Printers and Copiers, Service and Support

What is The Useful Life of a Laser Printer?

January 17, 2023
Managedprint Printer Life Managedprint Printer Life

If your business has a large number of laser printers in its print fleet, there can be a question of how long is reasonable to expect a printer to work before it needs to be replaced.

We work with companies (like yours) to help right-size printer fleets and manage all aspects of their print environment. When we manage a large enterprise customer, not having specific timeframes or trigger events can cause a huge spike in maintenance costs for your print devices.

In this article, we are going to cover how long you should expect your printer to last, and if there are any signs that could trigger the conversation, it is time to start thinking about replacing your printers or printer fleet.

Duty Cycle

One of the ratings to consider when looking at the useful life of a printer, is duty cycle. This will tell you the maximum print load you can expect your printer to handle. If you are consistently running your printer at too high of a percentage compared to the printer's duty cycle, you will shorten useful life dramatically. The industry generally expects you to print about 10% of a printer's duty cycle or less if you are not going to shorten your printer's life.

If you are running the printer at 20% or 30% of the duty cycle, expect your printers will need to be replaced far more often.

Color Laser Printer or Black & White Laser Printer

We find that the printers which seem to stay in the field the longest, where no one demands they are replaced, are the black and white printers. This is because color printers have a lot more parts than black and white printers and people who print in color normally have expectations around the color print quality.

As print quality goes down over time, this will be a reason to replace the color printer. We find a black and white printer can sometimes last 10 years or more and most color laser printers are replaced every 3 to 5 years.

OEM or Remanufactured Toner Cartridge and Accessories?

If you use compatible products, like toners, imaging drums, maintenance kits, and recycled paper, it is more common to need more repairs and for the printer to need replacement sooner. If you use OEM supplies, you will find your print engine life seems to improve.

The costs can also create an opportunity to upgrade if you happen to have a printer or multifunction printer (MFP) that is inefficient with the costs of toner and other consumable items.

Big 3 Factors

The biggest factor for many clients are these three. The first being is the printer jamming or having paper jam issues? The second deals with the cost of the supplies and imaging parts like toner, drums, fusers, etc. The final factor is security. Is the printer safe on the network?

The average printer we see in our printer fleet, which has nearly 30,000 managed printers, is a bit over 5 years old. So that would be a solid average of what to expect when it comes to the life of a new printer, but of course, this always has to do with the care of the printer and how it is being used compared to how it was designed to be used.

If you have any questions about printer life, or is it time to upgrade your current laser printer, we would love to help your team! It can really depend on the model you have, which printer manufacturer you have and what your budget is.