How to Calculate Cost Per Page
Forecasting and maintaining your printing costs is not easy, yet it’s an
important task if you want to limit
the amount you spend whilst still getting an office
printer to suit your needs.
Over a printer's lifetime, the running costs will generally dwarf the
upfront purchase price. So if you’re looking to buy a new printer, it’s
important to work out what it will cost
to run before you make your purchase.
Having said that, it’s more important to find the right printer for your
needs. So start by deciding what features you need, and forget about
limiting costs for now. You have to meet your office requirements, so you
might as well address those first.
Printer running costs, ink and toner
Once you've determined your printer requirements and have some models in
mind, you can start investigating printing
costs. Begin by checking the cost of ink or toner cartridges.
Manufacturers make their profits on these, so cheaper printers often have
higher running costs.
To roughly calculate the cost
per page, divide the price of an ink or toner cartridge by the
number of pages the manufacturer says it should cover. However, these
figures can be unrealistic. Printer manufacturers base their figures on 5%
of each printed page being covered in ink. In reality a full page of text is
usually closer to 10%.
The same problem affects any 'cost per page' figures that manufacturers
quote, so always take these it a very large pinch of salt.
Accurately forecast the cost per page
If you know the format and layout of pages you will be printing (such as a
company letterhead or marketing brochure), you can use page coverage
software like APFill to
predict the cost per page for printing in your company.
This will help you find the best value printer for your business’ needs – no
matter whether you need to do lots of colour printing, or need standalone,
high-volume black cartridges for more general printing. Combine the running
cost with the initial printer purchase price to build a clearer picture of
how much the printer will cost your business overall.
Monitor your printing costs
Once you’ve bought your new printer, see if it comes with printer
maintenance or counting software to monitor how many pages you get from each
ink or toner cartridge. With time, this will allow you to predict when you
need to buy replacement cartridges.
Calculating your printing costs (cost/page)
There are a couple different ways you can figure out the cost-per-page
on any given printer or copier. You can run a print assessment using print
management software, which runs tests to gather data and provide you
a pretty accurate assessment on your specific device. However, if you’re
looking at purchasing a device this isn’t the best solution to get you a
better gauge on the impacts that one machine may have over another on
your bottom line. For that, you have to take a more manual approach to
get that estimate.
The cost-per-print calculations vary by device and manufacturer, so
determining the printer manufacturer and model number is an important
first step. If you’re browsing out database of machines, you’ll find
that here: (screenshot)
or on the machine, in the manual or, (if this is a printer you have
access to on your computer), via your computer’s control panel.
Most manufacturers share their page yield figures on their website and
most times on the side of their toner cartridge packaging, which makes
it pretty easy to get these numbers even if you don’t have access to the
machine or toner cartridge itself. Manufacturers test these by either:
printing a text document that uses toner to cover about 5% of the
page over and over again until the toner cartridge (black) is empty,
by printing a document that combines text and graphics using toner
that covers about 20% of the page until each cartridge (black and
colors) are empty.
Next, look online or at manufacturer websites to get an average cost for
replacement cartridges. With this info, you’ll finally be able to
calculate your cost-per-print for black and white prints and color
For black and white:
Divide the cost of the toner cartridge by the page yield.
Toner Cost Cartridge ÷ Page Yield = Cost-Per-Print
EXAMPLE: 79.99 ÷ 2200 = 0.036
Divide the cost of the color cartridge by the color page yield, then
multiply by 3, and finally add the black and white cost per print
you found above.
[((Toner Cartridge Cost ÷ Color Page Yield) x 3) + Black and White
Cost-Per-Print = Color Cost-Per-Print
EXAMPLE: [(109.99 ÷ 2600) x 3] + 0.036 = 0.163
While this method isn’t the most accurate, it should give you a pretty
clear estimate as you consider machines for purchase. Of course, there
are additional factors that can sway these results, like:
The type of cartridge you select for your math
The testing performed by manufacturers on toner cartridges
Choosing a refilled
or How to reset Cartridgecartridge
The test documents themselves which can differ from what the user
The age of the printer
The environmental location of the printer
How often the printer is used
Once you’ve purchased your new printer, see if it comes with printer
maintenance or counting software to monitor how many pages you get from
each ink or toner cartridge. With time, you’ll find this simple math
updated with numbers you’ve gathered from experience will help you to be
able to predict and budget for future printing-related expenses. Or
consider stepping things up with something more robust like print