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How to Calculate Your Printer’s Cost Per Page

Replacing printer cartridges can get expensive. Every printer works with a specific cartridge series at a set price point, making printing costs very different from machine to machine. To understand those costs, you’ll need to dive into your printer’s cost per page, or the cost of printing a single page with a certain printer cartridge. This article from explains all the details.

Simply stated, the higher the cost per page, the bigger your printing bill is at the end of the month!

Cost per page (CPP) is determined by dividing the cost of that printer cartridge by the printer cartridge’s page yield.

CPP = Cartridge price / cartridge page yield

In order to get a clear picture of your overall cartridge costs, we’ll help you evaluate how all three of these factors play into each other. Before we begin calculating, let’s explore page yield and cartridge cost in a bit more depth.

Page Yield

Page yield is the approximate number of pages you can print with a cartridge. Finding your cartridge’s page yield is easy, just look for it on the side of the cartridge box, consult your printer’s user manual or view our product description page. Yield can fluctuate significantly across printer cartridges. To make it easier for consumers to compare page yields across products, all printer brands base their yields on 5% page coverage, or based on printer pages where on 5% of the page has been imprinted with ink. For instance, our Premium Compatible Brother TN2420 black toner cartridge has a page yield of approximately 3,000 pages. Going off printer manufacturer standards, you should be able to print 3,000 pages at 5% page coverage, which is comparable to printing around 3,000 short paragraphs or emails. Keep in mind the 5% coverage is a baseline for comparison. If you are printing something more substantial like a legal document or a full-page color photo, your page yield will drop significantly. Since everyone’s printing habits are different, the actual number of prints you get from a cartridge changes from user to user.

Printer Cartridge Cost

The cost difference from one cartridge compared to another can vary. You can find some ink cartridges for less than £10 and some toner cartridges priced in the hundreds of pounds. Two printer cartridges can even offer the same exact page yield but contrast greatly in price. Each manufacturer has their own reasons for charging a particular price, including technology and development costs that help determine the value. Take the Compatible Brother TN2420 toner cartridge we mentioned earlier, it prints approximately 3,000 pages and sells currently at the time of writing at £14.35. Lets also look at our Compatible Brother TN247 black toner cartridge which prints the same number of pages for a more expensive price as at the time of writing this toner costs £16.75. Even slight variations in page yield and cartridge cost can mean a drastically different printing bill at the end of the day depending on what printer you own. Understanding cost per page will help you make a smart buy the next time you are shopping for a new printer! So without further ado, let’s jump into it.

Calculating Cost per Page

Cost per page defines how much you are going to be spending on your printed pages. Now that you are familiar with page yield and printer cartridge cost, you can use that information to calculate the cost per page. The math behind it is pretty simple, just divide the cartridge page yield by the cost of the printer cartridge.

Printer cartridge price / Page yield = Cost per Page

If we continue with our Compatible Brother TN2420 black toner cartridge example, we divide £14.35 by 3,000, giving us a cost per page of 0.0048.

£14.35 / 3,000= 0.0048 pence

Since all of the cartridges work together to produce the colors in your prints, the quoted page yield takes all of the involved cartridges into consideration. To get the cost for your colour cartridges, first calculate the cost per page for each individual cartridge using the same formula mentioned previously:

Printer cartridge price / Page yield = Cost per Page

Then, add up the cost per page of all of the cartridges. Most cyan, magenta and yellow cartridges have the same page yield and the black cartridge usually has a slightly higher page yield. If your printer uses four individual ink cartridges, you would add up the cost per page of all four cartridges:

(Black cartridge price / page yield) + ((Colour cartridge price / page yield) x 3) = Colour cartridge cost per page

We’ll look at Compatible HP 203X toner cartridges as an example. The cyan, magenta and yellow toner cartridges at the time of writing sell for £21.55 and print 2,500 pages each. The black 203X toner cartridge at the time of writing sells for £21.55 and prints 3,200 pages.

(£21.55 / 3,200) + ((£21.55 / 2,500) x 3) = 0.033 pence per page

Ways to Save on Cost per Page

The easiest way to cut down printing costs is to buy a printer that uses cartridges with a low CPP. A number of printers these days have a super low cost per page. A little bit of research and your newfound CPP formula goes a long way! Premium Compatible cartridges from The Cartridge Centre can bring your cost per page down even further thanks to their affordable price point. 

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