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This is a decision that every business has to make, sometimes many times a year. My general “Rule of Thumb” for this is, if the cost of repair exceeds 40-50% of the cost of a equivalent replacement, then it is time to think about replacing it. There are several other factors to consider though.
1. Do you have an inventory of supplies for the defective printer? If you cannot use these supplies for another printer then they will go to waste and must be included in the cost of replacing the printer.
2. Keep in mind not all printers are created equal. For example, a HP LJ4350 from 2007 that is properly cared for will print longer than most printers made today. It is my opinion that most printers made today are not meant to last 10 years like some previous generations.
3. If you replace the printer will you also have to replace the computer due to a connectivity issue (ie. networked, parallel, USB,)? Check this first.
4. Are you running any proprietary software that limits what printer is used with it?
5. If you decide to replace the printer, always price out the cost and page life of all consumables. Also, find out if the consumables that come with the new printer are “full” or just “starter” consumables.
If you answer all of these questions before making a decision then you can be sure that you are making an “Educated and Well Informed” decision.