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Old 12-20-2007, 11:24 AM  
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My old HP printer gave up yesterday, so am looking for a new one. I don't want the 3 in 1 machine, just a printer. Which is a good on and why?

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Old 05-26-2008, 07:18 AM  
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I'm a building tech in a 7-8 middle school where we have around 200 Dell computers, six HP 4100's, a 4600 color laser, and a couple of odd HP's lasers and Dell printers in the office. We also have four or five Epson 740's inkjets that still work. I say that to say this -- it's all about the ink!

No matter the cost of the printer, the ink is going to get you every time. Most inkjets on the market today are considered "throw-aways." That is, the companies build them cheap so the consumer snatches them up at the local computer store or Walmart. They can also afford to bundle these cheap printers with a computer so it looks like you got a really good deal.

Here's where it gets complicated. When you shop for a printer, always shop for the ink it takes at the same time. DO NOT believe what the manufacturer states as the usage cycle for a particular ink is. Those stats are always way out of wack!

Figure this -- you are going to get about half of what the maufacturer says you will get in the number of pages printed. It probably has changed, but at one time manufacturers figured ink usage at 15% of coverage on a page. That would closely figure to be 12 point Times at single spacing with no extra graphics. Throw in a letter head design that has one or two primary colors and soon you will be eating through that color really fast!

I have tried all kinds of ways to get around expensive inks. Bulk ink is way to messy! The ink will actuall seep into the bottom of the printer and make a grand mess.

HP's cartridges have the print engine right on the cartridge, so no body really makes cheap replacements for them because the print engine is proprietary.

Canon cartridges can be found at bargain basement prices, but the chip that is on the original cartridge has to be pried off and attached to the replacement cartridge (some of my attempts have proven unsuccessful and the printer refused to recognize the cartridge). The Canon chips also have some sort of usage counter on the chip and when you do replace it, the printer still thinks the cartridge is empty! So as a result, each time you print you have to bypass or press more buttons to get the crazy printer to work.

At school our Epson 740's drank ink at an alarming rate. Then we had over 50 of those bad boys, and we were going through ink faster than I could buy it. I was able to find several online companies that sell cheap replacements in the $4-5. That is quite a savings; however, the crazy Epsons stop working when one of the color cells goes dry, so you may use all the cyan and still have yellow and magenta completed full. That turns into a false economy.

So my advice after all this ranting is -- find a printer that has all the bells and whistles you like, see what the replacement ink costs, and realize you will not get the kind of usage you think you will get. Then, resign yourself to the fact that this is how the ink/printer companies make money.

Best wishes! BTW, I own a Canon Pixma MP500. It drinks ink like nobody's business, but is a great printer for what I scan, copy, and print. Beats going to Staples to make copies.

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Old 06-23-2008, 02:11 PM  
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I had a great DELL Inkjet printer. I believe it was the J740. Like the post above says, ink is the real killer, but I was always happy with that printer. As long as its compatible with your computer (might want to call DELL to find out before you buy), i'm sure you can find one pretty cheap online. Check eBay, because I sold my old J740 for really cheap.

Plus the paper feeder and paper tray fold up nicely to stow away if you're limited on deskspace.

Good luck!
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Old 06-24-2008, 08:36 AM  
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Daniel2229 makes some really good points. Ink is really expensive and many times it is cheaper just to buy a printer from walmart and then throw it out.

Another consideration is your operating system. If you are using XP, then you will likely have no problems, but I have had plenty of issues with HP and Vista. They are getting better, but if you use Vista, then you should do some research into how the prospective printer will behave with it.
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Old 06-24-2008, 10:10 AM  
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If you just want black/white, get an inexpensive laser printer. I have one made by Lexmark (circa 2001) that still works really well today. I don't have to buy toner cartridges either, since my particular model I can just pop the cover off the stock cartridge and refill it with cheap toner I found on eBay. Works great! If the imaging drum or other cartridge parts get dirty, I can usually clean them with a soft cloth, and they are good to go again. I love not having to buy ink every few weeks.

And you can even find small color lasers now, but of course the toner is more expensive.
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Old 06-24-2008, 11:26 AM  
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I have gone through many printers because of wear, usage and cost of a new printer with ink at not much more than the cost of a couple of cartridges. If I travel and stay for a week or more, I often find it easier and cheaper to buy a new printer when I get there and ship it home (UPS ground) instad of the excess bagage fees. My printing is about 35% color (most photos done commercially) and 65% routine B&W for convenience.

I think I have arrived at a good combination for me.

I now use a Canon 3 in 1 for color printing and scanning. It does a good job on non-photo printing and offers the ability to manually set the color printing paramaters and handles many different type of paper types, weights and sizes. The real reason for the Canon was the quality of the scanner/copier, which is important for me. I also have a cartridge/roll film scanner and a large format hp4600 that permits a portable scanning surface with image that can be stitched together if you have large orginials (30 x 40, etc.). Still, I use the Canon whenever possible.

For B&W, I bought a cheap Brother laser printer for about $70 (discontinued model). It is a real workhorse and I have had it for about 6 months and still have not replaced the toner cartridge. When time comes, I may buy another discontinued rather than pay almost as much to put it in a old machine. The printer has few good adjustments for odd paper types and sizes, but it is adequate, very fast and does not talk to me too often. I have not been able to empty the toner cartridge yet, so I have no idea of the life, but it sure seems great.

Just a personal experience.
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Old 06-24-2008, 04:04 PM  
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My opinion would be to stick w/HP
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Old 07-01-2008, 01:29 PM  
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I got an HP 1020 Laser Printer that works flawlessly. I've had other inkjets and all-in-ones that didn't last long. This one seems to be real solid. It's fast, too. And for only $129 it's not expensive either...

This is only appropriate if you don't need color.

Hack (a.k.a. Jeff)
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