Comparing low cost printers and scanners

 Officejet Pro L7480

The Officejet Pro L7480 does appear to be a reasonable option on first look when you can pick it up for under 200 euro.  However, when you go to replace the four ink cartridges (colour machines typically use four cartirdges) you will find that they tend to come in around the 45 euro mark per cartridge, which adds up to is the cost of a new unit.

The HP site suggests a yield of 2,450 pages from the black cartridge, which works out at 10 pages a day for a year.  That's not very much if you like to print your email, for example... or receive faxes.  The colour cartridges have less of a yield: about 1700 pages, which brings your colour copies down to 6 per day for the same year.  

The point is that what looks like an attractive option may actually cost much more than you had planned.


On the other hand, you can simplify things by just looking for a separate scanner and laser printer.  A copier is just a scanner attached to a printer, so if you have those two units it is possible to copy.

You can pick up an A4 flatbed scanner for under 70 euro, and the very neat HP LaserJet P1005 gets you a black and white laser printer for under 80 euro.   The toner cartridge for this unit has a page yield of 2500 pages approx, and replacements can be sourced for around 55 euro.  As it is black and white, there is only the one cartridge to replace.

Alternatively, there is the Samsung CLP-315, which is a colour laser unit for under 200 euro.  Colour units are always more expensive to run, as there are four toner cartridges, however these are in the region of 70 euro each.

Total Cost of Ownership Table
 Item Purchase Price
Replacement ink/toner  pages printed
 TCO HP Officejet Pro L7480 180172
 (full colour) 1700
 352 Canon CanoScan Lide 200
 66.50    HP LaserJet P1005 72 72 54 (B&W)2500 126 Samsung CLP-315 181.50289 (full colour) 2000 470.50

* prices from HP and at 18/11/08 inclusive of VAT.  TCO assuming one full replacement of consumables.   


For the price conscious, black and white laser printing without duplex represents the best value avilable.  However, all of these solutions are for smaller volume printing.

 For any high volume work, a higher class of printer/copier is required: see this article on what to look for in a printer .