Which printer do I need?

Huw the Poo
Huw the Poo
edited December 2009 in Hardware / Software Hell
I haven't bothered with printers much because they've always been expensive to run, and/or I've always bought cheap ones which is, I assume, why they seem to fail before long. But now that I'm in a new job in which I can't get away with printing everything I need, I'm in the market once again for one of the bloody things.

So, with all that said, what do I need? Colour isn't really a requirement to be honest, neither is speed or anything fancy like scanner/fax capabilities. I just want to be able to print text, I want to do it without spending a fortune on cartridges every couple of months, and I don't want it to break down within a year. Reliability and not costing an arm and a leg to run are the key requirements here.

Any and all advice appreciated!

Comments

  • Freezer-TPF-
    Freezer-TPF-
    GT Member
    Get an HP laser printer, at whatever budget/feature level you require. Sometimes the cheapest models (of all brands) are a little flimsy when it comes to the paper tray etc., so I'd go for at least one price level up from that for better build quality.
  • Blackjack
    Blackjack
    GT Member
    I went with a Cannon all-in-one, although contrary to what the Micro Center salesman said, it can't scan photo slides. I should've realized that when he lifted the lid and pointed to something and said, "I bet THAT'S, uh, to scan slides!" ::)

    If you stick with the black and white cartridge -- I assume there's a way to make monochrome printing be default, but I just try to remember to set that unless I'm printing photos or need color maps -- those last a long, long time. And it prints really beautiful photos. I'm not home, so I don't recall the model # at the moment.

    It's very quiet (I constantly forget to turn it off, because it makes so little noise) and pretty fast.
  • KC
    KC
    GT Member
    I would buy a laser printer instead of an all-in-one.

    Every inkjet/all-in-one that I have ever owned has died after only a year. The ink also smears if you touch it right away.

    I think that Brother and HP make good lasers. I agree with the poster above that you should not buy the cheapest model.
  • TheAtomicKid
    TheAtomicKid
    GT Member
    If you don't need color, a black and white laser will do you really good in terms of print quality, etc.

    If you might want color, but don't want to pay for a color laser, consider a Brother inkjet. I finally weened my mom off of HP el-cheapos last year, and onto a Brother MFC-290c, we have been very happy. It seems every HP inkjet I've bought has ended up being a PoC... They invariably fail on us after a year or so, the last one was a nasty electronics failure... turn it on, blinkenlights, no response to the helm, etc. Even factory reset wouldn't work.

    The Brother, however, has been running like a champ, with the equivalent of 'light office duty', between her sorority activities, jobhunting, etc.

    Here's a newegg current listing for brother multi-functions, for convenience. Doesn't look like they have the 290c currently though.

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2010330038 50001816 109472127&bop=And&ActiveSearchResult=True&Order=RATING

    Atomic

    PS: No noticeable trouble with smearing, although we haven't TRIED to make it smear. If it's a concern, get a laser printer.

    PS2: Nothing against HP... their service and quality where my recent monitor purchase are concerned, have both been stellar. But I seem to have zero luck with their printers, and to be honest, though I didn't mention it above, I'm not fond of their software setup/drivers, either. I'll be buying HP in the future... just not their printers... or at least, not those little inkjets they sell.
  • ravenvii
    ravenvii
    GT Member
    If you just want a no-frills black-and-white laser printer, Brother is king.

    I have a HL-2040, it's been running perfectly the past 3 years. Got it refurbished for $80 at Newegg.

    And get this - I'm still using the same toner that came with the printer 3 years ago!!!
  • Exodor
    Exodor
    GT Member
    on 1260374714:

    Get an HP laser printer, at whatever budget/feature level you require. Sometimes the cheapest models (of all brands) are a little flimsy when it comes to the paper tray etc., so I'd go for at least one price level up from that for better build quality.


    +1

    I bought an HP LaserJet 1000 about 8 years ago and it's still going strong. I don't print that much and I think I've only replaced the cartridge twice in that time.

    On the downside it's so old there are no Win7/Vista 64-bit drivers for it. :crybaby:
  • Huw the Poo
    Huw the Poo
    GT Member
    Excellent, thanks very much for all the advice, guys. I'll research all of these suggestions. :)
  • Blackjack
    Blackjack
    GT Member
    on 1260392412:

    I would buy a laser printer instead of an all-in-one.

    Every inkjet/all-in-one that I have ever owned has died after only a year. The ink also smears if you touch it right away.

    I think that Brother and HP make good lasers. I agree with the poster above that you should not buy the cheapest model.
    Dunno what brands you had, but my Cannon's print outs are pretty smear proof right away. :icon_smile: Yesterday I actually accidentally printed out some Mapquest maps on photopaper by mistake. It was actually pretty useful. :icon_smile:

    By all means, Poo, if you don't care about color or photos, and you print like crazy, a laser's a good way to go. I used an Okidata laser printer for many years (1997-2008), but it was unbelievably loud (even at idle), and the toner was becoming increasingly difficult to track down (it was one of those toner/drum combos, and I eventually had to mail order it from an obscure supplier). It's just my situation, but I'm happy with my switch.

    My one other tip is, it's increasingly hard for me to find any place I can buy PC hardware that doesn't charge an obnoxious restocking fee on return. If you can find someone who doesn't charge such a fee on printers, that would probably be helpful.

    I think I got my Okidata after trying two other printers (a Brother and something else, in 1997), and that was the good old days when many stores didn't charge restocking fees.
  • Freezer-TPF-
    Freezer-TPF-
    GT Member
    HP often gets a bad rap for drivers, but I don't think I've bothered installing printer drivers since maybe Windows 98. I have XP SP3 and my wife has Vista. I just plugged in the HP laser and it works fine with the drivers Windows uses automatically. Her ancient HP 4L laser worked fine in Vista (through a parallel-usb adapter even) without manually installing any drivers. If you get a multifunction/all-in-one, then you would have to install drivers/software to get all the functionality. I always like to keep it as simple as possible.
  • Blackjack
    Blackjack
    GT Member
    Oh yeah? My multifunction printer could kick your laser printer's butt! :mad:

    Sorry, I'm getting carried away. :icon_lol:
  • hitbyambulance
    hitbyambulance
    GT Member
    my recommendation is b&w laser, with color photo printing outsourced to one of the many such companies found on the web - it's actually cheaper that way.
  • Sarkus
    Sarkus
    GT Member
    If you end up going the inkjet route, take a look at the Kodaks. A bit pricier, but the ink prices are much lower then most brands while people I've talked to say the quality is good and the cartridges last a long time.
  • Blackjack
    Blackjack
    GT Member
    So my 7-8 year old Cannon Pixma printer I was apparently bragging about in this thread in 2009 finally died during our recent blizzard, apparently because the paper backstop was crooked, one sheet went in askew, and although I dug it out, the printer got stuck on an Alarm-Error 6000 mode. I tried many different work around suggested online, nothing worked. Everyone said you had to take it to a Cannon service center, and apparently sometimes they don't even bother trying to fix it that far past warranty period.

    So instead I researched just a inexpensive laser printer that would print fast with no fuss and hopefully fewer jamming issues.

    I settled on this recently deep-sale priced ($79.99 at Best Buy and at Cannon's own USA store) Cannon model that was well-reviewed:

    imageCLASS LBP6030w
    https://www.usa.canon.com/internet/portal/us/home/products/details/printers/laser-single-function/imageclass/lbp6030w
    -While this supports wireless printing/connection, I don't particularly need that feature much at home so I just set it up via USB.

    Pros:
    -Extremely compact for a laser printer
    -Crazy cheap for a laser printer
    -No fussy injket nodules to clean or worry about
    -Silent when on, and not actually printing :icon_smile:
    -Replacement cartridges are combined drum/toner, and as easy to replace as a toner cartridge in, say, an HP inkjet model. They're not cheap at $64, but hell I was spending a fortune on PIXMA ink cartridges the last 7-8 years. I hate to even think how much I spent.
    -Prints lightning fast (19 ppm, 1st page in just a few seconds)
    -Boots up super fast
    -Super easy set up (at least for me, on desktop PC in Windows 8.1 via disc)
    -While I don't have much use for b/w photos/graphics, the printer does print those with aplomb if needed.
    -It has a hinged top smoked-transparent lid you can flip back down when not in operation; useful for keeping cat hair, paper clips and other sundries from seeping in. :icon_smile:

    Cons:
    -Obviously not for those who need fax/scanner/photo printing. I felt like in the end I don't need those features now. I regularly use apps to order photo books of my iPhone pix to give as gifts or keep as mementos.
    -Like any laser printer, more racket in actual printing operation than an inkjet; yet it's so lightning fast, I hardly notice.
    -While it has a 125-page sheet tray, it lacks the paper capacity of larger office laser printers. For occasional home use, it's not really a con per se.
    -Hey it's $80-$150, so while it's attractive, it's clearly not built like a tank. :icon_smile:
    -Install drivers are on disc so if you're installing for a laptop, have to download the drivers/manuals. I've read about some issues when setting up for a laptop.

    btw, if anyone can use Cannon #40 or #41 PIXMA inkjet cartridges, I'll gladly mail you mine. Unfortunately I bought a couple cartridges a while back because I was sick of having to constantly go back to stores to buy more. ::)

    I'll probably dump the brick PIXMA at an electronics recycling center in March or April.
Sign In or Register to comment.