I’m regularly asked by customers “Which laser printer should we get?” or “What’s the cheapest good laser printer?” Here’s an initial stab at answering those questions. I’ve been pulling together some numbers on the costs to purchase & run assorted monochrome laser printers. While there’s still work to be done on tracking down some items like maintenance kit part numbers and prices, none of the outstanding information is likely to lower the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of a printer.
The preliminary numbers have surprised me quite a bit.
- Brother – a company I’ve always looked at as being a good choice for a home printer – is hands-down the winner on a pure cost standpoint over almost the entire range of print volumes.
- Hewlett-Packard/HP, which I knew would command a price premium, is never even within 15% of the best TCO, with toner costs in its low- to mid-range LaserJet printers more than twice most other manufacturers.
- Lexmark, another brand that I expected to be somewhat pricey, was within 15% of the best TCO only with one low-end printer under very light loads typical of household use.
- Dell, while the numbers are incomplete, looks like a very solid value for higher-volume printing or over the long term (300,000+ pages)
Read More for print volume numbers and some specific printers.