Understanding the True Cost of Digital Printing Consumables

How True Cost is Measured

Since 2004, business owners have been able to calculate the true costs of running a multi-function printer (MFP). This is due to a couple of important reference points: ISO 19752 for monochrome and ISO 19798 for color printing. These two standards are based on testing to determine the yield of toner cartridges for MFP devices.

Consumable items such as toner play an important part in terms of Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). When offices around the world started adopting paperless practices in the late 1990s, one of the driving factors was TCO. When you combine printing volumes with printing costs per page, it is easier to make decisions with regard to which MFP would work better for your business.

Estimating Your True Cost

You can estimate TCO based on print volume and average print coverage ratio. This lets you come up with an approximation of per-page cost. Taking the cost of a toner cartridge and dividing it by the page count is hardly an accurate TCO calculation. The aforementioned ISO references take into consideration the median coverage ratio of 5% for A4 pages. It also assumes standard documents that are not heavy on photographs or graphics. Whenever you go above this coverage, the lower the yield of your toner consumables will be, thus resulting in a more expensive TCO.

Evaluating consumable yields are key when business owners whose operations require substantial printing and coverage. Even though other consumables such as drums and fuses can be more expensive than toner cartridges, you will not have to replace them as often. Ink, on the other hand, is a consumable that can quickly dig into your bottom line. If you wish to work toner cartridges into your operational budget, you will need to consult the ISO standards published by the manufacturer of the MFP. Reputable brands such as Xerox publish these benchmarks online for all devices; this makes it easier for you to estimate TCO before making a purchase.