Whether you’re researching a new printer, checking your existing printers’ health, or simply looking at ways to cut printing costs and reduce printer output, you need to know how much it costs to print per page.

But, are manufacturer estimates accurate, what factors affect cost per page, and once you’ve calculated a figure, how can you reduce it?

What is cost per page, and why does it matter?

CPP (cost per page) is the average amount of money it costs to print on one sheet of paper. It’s an interesting and useful metric for four reasons:

  1. It helps you calculate and compare the cost of new printer models
  2. It allows you to forecast office consumable costs and plan budgets
  3. It gives you a benchmark figure to cut costs and increase sustainability
  4. It can help you spot printer problems and end-of-life parts earlier

How to estimate the cost to print per page

When you’re researching new printers or have just welcomed one into your office, you don’t have any existing printer data to work with. Therefore, you need to estimate the cost per page using the manufacturer’s information.

The calculation for CPP is:

Printer cartridge price / printer cartridge yield

Let’s explain this in a bit more detail.

Printer cartridge price

The price of printer cartridges varies significantly depending on whether you’re buying toner or ink, the brand in question, where you’re buying from, and if you’re taking advantage of bulk discounts.

If you haven’t already bought your printer cartridges, you can get a rough idea of the price from the manufacturer’s website.

Printer cartridge yield

The printer cartridge yield is the average number of pages a printer cartridge will print. You can find this information on the cartridge box or the manufacturer’s website.

Note that under ISO guidelines, cartridge yield is based on 5% page coverage – this means it assumes each print job will only use enough ink to cover 5% of a standard A4 sheet of paper.

What does 5% look like? Well, according to TonerGiant, not very much:

As you can see, your print jobs will probably take up more than 5% coverage, depending on what type of documents you typically print.

If your average page coverage leans more towards 10%, then simply adjust the CPP calculation:

Printer cartridge price / (printer cartridge yield – 50%)

Color printing costs

If you print in color, then you must factor in the cost of color cartridges too.

Printers use all cartridges together when printing in color, so calculating the CPP involves adding up the CPP for each cartridge:

(Black cartridge price / page yield) + ((color cartridge price / page yield) x no. of color cartridges)

Note that black cartridges typically have a higher page yield, which is why you should calculate that cost separately.

How to calculate the cost to print per page

Estimating the cost to print per page gives you a ballpark figure when researching or buying a printer. Once you start using your printer, you can record its output and ink usage to accurately calculate the average cost per page:

  1. Reset the paper output count to zero in your printer settings
  2. Install new printer cartridges
  3. When a cartridge runs out, note down how many pages it produced
  4. Calculate the average page yield per cartridge (total yield divided by the number of cartridges)
  5. Divide the total cartridge cost by the average page yield

For example:

  • Cartridge cost = $10 each (total $40)
  • Black = 100 pages
  • Cyan = 50 pages
  • Magenta = 50 pages
  • Yellow = 50 pages

Cost per page = $40 / ((100+50+50+50)/4) = $0.53

If you want to get a really accurate CPP, you can record and include additional metrics, such as:

  • The cost of paper
  • The cost of maintenance
  • The cost of spare parts
  • The cost of the printer

How to reduce your printer cost per page

Many factors affect the cost to print per page, including your printer’s age, the type of printer, and even the humidity in your office.

However, there are also many ways to reduce your cost to print per page:

Use a managed print service (MPS)

An MPS is a third-party service and support provider that manages your printing needs, increases efficiencies, and reduces costs.

They work with you to find the most cost-effective printer for your needs and help reduce printing costs by reducing waste, increasing efficiencies, maintaining parts, and reducing labor.

Useful read: How to know when it’s time to outsource print management

Change your printer settings

You can reduce the amount of ink used per page by adjusting your printer settings to print in draft mode and use less ink, or to default to grayscale printing.

Change your printer behavior

By changing your printer behavior, you can reduce the number of pages printed, reducing your overall printing costs. For example, can you email a document instead of printing it? Or save it to a cloud drive rather than printing it to file physically?

Stick to your service schedule

Regularly servicing your printer increases printer efficiency and ensures all parts are working correctly. This helps your printer last longer, print better, and cost less.

Choose the right printer for your needs

Depending on whether you have an inkjet or laser printer, you’ll be using ink or toner cartridges, which vary in price. However, a more expensive toner cartridge can produce a significantly lower CPP – it all depends on what and how you print. Work with your MPS to identify whether you need an inkjet vs. laser printer and which model will deliver the best investment return. If a low CPP is crucial to you, enquire about budget ink lines, such as the Epson® Ecotank.

Conclusion

The cost to print per page is an interesting figure that tells you how much your printer costs on a use-by-use basis. This figure is crucial for budget planning, but can be used as a benchmark to reduce printing costs and enhance your business’ sustainability by printing less, printing smarter, and printing with an MPS.