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Thread: Colour Laser printing costs

  1. #1
    Hi Guys

    I am in the market to get a colour laser printer.

    I want one that prints copies nearly as good as an inkjet (or better)

    But I am wondering about the cost of consumables. My inkjet gets through lots of colour cartridges, but they are fairly cheap say $30.00.

    But when it comes to replacing up to 4 colour toner cartridges at about $100 per pop, then that could hurt !

    Does anyone have any experience of running costs for a colour laser ?
    Have you had to buy replacment colour toners yet ?

    I am not interested in manfacturers cost per page ratings as they are unrealistic, being based on 5% coverage - durr.

    Kind regards


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  3. Software & Hardware   -   #2
    lynx's Avatar .
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Yorkshire, England
    I've got an Oki C3100, out of production now but replaced by the C3200 (also out of production but may be still available). It prints photo quality, glossy on plain paper or card if you select the highest settings. I wouldn't recommend the new C3300 though, smaller carts (only rated at 1000 pages) will push up the running costs.

    I've had it for over 18 months now, and haven't replaced a cart yet. I know I use much more black toner than anything else and I can get genuine black carts for about 28 for a 3000 sheet rated cart so I'm not too worried on that score. Genuine colour carts are over twice that price so that's going to be hard on the pocket, but you lose the gloss finish with compatibles. I may get a set of compatibles though, and keep the originals for when I want the gloss finish.

    Only problem is that in order to get high quality colour prints you need a single pass printer, and that in turn means that the printer is going to be fairly big and heavy. In return you get high speed output too. These printers are about 0.5m long, and ideally need about 0.5m clearance at each end. And I nearly broke my back carrying the thing upstairs.

    I can't tell you what the actual running costs are since I don't know how much toner I've used, nor counted the number of pages. So while I agree that the manufacturers' 5% coverage isn't realistic, it's useful as a comparison since they all seem to base their costs on the same figures.

    A word of warning - don't try to use glossy paper in laser printers - the toner probably won't stick and you'll spend ages cleaning the inside of the printer.

    One other thing to watch out for if you are a linux user - most low cost lasers don't have a built in print engine so the processing has to be done on your computer and there often is only a windows or mac driver.

    In summary, initial outlay will be high and carts will hurt your pocket when you need them, but if you put away the same money that you currently spend on inkjet carts I think you'll have a nice surprise with the money left over when you finally have to buy the carts.
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