The Truth Behind Ink & Toners

Today’s modern home and office printers are predominately based on one of two popular technologies, Laser or Inkjet. While manufacturers of printers will play up the assumption that the cost printers evolve around the machine, the true cost of printers is not in the printers, but in the supplies. With either technology, the cost of the ink and toners, are usually one half the cost of the printer or more. But if you stop to consider, it’s difficult to come to the conclusion that more than half the cost to manufacture a printer would be the printer cartridge. Especially considering that more and more of the cartridges you buy as the printer gets older, including ones sold as OEM, will be remanufactured empties that get recycled. Yes, even original equipment manufacturers remanufacture and resell the cartridges. The only difference is that OEM’s don’t discount or distinguish between first run and remanufactured cartridges.

The profit model for modern printers is based on this same basic idea, they give away the printer at an extremely low margin or even at a loss but make up for it in years of ink and toner sales. But you can’t really blame the manufacturers. When the average consumer shops, they generally just look at the initial, “out-the-door” price. Just give it some thought. If you were shopping for a new laser printer and you saw two competing models with comparable features from comparably reputable brands, if one were selling for 1150 and the other were 1350, you would probably buy the 1150 model all things being equal. But they would not be equal, because the replacement cartridges for the cheaper model would be 180 and the cartridges for the other would be 130.

Assuming you went through a cartridge a month, after a year, you would have spent a third more on the cheaper printer.

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