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Is it cheaper to buy a new printer than ink? – Myth Buster



Is it cheaper to buy a new printer than ink

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It is commonly thought off, that to buy a new printer is cheaper than buying a new ink cartridge or toner. In this article we are going to bust this myth, so do read on to the end.

Someone using printers long enough, would have heard that it is better and cheaper to buy a new printer as a whole, rather than to buy a new cartridge or toner.

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Author - Colin Hitchman

An avid technologist, having spent many years working in technical industries, and specializing in all kinds of tech stuff.

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Also check out, which printers accept compatible ink cartridges.

To answer your question straight up; no! Printers are cheap, but not cheaper than it’s inks.

It is, in fact, sold so cheaply that most printer companies are virtually selling them without incurring a profit.

But there’s an idea why this is done so, do read on to find out about, if it is cheaper to buy a new printer than ink (obviously we have answered it above),  and the whole idea behind this.

Yes! it is virtually cheaper to buy a new printer than ink, but, there is a caveat that will be discussed in this article, well, kind of (a misconception).

To be frank, this misconception is nearly true, but there’s something that printer manufacturers have done to keep this industry running, which after reading this article, should change your perspective of this industry.

In this article, we will prove this myth wrong by comparing prices, and also look at industry practices that make this myth not true.

Lets begin

Printers are sold cheaply

Users might have not heard that the printer ink industry, is a billion dollar industry, with that said, the price of inks are said to be more pricier than blood.

Compared to revenue made from selling printers, printers are sold at a loss when compared to the highly priced inks and for this reason, printer sellers have opted for this tactic of selling printers cheaply.

Making even a cheap, basic printer, is expensive. And so the industry takes advantage of this, by virtually giving away the printers,  knowing full well that they will make their dollars back in terms of ink sales.

Think about having to print 4800 dpi and have a crisp and precise printout. This is no easy feat!

They have wised up, knowing many more printer cartridges will be bought, compared to the lesser number of actual printers bought.

Want to take advantage of this?

Now, even if getting a new printer altogether saved you a ton (so you speak), it would still not make up for the savings, as a newly bought printer is only filled a fraction of what a new cartridge would be filled.

This smart tactic prevents consumers from taking advantage of low printer prices and high ink cost, by only filling up their new printer tanks a quarter of the way. These are called starter cartridges (the ones that come with the new printer).

To quickly sum up everything here, and to answer the question thus far, it is virtually cheaper to buy a new printer than ink – but there’s a catch.

There are many more mechanisms on printers that discourages, and avoids people getting a new printer each time the ink runs out, because the prices of printers are nearly equivalent to the price of inks.

Not to speak badly of printer makers, but some printer inks will self sabotage and need replacing after a short period of time. This is a way to make consumers buy ink at regular intervals.

Clever business model?

Furthermore, printers detect chips embedded on the side of the ink to check if the ink is from the manufacturer themselves or not. In other words, printers now mostly accept OEM or original manufacturer cartridges, which makes sure that people are only buying from them.

Whether this is an ethical model of business or not, that is up to you to decide, but to answer the question for the last time, yes! printers are nearly cheaper than inks, but they still aren’t.

There are many reasons for the above, as mentioned in this article.

To summarize it all; printers are usually sold at a really low price, but the ink that is needed with the device is usually the main expense to the consumer, so to speak, with this business model.

In other words, this allows for recurring sales, just as how butter goes with bread, but in this case, the bread lasts a long time and may continually need it’s butter (ink).

Although, it would not be correct to say that printers are cheaper than inks, the said statement would however, be true in the long run, as the inks virtually cost more than the printer itself.

Is it cheaper to buy a new printer than ink

Let’s see an example.

For a typical home printer user requiring about 7 pages a week, which someone working from home, or operating a home based business would be doing (printing).

A typical cartridge costing $20 will yield 100 pages (basically), this is based on the assumption that everything would go well, as some cartridges will break half way through, and sometimes you would need to print more per week.

Assuming that you print 7 pages a week, which is on the conservative side of the estimation, and the cartridge lasting 100 pages, that would give you 14 weeks of printing for $20.

3.5 months to 4 months for a cartridge, so theoretically, you would use 3 cartridges a year, for a printer costing $80.

Using the printer for 1 year, you would have spent $60 worth of ink, provided that you do not surpass 7 pages a week. Now that’s in an optimal scenario, but sometimes you would need an extra cartridge or two.

Assuming, you’d need 4 cartridges a year, you would have spent $80 on ink, now you’ve broken even on ink cost, relative to the cost of the printer.

After 2 years, money spent on ink, would have doubled. Although a printer is still more pricier than ink, it will however, reach break even point really fast.

So to conclude, printers are relatively cheap compared to ink prices, so consumers will try to beat this by buying a new printer every time, or a new printer after 2 ink cartridges.

As said above, printers a sold cheaply compared to ink. By filling the printer with starter cartridges, which are only filled half way, it will deter customers from getting a new one everyone 3 months or so.

Inks on the other side, are pricier. After a year of printing an average of 7 to 10 pages a week, (cartridge lasting 100 pages), the total amount of money spent would be equivalent to the cost of the printer.

Thereafter, total money spent on ink would be more than the price of the printer.

So, is it cheaper to buy a new printer than ink?

No! Because the price of basic printers are still greater, however, that statement would be true after a year of use, since the break even point would have been reached.

There may be, though, other reasons why you’d want to buy new printer!

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