Consumer report: the hidden cost of cheap printers

Local News

CONSUMER REPORT — 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,” said Octavio Blanco, Consumer Reports Tech Editor.

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

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

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 this 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 this 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 this Canon tank printer for $180.

The cost after three years is only $194 and only $204 after five years. CR says the ink bottles for both Canon tank printers should last you more than five years.

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