2.2: Consumable Items For Equipment
Printer ink/toner is probably the most expensive consumable item in the majority of offices. However, there are ways to make sure the cost is as low as possible. When buying an ink printer, be careful of cheap models with a single ink cartridge (black, red, blue, and yellow in one block cartridge). These may look good value, but as soon as one colour runs out you have to replace the whole cartridge, wasting all the ink remaining in the other colours.
Be careful also of colour printers with just a colour cartridge (no black), as when these models print black they have to use all 3 colours. This gives a poor quality black colour, and will drain your cartridge very quickly, making it extremely inefficient and costly, especially as black ink is cheaper than colour ink. You should look for a printer with either 2 cartridges (one black, one with three colours), or preferably a printer with 4 individual cartridges (black, red, blue, yellow), as these will work out the cheapest to operate in the long run, as there is no wastage of any colour.
With a laser printer, check the average lifespan of the toner and drum unit before buying, as it can often be worth paying more for the printer in order to save money on the long term printing costs. Many makes of ink cartridge (and a small number of laser toner cartridges) have the capacity to be refilled up to four or five times. This is done using special third-party refill packs. They allow you to make huge savings on the cost of new cartridges. However, refilling cartridges is not recommended by most manufacturers who claim that printing quality is lower.
Non-branded cartridges (both ink and laser toner) offer a cheaper alternative to the official printer cartridges. They can save you up to 50% or more on the cost of each cartridge. Printer manufacturers claim that the cheaper cartridges do not print as well as official cartridges; although in most cases they are comparable with the official ones. Non-branded cartridges are not as cost effective as refills, but are generally more reliable, and a lot less complicated