Help Center - How to Calculate Inkjet Printer Costs and Find the Most Ink Efficient Printers

How to Calculate Inkjet Printer Costs and Find the Most Ink Efficient Printers

Unlike laser printers, inkjet printers are used for printing professional office documents (which uses 5-70% ink coverage) to photo printing (which uses 80% ink coverage).

Determining the printer costs of inkjets is different from determining the printer costs of laser printers.

To determine the cost of your inkjet printer, we'll be determining it by the ink usage of 80% for its photo A4 size coverage. 

I. Determine the Page Yield of Your Printer's Cartridge

Page yield is commonly based on 5% ink coverage. To determine a cartridge's 80% ink coverage, we must divide 80% by 5%.

This would be 16. Divide the cartridge's page yield by 16. You will then have the cartridge's page yield by 80% ink coverage.

For example, Epson Expression XP-960 ($199.99) uses the following T277XL ink cartridges:

Cartridge 5% Page Yield 80% Page Yield
T277XL120 (Black) 500 Pages 31.25 Pages
T277XL220 (Cyan) 740 Pages 46.25 Pages
T277XL320 (Magenta) 740 Pages 46.25 Pages
T277XL420 (Yellow) 740 Pages 46.25 Pages
T277XL520 (Light Cyan) 740 Pages 46.25 Pages
T277XL620 (Light Magenta) 740 Pages 46.25 Pages


II. The Cartridge's Total Cost per Page

Calculating the cartridge's cost per page lets you discover the most ink efficient printers as well as lets you know the cheapest printer ink without affecting quality. 

With the Page Yield above, we can determine each cartridge's Cost per Page. Cost per Page is determined by dividing the cartridge's price to its page yield.

Using the table of Epson Expression XP-950 above:

Cartridge Cartridge Price 80% Page Yield Cost per Page
T277XL120 (Black) $19.99 31.25 Pages $0.64
T277XL220 (Cyan) $16.99 46.25 Pages $0.37
T277XL320 (Magenta) $16.99 46.25 Pages $0.37
T277XL420 (Yellow) $16.99 46.25 Pages $0.37
T277XL520 (Light Cyan) $16.99 46.25 Pages $0.37
T277XL620 (Light Magenta) $16.99 46.25 Pages $0.37
Total Cost per Page $2.49

III. Average Lifespan of Inkjet Printer

The average lifespan of an inkjet printer is four years.

IV. Included Ink in Printer Purchase

When you buy a printer, the ink that comes with it can add an extra cost at first. But it will let you save money by not buying ink for the first few weeks.

To find out, you can check your printer model's product page.

  • In Epson, you can find it in the Overview under the section What's In The Box.
  • In Canon, it can be found in the Product Page in the What's In The Box section.
  • In Brother, you can find it in Specifications under What's Included.
  • In HP, it can be found in Specs in the section What's in the Box.

For example, Epson Expression XP-960 has the included ink of standard-sized 277 cartridges:

Cartridge 5% Page Yield 80% Page Yield
T277120 (Black) 240 Pages 15 Pages
T277220 (Cyan) 360 Pages 22.5 Pages
T277320 (Magenta) 360 Pages 22.5 Pages
T277420 (Yellow) 360 Pages 22.5 Pages
T277520 (Light Cyan) 360 Pages 22.5 Pages
T277620 (Light Magenta) 360 Pages 22.5 Pages

Since photos are printed with a combination of colors, the Included Ink Page Yield of the Total Cartridges is 22.5 pages. 

V. Your Yearly Photo Printload

What would be your monthly photo printload with A4 photo paper size? If it were 50 photo papers, your yearly photo printload would be 600 pages.

VI. Your Cost Consideration

With all of the information above, we can determine how much would it cost to run your inkjet printer. 

By using the formula below:

Cost Consideration = {[(Your Estimated Yearly Printload x average lifespan of inkjet printer) - Included Ink Page Yield upon buying the printer] x Total Cost per Page} + Printer Price

Cost Consideration = {[(600 pages x 4 years) - 22.5 pages] x $2.49} + $199.99

Cost Consideration = $6,119.97

In a span of four years, the printer's Cost Consideration would be $6,119.97 while using T277XL cartridges. 

To lower Cost Consideration, you can use professional-quality compatible cartridges with the cheapest printer ink.


Looking for cheap ink cartridges? Feel free to check our brand printer pages for remanufactured cartridges by searching for your printer model and going through the list.