20 July 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Sometimes An X Rating Can Help Your Business

xNo, of course I’m not talking about anything inappropriate.

I’m talking about secret codes. I’m talking about saving money. That’s right, I’m talking about printer toner.

You know, the insufferable enemy of office managers everywhere. Printer toner cartridges are the necessary evil that plays a vital role in producing those lovely pie charts and cost analysis spreadsheets required by every office in America.

You probably know the “model number” of toner you need for your office printers, but there is a little more to it than meets the eye. And, a little knowledge could save you a pretty penny.

But first, a little background information…

When laser printers first became affordable for small business owners, there were very few models to choose from and each printer had only one (or relatively few) toner cartridge options. But, as technology prices began to drop, more and more printer models flooded the market and with them came a slew of toner cartridge options. There are OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer), third party options and one option,  often overlooked by small business owners, compatible (sometimes referred to as remanufactured) toner cartridges.  These can offer the same print quality and quantity but at a much lower price. By way of a shocking coincidence, we’re experts on compatibles that can save you money.

All these options can often be confusing, but more importantly, it is sometimes hard to figure out what is your best value for your dollar. This is where the secret codes come in.

You see, many of today’s manufacturers offer toner for their printer’s with different yields. (A yield is a measurement of how much printing you can get out of a single cartridge.) The yields of a toner cartridge can have a major impact on what your actual cost per page is. The three major players in this shell game are Hewlett Packard, Lexmark, and Brother. Chances are, you have one of these model printers in your office right now.

Go check. I’ll wait. While you are there… check the part number on your printer cartridge. It will come in handy in a minute.

Back already? Great… let’s dig in.

First, let’s take a look at Hewlett Packard.  As a rule, when HP offers what are called “dual yield” cartridges, they use the same part number with one small (but important) difference.  The final character is either an for the standard yield or an X for the higher yield version.

For example, the cartridge for an HP 4000 is a C4127A (commonly referred to as a 27A) for the standard yield (6000 pages) and a C4127X (commonly referred to as a 27X) for the high yield (10,000 pages.)   That works out to 67% more pages for only 31% more money.  See, I told you an X rating could help your business. When you break the code and do the math, it doesn’t make good business sense to purchase the 27A if you expect to go through toner cartridges on a regular basis.

One word of caution, make sure that your machine will handle the higher volume cartridge before you purchase it.  In the beginning, the only noticeable difference in the cartridges was the amount of toner in it.  (Why didn’t they just fill up the normal ones all the way to begin with?) Now some of the cartridges that are manufactured for multiple printers are actually smaller in the standard yield version.

Lexmark, on the other hand, differentiates the cartridges with the terms “high yield” and “extra high yield.”  In the case of a T644 cartridge, the extra high yield cartridge would cost about 25% more while the yield would be 52% greater than the high yield.

Brother is a little different on the math. Their toner choices that work for the same printers have a difference in the expected yield separated by a factor of 30 in the part number.  So, while a TN460 costs you 34% more than the TN430, the yield would be 100% more.  That’s like getting the second cartridge for 2/3 off!

So, you see, a little knowledge about manufacturer’s codes and what they really mean can save you a lot of money. I know this gets a little complicated. Give us a call or shoot is an email and we’ll be happy to make it simple (and cost effective) for you based on your printer and printing needs.

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