Office Document Strategies Blog

Is Your Colour Printer Eating Your Pocketbook- Part Two?

Posted by Lee Kirkby on Mon, May 17, 2010 @ 15:05 PM

Kyocera FS-5300 Colour Laser PrinterIn Part One of  this blog we talked about some of the choices to be made in controlling and deploying your colour printer.  But how do you decide between all of the options out there?  Is a small inexpensive printer the way to go?  Or would a larger more robust device be better?  One of the key decisions can be based upon the total cost of ownership for your device.

It is fairly easy to determine the basic operating costs of colour printers however it does take some calculating.  The formula is:


  • B&W toner cost/toner rated yield=estimated cost per page for B&W.  
  • Colour toner cost/toner rated yield x 3=estimated per page cost for colour components
  • + B&W per page cost to get the total estimate of a single colour page.  This should be a fairly conservative estimated cost since it allows for quite a bit of toner to be utilized in creating the page.
  • You then need to find any other consumable items like imaging units, fuser units, maintenance kits, waste toner bottles, etc.  Calculate their estimated cost the same way by taking the cost and dividing it by the rated page yield.  Be careful as some brands of printers do not easily tell you what the imaging unit, transfer unit or fuser yields will may have to dig, or just don't consider a brand which hides these costs from you.
  • Total all of your individual per page costs: one for B&W and one for colour. 
  • This will give you an estimated running cost.   
  • Multiply by the estimated number of pages (both B&W and colour) you will run and you have a good idea of what your device will cost to operate.  
  • Add to this your amortization cost (capital divided by the length of time you expect the device to last or the monthly lease cost if leased) and you have a total cost of ownership.   Samsung CLP770 with three trays
Now you can compare between various models and price points of units.  Often you will find the higher capital cost unit will be less costly over time, than a less costly unit with much higher running costs.


Usually toner and consumable yields are rated at 5% coverage for each model of device so you can easily compare between models.  This means that coverage on the page doesn't really matter for comparison purposes.

Take all of this into consideration, pick a good brand name product from a reliable supplier who can support your device and enjoy your ability to produce better quality colour printing.  In many offices, especially smaller offices doing lower volumes of printing, there is no need for a B&W printer at all and a good solid colour printer can meet all of the needs.

What is your cost of colour for the devices you currently use?  Do you know? What has your printer experience been?  Tell us what you advise.

Lee K 


Topics: Colour printer, Printer, cost of printing