Toner cartridges are an unavoidable cost when it comes to laser printers. The cartridge contains the toner or ink that the printer puts to the page. Cartridges can range from ten to several hundred dollars depending on the toner quality and cartridge capacity. Cost per page is relatively low as the market has matured, and users can reduce costs further with refillable cartridges, recycled cartridges and managed print services.
Printing paper is as essential as toner is. Without it, you have nothing to print on. Overall paper costs will vary considerably depending on the quality you require and the bulk in which you’re able to purchase. Bulk purchases can lower paper costs considerably, but then, of course, you’re responsible for storing that paper and ensuring that it remains in ideal condition. Cheap paper sells for a fraction of a cent per page, but the highest quality papers can cost cents or more per page.
Software is a potential cost. An operating system like Windows provides built-in printing capabilities that are supported through the applications you use and print from. However, if you have more specific printing needs, then you may need a specialize program capable of meeting them.
Most modern laser printers are network-capable, which means that they can be accessed by a privileged device connected to that same network they’re on. Printers can also be connected using a traditional link, such as one printer linked to one computer. If you choose to network, you may have additional minor costs, such as an Ethernet cable, USB cable and so forth.
Laser printers have moving mechanical parts, which means that they’re subject to more wear and tear than perhaps most computer peripherals. Maintenance or repair is a long-term cost you must consider. It’s worth mentioning that consumer laser printers have gotten so cheap — often because costs are subsidized by the expectation of future toner cartridge purchases — that many home users will opt to discard and replace rather than repair.
Managed Print Services
Managed print services are a means through which businesses can lessen and consolidate the other costs listed above. One way this is achieved is by distributing overhead across many businesses that require the same products and services. Note that managed print services are generally not advantageous for home users.