The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) laser printer rating is by far the most sought after color printer feature. The TCO printer rating gives the user an idea as to how much will actually be expended to operate the printer up to the end of its stated warranty period, which normally covers 3 years. As observed, 3 years is the grace period extended for printer components. In such span of time, the printer is expected to perform seamlessly without necessitating repairs or maintenance.

TCO versus other Cost Parameters. TCO happens to be a far more comprehensive factor in evaluating the cost efficiencies of a laser printer. For one, it takes into account color laser printer cost per page, number of cartridge replacements and printed pages within the warranty period and the printer acquisition cost. Moreover, using TCO as yardstick serves as precursor to informed buyer decisions in the purchase of laser printers.

In order to better appreciate how Total Cost of Ownership factors come into play, the post features 9 single function color laser printers retailing above $500 and consequently compares pertinent cost components such as color laser printer cost per page of the featured models in a comparative outline format.

Table 1. Comparative Outline of TCO and Other Cost Parameters

For Single Function Color Laser Printers above $500

Laser Printer Model TCO Acquisition Cost Average Yield* # of Cartridge Replacements CPP**
Brother HL4070CDW $16,879.99 $499.99 4,250 42 2.30
Canon Color ImageCLASS LBP7200Cdn 30,279.00 699.00 3,025 60 4.10
HP Color LaserJet CP2025x 29,901.99 499.00 2,975 61 4.10
HP Color LaserJet CP3525n 22,798.99 649.99 7,875 23 3.20
HP Color LaserJet CP3525dn 22,998.99 849.99 7,875 23 3.20
Dell 3130cn Duplex Color 24,750.00 599.99 3,250 55 3.60
Okidata C6050 16,592.00 632.00 4,250 42 2.30
Okidata C6150 17,840.00 900.00 6,500 28 2.40
Samsung CLP660nd 18,490.00 640.00 5,125 35 2.50

*Average Yield in Number of Pages

** Color laser printer cost per page figures in cents

Notice that the list is not a chronological rundown of Total Cost of Ownership data for the featured color laser printers but is rather a thorough assessment of operational costs based on the cost of cyan, magenta, yellow and black replacement cartridges; the assumed number of replacements within the warranty period and yield coverage for all 4 toner cartridges.

Computing TCO. Laser printer TCO is a function of the sum of printer acquisition cost and aggregate operational costs. Let us examine more closely the factors that contribute to the reckoning of operational costs.

The only constant is Cost per Page (CPP) because whether the cartridge yields100 or a thousand pages, the color laser printer cost per page remains the same.  All the other factors such as toner cartridge cost, frequency of toner cartridge replacement and yield in printed pages vary for different laser printers and are therefore taken in as variables.

It is also in this context that we assume how each printer was programmed to print 5,000 pages (based on the Industry standard of 5% coverage) monthly or180 thousand pages at the end of 3 years.  Take note that the computation of the Total Cost of Ownership is based on the cost of the OEM toner cartridge replacements, as the printer is assigned to print a maximum of 180,000pages for the 3-year effective coverage period.

Aggregate operational costs is therefore the product of color laser printer cost per page, average printouts per month and expected number of cartridge replacements within the warranty period reckoned for all 4 cartridges.

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