Calculating the Total Cost of a Printer

The fourth step before deciding which printer to purchase is to calculate the cost to own, operate and maintain the printers in question.

Here is a list of details you need to know to make your comparisons:

  1. The initial cost of the printer.
  2. The number of years the printer is to be in operation.
  3. The cost of an extended warranty to ensure the printer is operational the required number of years.i
  4. The expected yearly cost of servicing (mainly pertains to commercial grade printers) the printer.
  5. The pages per cartridge yield count of the ink/toner cartridges you will use.ii
  6. The number of pages printed per year.
  7. The cost of toner/ink cartridges.

i. To make an accurate comparison the warranty periods of the printers you wish to compare need to be the same. To accomplish this you might have to calculate the cost of an extended warranty for the difference in time.

ii. You can usually find the print yield of a cartridge on the manufacture's website, if not, do an online search with the cartridge's part number followed by "+Print + Yield" and you should find an answer. Also, make sure the same yield formula is used for the printers you are comparing.

From this information you can fairly accurately calculate the cost of owning a particular printer.

The formula looks like this:

Total Cost= ((Cost of Cartridge)/(Pages per Cartidge)  × Printed Pages Per Year + Servicing Cost Per Year) × Years of Use + Initial Cost + Extended Warranty Cost

The first step is to determine what it costs to print an average page. To calculate this, divide the cost of a cartridge (to be purchased from your usual supplier) by the pages per cartridge yield. Some manufacturers make more than one version of a cartridge so choose the one with the highest yield. Next, multiply the cost per page by the number of pages you print per year. If the printer will need to be serviced or parts other than print cartridges require replacement in the span of a year add this total to the cost of pages printed per year figure to calculate the yearly operational cost. Now multiple the yearly operational cost by the number of years the printer is to be used. If there are any other costs of operation that have not yet been added, add them now. The last step is to add the initial purchase expense and extended warranty cost to the cost of operation which will yield the total cost of owning and operating the printer.


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