SLIDESHOW

Don't Let Your Printer Suck Your Wallet Dry

Some printers charge exorbitant prices for their replacement ink or toner. Here are seven printers worth avoiding--and four much cheaper alternatives.

Pinch Your Printing Pennies

We look at a clutch of printers that come burdened with pricey printing costs, as well as some hardware alternatives that can save you significant dough.

Pricey Printing: Epson WorkForce 40 Inkjet

Black ink for the Epson WorkForce 40 inkjet costs $17 and a cartridge can print 230 pages, which works out to 7.4 cents per page--a penny more than the average for printers we've tested in this category.

Each color cartridge costs $12.34 and lasts for 310 pages, or 4 cents per color per page--also higher than average.

Cheap Printing: HP Officejet 6000 Wireless All-In-One Inkjet

Ink costs for the HP Officejet 6000 Wireless inkjet printer are very reasonable, especially if you use the company's high-yield cartridges.

For instance, at the time of this writing, the printer's 1200-page high-yield black cartridge costs $32 (that's 2.7 cents per page), while each high-yield color cartridge costs $15 and lasts for 700 pages (2.1 cents per page). Even the standard cartridges' costs are below average.

Pricey Printing: Canon Pixma MX330 Inkjet Multifunction

Any printer designed to use tri-color cartridges is bound to impose higher printing costs than a printer that accommodates individual color cartridges, because you have to replace the cartridge as soon as one of the colors runs out. The Pixma MX330's color cartridge costs are slightly higher than average, but its black-ink cartridges are even worse:

At the time of our review, a standard-size black cartridge cost $16 and lasted for 220 pages, which comes to 7.3 cents per page. The high-yield cartridges cost $22 and lasted for 401 pages, bringing the cost per page down to a still-high 5.5 cents per page.

Cheap Printing: HP Officejet 6500 Wireless All-In-One Inkjet Multifunction

The prices per page for the Officejet 6500 Wireless's standard-size, black and individual-color ink cartridges are average. The corresponding figures for its high-yield cartridges are even better--just 2.7 cents per page for black text and 9.1 cents per page for four-color pages, at current prices.

Pricey Printing: Dell 2130cn Color Laser

The standard-size toner cartridges (all of which are specced for 1000-page yields) for the Dell 2130cn have far higher costs per page than they should.

The black cartridge costs $47 (4.7 cents per page), while each color costs $62 (about 6.2 cents per color per page), as of this writing.

Pricey Printing: Dell 1320c Color Laser Printer

Both standard-yield and high-yield toner supplies for the Dell 1320c cost far more than the average as of this writing.

The standard-size cartridges last 1000 pages each: The black toner cartridge costs $49 (4.9 cents per page), while each color costs $65 (6.5 cents per color per page). The high-yield cartridges last for 2000 pages each: Black costs $66 (3.3 cents per page), and each color costs $87 (4.4 cents per color per page).

Cheap Printing: Dell 3130cn Color Laser

The Dell 3130cn's higher-capacity toner cartridges save you money. The machine ships with standard-size supplies: a 4000-page black cartridge, and 3000-page cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges.

At these capacities, you'll pay just 2 cents per plain-text page, and about 12 cents per page for four-color prints. The high-yield versions (all of them specced for 9000 pages) offer even greater savings: At this writing, a black toner cartridge costs $132 (1.5 cents per page), while each color cartridge costs $241 (2.7 cents per color), yielding a four-color page cost of less than 11 cents per page.

Pricey Printing: HP Color Laserjet CM2320nf Color Laser Multifunction

No high-yield option exists for the HP Color Laserjet CM2320nf, and its toner costs are above average when matched against competing printers' standard-size cartridges.

Black costs $123 at this writing, and the cartridge should last for 3500 pages (3.5 cents per page). Each color cartridge costs $121 and should last for 2800 pages (4.3 cents per color per page).

Pricey Printing: Lexmark x543dn Color Laser Multifunction

The high-yield toner supplies for the Lexmark X543dn are acceptably priced, but the standard-size, 1000-page versions are too expensive.

As of this writing, a standard-size black cartridge costs $45 (4.5 cents per page), while each standard-size color cartridge costs $59 (5.9 cents per color per page).

Pricey Printing: Oki C3530n Color Laser Multifunction

Toner for the Oki C3530n costs too much, regardless of color or size. At this writing, a standard-size black cartridge costs $54 and lasts through 1500 pages, for a rate of 3.6 cents per page; the high-yield black costs $77 and prints 2500 pages, for a rate of about 3.1 cents per page--not much of a savings.

Each standard-size color cartridge costs $63 and lasts for 1000 pages; that's 6.3 cents per color per page. Each high-yield color costs $110 and lasts for 2000 pages (5.5 cents per color per page)--another unimpressive price break.

Cheap Printing: Ricoh Aficio SP C232SF Color Laser Multifunction

The Ricoh Aficio SP C232SF ships with skimpy, 1000-page black and color toner cartridges; but its high-yield, 6500-page black replacement cartridge costs just $126 (1.9 cents per page), and the 6000-page color supplies cost $163 apiece (2.7 cents per color per page) at this writing. A page printed in all four colors would cost a dirt-cheap 10.1 cents.

Even the standard-size, 2500-page toner supplies are priced within reason: At this writing, black costs $83.50 (a hefty 3.3 cents per page), but each color costs $108.50 (a midrange 4.3 cents per color per page). At these prices, a four-color page would cost 16.4 cents.