Laser vs. inkjet cost per copy

Written by tom streissguth
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Laser vs. inkjet cost per copy
Laser and inkjet printers have fallen in price, and have become easier to use (dun cat - printer image by Maria Brzostowska from

Print quality aside, any comparison of inkjet vs. laser printers comes down to a very simple calculation: the cost of printed pages, per page. In this competition, lasers generally come out the winner.

Initial Cost

Inkjet printers are generally less expensive to buy than laser printers. Inkjets can be had for less than £52 in a big-box electronics store. Mid-range laser printers cost several hundred dollars.

Cartridge replacement

Replacement cost for inkjet cartridges can be high. For both kinds of machines, printer manufacturers make a much greater profit from the sale of replacements than from the printers themselves.

Cartridge Costs

The cost varies with the cartridge. Refills for the inexpensive Canon i320 inkjet, for example, cost £12, but they don't last very long. At a yield of 170 pages, the printer ink is costing about 11.2 cents per page.

Repair Costs

In comparison to laserjet printers, inkjet printers tend to have more mechanical problems—cartridges jamming, misprinting, or using too much ink. These can translate into costly repair bills or time wasted returning and replacing defective cartridges.

Laser Costs

An average laser printer costs more, and the replacement toner cartridges are more expensive. However, a typical laser cartridge costs around £65 and prints 8,000 pages. Per page, that works out to 1.25 cents. Lasers are faster, more durable, and consistent in the quality of the printed page.

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