Experts: Factor in ink costs to judge printer value
Posted August 16
Looking for a new printer for yourself or a student?
It’s hard to resist a good sale, but that deal on a printer, may not be worth it. Inkjet printers vary widely on the amount of ink they use, which adds significantly to the cost.
"The price of a cartridge ranges anywhere from $12 to $120 by itself," said Consumer Reports' Electronics Expert Rich Sulin. "So, that printer you may have paid only a little bit for will cost you a lot more over time.”
Consumer Reports recommends researching ink prices. Do the math to find out how much you’re really paying for that printer over time.
Here's a look at the difference:
The HP Envy costs $130, but it needed new ink after just five months. At three years, your total cost is up to $471. At five years, it would cost $735.
A printer from Brother is a little more at first—$225—but it didn't need ink for almost a year. After three years, the cost would be $336, and five years down the road it would cost $444.
“Another option is a printer with refillable ink tanks," Sulin said. "The tanks hold a lot of ink, so you go a long while before you have to refill them,” Sulin said.
The $280 Epson EcoTank doesn’t need new ink for more than two years. After five years, the total cost is $315, which is less than half of the bargain printer’s cost after five years.
But there was one drawback with it: In tests, the print quality was only fair.