Let’s start with the basics of a color printer.
What is a color printer, and how much does it cost?
If a printer can print colors other than black (and white), it’s a color printer. The colors consist of red, yellow, and blue. The modern technique used to color print is called the four-color process. These four ink colors are cyan, magenta, yellow, and key (black), which is why it is dubbed as the CMYK. Have you seen CMYK printed on your newspapers? They stand for these colors. You can get a color printer starting from around Rs. 2500, but a branded one will definitely cost you more (up to Rs. 20,000 and more). The price has been steadily dropping in the last couple of years with the improvement and introduction of new technology.
The price of an inkjet printer is not that high, but this only about 5% of the actual lifetime cost of the printer. You have to put money on ink, paper, electricity, and its service. Its lifetime is about three to five years, depending on the particular printer. A costlier one is more likely to last longer. It is advised to deduce the printing cost per page before deciding the printer to be bought. It is not easy to determine this as a different type of printing require an unusual amount of ink. Printing photos will require more ink than a standard text page.
A significant mistake made to reduce printing charges is buying low quality and/or recycled paper. Colour printing comes best with quality paper. It can cost you around one rupee. Though it does not make much difference to standard printed text, photos are much clearer and dry faster on good quality papers.
Some of the printers (HP and LEXMARK printers) have print head embedded in the cartridge. It means the print head gets replaced every time you replace the cartridge. On the other hand, many other printers (Canon printers) don’t have print head embedded to the canister but can still be changed a few times in the lifetime of that printer. Finally, printers like Epson, the print head costs as much as the whole printer because the print head is integrated within the printer. The cost of the print head also affects the cost of printing per page.
Similarly, the price of the ink varies with the printer in use. Fade-resistant dyes are costlier and also preferred. Non-fade resistant colors can be cost-effective if you don’t need the prints to last longer. It also depends on which company’s ink you buy. You even get separate cartridges for individual colors. Grouped cartridges are usually preferred over single ones in terms of cost-effectiveness. Colour lasers for toner cartridges are the costliest in the market.
On average, the wholesale printing of black and white should cost you around o.5-2 paisa while color printing should cost you about 3 rupees in India depending on all of the above factors.
Here are some tips to reduce the cost of color printing:
Be sure to grab the offers on ink refilling kits. Ink refilling kits seem to be the most economical way. This way, you can save money and not have to worry about running out of ink for a while (very important for wholesale printing). You can also go for bulk printing ink, but that is not recommended for color printers. You will reduce the cost of feeding your printer very much. Save the money, enjoy the colors!