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February 14, 2010

PRINTING! UGH! The cost!

One of the down falls to homeschooling is the PRINTING! Our Lexmark printer sucks, literally! The ink cartages for it cost $50 (This is 1 black and 1 color cartage). That yielded us about 300 pages. If we were lucky!

I tried really hard NOT to print things because of the cost. When we switch to Ubuntu for our operating system we found the printer to even be more problematic. It's really NOT compatible with Ubuntu. So we we have been in the market for a new printer. We knew that no matter what we would get an HP printer, because they work the best with Linux.

We figured that we would just get a laser printer because DH knows that toner would give us better yields then ink. We didn't want flush more money down the drain on expensive ink replacements. We ran out to Best Buy and started looking at the HP options there.  It just so happen that an HP rep was in the store! This for us was luck because we were in the market for an HP product!

Best Buy had one HP laser printer on sale for $99 (reg. price $200). I told DH well that seem like a good deal. We knew that it was just black and that we really could not afford the color laser printers.  Not only that but there was no way we could afford a color all-in-one laser printer. (Our current model is an all in one and I love being able to copy things as needed).

DH grabbed the toner cartgage for the laser printer it was $80. Knowing that the toner was nearly the price of the printer made me ask DH "How many pages can I print before I run out of ink?"

He said you mean toner and started to look on the box. He then said we have to go to HP website to learn the yield, because that is what the box said.  I told him to find a sales associate and see if they will find out for you. He found the sales associate and learn from them that there was an HP rep in the store and the rep would be able to answer all of our questions.

The rep shortly learned that we actually didn't own a HP printer and that we were in the market for one. DH explained to him that we homeschooled and that I needed a printer that was NOT an ink hog because of the amount of ink we go through.  We told him what we had at home and what ink cartages it took and he knew how it sucks!! $50 per 300 sheets is a lot of money!!

We explained to him how it's an all and one and that we figure we would keep it and use it as a copier as needed. 80% of my needs come out of printing but I do make copies some what regularly.  He then directed us to the HP Pro 8500. It IS a inkjet printer, but it's cartages rock. The black cartages alone yields 2200 sheet of paper. That already is 7x better then our current print and very comparable to the $99 laser printer. The laser printer toner yields 1800 pages.  The HP Pro 8500 is an all-in-one and does color. It's cost today was $280 (reg. $400).

I listen to him share what the ink yield was on the 8500 and some of the other bells and whistles like how I can scan a piece of paper and email it straight from the printer. Or if I scan items it will automatically file it. So lets say I scanned a art project that web-princess made it would automatically file it in "web-princess folder" straight from the printer.  Bells and whistles that we didn't really need.

I then turn my head to another HP inkjet printer. It was an all in one printer that was $200. He said you don't want that printer. I said what do you mean? He said I'll be right back went around the corner, grabbed some ink cartages, and came back. He showed me  how the ink cartages were for the model I was looking at and then showed me the yield on those cartages: 500 pages. Then took me around the add pointed out the price of various models (including non HP products), the cartages for those models, and what the yield on those cartages.

So in other words that $200 HP inkjet printer was only going to give me 500 pages for  $35 a black cartage where the HP Pro 8500 was going to give me 2200 pages for $35 a black cartage.

500 would be better then what we have now but not that much better. The HP rep said that's the problem SOMETIMES with cheaper models. The models are cheaper but the ink often cost just as much or if not more then the printer.

He said I would either go with the $99 laser printer that we were looking at when we first came into the store, or this HP Pro 8500. Either one of them are going to give a x7 better printing capabilities per (black) cartage then what we get now.

He also then picked up a coupon that was sitting on the shelf and said that this coupon is good for the 8500 model. It was $50 instant savings. All we had to do is give them our old printer as a trade in with the coupon and get $50 off the sticker price. So now this $400 is going to cost $230. That $230 also included ink to start with.

So now we had to decided do we spend $230 on the HP Pro 8500 or $180 on the HP laser printer and toner. (The laser printer did not come with toner).  Was the HP Pro 8500 worth the extra $50 today?

Well lets see besides the fact that the HP Pro 8500 is an all and one (print, scan, copy, fax) and has color printing its cartages were cheaper. Black at $35 gave us 2200 sheets and the color cartages would give us 1700 sheets for $26 a piece. Not only that but each color, yellow, magenta, and cyan was it's OWN cartage. So we could only have to buy the color we need when we needed it. 

Yes if we needed ALL 4 cartages at the same time it would be about $20 more then just the BLACK laser toner replacement. However I doubt that we would need all 4 at once and DH said that fact that each color is it's own cartage will mean that over time it would save us money because you aren't always going to need to replace all the colors.

So we went ahead and got the HP Pro 8500 for $280 today (It will be $230 as soon as I give them my old printer)! Although we do NOT have it today! The model was NOT in stock so we have to wait for it to be delivered to the store for pick up. We did a store pick up because I have to go back with our old printer. We didn't have it with us today in the store either.

It made sense to do the store pick up. I'll go pick up the new printer and drop of the old on the same day. When I give them my old printer I will have $50 instantly credited to our account making our final price for the printer (and ink to start with) $230.

I'm EXCITED! I NOW feel like I can AFFORD to print! Not only that but there have been materials that I have been considering using for our curriculum. They are free materials I just have to print them off, but didn't do that because our printer sucked! Now with a printer that give me 2200 pages per $35 I will be able to print materials off vs. buying them.


  1. I think your post could not have come at a better time for me. Our "free" printer died about 3 months ago and I have been using our older (huge) printer that is out of the way in the office and not in our homeschooling space (and wouldn't fit). Sounds like you got what I need. I want one specifically for our homeschooling needs and the other HP printer is an HP and I do love the HP printers. We have had no trouble from our HP's. (We are only on our 2nd printer in 15 years (other than the "free" one we got". HP ink does get the best ratings on ink (from Consumer Reports). Just an FYI, HP has ink cartridges with an X after the number (like "black 75X") Those are filled more than their standard ink cartridges (a regular "Black 75") You get a better cost per page with those. Good luck and happy printing.

  2. We were just given a lexmark printer a few months ago. We ran out and purchased new cartridges and the ink was out within a matter of weeks. Then I read something about changing the printer preferences. (Printer and Faxes. Then on the side it should say-select printing preferences. Change quality to- quick print. Paper type-plain ) This has helped tremendously. We also get our cartridges refilled at Walgreens. Hope this has helped.

    God bless

  3. We are Unbuntu users as well and we has so many printer problems most of the time the ink would drain out or dry up cus we were so scared to us it. One day I was able to babysit in exchange for a HP laserjet 2100!! It is the best printer we have ever had. I know it only prints black and white, but if I really, really need something in color I go somewhere to have it printed. Our cartridges cost 20.00 online and they print thousands and thousands of pages. Then when you think that the ink is out you take out the cartridge and you shake it (my hubby learned this in the Navy) and blamo you can almost double the life of the cartridge. I am very excited for you on your recent purchase if you love to print as much as I do you are going to be a happy camper I know I am. Don't forget to look for your cartridges online for better prices. Have a great day.
    Ps. I am back on the blogging scene. Come and visit my blog again when you have time. ;)

  4. Haley!!!!! Welcome back to the "blogging scene"!!! I was so surprise and honored to see your comment today!!! Love ya!

  5. Thank you for such an informative and detailed post! I will be watching for a sale on this printer!

  6. I'm glad that many of you have found this helpful. The other thing I should have pointed out originally in the post is that the print Yield I was talking about WAS USING THE XL cartages. They cost a little bit more then the reg. cartages, but they give you a LOT better yield for the price. I've had my printer now for a few days and I'm in heaven with it! It's just so AWESOME in my opinion!


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