1 min read

Why Cheap Printers are Super Expensive

poster image printer cmyk

How cheap printers are like Uber

It seems so simple, right? Spend less money when you need something, and you will save money. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. For example, an Uber ride is definitely less expensive than buying a car to get someplace. But most of us need to “get someplace” on a regular basis making the cumulative cost of Uber rides far more expensive than owning a car. The same math figures with printers.

First, some caveats…

Now, before I go into the math, I had to streamline my subjects. First, even though most of us like the ability to print in color, mostly we print with black ink. Therefore, for the purposes of simplification, I will use calculations based on black ink only.

Second, I have selected HP brand printers since they are one of if not the top-selling brands of home printers.

Thirdly, I chose the average home printing at about 33⅓ pages per month, and all calculations are done over ten years of printer ownership.

Finally, of those, I selected three printers currently for sale at Staples’ website along with its pricing for the printer and black ink cartridges. Below is the table of results:

table data

So if you were to buy the Deskjet 3755, you would pay $79.99 pre-tax, but in order to keep it in cartridges, you would need to buy fourteen cartridges at $33.89 a pop bringing your ownership costs to $554.45.

If you bought the 2755e, you would pay $99.99 plus seventeen cartridges at $25.89 bringing your ten-year cost to $540.12.

Now, if you were to buy the 9015e, you would pay significantly more for the printer at $289.99 but would only have to buy two cartridges at 46.89 each bringing your ownership total to $383.77. That’s a 31% savings over the 3755 and a 29% savings over the 2755e.

In addition to the cost benefits, the 9015e has a better ink system, so if you were to let it sit for a month or so, it would still print. The cheaper printers combine the printheads in the cartridges making them more susceptible to drying out forcing you to buy even more ink.

Now I know that color ink changes my math, but adding color ink cartridges into my calculations only increases the ink costs and drives my point even further.

The Bottom Line

Once you do the math, you can see that there really is no such thing as a “cheap” printer. But once you know that, you can make an informed choice based on your own needs. Eventually, we will all need to replace our printers. When it comes time to do so, please feel free to ask me for my recommendation.


As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call. I look forward to hearing from you.


dan kimura

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