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What's the lowest cost per-page?

As a rule of thumb, a laser printer will cost about half of what an ink
jet printer will cost per page.  This assumes you print in sufficient
volume that your toner or ink does not dry out or become damaged by
humidity just from sitting around.  A toner cartridge, once unsealed, will
work for about a year in an average office environment; this may be much
longer or shorter, depending upon ambient humidity.

You can expect monochrome lasers using a unified toner and drum (including
all HP printers) to hit about $0.03 per page.  You can expect monochrome
ink jets using a unitized cartridge to hit about $0.06 per page.

It is possible for individual printers to have wide variations from these
numbers.  For example, the Okidata LED page printers (which are for all
practical purposes laser printers) have a separate toner bin and drum.  
This means you can replace only the toner bin, at a cost of about $20-25,
instead of a unitized toner and drum for about $60-80.  Every so many
toner bin changes, you will have to replace the drum for about $120, but
you can decide when to do that on the basis of print quality.  Also, if
you print so little that you never change the toner bin ten times, you may
own the printer for years without having to change the drum.  The Okidata
LED page printers are very nice if you can find them on the refurb market,
since it is often possible to get one with the Postscript option for only
a few hundred dollars.

If you use an ink jet printer with unitized cartridges, Pelikan makes a
series of replacement cartridges which are two-piece assemblies.  The HP
DeskJet, for example, typically takes a $35 unitized cartridge, but
Pelikan makes a two-piece replacement for about $20 that takes $10 refill
cartridges.  Using this system completely eliminates the messy refill
procedure of squirting ink into old cartridges, since the two-piece
assembly uses sealed, interchangeable refills.

-- Mike

On 2000-06-21 at 10:08 -0400, Christoph Doerbeck A242369 wrote:

> Anyway, that brought up a question.  What's the best printing device
> these days when it comes to cost-per-page?  Is laser printing a
> better deal?  How about Cannon & Epson?

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