Pay Less to Print
Before you buy a new printer, figure the cost per page.
Manufacturers of inkjet printers have long used the razor-and-blades business model: The machines often cost $100 or less, but the ink cartridges can add up to two or three times that much in just one year. Now, however, increased competition and consumer outrage are writing a new chapter.
Over the past year, both Lexmark and Hewlett-Packard have run ad campaigns touting low ink prices, notes Andrew Lippman, a printer analyst with Lyra Research. And Eastman Kodak's latest turnaround strategy is based largely on cheaper cartridges for its printer line.
For example, Lexmark now sells a $5 black ink cartridge, the 105XL, which prints an estimated 500 pages. That's 75 pages more than Kodak's $10 10B black cartridge, which itself is considered a value compared with similar cartridges that cost $13 to $20.
Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance
Be a smarter, better informed investor.
Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters
Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.
Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.
Grab your calculator. The best way to get your money's worth is to figure out what it will cost to print per page, says PCWorld magazine senior editor and printer guru Melissa Riofrio. Start with a printer model you like. Then go online to find out how much you'll pay for cartridges and how many pages each cartridge will print. (Manufacturers and reputable online vendors, such as Amazon, often list page yields along with the cartridge's technical specs.)
Now divide the cost of the cartridge by the page yield. For example, the HP Photosmart C4780 uses the HP 60 black ink cartridge, which costs $15 and yields 200 pages. Cost per page: 7.5 cents. By comparison, the Kodak ESP 3250 uses Kodak's 10B cartridge, which has a 425-page yield. Cost per page: 2.4 cents.
More may not be less. But high-capacity cartridges may not be for everyone. "If you don't print very much, a high-yield cartridge that sits for months and dries up isn't necessarily a good thing," says Riofrio.
You'll need to run the numbers for color ink cartridges, too. Printers that use a single tricolor cartridge -- which has cyan, magenta and yellow ink tanks in one unit -- cost more in the long run. That's because once one tank runs out, you have to replace the entire cartridge, which typically costs $30 to $40.
Once you've compared printing costs per page, you still have to decide whether the most economical printer has the features you want. And you should compare print quality with that of pricier models. Visit a local retailer and put the printers through their paces.
One good choice for affordable home printing is the Canon Pixma iP4700 ($100). This inkjet model produces sharp, clear photos and documents, and it can print on both sides of the page (another money saver). Its inks are reasonably priced; the five individual ink tanks -- black, cyan, yellow, magenta and photo black (for pictures) -- are priced from $13 to $15 each.
New Mexico Rebate Checks Up to $1,000 Coming in June
New Mexico rebate checks will be sent soon. Here's what you should know.
By Katelyn Washington • Published
Should Graduates Spend or Save Their Gift Money? 14 Strategies to Consider
Financial experts share tips for deciding how to treat monetary gifts.
By Kiplinger Advisor Collective • Published
The 27 Best Smart Home Devices
gadgets Innovations ranging from voice-activated faucets to robotic lawn mowers can easily boost your home’s IQ—and create more free time for you.
By Daniel Bortz • Published
How to Choose the Right Payment App
banking Using PayPal, Venmo, Zelle and other apps is convenient, but there are pros and cons to each.
By Lisa Gerstner • Published
Shop for a New Wireless Plan and Save Big
Smart Buying Competition is fierce, and carriers are dangling free phones and streaming subscriptions.
By Rivan V. Stinson • Published
Watch Out for Job Listing Fraud
Scams If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to find new employment in 2022, be on guard against job-listing scams.
By Emma Patch • Published
28 Great Black Friday Deals and Doorbusters for 2021
Smart Buying We’ve rounded up dozens of bargains from top retailers including Amazon, Costco and Walmart, but you’ll need to act fast; many of the more popular items will be in short supply.
By Bob Niedt • Published
Virtual Numbers Add Security to Credit Card Shopping
Technology Some mobile wallets offer this feature, which randomly generates virtual digits that are linked to your credit card.
By Rivan V. Stinson • Published
Our Best Value Tech Holiday Gifts for 2021 (Plus the Best, Period)
Technology We'll help you find the perfect electronic stocking-stuffer with our annual holiday season gift guide.
By Brad Moon • Published
Say Goodbye to 3G Phone Service
Technology Providers are hanging up on 3G. While 5G promises better and faster service, you need new devices to take advantage of it.
By John Miley • Published