Cheap Inkjet Printers Cost Your Company More Money

When it comes to purchasing printers, many companies follow a similar formula.  Go online or to a big box store and pick up a small, inkjet printer at $79.99.  Seems easy, and surely cost-efficient.  You can't beat $79.99!  Now your assistant can print right at her desk, and you can get what you want from her so quickly.  Everyone's happy, right?  Let's take a look at the actual costs of an all-in-one inkjet printer versus a larger, toner-based multifunction device or MFP.

Let's pick an easy number - 2,000.  That's the number of prints you want to produce each month, and of those 2,000 prints, you want 30% of them to be color.  So you go online and order that $79.99 desktop unit.  Why would you even dream of paying say $5,000 for a new, large color MFP?  It's easy to think that you've made the cost-effective choice.  Now let's move on to the second part of owning an MFP - maintenance.  If you bought that big box store all-in-one, you're on your own for service.  If you need toner or something breaks, you'll need to figure out how to take care of that.  If you bought or leased a larger MFP from an office equipment company, they'll include maintenance in your contract.

Basing our theory on the two machines we talked about, we can factor in some numbers to look at the costs of keeping your printers up and running.  The most basic necessity - ink or toner.  For both of the machines, we'll need four toners or inks - cyan, magenta, yellow and black.  So let's calculate some average costs of ownership.

  • The average inkjet device will cost approximately $0.165 per page produced.
  • The average toner device will cost approximately $0.022 per page produced.

Using these averages, the inkjet machine will cost you around $330 a month to handle the 2,000 print volume.  The toner machine will cost approximately $44 a month to produce the same amount!  Big difference!  And of course you're thinking, "yes, but that's a savings of $286 for toner, but what about the actual purchase price!?"  Fair point.

If you're a business though, the likelihood that there are more inexpensive inkjet printers around your office is good.  Everyone likes to have their own printer on their desk so they don't have to get up and walk to a printer down the hall.  But a larger toner MFP can replace A LOT of small inkjet printers, and our example only uses 2,000 prints a month.  Most companies are producing a much larger number of prints, making the toner MFP an even more attractive option.  But for the sake of apples to apples comparison, let's stick to comparing these two devices for a period of 60 months.

The Inkjet All-In-One

Initial cost to purchase:  $79.99

Cost -per-print:  $0.165

Monthly printing costs (based on 2,000 prints):  $330.00

One-Year Cost:  $3,973.99

Total Cost (60 months):  $19,869.99

The Large Toner MFP

Initial cost to purchase:  $6,000

Cost-per-print:  $0.022

Monthly printing cost (based on 2,000 prints):  $44.00

One-Year Cost:  $1,728.00

Total Cost (60 months):  $8,640.00

*Note: Initial costs, monthly printing costs and cost-per-print are based on industry averages.

Wait, WHAT?!?  That $79.99 inkjet printer became quite the money grab!  Now, this example again is only for one inkjet printer and one large toner MFP.  Imagine if we took your entire company and did this exercise with ALL of the inkjet printers versus several large MFPs.  The cost difference could be astounding.

We understand that the initial cost of the device is a large difference, but there are lots of advantages to having a toner-based MFP for your company.  That machine can print anywhere from 30 to 80 pages per minute and scans even more!  Most small inkjet all-in-ones scan and print about five pages per minute.  Most large MFPs can also work with applications you might already be using such as Google Drive or your document management system, making it an even more valuable tool in your office environment.

Overall, when you're considering printers for your office, remember, the cheapest initial price may be the most expensive over time.  Our Managed Print Team can do an analysis of your print fleet and make recommendations based off the volume of your printing, the layout of your office and what needs you have.  In most instances, we are able to find cost savings of up to 30% on printing!  

Want to learn more about saving on printing? Download our free guide to Managed Print Services.