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Replacing an old printer: why it makes sense (and dollars & cents)

Client Computing | Posted on June 9, 2011

In computers “better, faster, cheaper” isn’t just a slogan, it’s a fact of life. That’s why it makes sense to upgrade your equipment regularly, even if what you’ve got is apparently performing “just fine”. This is particularly true of printers because of the ongoing cost of ownership. Remember, it’s a Cost vs. Spend equation.

Economy – In most cases the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of an old printer can be and in most cases is higher than a new one. To say that’s counter-intuitive is putting it mildly. It is also very frequently true. Because Total Cost of Ownership includes all the costs associated with a printer over its life, it often makes sense to purchase a new printer with a significantly lower TCO than to hang on to your existing printer. Over the life of the printer the savings can be significant.

Higher costs to maintain – As computer equipment ages it gets more expensive to keep going. Consumables (ink, toner and laser cartridges) are a major factor in a printer’s TCO. In fact, it’s not unusual to pay out more for supplies than the initial cost of the printer. This is a particular problem gets worse as the printer gets older. First, manufacturers tend to cut back on making supplies as the printer ages and the market for that model shrinks. That drives up the price. The second problem is that supplies for new, popular, printers are often discounted by vendors, especially office supply stores. As the printer ages those discounts go away. 

Reliability – Modern printers are remarkably reliable gadgets, but sooner or later any printer is going to break down. The older it is and the more use it has seen, the more likely it is to break. Murphy’s Law being what it is, the breakdown will usually come at the most inconvenient time possible – like late at night when you’re trying to get ready for tomorrow’s presentation. Clearly, you’re ahead of the game if you replace your printer before its failure brings your business to a grinding halt.

Legacy drivers – Every printer needs drivers to connect with the computer’s operating system. Which usually isn’t a problem for new printers because both printers and software come with drivers? At least they come with drivers for current printer models. If you’re using an older printer, the supplied drivers may or may not be compatible or even work (or may slow printing down to a crawl). Sometimes you can get a driver for an older printer off the vendor’s web site. If not, you’re stuck.

Duplex Printing – One of the niftiest new features in the last few years has been duplexing, printing on both sides of the paper. That cuts paper costs in half and produces a more compact document.

Wireless connection – Most new printers can connect wirelessly with laptops and desktop computers. This is a big help in reducing the rat’s nest of cables surrounding your computer and it’s invaluable with laptop that occasionally has to be synced to an office printer for a quick print job.

All this adds up to a strong argument to replace your printers regularly. In the long run you’ll save money and in the short run you’ll improve your speed and quality as well. Even better, enter to win our “HP Print-Duhr” sweepstakes for a chance to win $10,000 in printers and supplies.


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