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How Much is Printer Ink?

How Much is Printer Ink?

Jan 14th 2020

Shopping for a new printer can set you back a large chunk of change, but with a little internet-sleuthing and research, it’s easy to find one that fits well within your price range. And nearly just as important is going to be the type of printer ink required for the job.

Here are some things to consider when shopping for both ink and printer:

  • The scales of your printing jobs
  • Whether the majority will be text or images
  • Quality of the images on the paper
  • Whether you want to use different paper mediums (stationery, vinyl, glossy, etc.)
  • And most importantly, the cost of ink and the printer

This guide is here to help give you an idea of how much printer ink costs, and which product is right for your job.

What Are The Types of Printers

You might think that every printer is compatible with every ink on the market, but that’s not true! As mentioned above, there are certain topics to be considered when shopping for a printer, and it all eventually leads to the cost of ink.

In the long-run, you want a dependable printer without an expensive printer ink cost. There are two types of printers to choose from: Inkjet printers and Laserjet printers.

Inkjet Printers

To get creative here, inkjet printers are basically made up of tiny hoses that squeeze out colorful droplets in rapid succession. The liquid, of course, is ink, and the types of ink vary in their methods of depositing.

  • Dye-based Ink consists of colorants, dissolved and suspended in a liquid that gets sprayed onto a piece of paper. These inks are cheaper and often offer a wider range of colors. Still, this type of ink is highly susceptible to bleeding, smearing, and smudging.
  • Pigment-based Ink use particles of solid colorants suspended in a liquid carrier. They produce longer-lasting images less susceptible to damage from water and smearing, however, there is often less range with regards to color and are usually more expensive than dye.

Laserjet Printers

Aside from sounding futuristic, laserjet printers offer a wide range of advantages over their inkjet counterparts. Instead of relying on hoses to squirt dyed liquid onto a page, laserjet printers use a laser to melt a powder onto the paper, a powder contained within a toner cartridge.

  • Long-lasting Affordability – While the upfront cost of a laserjet printer will most likely be higher than an inkjet printer, its lack of ‘ink’ means the cartridge will never dry up. This means you’ll save money over time by offsetting printer ink cost.
  • Less Susceptible Ink – Liquids are prone to damage like smudging, smearing, and bleeding if it comes in contact with water. Laserjet printers do away with that issue by using powder and heat to essentially melt ink onto the page.
  • Job Speed – Laserjet printers can print up to forty pages per minute. Using toner as opposed to ink in your printer means you don’t need to sit around and wait while a large job is completed.

Let’s take a look at which printer might be the best choice for you. If you...

  • Are focused more on photography
  • Print smaller amounts throughout a year
  • Want options when choosing the style of printing paper
  • Do mainly small-scaled printing at home

...then the affordability and reliability of a small inkjet printer would be perfect for your needs.

However, if you...

  • Need large projects printed quickly, often at work
  • Don’t need color prints
  • Will print exclusively on printer paper
  • Will focus on text-based projects

...then the speed and efficiency of a laserjet printer would satisfy your needs and save your money.

Now that we’ve given a brief overview regarding both types of printers and their respective efficiencies, it’s time to look at their required inks and the cost of printer ink.

Ink Cartridges for Inkjet Printers

To make matters a little more complicated, inkjet printers can come equipped with two different styles of cartridges for printing:

  • Two cartridge printers rely on two separate cartridges as their name implies: one black and one tri-color, made up of yellow, magenta, and cyan. Using only two allows you to save money by reducing the overall amount of cartridges you need to buy at a time, but it has its drawbacks: if one color is low or dries up, you must replace the entire cartridge.
  • Individual cartridge printers have a cartridge for each individual color: black, yellow, magenta, and cyan. While you might need to purchase more cartridges in a single run, it does allow flexibility—if one color is low all you need to replace is that specific color. You can also continue to print if one of the colors is low.

Toner Cartridges for Laserjet Printers

Toner cartridges are usually a single unit, filled with a powder-based print medium. It is collected and transferred onto the paper by a charged printing drum. Because of the use of laser technology to imprint the powder, toner for printers is often referred to as a laser-printer.

When it comes to replacing the unit, you only need to shop for one cartridge. And because most laserjet printers use solely black ink, and never dry out, shopping for these occurs less often.

The Cost of Printer Ink

So how much does printer ink cost? In reality, it depends.

There are several factors to take into consideration when looking for new ink. The type of printer you own is a major decider, but the type of cartridge best suited to your needs can also be inspected further.

Page Yield

Page yield refers to the number of pages you can print through a single cartridge, based on a 5% page coverage. Naturally, cartridges with higher page yields will be more expensive. Thankfully, identifying page yield is rather easy when looking at the packaging—if the cartridge contains XL on the box, then you know it is a high yield. The better the yield, the more preferable the printer ink cost.

  • Keep in mind, higher yield cartridges are physically larger!
  • Ensure your printer can accommodate a larger ink cartridge

Cost Per Page (CPP)

The cost per page is the dollar amount you spend printing each page. The more ink required on a single page, the higher that page costs. Additionally, it is important to note page yield on a single cartridge when making a purchase. To calculate CPP, divide the cost of the cartridge by page yield. The CPP is the most important factor when figuring out costs.

  • An HP 63 black ink cartridge yields 190 pages and typically costs $19.99. Its CPP is 10 cents/page
  • An HP 63 high yield ink cartridge yields 480 pages and typically costs $37.99. Its CPP is 7.9 cents/page
  • A Brother TN850 toner cartridge yields 6,000 pages and typically costs $106.99. Its CPP is 1.7 cents/page
  • A Brother TN850 super yield toner cartridge yields 12,000 and typically costs $121.99. Its CPP is 1 cent/page.

Based on these numbers, it’s clear that the greater cost per page comes from using toner over ink, and paying the larger upfront cost for the high yield cartridge. While the price might scare you, keep in mind how less frequently you’ll buy new cartridges. Couple that with outlets like Supplies Outlets and you won’t even think about purchasing anything other than high yield.

Where To Purchase Ink

Luckily, just about every major business supply chain carries both types of printers and nearly every type of ink. Some suppliers will even help set up your device in your home. However, for the best deals, excellent service, and a lifetime warranty, only Supplies Outlet can compete.

Original Manufacturer Ink Cartridges

Your printer’s manufacturer is always a reliable option when buying compatible ink, but it’s the most expensive. They will often push the idea that using any other brand of ink, or third party cartridges, will not be compatible but this is not true.

Remanufactured Ink Cartridges

Oftentimes, used cartridges can be sent to a manufacturer which then cleans, repairs, and replenishes the cartridges before reselling them at huge discounts. Supplies Outlet takes advantage of their knowledge to provide this service at incredible rates. They can set prices of their own choosing, meaning you’re getting the best deals possible.

Don’t Be Afraid To Look Around

Major retailers might often be your first idea when looking for new printers and ink, but they aren’t the only carriers of these products. While the employees are there to help you, their main goal is to make a profit. At suppliers like Supplies Outlet, servicing customers with prices that won’t drain your wallet is the goal.

Spending some time researching more than just major outlets will often yield great results to keep you, and your pockets, happier.


Supplies Outlet. About Supplies Outlet: Your Ink and Toner Source.

HP. The Differences Between Printer Toner & Ink.

LD Blog. What’s The Difference Between Ink and Toner Cartridges?

LD Blog. Inkjet vs Laser: Which Printer Should You Get?

Ink Cartridges. The Comprehensive Ink Guide for Beginners.

Toner Buzz. Printing Costs: How To Accurately Calculate Your Printing Cost Per Page.