The TRUE Cost of Laser Printing

This is probably nit picking. Too bad. I’m hacked!

DGG has an old Okidata Color Laser Printer (C5150N). It’s a great printer, particularly since I think I paid something like $700 for it, a duplex unit, and an extra tray.

It’s been having some problems lately. Actually, I’ve been having some problems lately. It needed a new drum unit. I thought I’d save some money and do an internet search for a cheaper drum unit. I saved 50%, but the drum I ordered didn’t work. So I ordered another one from a discount dealer. That one didn’t fix the problem either. So now I’ve ordered at twice the price from a vendor that I know will come through for me. Guess that’s a lesson for me on trying to go cheap.

Anyway, all of this caused me to take a look at the cost of a new laser printer. You can buy new color lasers with duplex and a network connection starting around $300. I decided to check out the cost of toner.

The toner cartridges for my Oki are rated at 5,000 pages of output. No one gets that because that rating is at 5% coverage. Why have a color laser if you’re going to print 5% color? My documents are more like 15% to 25% (or more) color. So I get around 2000 pages. The toner cartridges are $25 each. Not bad.

So I looked at a new OKI. Toner cartridges: $48, rated for 1500 pages. Yep, that’s right 1/3 the toner for double the price. Then I started really looking closely. ALL the low priced color printers ($500 – $1000) seemed to follow this pattern. Some of them had toner cartridges that cost OVER $100 with ratings of around 2000 pages. Geez.

Morale of this story: Watch the cost of the toner. Laser printers are like razors. They lose money on the printer and stick it to you on the toner!