HP’s New Color Lasers cartridges – Good Deal or Not?

HP announced on March 4th, 2008 that they were going to help small businesses reduce the cost of color printing.  After reading the press release and details on the cartridges, I decided to look at the cost per page for the new CB540 Series of color cartridges and compare them to some of the older series and even some of HP’s color inkjet cartridges.

Now in all fairness, I do not look at the cartridges that come with the printer, as they are not full cartridges, but look at the ones you will be able to buy from O-ink and anyone else who sells HP products.

Black CB540A cartridge is suggested retail for $70 and is rated for 2,200 pages per cartridge.  Now remember, this is based off from 5% coverage, not real life numbers.  This means that the cost per page is 3.2 cents.

Compare that to the Q6000A black cartridge, which cost around 3 cents per page.  Compare both of them to the HP 88XL Black, which runs about 1.5 cents per page, you tell me what one is cheaper?

Now since all color cartridges cost the same and yield the same pages, let’s take a look at one of the color cartridge for those three.

CB540 Series Color Cartridge – Page Yield is 1,400 – Suggested Retail is $64 – Cost per page is about 4.6 cents for one color or 13.7 cents for all three colors.

Q6000 Series Color Cartridge – Page Yield 2,000 – Suggested Retail is $82  – Cost per page is about 4.1 cents or 12.3 for all three colors.

88XL Color series – Page Yield 1,210 – Suggested Retail $25 – Cost per Page is 2.1 cents or 6.2 cents for all three colors.

Well that takes care of it for cartridges, what about the printers?  Both the Q6000 and CB540 Series print no faster than 12 pages per minute, black or color, while the 88XL printers get rated for over 30 pages per minute, black and color.

What about cost of the printers themselves?  Both of the Q6000 and CB540 Series start at around $300+, while the 88XL printers start at $149ish.

So what is my take on saving small business money?  Looking at just the numbers, HP is trying to make the small business owner think that they are saving customer money with the new color laser printers.  While in reality they are costing about double in consumables (cartridges), at lower speeds.  The major problem is that there will be small business owners who think that is a great buy.

Do not expect the big box office supply stores or HP to point out the differences, it is not in their interest to do that.  I recommend anyone looking at a color laser printer for a small business to come and email me or call us 1-800-989-6465 to see if that would be the best bet for your business.

As for the printers that take the CB540, I can not recommend a single one.  The cost out weighs any benefit that their might be.   I hope that HP will steer away from marketing like this, but I do not foresee any reason for them to do as such.  I just hope we at O-ink can make some small business owners realize the difference before they spend their hard earned money.

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One Response to HP’s New Color Lasers cartridges – Good Deal or Not?

  1. Rick says:

    HP does not recommend a laser color printer to it’s small to medium size businesses in all cases. As a matter of fact, they put the words “50% less than laser” on the boxes of the Office Jet inks. HP even has a link on their website that tells the business exactly which printer is most cost-effective for them on hp.com. The business owner inputs data such as coverage needed and amount of copies. They will then suggest a printer and whether or not it is cheaper for them to print in-house or at a print and copy center.

    So, your whole article is kinda off-base. Yes, color lasers are meant for businesses. But, HP does a great job of letting them know that it is not for EVERY business.

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