Buying a printer for your home

buying a printer for your home

As shown here, ink is one of the most expensive liquids on the planet. However, your printer will likely burn a hole through your pocket if you do not have a machine that best suits your needs.

Facts to consider before buying a printer

Before you jump on what seems to be the best deal you’ve ever seen for a printer, know one thing: you get what you pay for (in almost 99% of cases)! If a printer is priced around 50$-100$, it’s usually a sign that the cartridges for this model will have a very high cost per page (CPP). The cartridges won’t necessarily cost more than others, but they’ll contain much less ink and you will need to change them more often. That awesome deal you thought you got? You’ll most probably end up paying more to keep your printer going than if you had bought something a little better.

It ‘s not impossible to find an economical printer at a cheap price, but more often than not, a cheap printer will be combined with expensive cartridges. Unless you are patient and you find one of those once in a lifetime deal, do not hesitate to invest a little more initially on a printer. You will not regret buying a quality printer.

Also, be aware that all printers are sold with one or more cartridges already installed. However, they are setup samples . Contrary to popular belief, buying a new printer every time the ink runs out is never more economical than buying a new series of cartridges.

For example, heres the way Brother works for its range of monochromatic laser printers (prices used are those proposed by on the date of publication of this article).

The most basic Brother monochromatic (black/white) laser printer, the Brother HL-2240, retails for $119.99 and its full capacity toner cartridge (the Brother TN-450) retails for $79.49. The Brother TN-450 yields on average  2,600 pages, which amounts to 3.1 ¢ / page.

The midrange Brother HL-5450DN model, retails for $249.99, with a full capacity toner cartridge (Brother TN -750) retailing for $156.49. However, the average yield for this cartridge is 8,000 pages, which amounts to 2.0 ¢ / page. For less than double the price, your page yield increases 3-fold and the cartridge will be changed 3 times less often.

The high end Brother HL-6180DW model sells for $349.99, with a full capacity toner cartridge (Brother TN-780) retailing for $187.49. The page yield for this toner is, on average, 12,000 pages, which is equivalent to only 1.6 ¢ / page. This is currently the most economical Brother laser printer on the market!

I used Brother as an example , but this trend is very similar for all brands.

Buying a printer that suits your needs

The first question to ask yourself is “”do I need to print in color?””. If the answer is no, your best choice is to move towards a monochromatic laser printer. There are machines on the market with or without scanner, fax, duplex, wireless network, according to your needs. Note that laser printers are equipped with internal parts that must be changed from time to time, such as a drum (when not included with the toner cartridge) , a fuser and others.

If you want a color printer, the question to ask yourself is, “”how often will I print? “” To better understand the importance of printing frequently with an inkjet printer, you must first understand how it works .

The majority of inkjet printers are currently designed using multiple reservoir-type cartridges. That is to say, the cartridge does not have a print nozzle (printing mechanism) and serves only to contain the ink. When sending a print request, the nozzles (built in the machine) suck the necessary ink from the cartridges to print. Once the work is finished, there is still some residual ink on the nozzle’s surface and this ink will eventually dry and clog the pores if you do not dislodge them soon enough. Each color has its own printing nozzle, so you need to use each color frequently. For the vast majority of these machines, the nozzles cannot be replaced, so if they become clogged, the machine becomes useless. Most printers have some kind of feature to clean the nozzles, but the procedure must be initiated manually. It also takes a considerable amount of ink from the cartridges to clean each time and it’s not 100% effective .

So if you plan on printing fairly regularly to avoid clogging your jets, buying a color inkjet printer is a good idea, but do not be fooled , the same logic as shown above with laser printers applies here too. A less expensive printer usually means you’ll have to buy cartridges more often. If you do the math to estimate the printing cost per page, don’t forget to add up all the colors in the printer.

Nowadays, almost all inkjet machines are equipped with a scanner, and many also have a fax.

Buying a printer if you need color but not on a regular basis

You can go with a color laser printer, which is very economical on the long run but often expensive to purchase. The advantage of toner and laser printers is that they use a powder which is heated so there are no nozzles to clog. You can spend months, even years, without printing and it will usually not cause a problem.

A laser printer will be more expensive than an inkjet printer when you first buy it. On average, a set of cartridges for a color laser printer for home or small office will retail between $200 and $400, but the cartridge will yieldway more pages than the inkjet printer.

If the color laser option does not appeal to you, there is always the possibility of getting an inkjet printer and remembering to print a page like this one every week. However, some machines have a more sensitive printing mechanism and in the long run, a weekly test page print will no longer suffice to keep the nozzles from clogging.

Buying a printer to make photos at home.

Time to take out that wallet! Printing photos from home may be convenient, but it is never economical.

what 5% coverage looks like
what 5% coverage looks like

Let’s take for example the series of Samsung CLP300 cartridges. For about $60 per color cartridge ($180 for the complete color series), it will yield about 1000 pages . You should know that when the manufacturer states a yield of, for example, 1000 pages, they are referring to standard printer paper with a 5% coverage rate. This is a display standard and is approximately equivalent to the image on the right (click to enlarge).

If you print your pictures on standard A4 paper (8 ½ x 11), for example , you will have 100% coverage since you’re using the full surface of the paper. By doing the math, we realize that 100% is 20 times more than 5% and therefore, the cartridges will yield 20 times less copies when printing pictures. A cartridge that prints approximately 1000 pages will only print around 50 pictures. $180 for 50 pictures amounts to around $3.60 per photo (excluding the price of the photo paper).


We can therefore conclude that buying a printer that best suits your needs and investing a little more on the right printer, rather than choosing the cheapest model available, provides long-term savings. You can also use recycled or compatible printing supplies that are more economical than genuine products to further reduce your printing costs.