How much Electricity Does a Printer Use?

how many watts does a printer use

Several considerations are associated with buying a printer. The upfront cost of the machine is just one of those. Aside from the amount you’ll spend, the unit’s power consumption is also a significant factor. 

Coming up with a figure regarding a printer’s maximum power consumption can be tricky. That’s because how much the equipment will add to your power bills will depend on its specifications. There are also different types of printers, the most basic of which are laser printers and inkjet printers. Each type has its set of associated costs. 

Let’s dig deeper into the details so you can decide if purchasing a printer is a wise move for your home or business. 

Printers Energy Consumption

The electricity costs associated with printers vary based on the type of printer and the state the equipment is in. For example, a business printer will use more power than a desk inkjet printer. Also, printers on standby mode have lower electricity usage than when operating on maximum power. 

Here’s a comparison to give you an idea of how a printer’s power consumption differs according to type. Desk-size printers use anywhere between 10 and 50 watts. Meanwhile, a large business printer consumes between 1,000 to 3,000 watts. 

kWh Calculation

Because all printers aren’t the same, their specifications affect their electricity usage. As such, it’s a challenge to come up with a unified and certified printer power consumption. We’ll use an example to get an idea of how much this office equipment can add to your electricity bill. 

For this purpose, let’s calculate the power consumption of an HP LaserJet printer. This printer has a rated power of 675 watts. The standby printer power consumption of this model is 20 watts, and the sleep mode printer power consumption is 18 watts. Meanwhile, its printing speed is 45 pages per minute, and we’ll assume a printing volume of 100,000 pages per month. 

  • Convert the watts (W) into kilowatts (kW): 

675 W ÷ 1000 = .675 kW (printing wattage) 

20 W ÷ 1000 = 0.02 kW (standby mode) 

18 W ÷ 1000 = 0.018 kW (sleep mode) 

45 pages x 60 minutes = 2700 

  • Printer prints for: 

100,000 pages per month ÷ 2700 per hour = ~ 37 hours (number of hours the printer is on printing mode) 

720 hours (per month) – 37 hours of printing x 75% = 512.25 hours (printer is on standby mode) 

  • The printer is on sleep mode the rest of the time: 

720 hours (per month) – 37 hours of printing x 25% = 170.75 hours (printer is on sleep mode) 

  • Now we come to the kWh calculation while the printer is in different modes. 

37 hours x .675 kW = 24.97 per hour (while printing) 

512.25 hours x 0.02 kW = 10.24 kW (on standby mode) 

170.75 hours x 0.018 kW = 3.07 kW (on sleep mode) 

  • Total power consumption for one month 

24.97 + 10.24 + 3.07 = 38.28 kilowatts 

Running Costs of a Printer

To find the running costs of a printer, you’ll need to determine how long you’ll use the unit, its average power consumption, and the electricity rate in your area

For this purpose, let’s use the kWh calculations we did in the previous section. 

38.28 is the total power consumption of the printer for one month. To arrive at its consumption per day, we’ll divide the mentioned figure by 30 (days per month). To figure out how much it costs to run the printer for one day, we’ll multiply the answer by the average per kWh rate in the country, which is 12 cents. 

38.28 ÷ 30 = 1.276 

1.276 x 0.12 = 0.153 

It costs approximately 15 cents to run a printer for one day. 

Types of Printer

Various types of printers exist in the market. That’s great news because that means you’ll have a wide range of options if you’re looking to get one for home or business use. Whatever your budget, there’s probably a printer that will fit your needs and pocket.

Let’s discuss each one to help in your selection process.

Home Use Printers

Inkjet printers are the most common type for home use. They were developed way back in the 1950s, but they remain popular and in demand up to now. They’re inexpensive, and they use ink that’s easy to replace, which is probably the reason why they’re still widely used.   

However, they’re not meant for high-quality and high-volume printing because of their slow printing speed. The ink cartridge doesn’t last as long between uses, too, which can hike the total printing costs. 

The power consumption of an average inkjet printer is 30 to 50 watts in printing mode and around 3 to 5 watts while on standby mode. 

Business Class Printers

Printers designed for business use are heavy-duty. They can perform multiple tasks for extended periods and at much higher speeds than home-use printers. As a result, their power consumption is also more significant than those of their home-use counterparts. For example, a laser printer for commercial use can consume up to 1000 watts. Compare that with a home-use inkjet printer’s 30 to 50 watts power consumption. 

Laser Printers

While an inkjet printer often works for domestic use, laser printers are best suited for workplaces with a high monthly printing volume. Unlike an inkjet printer, a typical laser printer, such as an HP Laserjet, has a lightning-fast printing speed. This makes laser printers ideal for office use. 

Regarding this printer type’s energy cost, a laser printer uses more power than an inkjet printer. Some commercial laser printer models use up to 1000 watts, with 300 to 500 watts being the average. 

All-in-one Printers

These printers combine the functions of a printer, a copier, and a fax machine. As such, these models can print, copy, and send and receive documents, which facilitates the completion of many office tasks. 

An all-in-one printer can be a laser printer or an inkjet model. Thus, its power consumption will depend on whether it’s a laser printer or inkjet type. 

Dot Matrix Printers

These are the precursors of the inkjet and laser printer and are the oldest types of printers on the market. Relying on a simple technology of drawing texts and images in tiny dots, they incur the least operating costs among the different kinds of printers. Dot matrix printers best suit environments where a large volume of printing is required but without emphasis on quality. For example, this printer type can work well in a small retail store that will use the unit for printing customer receipts. 

These printers rank high in the economy. A single ribbon can yield up to 4 million characters, and its power consumption comes to approximately 27 watts when powered on and at 1.1 watts on sleep mode. 

LED Printers

This printer type is similar to a laser printer. However, unlike a laser printer that uses ink, laser printers employ light emitting diodes (LEDs) to create texts or images. LED printers have few moving parts, making them less prone to breakdowns. In terms of efficiency and reliability, a LED printer is considered superior to a laser printer. Unfortunately, few companies manufacture this type of printer, making it challenging to find replacement parts. 

3D Printer’s Energy Usage

3D printers soared in popularity the instant they became commercially available. They proved extremely useful to manufacturers seeking ways to create parts for their products. Creating functional architecture has also been easier with this kind of printer. 

Like other types of printers, not all 3D printers are created equal. As such, the printer power consumption measured in one model won’t apply to all 3D printers. We’ll need to look in detail at several variables to facilitate power consumption computation. 

Components

A 3D printer differs from other printers that came before it. While other printer types create images on paper, a 3D printer prints three-dimensional objects. So what crucial components does this equipment have that allow it to do such a thing? Let’s take a look at the most important ones. 

  • Controller board: The heart of a 3D printer, it delivers the commands to the printer’s parts and makes the equipment run the way it should. 
  • Filament: This is the most vital part of a 3D printer and what sets it apart from other printer types. The filament is equivalent to the ink of traditional printers. It comes in many colors and materials that melt and can take the shape of the image that’s being printed. 
  • Frame: This houses all the mechanical and electrical components of the 3D printer. 
  • Print bed: This is the top layer of the printing surface. The material used in this component prevents the printed image from sticking to the printing surface, making it easy to remove. 
  • Print head: The filament enters through this part and then takes whatever shape that’s being printed. 
  • Feeder system: This is what feeds the filament into the print head.  
  • Extruders: These are the parts that hold the filament in place. Some models offer dual extrusion allowing you to print using multiple materials. 
  • Belts: These connect the stepper motor to the drive gears.  
  • User interface connectivity: This lets you operate the printer. Some models have Wi-Fi connectivity that enables you to connect the printer to your network. 

kWh Calculation

In determining the power consumption of a 3D printer, you’ll need to consider a few factors. These include the following: 

  • The printer model: Some brands and models use as much as 1700 watts. So opt for an energy-efficient printer even if it costs a bit more than other models. The amount you save from its lower power consumption can make up for the higher initial investment. 
  • The filament: Melting the filament is one reason that makes a 3D printer power hungry. Each of these materials melts at different temperatures.  
  • The print speed: It’s logical to assume that getting the printing done faster means the printer consumes less electricity. However, printing at lightning-fast speeds increases the electricity the equipment needs to go more quickly. 

Running Costs

Not all 3D printers have the same running costs. That’s because of the factors we mentioned in the previous section. To get an idea of how much electricity it takes to operate a 3D printer, we’ll base the calculations on the average consumption of 3D printers. 

Let’s take a printer with a 30A 12V power rating, which means its maximum wattage is 360.  

30A x 12 V = 360 

Keep in mind, however, that the unit won’t always be running at its maximum wattage. It only does so when it needs to heat the necessary components to start the printing process. 

If this printer model uses 0.12 kWh per hour and you want to find out how much it costs if you were to run it for 24 hours, here are our own calculations: 

0.12 x 24 = 2.88 kWh (printer running for 24 hours) 

The average electricity rate in the country is 12 cents per kWh. 

0.12 x 2.88 = 34 

This shows that running the printer for 24 hours will cost you 34 cents. 

How to Reduce Your Power Consumption

3D printers use more power than ordinary printers as they utilize heat to melt and shape the objects they print. If you’re worried about your unit’s power consumption, you can reduce its energy costs by following these recommendations: 

  • Print in duplicate or mirror mode: Printing with two extruders simultaneously is an excellent way of saving power. It reduces printing time by 50 percent by using the same printing surface, the same electronics, and the same bar moving in the Y direction. 
  • Print during off-peak hours: If you’re not in a hurry, you can postpone printing and start during off-peak hours. Doing so reduces your printer’s per hour running cost because electricity rates are lower.  
  • Print using the recommended profiles or specifications: Printers will list the configurations for the different materials used in the printing process. These configurations have been studied and tested for optimum efficiency. 
  • Use a smaller 3D printer: Smaller units often require less power. 

FAQs

Does leaving the printer on use electricity?

A printer that’s plugged into a socket consumes electricity. It uses around 10 to 20 watts in standby mode, depending on the brand and model. Even when in sleep mode, the unit still draws power. It may be a measly 1 watt, but the consumption adds up over time. 

Can a power bank run a printer?

You can find some power banks powerful enough to supply energy to a printer. However, that still depends on the type of printer you use. In addition, such power banks can be a bit pricey. 

Does a printer use a lot of electricity?

One factor that determines a printer’s power consumption is its type. A small desk printer for home use typically uses around 10 to 50 watts. Meanwhile, business printers that can handle multiple tasks have rated powers ranging between 1000 and 3000 watts. 

Is it worth it to repair a printer?

That depends on what issues the printer encounters, how much the unit costs, and how old it is. It may make sense to shell out $100 to repair a $5000 printer that’s only a few months old. However, if the repair cost is more than half the price of a new unit, it’s better to put the defective printer in the pasture.  

Conclusion

With so many types of printers on the market, you’ll need to research to determine which one will suit your needs. Printers for home use often cost less and have lower power consumption than models designed to meet larger printing volumes.  

Your printer wattage, how often you use it, its model, and brand are some factors that affect the equipment’s energy usage. Getting an energy-efficient model is one way to lower your printing requirements’ electricity costs.  

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