Inkjet versus laser printer

Contrary to what I found on most websites when googling about comparisons between inkjet and laser printers, the cost per page on high end inkjet printers is lower than that of laser printers.

Moreover, when buying a new printer one has to consider the number of pages that will be printed to estimate whether the savings done on the cost per page offset the extra initial cost of the printer or not.

Computing cost per page

In order to find out the printer that best fit my usage, I computed the cost per page of every HP multifunction printer with a price lower than $1000 (as of the April 26th 2015). Then I computed the overall cost of a printer that would print 3000 black and white pages (Cost of printer + 3000 * cost per black page). Prices are computed based on HP printers and cartridges official prices. I considered HP printers, because most of them are working under Linux. As for the number of pages, this is a rough estimate of my usage over 5 years (my estimate of the life span of a printer).

Cost per page and for 3000 pages:




Cartridges


Printer Price ($) Type Black ref Black price ($) Black pages Color ref Color price ($) Color pages $ / black page $ / color page Price for 3000 pages
HP Officejet Enterprise Color MFP X585dn 999.99 ink 980 113.99 10000 980 97.99 6600 1.1 1.5 1034
HP Officejet Pro X476dn 324.98 ink 970XL 119.99 9200 971XL 119.99 6600 1.3 1.8 364
HP Officejet Pro X476dw 349.98 ink 970XL 119.99 9200 971XL 119.99 6600 1.3 1.8 389
HP Officejet Pro X576dw 399.98 ink 970XL 119.99 9200 971XL 119.99 6600 1.3 1.8 439
HP Officejet Pro 8610 e-All-in-One 129.99 ink 950XL 36.99 2300 951XL 27.99 1500 1.6 1.9 178
HP Officejet Pro 8620 e-All-in-One 199.99 ink 950XL 36.99 2300 951XL 27.99 1500 1.6 1.9 248
HP Officejet Pro 8630 e-All-in-One 279.99 ink 950XL 36.99 2300 951XL 27.99 1500 1.6 1.9 328
HP Officejet Pro 276dw 399.99 ink 950XL 36.99 2300 951XL 27.99 1500 1.6 1.9 448
HP LaserJet Pro MFP M521dn 649.99 laser 55X 227.99 13000 1.8 703
HP LaserJet Pro 500 color MFP M570dn 749.99 laser 507X 199.99 11000 507A 223.99 6000 1.8 3.7 805
HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M476nw 529.99 laser 312X 111.99 4400 312A 122.99 2700 2.5 4.6 606
HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M476dn 629.99 laser 312X 111.99 4400 312A 122.99 2700 2.5 4.6 706
HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M476dw 679.99 laser 312X 111.99 4400 312A 122.99 2700 2.5 4.6 756
HP LaserJet Pro 400 MFP M425dn 399.99 laser 80X 178.99 6900 2.6 478
HP Officejet Pro 6830 e-All-in-One 119.99 ink 934XL 29.99 1000 935XL 56.97 825 3.0 6.9 210
HP Officejet 7612 Wide Format e-All-in-One 249.99 ink 932XL 31.99 1000 933XL 47.97 825 3.2 5.8 346
HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M277dw 429.99 laser 201X 89.99 2800 201X 99.99 2300 3.2 4.3 526
HP LaserJet Pro MFP M225dn 229.99 laser 83X 79.99 2200 3.6 339
HP LaserJet Pro MFP M225dw 329.99 laser 83X 79.99 2200 3.6 439
HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M177fw 279.99 laser 130A 54.99 1300 130A 57.99 1000 4.2 5.8 407
HP LaserJet Pro MFP M127fn 209.99 laser 83A 63.99 1500 4.3 338
HP LaserJet Pro MFP M127fw 259.99 laser 83A 63.99 1500 4.3 388
HP Officejet 5740 e-All-in-One 119.99 ink 62XL 34.99 600 62XL 38.99 415 5.8 9.4 295
HP ENVY 5660 e-All-in-One 149.99 ink 62XL 34.99 600 62XL 38.99 415 5.8 9.4 325
HP ENVY 7640 e-All-in-One 149.99 ink 62XL 34.99 600 62XL 38.99 415 5.8 9.4 325
HP Officejet 8040 with Neat e-All-in-One 349.99 ink 62XL 34.99 600 62XL 38.99 415 5.8 9.4 525
HP Officejet 150 Mobile All-in-One 399.99 ink 94 28.99 480 97 eco 40.79 532 6.0 7.7 581
HP ENVY 4500 e-All-in-One 69.99 ink 61XL 31.99 480 61XL 33.99 330 6.7 10.3 270
HP Deskjet 2540 All-in-One 79.99 ink 61XL 31.99 480 61XL 33.99 330 6.7 10.3 280
HP Officejet 4630 e-All-in-One 99.99 ink 61XL 31.99 480 61XL 33.99 330 6.7 10.3 300
HP ENVY 5530 e-All-in-One 99.99 ink 61XL 31.99 480 61XL 33.99 330 6.7 10.3 300

The ideal printer

We can observe that the lowest cost per black page is 1.1 cents for an inkjet printer (HP Officejet Enterprise Color MFP X585dn). Then there is a bunch of inkjet printers with a cost per black page of 1.3 cents and 1.6 cents. The cheapest cost per page for a laser printer is 1.8 cents (for the HP LaserJet Pro MFP M521dn).

When computing the overall cost of a printer for 3000 black and white pages, the cheapest printer is the "HP Officejet Pro 8610 e-All-in-One" with an overall cost of $178 ($130 initial cost and 1.6 cents/page), then comes the "HP Officejet Pro 6830 e-All-in-One" with an overall cost of $210 ($120 initial cost and 3.0 cents/page).

Printers below $100 have a higher overall cost because of their very high cost per page (6.7 cents per black page and 10.3 cents per color page). On the other hand, the printer with the lowest cost per page (1.1 cents) has a high overall cost because of its high initial cost of $1000.

In the end, the ideal printer depends on the usage that will be done (number of pages printed). Besides, one may consider additional features (print speed, duplex printing, ...) when choosing a printer.

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