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Inkjet printers vs Laser

Advanced Member

Did you know inkjet ink as a commodity cost over $5000 per gallon. That's right it's one of the most expensive commodities on the planet.

As an IT professional, I've been encountering a significant number of inkjet printer issues and I just wanted to get some facts out to the public.

When you buy that inexpensive (cheap) inkjet printer, you get the price only because the printer manufacturer wants to sell you the ink cartridges. If you do a comparison of cost and reliability of inkjet vs laser printers, you will probably find including the cost of the printer and ink or toners purchased over its life, a laser will be about 8 times less to operate, and be operational for significantly longer periods.

Why is that? We've all purchased that cheap inkjet at one time or another. If you don't use the inkjet everyday, the heads start to clog due to drying, and the prints start to deteriorate. You can use the printer utility to clean the heads, but this blows valuable ink through, wasting your money. Replace the cartridge? Now you start to see the real cost of inkjet.

If you don't use the printer every week, the cartridges themselves start to dry out. That's why the new cartridge comes with that little piece of tape over the head, to keep it from drying out and to protect the head. So now you try cleaning the heads, but that does not work, so you buy new cartridges. More money down the tubes.

So eventually, you start seeing print deterioration, you try cleaning the heads (doesn't work), you buy and try new cartridges, and they don't work. You finally realize there is a physical problem with the printer. What did we expect for $50? Now you realize you just bought and installed ink cartridges that cannot be returned. So maybe you set out to try and find another inkjet to buy that will accept those cartridges. Sorry, that model printer is no longer produced, and the manufacturer is a step ahead of you to change just enough in the new models so they don't work with the old cartridges. Welcome to the world of inkjet printers.

A laser on the other hand may cost a bit more up front. You can get a color laserjet starting at about $150. The toner costs about double that of an inkjet refill, but a toner cartridge will produce from 1000 to 10000 prints. Toner never dries out. Laser printers are made to be more durable. The up time of the laser is significantly higher than an inkjet.

The bottom line is, depending on how you print, a laser will always be about a few cents per print where an inkjet can be over 20 cents and may very well approach a dollar per print.

Just my few cents.

Topic starter Posted : April 18, 2012 12:32 pm

I don't use my inkjet printer as much as I used to but you can easily get refill kits that work two or three times on the same cartridge, while OfficeMax also offers inexpensive refills. I've never had a problem with cartridges drying out. Not saying you're not correct by any stretch but so far so good where my personal use is concerned and my present printer is several years old.

Posted : April 18, 2012 12:39 pm
Advanced Member

I've re-filled by black injet cartridge many times. Instructions are available on-line as well as included in the kits.

Posted : April 18, 2012 1:03 pm
Trusted Member

We have 2 inkjet printers on island and 4 off. All go unused for months, depending on where we are. Never had one dry out. We refill our cartridges.

Posted : April 18, 2012 4:43 pm

Excellent information Vic. For larger print runs, say over 50 or 100 impressions, its always cheaper to utilize your local independent printing company. Consumers may be paying over $5000 a gallon for inkjet ink, but commercial printers pay a small fraction of that price.

Posted : April 19, 2012 11:58 am
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