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Home > Printers > Laser Printers > Total Cost

Laser Printer's Total Cost of Ownership

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Take a walk around any technology store today and you will notice a pretty large disparity in price between inkjet and laser printers. It seems like big companies are giving away inkjet printers, and they have a good reason. The profit for most manufacturers is in the ink cartridges, not the printer itself. In fact, most manufacturers take a loss on the printer expecting to make up for it each time you need more ink.

On the other hand, a laser printer offers a much lower cost per page (CPP). This disparity becomes even greater the more you use your printer. Take this example:

So let's say you print 5000 pages a month. With a laser printer, you will have to replace the toner twice to reach 5000 pages (~$500). On the other hand, with an inkjet printer you will have to replace the toner approximately 25 times that month (~$1000)! This is not cost effective and quickly becomes an annoyance.

This is an extreme example, but for any office with a heavy print workload, laser printers are more cost effective overall.

Other Costs and Consumables to Consider
Photoconductor Unit
For entry level laser printers, this unit is typically combined with the toner cartridge and is replaced every time you change the toner. However, for enterprise and workgroup laser printers this is a separate unit that requires periodic replacement. The photoconductor unit acts as the distributor for the plastic powder that laser printers use to make characters and images.

Transfer Roller
Without going into too much detail, a transfer roller pulls the toner from the photoreceptor to the paper. Typically, these are good for 20,000 to 100,000 pages, but do need to be replaced periodically.

Fuser Kit
The fuser is a heating element that provides heat to bond the power to the paper. Generally, the fuser kit is made up of one heating roller and one rubber backing roller. These are also good for a fair amount of pages (~100,000), but do require periodic replacement.

Waste Toner Kits
In entry level laser printers, the waste toner kit is combined with the toner cartridge. After the page has been printed there is excess toner that doesn't bond to the page. This is wiped clean after each page and deposited into a waste toner receptacle. This waste toner kit must be replaced periodically, on average every 100,000 pages.

General Maintenance and Cleaning
Most manufacturers offer a cleaning kit to help you maintain print quality. These are helpful and should be use as often as is recommended. As a general rule, the printer should be vacuumed and cleaned every 50,000 pages. It's also a good idea to replace any necessary consumables at this time.

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