Is it cheaper to print black and white in a laser printer or any color in inkjet?

The most important consideration for most consumers before they invest in a printer is cost. Most consumers are typically aware of the upfront cost to purchase a printer.  This is because this cost is clearly visible and unambiguous.  It is the amount you handover before you are allowed to take the printer out of the store. 

Other operating costs, which are more significant over the lifetime usage of the printer are less clearly delineated and hard to assess.  These are the ongoing cost of using and maintaining the printer. These costs cover the cost of electricity to operate the printer.  These costs also cover for the cost of purchasing consumables, which for a printer are the cost of buying paper and the cost of buying replacement printer Ink cartridges or laser toner cartridges. The type of cartridges purchased depends on the type of printer purchased. 

 In assessing the cost of buying replacement cartridges, a metric that is commonly used is the cost per page.  This is simply the cost of buying the cartridge divided by the number of pages (or the page yield) that will be printed by that cartridge.  For example, if a cartridge D cost $27 and is expected to print 400 pages, then the cost per page would be $27/400 which is equal to $0.0675. 

Knowing the cost per page is very important in determining what type of printer to procure.  There are generally two classes of printers in contemporary times; the Inkjet printers which use Inkjet Printer Ink Cartridges and the LaserJet printers which use Laser Toner Cartridges.  These two classes of printers are good at doing different things.  InkJet printers are considered optimized for printing color images at slow speeds.  While LaserJet printers are considered specialized in printing black and white text graphics at high speed.  This is generally the case, although there are cases depending on the model of the printer where this rule might not be followed. 

To get more detailed information on the cost per page for various types of printers and printer cartridges, it is best you look up the manufacturer specification before making your choice.  Research from Lyra shows that on average it cost $0.05 to $0.08 to print a black and white page on a LaserJet printer.  While for an InkJet printer, the average cost per page ranges from $0.12 to $0.80 for printing exclusively in color.  This research supports the proposition that it is cheaper to print black and white in a laser printer than it is to print any color with inkjet printers. 

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