Beware of The $50 Printer!

How much will a $50 dollar printer really cost you?

These days, if you go down the printer isle at your local office store, you may see a few printers hovering around the $50 mark. You might think, “Wow! What a great deal”, but is it all it’s cracked up to be?

Lexmark was first manufacturer marketing $50 printers. The printer was a loss-leader and the sales of replacement cartridges subsidized the low initial cost. The cost of 1 set of replacement cartridges exceeded the value of the printer itself.

Many people, who never owned a printer before, were none-the wiser to what was happening with the cost of replacement cartridges. Furthermore, as time went on Lexmark continued with the same strategy but then began to reduce the size of the cartridges their printers use.

Consider this:

One Lexmark 10N0016 OEM Black cartridge retails for about $30 and will yield 410 pages at 5% coverage

One Lexmark 10N0026 OEM Color cartridge retails for about $32.00 and will yield 275 pages at 5% coverage

It became common practice to buy Lexmark printer for $49 to get the 2 starter cartridges that come with it. After ink had been used up, sell the printer on eBay, or throw it away and buy another one. What a waste� HP is now following suit with the same strategy, and trying to flood the market at the same time.

Several new HP printers will enter the market in July 2006. Many of which are cheap to buy (starting at around $25.00), but can be expensive to operate. Many of these new cheap printers do not come with printer cables or both ink cartridges which entices users by lowering the initial price.

Over the course of a few years however, the low cost of the printer will be overshadowed by the large amount spent on replacement inkjet cartridge

The inkjet cartridges that most of the new HP printers use contain only 5 Milliliters of ink. In comparison, about 4 years ago the most common HP black cartridges contained 42 milliliters of ink. That’s roughly 8 times more printing at about 1/3rd the cost (per milliliter of ink).

Many people who have owned older printers, feel abused when they see how quickly their new printer uses up the little cartridges.

Virtually nobody realizes the true cost of operating one of these machines until the first or second time they replace the ink cartridges.

HP now is trying to monopolize printer market by dominating retail shelf space with many different printer models. Most models have the same basic capabilities, however the more they can offer – the less room for competing manufacturers. HP hopes to lure people in with name recognition and low initial cost.

Once the customer buys the printer, they will have the customer’s replacement cartridge business for the life of that printer. The BIG money is in the supplies.

So the lesson here is this ½ It is critical that you investigate the price of replacement ink cartridges before you purchase a new printer. Comparison-shop both the printer and cartridges at the same time.
List of printers to avoid (These use low capacity cartridges)

Printers Using HP 21 and HP 22 Ink Cartridges (5 milliliters of ink)

PSC 1410 Series

Officejet 4315

Deskjet F340

HP F380

HP Fax 1250

HP Deskjet 3910

Deskjet 3940 Series

Deskjet 3915

Deskjet 3930 Series
Printers Using HP 92 and HP 93 Ink Cartridges (5 milliliters of ink)

PSC 1510 Series

PSC 1507

Officejet 6310

HP Deskjet 5440 Series

HP Photosmart 7850

Deskjet 5440 Series

The only people that should buy these particular new HP printers, are those who print infrequently (less than 3 cartridges per year).

HP makes quality printers, however we recommend simply seeking out a different model that does not use the #21 and #22 or #92 and #93 cartridges. Many more of these new HP printers will be released this month.

Another option is to look for a different manufacturer such as Canon, Epson or Brother. Their inkjet printers often get as good or better reviews from users.

Again, check the cost of replacement cartridges, page yield or milliliters of ink contained in the cartridge to be sure you are getting a good value in comparison.