How to calculate printer cost per page

Written by c. taylor
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How to calculate printer cost per page
Calculating the cost per page offers a better price comparison between printers. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

To properly compare the costs of printers, you need to know more than the initial purchase price. Over the life of the printer, the purchase price will likely be overshadowed by the printing cost, which is expressed as the cost per page for the replacement cartridges. Although some factors, such as paper and electricity, contribute to the total printing cost, they are required components for all printers and can be safely ignored for comparison purposes. Because most people print in colour or black and white with varying frequencies, you should calculate both of these to obtain an accurate estimation.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Reference the ink or toner requirements of your printer. Monochrome printers will only have a single black cartridge, but colour printers will have one or several colour cartridges in addition to the black cartridge. The specifications sheet of the printer will tell you how many cartridges are required. You will also need to know the cost per cartridge and the average page yield of the cartridge. This information should be available from the ink manufacturer.

  2. 2

    Divide the cartridge cost by the page yield for each cartridge. As an example, if your black ink cartridge costs £19 and yields 500 printed pages, its cost per page is 0. If each of the three colour cartridges costs £26 and yields 400 pages, their cost per page is 0 each.

  3. 3

    Add the cost per pages for each applicable cartridge. If you are only calculating the cost of printing in black and white, then the black cartridge's cost per page is your answer. If you are calculating the cost for colour printing, you need to add the cost per page of all cartridges, including black. In the example, your colour cost per page would be 0 for the black cartridge plus 0 for each of the colour cartridges. Therefore, your total colour cost per page is 20p.

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