Colour laser printer reviews

Personal laser printers can colour your world, but watch out for hidden costs.
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06.Cost of ownership

Cost of ownership

The ongoing cost of toner is key. We looked at what it would cost to buy each printer and keep it stocked with toner for three years. To calculate this, we worked out a usage scenario that takes into account the amount and type of output you might expect for an average home. This scenario includes an average output of 10 black and white prints and one full colour print per day. It includes the cost of replacement toner cartridges, but not other engine components such as the ‘drum’ which have a fixed life in most models and must be replaced separately at regular intervals (though not as often as toner). The cost of these parts and the service intervals vary from printer to printer.

The prices we paid range from $269 for the Samsung CLP‑315 to $1007 for the Kyocera Ecosys FS-C5100DN. The Kyocera costs less for toner over three years ($945) than the Samsung ($1043). But the Samsung still works out cheaper to own over the three-year period, at $1312. The Kyocera closed the initial price gap somewhat, finishing at a total three-year cost (printer price plus toner) of $1952.

The difference is more dramatic, however, with two other similarly priced printers, the Dell 1320c ($399) and the Konica Minolta 1600W ($464), which ended up at opposite ends of the cost scale in our three-year total cost projection. Three years of toner for the Konica Minolta printer works out at $709, but for the Dell this cost blows out to $5237. This brings the cost of ownership (toner and printer cost only) for three years to $1172 for the Konica Minolta 1600W, versus $5636 for the Dell 1320c.



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