HP Inkjet Comparison

Everything you need to choose the right printer

HP Inkjet Comparison

Hewlett Packard All-In-One Inkjet Comparison

HP Inkjet all-in-ones are very popular. They tend to be very feature rich with prices starting well under $100. But is the least expensive printer really the best deal? Let’s look at TCO on the latest offerings from HP. The results may surprise you!

Last year’s clear winners were the HP 8700 series. For a comparison of the printers, particularly scanning speeds, read this post. The 8710 and 8720 are being replaced by the 9015 and 9025 (details below) but are still available from Amazon. Other choices include the low-end 5255 and 3830, the slightly more expensive 6968 and 6978, and the wide format 7720 and 7740. All are available for under $500 (direct from HP, from Amazon or from other sources). All include all-in-one functions (copy, print, scan, fax), USB and WiFi connections. Most include wired Ethernet as well.

So what’s the best deal? The key, as usual, depends on expected usage and the cost of ink cartridges. The calculations here are based on three typical usage profiles:

  • Low Usage: 100 pages/month – 75 black only, 25 black + color
  • Medium Usage: 200 pages/month – 150 black only, 50 black + color
  • High Usage: 400 pages/month – 300 black only, 100 black + color

If you print more than a few hundred pages per month then a color laser all-in-one is worth considering, though the HP PageWide is in a similar cost/page range.

Sometimes all you need is a good fast inexpensive printer. No color. No scanning. Just a good monochrome (black & white) printer that doesn’t cost much to buy or to use.

Low Price Printers?

The HP printer line starts with a couple of low-cost machines, the OfficeJet 5255 for $69.99 and the OfficeJet 3830 for just $49.99.

Don’t let the initial low cost fool you! The specifics vary by printer, but both of them:

  • Do not include wired Ethernet
  • Print relatively slowly (max. 10 pages/minute). Admittedly, that is still fast enough for most low volume users. But if you can get more speed for the same **TCO**, why not?
  • Include less than 200 pages of “starter ink”
  • Use tri-color ink cartridges instead of separate Cyan, Magenta and Yellow. This means if you use one color a lot more than the others then you will waste a lot of expensive ink.
  • Use ink cartridges with a very high cost per page. The black 63XL cartridge costs about $37.89 for 480 pages = almost 8 cents per page! The color 63XL cartridge costs about $39.89 for 330 pages = 12 cents per page.
Total Cost of Ownership Low Usage Medium Usage High Usage
OfficeJet 5255 $ 339.22 $ 608.45 $ 1,107.02
OfficeJet 3830 $ 319.22 $ 588.45 $ 1,087.02

Next up are the OfficeJet Pro 6968 for $89.89 and the OfficeJet Pro 6978 for $99.89. These printers are almost identical – in fact, one picture will do for both of them!

For only a little more than the least expensive machines – purchase price still under $100 – you get a LOT more features:

  • Ethernet, WiFi and USB
  • 18 (6968) or 20 (6978) pages/minute black 10 (6968) or 11 (6978) pages/minute color
  • Separate Cyan/Magenta/Yellow cartridges
  • Larger cartridges with much better cost per page: Black cost < 4 cents/page, color < 9 cents/page
Total Cost of Ownership Low Usage Medium Usage High Usage
OfficeJet Pro 6968 $ 276.44 $ 452.89 $ 683.23
OfficeJet Pro 6978 $ 266.44 $ 442.89 $ 673.23

In fact, these machines are reasonable choices, at least based on TCO, for low and medium usage.

Wide Format – without a Big Price

Wide format printers used to be a specialty item. But the OfficeJet Pro 7720, currently $169.99 direct from HP, and the OfficeJet Pro 7740 $279.99 HP or Amazon, are actually very affordable.

The starting price is a bit higher than the machines listed above, but the ink cartridges are about double the capacity (3,000 pages black, 1,600 pages color) of the cartridges for the 6968 & 6978, and that makes all the difference in TCO.

The 7720 and 7740 are very similar – same 22 pages/minute black, 18 pages/minute color print speed, same 952XL ink cartridges. But the 7740 includes a larger flatbed scanner than the 7720 and duplex scanning with the automatic document feeder.

Total Cost of Ownership Low Usage Medium Usage High Usage
OfficeJet Pro 7720 $ 223.88 $ 382.44 $ 541.00
OfficeJet Pro 7740 $ 333.88 $ 492.44 $ 651.00

Old Favorites – 8700 series, get them while you can!

The 8710 & 8720 have been replaced by the 9015 & 9025 described later. But the 8740 is still available from HP and the 8720 from Amazon and other sources.

The 8700 series are good solid machines. As analyzed in this post, there are significant differences in scanning speed between the machines, but they use the same cartridges as the Wide Format 7720 & 7730 and are still excellent choices.

Total Cost of Ownership Low Usage Medium Usage High Usage
OfficeJet Pro 8720 $ 233.88 $ 392.44 $ 551.00
OfficeJet Pro 8740 $ 333.88 $ 492.44 $ 651.00

New kids on the block

The OfficeJet Pro 9015, replacing the 8710 for $ 229.99, and the OfficeJet Pro 9025, replacing the 8720 for $ 329.99 are full featured machines which appear to be good choices for many users. However, HP does not provide a full specifications page (or at least not easy to find), so an exact comparison is hard to do. The initial ink quantity is not listed, but based on the 8700 series, it is likely to be a full set of the basic cartridges (not XL) – 1,000 pages black, 700 pages color.

As far as differences between the 9015 and 9025: the 9025 prints a little faster than the 9015 (24 vs. 22 pages/minute) but scans much faster (15 vs. 8 images/minute black). The 9025 can also use a larger (3,000 page instead of 2,000 page) black cartridge – with enough usage that will more than make up for the initial higher cost of the machine.

Total Cost of Ownership Low Usage Medium Usage High Usage
OfficeJet 9015 $ 274.98 $ 424.64 $ 664.28
OfficeJet 9025 $ 383.98 $ 542.64 $ 701.30


With the exception of the OfficeJet 5255 and 3830, all of these printers will do a reasonable job for printing up to a few hundred pages per month. However, spending a little more on the machine will pay off quickly with lower ink costs. The best deals currently are the 8720 and the wide format OfficeJet Pro 7720. But the new OfficeJet Pro 9015 is very close and the 8740 makes a lot of sense if you will be doing a lot of scanning.

Just remember:

  • Total Cost of Ownership matters much more than the base price
  • Fast scanning, duplex scanning, wired networking and other features don’t cost much but they can’t be added later (without getting a new printer)
  • Big ink cartridges don’t cost much more than small ink cartridges – but the manufacturer decides which ones you can use (and often arbitrarily) in each printer.

The printer business is no longer about the “best” price on a printer. It is about the best total cost of ownership. If the TCO is the same for different printers, you may as well get the most features for your money.