29 January 2014 ~ 0 Comments

Pay a Little Now or a Lot Later

Pay Now LaterI know in the last few blogs I have been discussing the various types of printer malfunctions and of course I intend to finish that series, but I ran into something yesterday that may be interesting to explore. I was speaking to one of my favorite customers about her fax machine and she was telling me that she was thinking that it was about time to replace it with a new one. It seems that it was starting to get to the point where the problems were showing up a little too often. The machine that she has is a Brother.

Now, if you’re not familiar with the Brother products, in addition to the toner cartridge, there is a separate drum unit that must be replaced from time to time. For most of their products, you can expect to use one drum for every five toner cartridges. The problems that she commonly experiences have to do with image quality which would mean that either there is a problem with the drum unit or the toner cartridge. While there are times that she has had a problem with premature failure, many times one of the consumables is simply at the end of its life cycle.

What I like about other machines, like HP and Canon, is that there is only one consumable that is replaced, the toner cartridge.  That’s one less headache when you have a problem.  So, I asked her why she bought that particular machine. She kind of shrugged and said that it was probably because it was the cheapest.  Of course, I encouraged her to consider the other brands of machines since they are less complicated, but I also told her that she might be surprised at which machine is actually cheaper. In the long run, you are going to spend more on consumables that you are on the machine itself.

What she was considering at the point of purchase was the INITIAL COST OF ENTRY when she really should consider the TOTAL COST of OWNERSHIP. Again, of the lifetime of the machine, you spend several times more on the consumables that you do on the machine itself. So I decided to do a little investigating. I went down to the local Office Depot and looked at several different machines and did a cost comparison using Office Depot pricing for the machines and consumables.

I compared four machines, the Brother MFC 7860 ($299.99), the HP M1536dnf ($249.99), the HP MFP425dn ($349.99) and the Canon MF4770N ($199.99). Then, using OEM consumable yield information and OEM pricing from Office Depot, I did some cost analysis.  What I discovered was exactly as I would have guessed, but is probably the exact opposite of what most people might think. I found that the most expensive printer initially, the HP 425, was the least expensive to own by the time you reached 10,000 pages printed. The next one was the other HP, the HP 1536.

At 50,000 pages, the HP 425 was a savings of nearly $500 over the brother. And the most expensive printer is the one that is least expensive at the store, the Canon.  I have done this comparison before and the same holds true for standard laser printer. When it’s time to purchase your next machine, remember that the TOTAL COST of OWNERSHIP should be considered not just the INITIAL COST of ENTRY.

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