Half of the printers on test cost less than $200, but don't let that fool you: the purchase price is a small proportion of the cost of ownership – printer ink for inkjet printers is one of the most expensive fluids on earth, and the toner used by laser printers is expensive too. That's why we look at the total cost over three years. We also include an assessment of the ink used by inkjet printers in their cleaning cycle – the results may surprise you.
Modern printers are sophisticated pieces of technology and they can produce impressive results, but that comes at a cost. When not in use, inkjet printers can accumulate air in the ink cartridges and dried ink or dust on the print heads, so if they've not been used for a while they perform a cleaning cycle before printing which itself uses ink. For most of the inkjets in this report (except those we reviewed before we introduced this test) we've measured the extra ink used in cleaning cycles over a three-week period of low use.
Laser printers don't have a corresponding cleaning cycle and our measurements show no significant increase in the amount of toner used when the printer is used infrequently. But there may be other costs associated with lasers that we haven't included in the three-year calculation.
Go back to our old comparison table.