What is Print Coverage and Why You Should Care
Print coverage is the amount of toner that covers a letter size sheet of paper. When you buy toner cartridges or any of the other printer supplies like drums, imaging units, etc. they all have a stated yield published. The industry standard yield is measured at 5% coverage. Unfortunately, 5% is not a significant amount. If your office functions like most, you’re not going to be printing the same thing over and over and there is a good chance that your coverage (and costs) are going to vary.
Why should you care? Buying the wrong printer for your business can cost you. Evaluation of printers need to go beyond the brochure and spec sheets. As a prospective buyer, you need to think about what your typical printed documents may look like. If your documents resemble the 5% example, you will probably be satisfied with the operational costs of your printer. However, if you are producing output that looks more like the 15% example, you may be better off purchasing a multifunction device (MFP). Most MFP’s have cost per print plans available from your office supply vendor and can result in a much lower cost per page amounts. To see how your expenses will be impacted when you apply coverage in specific areas, check out the information from Xerox and HP on some of their desktop units.
Bottom Line: You should consider a multifunction device if you think your print costs could get out of hand with larger coverage printing, or if you are unsure of your print output. MFP’s are usually higher in initial acquisition cost, but overall have a lower cost of ownership and can tag along some nice productivity features like scanning, e-mail and finishing (collate, staple, hole punch). You may spend more up front on a multifunction device, but your cost per page may be three times less – and more complicated jobs may get done in half the time. Most office equipment vendors have fixed cost per page plans that allow customers to pay for what they produce in regards to what is printed so you can budget accordingly. As an added benefit, they will usually supply all consumables and maintenance so you don’t have to worry about running out of imaging supplies or repair of the equipment when it needs to be fixed.