Insights from the Lab: User Interventions

By Marlene Orr, Senior Analyst, Printers/A4 MFPs, October 18, 2013

When deciding on what device to purchase, users must consider multiple aspects of performance: reliability, productivity, image quality, ease of use, toner yields and cost of ownership, to name just a few. When considering ease of use, ease of programming print and copy jobs is just one factor of many. Another factor to consider is how much time users will have to spend interacting with the device for procedures such as changing supplies.  One might think that something as mundane as changing toner or ink couldn’t possibly vary that much from one device to another. But in the research conducted for our extensive White Paper on the HP Officejet Pro X576dw versus laser products, BLI found the results to be quite surprising: For printing 60,000 impressions, the range from the fewest to the most interventions for small workgroup laser models varied by more than 50 interventions! While you’ll have to read our White Paper to get the full results, we can share some key highlights here.

Color (Toner) by Numbers

In the recent White Paper, BLI evaluated the number of consumables that would need to be installed or changed over the course of printing 60,000 pages on each device in the comparative group. For a small workgroup model, this would be on the higher end of a realistic monthly volume (5,000 pages). Based on BLI’s yield testing for ink and toner, and the manufacturers’ rated yields for other consumables, we found that the number of interventions required for small workgroup laser devices varied greatly. While the average for the 10 devices in the group came out to 63 interventions, the number of interventions varied from as few as 39 to as many as 90. Using a conservative estimate of five minutes per consumable, that 90 interventions translates to 7.5 hours (or one entire work day) spent on changing/replacing supplies for one MFP. And, multiplied out over multiple devices in the fleet, that’s days or even weeks wasted on changing toner!


User interventions calculated based on BLI’s yield tests for toner, as well as manufacturer rated yields for other consumable items (drums, developer units, waste containers, etc.). BLI calculated the total number of supply and maintenance items that would be required to output 60,000 pages. Each individual cartridge or maintenance item was counted as one intervention, so the cyan, magenta, yellow and black cartridges being replaced once would count as four interventions.

Why User Interventions Matter

In our continual effort to offer greater insight to business users, BLI analysts have begun tracking how many user interventions would be required per year, at a typical real-world volume. In the near future, this information will be added to BLI’s lab test reports for printers and printer-based MFPs to allow users to better assess ease of use and maintenance.

For more information on BLI’s White Paper, which lets readers know how HP’s Officejet Pro X576dw   compares in user interventions, as well as a wide range of other areas, click here

Republished with permission from Buyers Laboratory LLC ( ©2013 Buyers Laboratory LLC