Consumer Reports: Saving money on printers

Consumer Reports

(CONSUMER REPORTS) — If you’re in the market for a new printer, you might think buying an expensive model wouldn’t save you money but Consumer Reports says sometimes the printers with the smallest price tags actually end up costing you more in the long run.

Having to replace printer ink too often is one of the biggest gripes among printer owners, according to Consumer Reports’ surveys. But that could all change thanks to the growing popularity of a different type of inkjet printer.

“Refillable tank printers came out about six or seven years ago. Since then, their prices have come down and their performance has improved,” explains Consumer Reports Tech Editor Octavio Blanco.

Tank printers use refillable ink reservoirs instead of pricey cartridges, cutting ink costs tremendously for consumers.

Blanco says, “With tank printers, you pay more for the printer itself but the ink is fairly inexpensive. Over time, you really do save money.”

To show you just how much money, CR compares the long-term cost of a few all-in-one tank and cartridge models. This is based on typical inkjet use, which is 30 pages a month of mostly text with a few graphics and photos.

The price tag on the Brother top-rated all-in-one inkjet is $130. But, factoring in replacement ink, CR estimates the cost after just three years is $434. And after five years, a whopping $637.

Compare that to the top-rated $300 all-in-one tank printer from Canon. Factoring in ink, CR estimates after three years of use, the cost only goes up $18 and only $30 after five years. That’s more than $300 cheaper than the inkjet that uses cartridges.

An even less expensive option is the Canon tank printer for $180. The cost after three years is only $194 and only $204 after five years.

And CR says the ink bottles for both Canon tank printers should last you more than five years.

Consumer Reports provides the long-term costs for each printer it tests. You can find out much more about dozens of printers in their ratings on their website.

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