Before you purchase a printer, what are the issues that you will look into? How much does the printer cost? How many pages could it print? How expensive is the ink/toner? You ask all these questions when you want to purchase a printer. However, the important part in choosing a printer is finding out its’ cost per page (CPP) and comparing it. Make no mistake that the price of the actual printer itself is definitely a factor that affects your buying behavior but, by comparing the cost per page for the printer of your choice, it will definitely provide you more information.

What exactly is “cost per page”? Cost per page provides you with the printer’s cost per print, giving you a rough estimated value to assist you in comparing prices across brands. The cost per page for each toner cartridge is calculated using the page yield of that cartridge.

The figure for the cost per page can be determined from a print assessment or by using a print management software installed on the printer. However, you can also do it manually and here is how. Please take note however, the measurement will not be precise for the various factors that are present which will  affect the results.

How to calculate Cost-Per-Page

#1.    Identify Printer’s Manufacturer & Model Number

This is a crucial step in determining the cost per print because the calculations will vary by printer and manufacturer. Therefore, before starting your calculation, determine this information. These details can be found together with your printer, within the manual or through the computer given that the printer is installed.

#2.    Identify The Page Yield Per Cartridge

HP Page Yield

Usually on most printers, the page yield figure and information is located on the toner cartridge itself. Most manufacturers share these information on their website too. Page yield figures are normally provided for black-white and color printing.

Manufacturers usually uses toner to cover about 5 percent of the page when printing a text document. This process will continue over and over again until the toner cartridge is depleted in order to calculate black & white page yields.

To calculate color page yields, manufacturers use the toner to cover an estimated of 20 percent of the page by printing a document that includes text and graphics until the cartridge is depleted.

#3.    Determine The Price For The Toner Cartridge

This step is arguably the most important step in calculating the exact cost-per-print of the toner cartridge you are using. However, assistance might be needed from the the accounting or purchasing department if you are in a corporation.

Should you encounter any difficulties obtaining the price for the toner cartridge, it is advisable that you consult the average retail prices for the toner cartridges you are using by visiting some local retail stores. Of course, these information can be obtained from the internet as well, usually from the manufacturer’s website.

Alternately, you can also browse for genuine Inks & Toners on our website.

#4.    Calculating Cost-Per-Print

Once you have obtained all of the information required, you can begin to calculate your cost-per-print for both black-white and color toner cartridge.  To calculate the cost-per-print for black & white, you will need to divide the cost of the toner cartridge by the page yield. The example below will show you how:

Cost of Toner Cartridge ÷ Page Yield = Cost-Per-Print

A ÷ B = C

89.00 ÷ 3000 = 0.0296

Moving on to calculations for color printing, the easy way to determine the cost-per-print is to use the calculated cost for black & white. Lets assume that all color toner cartridges have the same price with the same page yields, you can then easily determine the cost-per-print of each color toner and multiply it by 3. You can then add in the cost-per-print for the black & white toner.

[(Cost of 1 Color Toner Cartridge ÷ Page Yield of 1 Color Toner Cartridge) x 3] + Black & White Cost-Per-Print = Color Cost-Per-Print

[(A ÷ B) x 3] + Y = Color Cost-Per-Print

[(129.00 ÷ 2800) x 3] + 0.0296 = 0.168

What Does The 5% Coverage Means?

Usually when you approached a retailer for a printer, they will say that all cost-per-page are calculated and tested with a 5% coverage only. 5% coverage means that the manufacturers run tests on the printer by printing only 5% of a page.

The 5% coverage standard was a standard created by the International Organization for Standardization for the manufacturers’ purpose to accurately state how much the specific toner cartridge could print. Three standardization documents are created and currently used:

  • ISO/IEC 24711:2007 for mono or color inkjet printing;
  • ISO/IEC 19752:2004 for mono laser printing;
  • ISO/IEC 19798:2007 for color laser printing.


Factors Affecting Cost-Per-Print Results

Despite the information regarding the cost garnered from these calculations, there are various factors that can affect the results.

The most common factor that affect the results is the type of toner cartridge you are using. Keep in mind that all tests and experiments done by the manufacturers are with the use of their own toner cartridges. Therefore, using any other cartridges not manufactured under the same manufacturer will produce different results.

Plus, the testings conducted in the manufacturer’s lab does not determine the exact page yield on what actually gets printed within organizations. This means that, the amount of toner used actually in printing your documents will differ from what was tested. It is advisable that you monitor your printer consumption to roughly estimate the cost of printing per page in order for an estimated figure if you are a heavy user.

Nevertheless, the cost of your printer itself also plays a part in determining your cost-per-print. Keep in mind that however, if you think that the more expensive the printer is, the more expensive the toner is, you are wrong. Some printers, despite being ridiculously cheap, needed a more expensive toner cartridge to operate than expensive printers that uses only cheap toner cartridges. Therefore, it is important that you determine what you truly need in your printer before making a purchase.

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