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6 Printer Terms You Should Know

6 Printer Terms You Should Know

Knowing what to look for in a new printer can be overwhelming.  Before you start shopping, you’ll want to get familiar with some of the most common printer terminology. We are featuring our top 6 essential printing terms here, so you can find the right printer for your needs and save a bit of money too!

Print Speed (PPM) – Print speed, or the number of pages a printer can print per minute, is an average speed that is determined by the printer manufacturer.  Inkjet printers will often include one speed for black and white prints and another for color prints.  This is because the size and type of document you are printing will affect print speed.  Color photos will obviously take longer to print than a quick email, due to the color complexity of the photograph.  If you are regularly printing documents in black and white and color, you will want to consider the speed of both.

Page Yield – Page yield is the average number of prints you’ll get from a particular cartridge, based off of 5% page coverage.  5% page coverage is the printing industry standard for determining page yield, which means that the quoted page yield is based upon printed pages where only 5% of the page has been imprinted with ink. For example, a short email will cover approximately 5% of the page. If you are printing letters or legal documents your coverage will vary greatly and your page yield will drop considerably.  You can usually find your cartridge’s page yield on the side of the cartridge box, or on the manufacturer’s website.

Cost Per Page – The cost of operating a printer varies significantly across manufacturers and models.  A lot of that cost difference can be attributed to the price of the ink cartridges your particular machine uses.  Before you commit to a printer, take the time to determine what your cartridges will end up costing in the long term.  To do this, you will need to look at the cartridge’s cost per page, or the average price it costs to print a single page.  Cost per page can be figured out with a bit of math, just divide the cartridge’s page yield by its cost.

For example, the price of an original Epson® 220XL black ink cartridge starts at $20.99* and it’s page yield is 500 pages.  After some simple division, the cost is 4.1 cents per page.

Aftermarket Compatible Ink Cartridges – To keep your printing costs even lower, consider buying aftermarket compatibles.  With most compatible cartridges priced considerably less than the original brand, you can get the same number of prints for a fraction of the price.  123inkjets sells a compatible replacement for the Epson 220XL high yield black ink cartridge for $6.99, with a cost of only 1.3 cents per page, that’s far less than the price of the original Epson.

Wi-Fi – Wireless connectivity is pretty standard for most new printers these days and printing from your smartphone is easier than ever with the wide variety of print-ready smartphone apps available on the market.  We found that Apple®’s AirPrint is easiest to use if you own a Mac®.  PC users will probably be best off downloading the manufacturer’s app that works with their specific printer. HP® and Canon® make decent printing apps for their printer lines.

Warranty – Most printers offer a 1 year warranty, which usually only covers defects to the machine.  To keep your printer running smoothly for longer, try to print regularly!  An unused printer will require more maintenance in the long run, and ink cartridges may dry up over time.

*Savings based on price comparison between remanufactured/compatible and OEM cartridge prices on All prices effective as of June 5, 2017.  OEM names are registered trademarks of their respective owners and are not affiliated with, and do not endorse 123inkjets.

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