Laser Printers : TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)

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TCO, or total cost of ownership, is virtually a mantra when it comes to volume printers. Unlike other peripherals, like monitors or scanners, the initial purchase price of a printer represents only a small proportion of its overall cost over its lifetime. Consumables, like toner and replacement image drums, add to the cost, and some printers with low initial purchase prices can easily turn out to be significantly more expensive than more pricey units, after a couple of years.

TCO, or total cost of ownership, is virtually a mantra when it comes to volume printers. Unlike other peripherals, like monitors or scanners, the initial purchase price of a printer represents only a small proportion of its overall cost over its lifetime. Consumables, like toner and replacement image drums, add to the cost, and some printers with low initial purchase prices can easily turn out to be significantly more expensive than more pricey units, after a couple of years.

Normally we would calculate a product's Value rating based on a weighting of all its performance and features, compared to its price. For these printers, we have done the same, except we've factored in TCO as well as the initial purchase price.

We calculated TCO for two different print volumes: roughly 50 pages a day (1,200 pages a month), which represents a small business environment with conservative usage of the printer; and 150 pages a day (3,600 pages a month), representing an office where the printer experiences heavier use. For volumes above this level, or for a large office where the printer is shared among more than 20 people, you should really be thinking seriously about a more expensive networked workgroup printer, which will enable you to keep TCO costs down through consumables as well as management.

To calculate the TCO of the printers, we have factored in the initial purchase price, then the price of toner, the image drum and any other consumables for each print volume over a two year period. Check page 80 for details of the results.

The take home message here is don't make your purchasing decision on the initial price only. Always consider the volumes you intend to print, and factor in the consumables cost over the period you think you'll be using the printer.
 
 

 

This reviewgroup appeared in the October, 2003 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine
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