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Toner & Ink

This may be a little off topic...

I just bought a new Laser Printer for use at home, and before unpacking it, decided to look around at what toner is going to cost me.

Good God!!!

I thought my inkjet was expensive.  Two toner cartridges at retail cost as much as the printer itself!  I know this shouldn't shock me, but it does.

So, my question is, where do you guys buy toner/ink?  Do you just get it from the local OfficeStaplesMaxDepotUSA?  Do you mail order refurbished?  Or do you have a local vendor who sells refurbs?  Do you buy refill kits and do it yourself?

There are a lot of online shops that seem to do this, but seeing as how many of them fill my inbox with spam daily, I could use some help finding one that's reputable.


Tuesday, July 8, 2003

I would go through a lot of inkjet refills before getting close to the laser.  So, while the price is more, I still the the laser wins at least 2:1 maybe more.

Hopefully you have a laser that will allow refills.  Most do, and that will save you a bit.  Check the web each time as I find prices are all over the place.  Find a couple of places you like and go as needed.  When you get a refill, run the print test with it.  If it is not as clean as the original send it back then.

As a home machine, unless you print a lot, you will probably last a year or better.  (A friend of mine has had the original in her's for four years).    My machine gave me an estimated # of pages per refill and it is probably close to correct.

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Yeah, laser cartridges last WAY, WAY, WAY longer than ink cartridges.  They also don't dry up which can cause ink cartridges to become useless before you've used up all the ink, and lasers don't need expensive super-smooth paper to produce halfway decent output.  Laser printers are really much cheaper all told, even if you don't get the best price for the toner cartridge, so don't worry too much about that.

Inkjet printers are a scam. Sure, the device and cartridges are cheap, but the system ends up costing so much per page that you could hire a medieval monk to hand-draw your documents for the same money. I always recommend against inkjets unless you absolutely need a cheap colour printer... or unless you simply never print anything.

Chris Nahr
Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Could you put me in touch with this medieval monk of yours? I have some questions I want to ask, regarding making gold leaf stick to gesso...

Seriously though, why the anger towards inkjets? They do what they're designed for very well, namely print color documents fairly quickly and for much less money than any other color printing method. Yes, the ink runs out more frequently than the toner in a laser printer, but then the ink cartridges are about 1/20th the size of a typical toner cartridge.

[I've found that the people who are rabidly anti-inkjet are previous owners of Epson or Canon inkjet printers. Given my (thankfully limited) experience with those brands, I can see where they're coming from.]

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Chris, that's why I shop inkjets at price/page (and speed). I haven't looked in a while, but you can generally find a site that will do a "pennies/page" comparison.

As for inkjet cartriges costing - that's why the printers are so cheap (and commoditized). If the ink was closer to cost we'd still be paying $500+ for printers. I prefer the current setup because it makes upgrading so much easier.

And regarding toner - I think I've bought toner for my laserjet maybe three times since 1995, and it's seen some HEAVY use.


Tuesday, July 8, 2003

I've found that, at least for the printers that I've used, modern mid-range inkjet printers have fixed the ink-drying-up problem.  I actually loved my Epson until it got broken by the users.

The ink is still more expensive than the equivelent quantity of Dom, of course.  You could probably have gold in your ink for the price you are paying for it.

The problem recently is that companies have decided that, since Inkjets are so lucrative and people have been switching to Lasers because laser printers don't use the inkjet pricing model and therefore have more favorable long-term costs, that they need to make laser printers that work like ink-jet printers.

i.e. the latest laser printers are starting to actively prevent you from refilling them, charging way too much for the cartrages, and then being priced below the cost to produce.

Oh, and Martha, it's easy to make gold leaf stick to just about anything.  Just use some good sizing -- rabbit skin glue is the traditional choice and there's modern faster-drying sizing, too that seems to work quite well.  Just make sure that you leave it sit for the appropriate amount of time to get to the right level of stickieness.  You test with the two knuckles of your fist.

Flamebait Sr.
Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Laser toner in home office sizes come down to something like 4 to 12 cents a page to print. $129 for the toner catridge and you get 1,500 to 10,000 pages off of that. (very rough guess here)

Ink jet cartridges are indeed a scam. When the cartridge runs out, the best thing to do is toss the printer and get a new one. This HP deskjet here cost $50 but a replacement black cartridge is $47 and a replacement color cartcidge is $47. I've printed about 200 pages on it so far and it tells me I have only 30% of the ink left. Also, the drivers are total garbage - stuff prints wrong, misaligned, clunky. Postscript laser printers print things right. That's the way to go. And the toner is not so expensive all things considered!

X. J. Scott
Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Last time I looked, Inkjet would cost me about $.10 a page (color or B & W).  My color laser printer costs me about $.01 or $.02 per page for B & W and about $.03 to $.06 per page for color.

As an example for my Ricoh Ap204 Color Laser Printer
I can replace all 4 cartridges for about $450. That's good for about 7,000 pages (actually a bit more for B & W)

So that comes out to $.064 per page.

Also, LP are a lot lower maintenance hassle.

* Cheaper (about 1/2 the price.
* Printed pages don't bleed when they get wet.
* Faster printing.

Benefits of Ink Jet printers
* Much better quality color.  You can get photo realistic with a pretty cheap printer. Color Laser is nowhere near as good. But that's not what I use my CL for.

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

"When the cartridge runs out, the best thing to do is toss the printer and get a new one. This HP deskjet here cost $50 but a replacement black cartridge is $47 and a replacement color cartcidge is $47. "

This works find, except for the fact that most cartridges that come with inkjet printers aren't full - they usually only have 1/4 to 1/2 the ink of a full cartridge.

The best thing to do is to do some research and find out which printer has the lowest cost consumables per page. The printer won't be cheap, but if it lasts you'll get low cost per page.

I tend not to print much so I went with a cheap printer  (Lexmark Z23) - it was $19 when it was on sale (after another $10 rebate). It didn't come with a B&W cartridge, that was the most expensive part - $35.  The quality is excellent (IMHO), and I'm thinking of getting a cheap/used laser for just b&w printing.

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

I think that part of it is if you buy a cheap ink jet printer, you get exactly what you paid for. ;)

Flamebait Sr.
Tuesday, July 8, 2003

With the HPs, both the cheap and expensive ones have bad drivers and expensive cartridges. If you pay more for an inkjet printer, you don't get what you pay for. If you get a chepa inkjet printer, you pay the same for it as you would for a laser printer if you do a reasonable amount of printing... you just pay for it over a long period of time, $47 at a time.

That's why I prefer paying $1000 for a good laser printer over $50 for a inkjet. If it doesn't handle postscript, don't mess with it, unless your layout needs are modest, such as just printing simple letters and greeting cards at home.

X. J. Scott
Tuesday, July 8, 2003

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