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This report, updated in 2014, will amaze you with the massive
cost of ownership difference in seemingly alike colour laser printers.


I have been in the printing and copying industry for nearly 30 years and  in that time I have witnessed some groundbreaking changes. When I first started repairing photocopiers and printers back in 1985, the choice was limited to mono machines with standard features such as reduction and enlargement and very mechanical sorting features on photocopiers and basic A4 mono laser printing. The first laser printer available to the small business was the HP laserjet released in 1984 using a canon engine sold to Hewlett Packard — a company synonymous with (and often mistakenly credited with inventing) the modern commercial laser printer. As the home computer market grew so did the influx of different printers and by the end of the 1980’s the first colour inkjet printers were hitting the mass market. It wasn’t long before the first colour laser printer; the QMS 1000, hit the market in 1993. So there we have it. The choice of colour printer is set by inkjet or laser apart from one interesting variant of the printer which was pioneered by the Japanese maker Oki in 1987: the LED printer replaced the laser with a dense array of light emitting diodes. From that point on nothing much has changed in the technology of laser, LED and inkjet printers but the plethora of choice, increased speed and the falling cost of purchase which has opened up an interesting debate on which printer to buy. There is also the price of consumables to take into account. The replacement consumables over the years will cost much more than the price you paid for the printer in the first place. To a greater or lesser extent, all printer manufacturers use sales of consumables to subsidise the cost of the printing hardware. The straightforward reason for this is because there is a price point, below which the sale of printing hardware alone becomes unprofitable.

Now for the facts
I have taken four current colour printers, all with network and double side printing, in the small to medium  business use range to demonstrate the total cost of ownership of a colour printer. This includes the toners that we all know need regular replacement and also the other consumables in a printer that often get forgotten when calculating the running costs. When we start to add in maintenance costs to the equation, the difference is quite staggering. I have taken the prices from the best available on the internet on all models here. Prices and yield of consumables vary greatly as do maintenance call out charges. I have not added in maintenance charges as the choices are so varied.

Printer 1
Xerox Phaser 6600dn £340
30 page per minute mono and 30 page per minute colour
Cost per colour print 10.02 pence
Total cost of ownership over 100,000 prints £10360
Overall view: The second most expensive printer to run in this report. They state their cost per page at 2.74p based on their standard toners, but to be fair I have taken their high yield toners cost to make it a low enough cost to make it into this report.

Printer 2
OKI C711dn £897
34 page per minute mono and 36 page per minute colour
Cost per print 6.01 pence
Total cost of ownership £6907
Overall view: Close second in overall running cost and the exact same printer as the OKI ES7411 below EXCEPT for the running costs.

Printer 3
Oki ES7411dn the most expensive in this report at £1097
36 page per minute mono and 34 page per minute colour
Cost per print 5.82 pence retail (non OKI ES Club price)
Total cost of ownership £6917 (OKI ES Club price £5462)
Overall view: The highest priced printer but with The lowest overall running cost at £1500 (OKI ES Club Price) less than the identical OKI Printer with a different number on the front. Add to that the 3 year warranty and the OKI ES Club Experience, the OKI ES wins yet again.

Now for the Market Leader
Printer 4
HP LaserJet Enterprise 500 colour M551dn £429
32 page per minute mono and 32 page per minute colour
Cost per print 11.12 pence
Total cost of ownership £11549
Overall view: THE most expensive printer in this report. Also a bit naughty that they omit to tell you anywhere on their sales page that the transfer belt will need changing after 150,000 prints at a cost of £350.

All of the above prices are calculated on the 5% coverage on an A4 page, however OKI actually work their coverage out on dots per page, or more simply, density of ink. If their declaration is correct their 5% is more like 9% coverage compared to the other printers. An even cheaper way to print in colour. A couple of printer manufacturers are offering service inclusive cost per page contracts on their printers. This means you can pay a price per print and not pay for any consumables or colour toner only (colour exclusive)

There are great benefits to doing this. You get full cover for all parts, servicing and call out charges for the duration of the contract. You know exactly what you are paying so you can gauge monthly costs and budget for any planned excessive usage. You won’t have a sudden cost for a whole set of drums or a major breakdown repair cost. You will get more for your money if you are on a toner Inclusive contract, and get discounted rates if you are a heavy user. Two companies currently doing this are Xerox, who are offering a centrally serviced cover and OKI Executive Series who offer dealerships to local companies with fully trained technicians. The Major benefit of having local dealerships is exactly that, LOCAL. If there is a problem you know the engineer is only a few miles away. You may have the most cost effective service cover in the country but it is of little comfort if the engineer is 150 miles away and won’t reach you until a week on Tuesday*.

 So to the conclusion.OKI Printers came out top in our impartial price breakdown AND OKI printers come out top with their local service options. Can you now see why MiKopy South choose OKI Executive Series as the choice amongst an alarmingly un-stiff opposition?

*actual call out time for a HP Plotter engineer. Call out placed on  a Monday. Cost of call out £250 just to turn up then £125 per hour. Our local call out rate is just £55

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