Comparing printers

My company’s primary product consists of consultation reports. At present, these are generated using a color inkjet (photo quality) printer. As one might expect, less than a month after the warranty on our newest printer expired, the damn thing is making horrible smudges on the paper. The printer’s diagnostic software helpfully suggests that we contact a service center.

Yeah. And pay more in service, labor, and downtime costs than it would take to replace the printer. Not bloody likely.

Before I put in my request for a replacement model, however, I want to find out some information on the possibility of upgrading to a color laser printer. I’ve checked out a few models on line, and the information provided is all very interesting. But I’m not finding what I most want to know: is the day-to-day expense of using and maintaining a color laser printer more economical than a color ink jet?

Since the day we bought our last printer, I have kept an exact count of how many ink cartridges we have consumed and when each was installed. These cartridges are only a fraction of the price of a color laser printer’s replacement cartridges…but if I understand correctly, the laser printer cartridges will last much longer. Long enough, though, to offset the price difference?

Any information along these lines, or pointers to relevant data, would be greatly appreciated.

By far.

I have a color laser at home. (An HP 2605dn) It came with a set of cartridges that will print 2,000 pages. When I was shopping for a printer, I discovered that the purchase price of the laser printer was less than buying ink cartridges for my existing inkjet printer for the same 2,000 pages. Toner also has the benefit of not drying out if you don’t use the printer for two weeks. The built-in duplexer and network connection are very nice “freebies” in the deal.

Yes, definitely cheaper.

A major difference is that every time ink jet printers ‘warm up’, they spray ink thru the nozzels to make sure they are all clear and flowing freely. This typically uses (wastes) 50-75% of your ink cartridges.

Laser printer only do the equivalent when you request them to print the special test page. People often go for months without any need to do this.

Thanks for the responses thus far. The immediate emergency (the result, I believe, of a faulty cartridge) seems to have passed. I have, however, planted the seed so to speak, and when this present printer is eventually consigned to the the great junk heap in the sky, I hope that there will be little or no need to debate the issue of upgrading.

Yes, a colour laser is certainly cheaper - not only because consumables themselves are cheaper on a per-area-printed basis, but also because it is inherent to the design of inkjets that they must waste ink just to keep the nozzles clean and clear.

Also, since printed output is such a key aspect of your service, a laser printer would also generate a better impression with your clients; they’re not always quite so good for photographs, but for coloured text, graphs, charts and other graphics, their output tends to be more striking and vivid than an inkjet on any quality setting.

Plus the printing won’t smudge if it gets a bit wet - such as when someone carries your report from the car to the front door in the rain.

The only downside is that consumables, when they do need changing, are a big lump of cost, but if you’re budgeting properly, this won’t catch you by surprise and will certainly be cheaper than inkjets across a period of time.

Get a colour laser (I’ve got an HP LaserJet 3600 and it’s really good - it prints all four colours in a single pass, so it’s really fast too) - also, get some good paper to print your published work on - something heavier, whiter and smoother than ordinary copier paper - the impression it generates with clients might create an upturn in business.

Good point on the paper. I’m running HP’s “premium” color laser paper, and there is a striking difference between that and “multifunction” or copier paper. Yes, they’re all white, but the color laser paper is a heavier weight, whiter and smoother.

An added “bonus” is that it should be better in the long term as it’s not supposed to shed as much lint inside the printer as the cheap paper is prone to doing.

Also take the value of you and your colleague’s time into consideration. Laser printers are typically print MUCH faster than ink jets, so might improve productivity, or allow one LJ to replace 2-3 IJs. Also, the increased life of the consumables will mean fewer wasted prints, time lost changing/searching for/procuring cartridges.