True TCO of a Printer

What Is The True Cost Of Ownership For Printers?

Document-related expenses are one of the most significant unmanaged expenses for an organization. Although there is a considerable focus on cost per page today due to managed print services, there is little to no understanding of the total cost of ownership for printing.

What is the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for Printing?

The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of the printer is the sum of all costs associated with purchasing an asset, its use, and disposal. Most companies make their decision to purchase a printer based on its price and technical features. These features may include paper capacity or print speed.

By Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), we mean how much it costs to run and maintain your printers throughout their life. It is no surprise that the TCO of running and maintaining printers will exceed the original purchase price several times.

For many businesses, printing is often the third highest business operational cost, lower only against staff wages and rent. One of the biggest costs associated with printers is the consumables. If you have decided to buy a printer, ensure that you do your research before committing.

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Factors Impacting Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

Many factors impact a printer’s Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). These include:

  • Cost of consumables such as ink, toner, paper, printheads, labels
  • How often you need to replace consumables
  • Consumption of electricity
  • Maintenance costs
  • Times user intervention is needed

Understanding the factors involved in TCO ensures you have enough information when conducting research. Your business has an accurate measure of your printing and consumable levels. Other points to consider are the cost of consumables and cost per print from device to device.

Additionally, looking for a printer that has good energy ratings helps reducing energy costs. Modern printers have an energy-saving feature that significantly reduces energy costs.

Considerations for Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

Life Expectancy

Users and experts associated with printing state that the longer a printer lasts, the better. Most of the expense involved is in refreshing installed assets. On average, the lifespan of a printer is 3-5 years. The life span happen provided the print volume is lower than recommended monthly cycle. Other factors include temperature and humidity and contaminations present in the air. All these factors have a direct impact on the life expectancy of a printer.


The performance of a printer also impacts TOC; however, it is not easy to determine the costs based on print cycle or run length. You cannot determine whether a job done on a printer resulted in a profit or not.


Another aspect to consider in purchasing a printer is sustainability and its impact on the environment. If the printer produces a large carbon footprint or electricity use, the company has to reduce them. Energy usage, chemical consumption, lifespan, and less consumable waste are the points that affect a purchase decision.

Calculating Total Cost of Ownership Working on TOC allows you to place a single value on the lifecycle of the printer and help you make an informed choice. Three factors need consideration when calculating TOC:

  • Physical hardware cost
  • Printing cost
  • Cost of Consumables


Every printer has its strength and weakness that influences its TOC. The factors and aspects mentioned above significantly influence your printer purchase decision. Consider these points in your research and make an informed choice.

One of the most important ways to control the Total Cost of Ownership of your printers is to have a printer service contract in place. Here at MIDCOM we have helped many businesses control their costs with one of our Printer Protection Plans. Talk to a Specialist now to learn more by calling (800) 643-2664 or fill out our contact us form.

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