Replacing printer cartridges can get expensive. Every printer works with a specific cartridge series at a set price point, making printing costs very different from machine to machine. To understand those costs, you’ll need to dive into your printer’s cost per page, or the cost of printing a single page with a certain printer cartridge. Simply stated, the higher the cost per page, the bigger your printing bill is at the end of the month! Cost per page (CPP) is determined by the printer cartridge’s page yield and the cost of that printer cartridge. In order to get a clear picture of your overall cartridge costs, we’ll help you evaluate how all three of these factors play into each other. Before we begin calculating, let’s explore page yield and cartridge cost in a bit more depth.
Page yield is the approximate number of pages you can print with a cartridge. Finding your cartridge’s page yield is easy, just look for it on the side of the cartridge box or consult your printer’s user manual. Yield can fluctuate significantly across printer cartridges. To make it easier for consumers to compare page yields across products, all printer brands base their yields on 5% page coverage, or based on printer pages where on 5% of the page has been imprinted with ink. For instance, an HP® 64XL black ink cartridge has a page yield of approximately 600 pages. Going off printer manufacturer standards, you should be able to print 600 pages at 5% page coverage, which is comparable to printing around 600 short paragraphs or emails. Keep in mind the 5% coverage is a baseline for comparison. If you are printing something more substantial like a legal document or a full-page color photo, your page yield will drop significantly. Since everyone’s printing habits are different, the actual number of prints you get from a cartridge changes from user to user.
Printer Cartridge Cost
The cost difference from one cartridge compared to another can vary. You can find some ink cartridges for less than ten dollars and some toner cartridges priced in the hundreds of dollars. Two printer cartridges can even offer the same exact page yield but contrast greatly in price. Each manufacturer has their own reasons for charging a particular price, including technology and development costs that help determine the value. Take the original HP 64XL cartridge we mentioned earlier, it prints approximately 600 pages and sells for $37.99*. Brother® sells an LC103 black ink cartridge for $16.79, which prints the same number of pages for a much cheaper price. Even slight variations in page yield and cartridge cost can mean a drastically different printing bill at the end of the day depending on what printer you own. Understanding cost per page will help you make a smart buy the next time you are shopping for a new printer! So without further ado, let’s jump into it.
Calculating Cost per Page
Cost per page defines how much you are going to be spending on your printed pages. Now that you are familiar with page yield and printer cartridge cost, you can use that information to calculate the cost per page. The math behind it is pretty simple, just divide the cartridge page yield by the cost of the printer cartridge.
Printer cartridge price / Page yield = Cost per Page
If we continue with our HP 64XL black ink cartridge example, we divide $37.99 by 600, giving us a cost per page of 6.3 cents.
$37.99 / 600=6.3 cents
As expected, the Brother LC103 black ink cartridge is much cheaper at just 2.7 cents!
$16.79 / 600 = 2.7 cents
Since all of the cartridges work together to produce the colors in your prints, the quoted page yield takes all of the involved cartridges into consideration. To get the cost for your color cartridges, first calculate the cost per page for each individual cartridge using the same formula mentioned previously:
Printer cartridge price / Page yield = Cost per Page
Then, add up the cost per page of all of the cartridges. Most cyan, magenta and yellow cartridges have the same page yield and the black cartridge usually has a slightly higher page yield. If your printer uses four individual ink cartridges, you would add up the cost per page of all four cartridges:
(Black cartridge price / page yield) + ((Color cartridge price / page yield) x 3) = Color cartridge cost per page
We’ll look at original HP 204A toner cartridges as an example. Original cyan, magenta and yellow toner cartridges sell for $56.99 and print 900 pages each. The black 204A toner cartridge sells for $50.99 and prints 1,100 pages.
($50.99 / 1,100) + (($56.99 / 900) x 3) = 23.5 cents per page
Ways to Save on Cost per Page
The easiest way to cut down printing costs is to buy a printer that uses cartridges with a low CPP. A number of printers these days have a super low cost per page, including Brother’s Inkvestment printer line and the Epson® Ecotank line. A little bit of research and your newfound CPP formula goes a long way! Compatible alternative cartridges from LD Products can bring your cost per page down even further thanks to their affordable price point. We’ll demonstrate the cost savings by comparing all four of our previous CPP examples with their compatible cartridge equivalent:
$18.99 / 600 pages = 3.1 cents per page
$5.99 / 600 pages = .99 cents per page
$29.99 / 1,100 pages = 2.7 cents per page
($29.99 / 1,100 pages) + (($34.99 / 900) x 3) = 14.1 cents per page
We hope you found our guide to understanding cost per page useful. If you have any questions about your specific printer cartridges drop us a line! Looking for a new printer with a low cost per page? Check out our blog article on cost efficient printers!
*Savings based on price comparison between remanufactured/compatible cartridge prices on www.LDProducts.com and OEM cartridge and printer prices from Amazon and Staples. All prices effective as of April 3, 2018. OEM names are registered trademarks of their respective owners and are not affiliated with, and do not endorse LD Products.