Cost Per Print – A Look at Real World Inkjet Costs

A new study by Red River Paper investigates the cost of ink per print for two popular Epson printers, the R1900 and the R2400. With debate continuing to rage regarding the cost of ink, cost of prints, and even cost per gallon, we undertook this 600 print experiment to see if our guidance about ink costs over the years was accurate.

What we found is that the ink cost per 8×10 print is actually lower than our estimates. Adding a margin of error back into the estimates still allows for what we consider very affordable cost given the alternatives for obtaining 8×10 and larger prints.

Here is a summary (amounts are cost of ink by printer and print size):

Printer

4×6

5×7

8×10

11×14

13×19

R2400 PK

$0.27

$0.40

$0.90

$1.75

$2.80

R2400 MK

$0.23

$0.33

$0.76

$1.45

$2.33

R1900 PK

$0.19

$0.28

$0.63

$1.22

$1.96

Adding in the cost of our most popular paper, UltraPro Satin, you arrive at a full bleed 8×10 price of $1.22 for the Epson R2400. Compared to a custom photo lab, and given the long print life of Epson UltraChrome inks, we feel there is a compelling argument for inkjet printing.

Again, and we stress this a much as possible in writing, the choice to use an inkjet printer is personal and based purely on economics. Your time, your level of quality control needs, and your desire for on-demand photo output are the deciding factors in how and if you use an inkjet printer.

Read the whole on the cost of inkjet printing here

Author: Red River Paper

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7 Comments

    • We usually find that inkjet printing costs less than a typical lab print for 5×7 and larger. Because pricing from labs varies greatly and because they may offer sales, inkjet might cost more in certain situations. Our comparison is limited to typical photo papers, luster and glossy.

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  1. I would like to see the cost of 13×19 and larger prints on an HP z3200. Thanks.

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    • Thank you for your feedback. The Z3200 very likely has a reporting feature to tell how much of each ink is used per job. With that information you can easily calculate the cost per square inch for any print job.

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  2. That’s a good point. We need to update the report to note that the Epson “Pro” printers all have functions for reporting ink use by volume for each print. Everything we have seen to date shows that given the big difference in per mililiter price, the 3800 for example is a much better deal in the long run.

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  3. I’d like to see you include a larger format printer for comparison — the 80ml ink tanks on the Epson 3800, for example, should lead to some savings. If you do a lot of printing, there would come a point where you’d pay less in the long run for the 3800 than for a “cheaper” printer like the 2400.

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