Top 4 Cheap Printers 

Tuesday September 1, 2015

Earlier this year, Clark Howard posted an article on his website about overcoming the high price of printing. Clark is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to save more, spend less and avoid getting ripped off. We like the way Clark thinks and his article. Here it is….

Printers are the kind of purchase that people make based on price sensitivity. Few understand that the real cost of a printer is not its upfront expense, but rather the cost of replacement ink over its lifetime.

Most printer manufacturers have adopted the Gillette shaver business model. Gillette takes a loss on every handset and makes it profit on replacement blades.

Hewlett-Packard -- the dominant printer company -- exemplifies this approach. They lose on every HP printer they sell just to make a handsome profit on ink cartridges.

Get the best printer for your money

Even though HP has the business model it does, Consumer Reports recently took a look at printers and recommended the HP Officejet Pro 8100, which sells for around $100 and costs 1.5 cents per printed page.

A few other printers the magazine really liked were the HP Officejet Pro 251DW (inkjet, $230), the Epson Expression Premium XP-620 (all-in-one inkjet, $90), and the HP Officejet Pro 8620  (all-in-one inkjet, $200).

 Keep these tips in mind to save even more money with every page you print:

  • Choose draft mode when you print. This is a lower resolution mode that still looks great. You can drop cost to just under a penny a page.
  • Buy third-party ink. Printer companies hate it. The reality is some third-party inks aren't good. Others are just fine. You have to experiment.
  • Choose high-yield cartridges over standard cartridges. You may pay 20% more for these kinds of cartridges, but you can get double the prints. Not all printers can use high-yield cartridges.

Some time ago, I read a report about how cartridge manufacturers give you a notice that your cartridge will soon be empty when nearly 60 percent of the ink is still left. If you throw it out at that point, more than half the ink you pay for goes unused!

So when your computer tells you replace to the cartridge, instead just pull it out and shake it. You'll probably get several weeks more of use out of it. After all, manufacturers have a clear financial incentive to shortchange you and make you buy more of their product. What you pay to print per page skyrockets if you throw that cartridge out or recycle it too early.

Multi-ink (also called tri-color) cartridges are the worst because they have individual ink banks for up to three or four colors. Any one of them can run out before the others do.

Of these four printers, Cartridge World’s favorite is the HP Officejet Pro 8100. But we would really recommend HP’s multifunction version of the printer, the Officejet Pro 8610. It frequently sells for about $100, and lets you fax, scan, copy, and print wirelessly, too.

The HP Officejet Pro 8610 printer also takes high-yield 950XL black and 951XL color ink cartridges. These high-yield cartridges print more than twice as many pages as the regular 950 and 951 versions. Plus, Cartridge World offers the XL cartridges for about the same price Staples sells the 950s and 951s.

Need a new printer? Ask your local Cartridge World print expert if they have these printers in stock – or can help you order one. Smart printing is just a phone call away.