the life of the printer. A savey buyer will do the calculations required to find an actual per page price for each page of printed material. Now, this average price will vary from user to user slightly since some of us print very dense pages while others may have lighter print jobs as the norm. Before purchasing a new printer, always check the ink prices and yeild to get the best value for the money over the life of the printer.

Compare Multifunction Printers and Ink Cartridges

For ease of comparison I will only include the black ink cartridges since those are the cartridges most frequently replaced.

  • HP Officejet J4540 All-in-One Printer: HP901- $14.99 yield up to 200
  • Canon Pixma MX330 Multifunction Printer: CL-210– $17.99 yield up to220
  • Brother Network Ready Multifunctional Printer: LCBK- $26.99 yield up to 450
  • Lexmark X7675 Inkjet All-in-One Printer: Lexmark 44- $29.99 yield up to 540

Now, at first glance it would seem that the HP Officejet J4540 has the best price for ink cartridges, ergo this printer must have the cheapest printer ink. But this is only half of the equation. Now we look at each individual ink cartridge and determine the yield. The yield is the number of pages you can expect to print based on a 5% Print coverage per page. Yes, all print jobs are different however this gives us a standardized form of measurement in order to make an informed decision. Your particular ink usage may be more or less depending on what you print.

Each printer manufacturer states the page yield on the ink cartridge packaging. To figure the cost per page printed you must divide the price per cartridge by the max yield. This cost per page will give you the best idea of which multifunction printer is actually the most economical purchase. In our example above, the cheapest printer ink is the Lexmark X7675 with a 5 ½ cents per printed page. All things considered equal, the Lexmark would cost less over it’s lifetime than the other three printers.

I priced the ink cartridges at my local big box store, but there are numerous online sites that sell ink at discount prices, in addition to refurbished ink cartridges as well as ink refill kits.

How to Use Universal Ink Refill Kits



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