Neither ink nor toner are particularly cheap to purchase, but knowing the facts about both will help you to make a more economical printing decision. Here’s a general rule of thumb for anyone who’s worried about printing costs:
Ink cartridges are cheaper, but toner cartridges last longer.
Inkjet and laser printing both have their merits and drawbacks – neither method is objectively better than the other – but broadly speaking, it’s safe to assume that inkjet printing is better for people who only print occasionally, whereas laser printing can be a more cost-effective choice for heavy workloads.
Ink and Toner: The Numbers
So you want to know exactly how much ink cartridges and toner cartridges cost? Well, the prices vary greatly between different brands and models, but here’s an example...
This is a Brother MFC-J6910DW printer. It is an all-in-one colour inkjet printer. If you’re buying direct from Brother, you’ll pay roughly £24 for a black ink cartridge, and roughly £16 each for the cyan, yellow, and magenta cartridges. This means that a complete set of replacement cartridges would cost around £72, and this would keep you going for about 600 pages.
This is a Brother DCP-9270CDN printer. Again, it’s an all-in-one colour printer, but this is a laser printer, so it takes toner cartridges instead of ink. The printer itself costs roughly the same amount as the MFC-J6910DW, but how do the cartridges compare in price and lifespan?
Well, the black cartridge would set you back roughly £60, and each of the coloured cartridges would cost £78 or thereabouts (again, we’re assuming that you’re purchasing direct from Brother). That’s a total of just under £300 for a complete refill, but the superior page yield would keep you going for at least 1,500 pages – more than twice as many as the ink cartridges!
Having said that, there are cheaper ways to do both laser printing and inkjet printing. If you use a laser printer, you can buy cost-effective ‘compatible’ toner cartridges from City Ink Express – while these aren’t made by the original printer manufacturer (e.g. Brother), they are just as good in terms of quality and output, and they cost far less. For example, a compatible black toner cartridge for the Brother DCP-9270CDN costs just £29.60 from our site – that’s a saving of about 50%!
And then, for inkjet users, there’s CISS. Buying a CISS system for your printer will meant that you don’t have to buy new cartridges quite as often, and our CISS ink refills are cheaper than the average ink cartridge to boot!
Photo by André Karwath (view original here)