The Costs Of Printing Explained

The Costs Of Printing Explained

Posted by Adrian Rigby on

Whether you are an individual with a home printer that you use for homework or the odd document, or you are a company with several printers being used constantly, it is important that you understand the true cost of printing as it is much more than the initial outlay on the printer itself. In this article, the costs of printing are explained.  

Printer / Hardware 

It makes sense to start with the cost of the printer itself. Whilst it can be tempting to opt for the cheapest option, you need to realise that whilst the printer itself may be cheap or a decent price, you may end up paying more, in the long run, to keep the printer running. You should do your research first before buying any printer as the best printer will vary depending on your overall goal. Are you looking for a printer to print photos at home? Or are you a business that only really needs black and white printing capability but does need the ability to scan and print? If you are not sure where to start, we have the following articles to help.

Best printers for your home

The Best Small Business Printers

You need to consider what the purpose of the printer will be, realistically how much you are thinking of printing each day, what types of documents you will be printing, what size you have available to store a printer and the cost of the cartridges. All of these are great starting points to narrow down your choices. 

Consider the average lifespan of the printer model you are looking at buying. If it is relatively expensive to purchase however the reviews agree that the model lasts a long time, you will be saving money in the long term and will also save the hassle of having to buy another printer anytime soon.  


There are sometimes software costs that you will also need to consider when it comes to anything related to computers. License costs, software upgrading costs or specific programs may need to be bought at some stage depending on the printer and computers you are using. Whilst it is hard to predict exactly how much this will cost, you should research current prices and have this in the back of your mind when making a decision. 


Ink and toner cartridges can vary a lot. Whilst some can last a long time, others seem to be used up very quickly. Again, research needs to be done before you purchase your printer as you might feel like you are getting a good deal for your printer, but then spend more than you need to on cartridges. Research what the page yield of the cartridge is as this will help you determine how regularly you have to buy replacements. See if there are any bulk purchase options available or whether there are non-branded alternatives that will often be significantly cheaper but still provide a high-quality print. 

Colour printing  

Printing in colour will automatically add a premium to your printer costs. If your business only prints documents, then ask yourself whether you need colour printing capability at all. If you don’t, it will be cheaper in the long run. If your household or business definitely needs colour then try and opt for cartridges than come in separate colours. If you can change the colours individually, you can stop any wastage.  


There is no standard price for paper as it can vary so significantly. From size to style, thickness and colour. If you are a business, ensure you are getting the best deal possible and make use of any bulk buying discounts available. Ensure you are choosing the paper that is best for the job. Do not waste high-quality, thick photo paper on documents. Save this for more formal presentation documents. 

Maintenance costs  

Even if you have the best intentions and purchase the best printer on the market, there will inevitably be times when there are problems with the printer. When these issues occur there will be costs associated with this. You may need to purchase a maintenance kit for you to sort the issue yourself or you may need to pay a professional to fix the problem. There are also costs associated with the time you lose sorting the printer out and any projects that are delayed due to not being able to print. 

Cost per page  

To help you understand the real cost of printing, you can use a formula to establish the cost per page. This can help you make your final printing decisions.  

Cost per page= cartridge price/ page yield + paper cost  

Whilst this cost does not include maintenance and other costs we have discussed above, it is a good starting point. 

Why is the cost of printing important? 

It doesn’t matter if you are an individual with one printer or an office with dozens, it is important to have a thorough understanding of exactly how much it is costing you to print. Knowing this can help you make decisions to cut this cost down by purchasing different paper or saving on different cartridges. If you are in charge of ordering stationary and office supplies, it is even more important to understand the cost of printing so that you can ensure what you are ordering is sufficient for your business's needs.  

This guide is help explain the costs of printing and whilst not all costs have been included (for example there are costs such as electricity that go towards the final cost), you can hopefully use the costs and formula in this article to help you calculate your current cost of printing, help you when researching new printers or cartridges or help you cut your printing costs. If you need any advice with cartridges for your printer, do not hesitate to get in touch.  

 Call 01522 683460/ e-mail  All advice is free of charge based on over 20 years of experience.

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