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Which? printer tests reveal 4000% ink waste

Latest Which? printer tests reveal a HP printer that'll cost you a fortune to run if you print only occasionally.

Pick the wrong printer and it could empty your wallet as fast it drains the ink tanks. Though you can buy a decent printer for under £40, the cost of ink to keep it running can end up being far more than this – especially with a wasteful printer.

We run extensive ink consumption tests to expose the thirstiest printers, whether you print every day or just occasionally. And our latest batch has revealed one of the most wasteful printers we’ve ever seen. One new printer could use over 4000% more ink if you only print once in a while, sacrificing  huge amounts to wasteful ink cleaning cycles.

Printer reviews – see printers from HP, Canon and other brands expertly tested

HP PageWide: fast, but may leave you furious

PageWide is a new technology from HP, using thousands of print heads spanning the entire width of the page. It’s claimed to combine inkjet print quality with laser speed. The HP PageWide 377DW, which we’ve recently tested, is it certainly fast. It can knock out an 8×10-inch photo in best quality in just 19 seconds.

It can scan and copy, plus has built in wi-fi. However, our unique tests have found a pretty sizeable downside – eye-watering running costs. These are due to some of the worst ink waste we’ve ever seen from a printer.

The dirty truth of printer cleaning

Over years of testing, we’ve found that many printers automatically clean themselves when you’re not even printing, using precious ink that never reaches the page. You can’t print with it, but this is still ink that you’re paying for.

So, we run ‘occasional printing’ tests over a period of weeks to measure the ink that is used for automatic cleaning cycles. By weighing ink cartridges before and after our printing tests we can work out the amount of ink that’s lost during cleaning.

This HP PageWide uses a staggering 4477% more ink when printing 20 black sheets and 10 in colour over a period of weeks, turning the printer off between uses, compared with doing to the same job in one go. That means your costs skyrocket if you only use the printer now and then.

Another sting in the tail? A full new set of ink cartridges will cost you nearly £250.

In response to our story, HP told us: “The HP PageWide 377DW is designed for and aimed at frequent users, such as someone with a home office or for a small business. HP’s PageWide is a new technology that uses over 40,000 print nozzles spanning the entire width of the page. As a result, it is capable of printing high-quality black and colour documents at a blisteringly fast rate. For teams of three to 10 people printing up to 3,000 pages per month, HP believes the device delivers the lowest total cost of ownership and fastest speeds in its class.”

Our new batch of printer reviews

You can’t simply rely on the initial price of a printer when it comes to picking a value model. Our tests have identified brilliant Best Buys that won’t waste your ink, and can still churn out top quality prints.

Which? members can log in to see our top printer recommendations. Not a member yet? Sign up to a £1 trial and make sure you don’t throw your money away on a wasteful printer.

Our latest printer results also include full reviews of the popular Canon Pixma TS8050, and it’s more premium sister model, the Canon Pixma TS9050.

We have more than 230 fully-tested inkjet and laser printers to choose from, with Best Buys starting at under £50. These cracking printers will give you top notch print quality and low running costs.

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