Inkjet printers are really cheap these days. Or are they? To be sure, local computer stores sell inkjet printers for $29.99 (see BestBuy's site for one such example). You can't get much cheaper, right? Well, sort of. In fact, I purchased a Macintosh computer last year, and Apple even included a “free” inkjet printer. You can't get much cheaper than free.
However, all printers have hidden costs in the form of ink or toner. In fact, most manufacturers lose money on the sale of the printers but make huge profits on the sale of inkjet cartridges. Would you believe that the “low cost” inkjet printer you use is consuming ink at the rate of roughly $3,000 a quart? That's a higher price than the very best cognac or ladies' perfume!
A $15 inkjet cartridge contains 5 milliliters of ink. That's not much. In fact, you probably noticed that the inkjet cartridges don't last very long. If you do the math, $15 for 5 milliliters equates to roughly $3,000 for a liter. One liter equals 1.0566882 US quarts. In other words, a liter and a quart are almost the same size. Since we are using approximate numbers anyway, we can treat them as equal.
By the way, my numbers are conservative. Most inkjet cartridges cost more than my example of $15. If your printer's cartridges cost double that, simply double all my numbers. You may be paying $6,000 a quart for ink!
Paying $3,000 or more for a quart (liter) for ink is highway robbery! For quite a few years, it was possible to obtain an inkjet refill kit and refill your own cartridges, thereby avoiding the usury charges of the printer companies. However, those companies got smart. Most printers made today use cartridges that contain electronic circuitry that keeps track of the amount of ink consumed. Once the cartridge reaches the manufacturer's estimated “end of life,” the cartridge will no longer function. That's true even if you refill it.
Can you imagine what would happen if automobile manufacturers did the same? Use a tank of gas, and then the vehicle would refuse to start again. The only solution would be to purchase gas for several thousand dollars a gallon from the car dealer. That's ludicrous, and nobody will ever allow that to happen. Yet we allow printer manufacturers to do exactly the same thing. They are "ripping off" their customers.
In any case, that “expensive” $149 laser printer may eventually work out to be cheaper than the $29.95 inkjet printer, especially if you do a lot of printing. Laser toner isn't cheap either, but the printer manufacturers have not yet figured out how to gouge the public as much on laser toner as on the ink used in inkjet cartridges.
I keep an inkjet printer for use on the occasional color document I need to produce. However, I do 99% of my printing on an inexpensive laser printer I purchased on sale a couple of years ago. You might think about doing the same.