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Ask Slashdot: Best SOHO Printer Choices? 381

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-print-it-in-the-cloud! dept.
rueger writes "I can remember trading up from a daisy-wheel printer to dot matrix, and can remember when Jerry Pournelle used to say 'Buy the most expensive HP printer you can afford.' Mine was a 4P. Times have changed, though, and I'm looking for trustworthy advice before buying a couple of new printers. Specifically, a B&W Laser with sheet feed scanner, and a color inkjet with a solid flatbed scanner for copying music. We want solid, reliable machines that will give a few years of small office service, that have reasonably cheap consumables, and that will "just work" with Windows and Linux. Network ready of course. Let me expand. These days there seems to be no market leader in printers — they tend to be cheap disposable items. Part of the reason is that it is hard to find any real user reviews of these machines — most of the comments on Best Buy or other sites are full of fanboy enthusiasm, or extreme negativity — nothing that can be relied on. Between those, and the sock puppets, and the astroturfing, there's nothing I'd trust. I do trust Slashdot, though, for things like this. People here are able to offer realistic advice and experience that can usually tell the story. So, I ask: who's making good printers these days?"
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Ask Slashdot: Best SOHO Printer Choices?

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  • by nospam007 (722110) * on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @05:17AM (#45210255)

    Kyocera.

    They're not cheap but they just need toner, everything else lasts forever.

    Nobody beats their price per page. I've seen companies who print 50.000 pages a month throw out new HP printers to replace them with Kyoceras because it saved them money after only a couple of weeks to pay for the 'old' and new printer.

    I did a lot of doctor's office programming and I always included a Kyocera free with the apps because then I'd never get any calls about printer problems.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @05:38AM (#45210371)

      I'll second Kyocera. The drums eventually need replacing, but even then they're cheap to run and damn near bulletproof.

      For the inkjet, I'd recommend talking to a local vendor of continuous ink supply systems about what they'd recommend. Continuous feed bulk ink systems are *much* cheaper than paying obscene amounts per cartridge.

    • by FatLittleMonkey (1341387) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @07:13AM (#45210735)

      Also, I've seen SOHO Kyocera laser printers with a flat bed scanner under the document feeder. You won't need both types. [But stick to their proper network printers. There's a newer range for small offices, and many functions may not work properly over a network, only 1:1. Whether that means Kyocera is starting down the path of shitty consumer models, I don't know.]

      If you print a lot of non-photo colour, pump for a colour laser. If you only print a bit of colour, occasionally but on demand, buy a cheap consumer inkjet or photo-printer every 3-12 months depending on use and plug it into a spare laptop, not the network. (I've had reasonable luck with entry-level ($50) Canon MFPs not drying out from lack of use. But cheap Epsons and HPs can't seem to handle not being used regularly.)

      "Must last several years" is the wrong thinking with inkjets. Treat them as disposable, save yourself grief. If you get more than 12 months out of it, bonus. If not, who cares.

    • by Simulant (528590)
      We are a Kyocera shop, using everything from FS1370s to TASkalfa 5550Cis, and while I'm no fan of their firmware/software, the hardware does take a beating.
    • by xhamulnazgul (996557) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @08:03AM (#45210969)
      Agreed on Kyocera. Once we moved to them for the majority of our clinic's printing, we had a measured 90% decrease in printer problems. It also is a good idea to find a local printer maintenance company that specializes in Kyocera printers as I have found that when there is a problem it is generally a worn out part that is causing it. Which speaks volumes about the quality of the printers as they wear out before they break something. I have never seen them fail to the point of disabling the printer without having printed well over 10000 pages first. Our current Kyocera with the record for the most pages printed is somewhere above 1 Million pages printed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jdmuskrat (1463759)
      amazing that no one has mentioned Lexmark printers. and that should tell you all you need to know about them.
  • by kawabago (551139) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @05:28AM (#45210313)
    they just don't get it.
  • Samsung CLX-3175 - color laser printer, flatbed scanner.

    Prints great, scans great, all-in-one nice machine. Toner is not too expensive and for light-to-moderate load, this thing works great, I have it for 5 years now and not a single problem.

    Make of that what you will...

  • by jabuzz (182671) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @05:34AM (#45210345) Homepage

    Rule1: You brought an inkjet and use it heavily, it would have been cheaper to buy a laser in the long run.

    Rule2: You brought an inkjet and rarely use it. You now spend so much on cleaning the heads that a laser would have been cheaper in the long run.

    I have in the past owned an inkjet, these days if I want a photograph printing, I use an online photographic printing service and get my prints delivered to my door printed on real photographic paper. By the time you factor in the cost of the printer, inks and paper it works out just the same for a better result.

    Also anything without a ethernet port is a piece of junk not worth considering.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Rule 3: Buy a new printer once the cartridges it came with went dry: http://s3.amazonaws.com/theoatmeal-img/comics/printers/ink_vs_printer.jpg

      Also, consider this objective printer buying advice all along: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/printers

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BrokenHalo (565198)
        Rule 4 (I guess): Don't let a printer's support for Mac boxes fool you into thinking that it will work with the versions of CUPS that come with any Linux distro. I made that mistake with a Fuji/Xerox CP105b laser printer, and ended up prowling around dozens of forums to no avail. I eventually got it working by hacking the PPD file, but that was a bit more of a learning curve than I needed at the time.

        I would second the recommendation to look for a machine with an ethernet port. A host running lpd or whate
      • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @08:23AM (#45211087) Homepage

        The cartridges that come with a new printer do not (usually) contain as much ink as a replacement. However: if you don't need to use photo printing very often and have a laser for most printing - this could be worth it.

        If enough people do this, then the printer manufacturers might get the message that people do not like them taking the piss on ink prices. They sell the printers for less than it comes to make them and coin it on ink cartridges.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      > Also anything without a ethernet port is a piece of junk not worth considering.
      Connect it to a raspberry pi and you are good to go.

      • by AC-x (735297) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @06:40AM (#45210599)

        I don't think it's the lack of Ethernet in itself that's the problem, I suspect it's that:

        • Has Ethernet port = printer is a business oriented printer and thus is aimed at people who know are relatively savvy and know what to look for in a printer, thus printer is relatively good
        • No Ethernet port = printer is a consumer oriented printer and thus is aimed at people who know nothing about printers and will by and old crap, thus printer is any old crap
        • by jabuzz (182671)

          No it's lack of ethernet port means that it has to be hooked up via USB and complicates the matter if you have more than one device that might want to use the printer. Even if you only have a single device, if it is a laptop mucking about hauling the laptop to the printer to plug in the USB to print something out just sucks. Also my laser printers have way outlasted the computer devices so bear that in mind. In fact the only reason for my upgrade was to switch to a colour laser multifunction so I could ditc

        • by dj245 (732906)

          I don't think it's the lack of Ethernet in itself that's the problem, I suspect it's that:

          • Has Ethernet port = printer is a business oriented printer and thus is aimed at people who know are relatively savvy and know what to look for in a printer, thus printer is relatively good
          • No Ethernet port = printer is a consumer oriented printer and thus is aimed at people who know nothing about printers and will by and old crap, thus printer is any old crap

          Not necessarily. Some of the low end laser printers have an ethernet port. Many of them are quite good, like the Brother HL-2270DW. Some are awful, notably the low end HP models (unreliable toner guzzlers). The presence of an ethernet port is not a good indicator of how good a printer is. Conversely, wifi is not a good indicator that the printer is bad.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Chrisq (894406)

      I have in the past owned an inkjet, these days if I want a photograph printing, I use an online photographic printing service and get my prints delivered to my door printed on real photographic paper. By the time you factor in the cost of the printer, inks and paper it works out just the same for a better result.

      Seconded. I now have a B&W laser and for the small amount of colour/photographic printing I do I use online services - or if I'm in a hurry I put it onto an SD card and take it to the local supermarket that has a photo/print kiosk.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      I recently got myself an Epson "small-in-one". Small printer/scanner/copier combo. Works fine, not very fast but cheap and not using it much. No ethernet port; WiFi instead. Much more convenient. Sure ethernet is faster but for those few prints we do...that just doesn't matter.

      Laser may be cheaper in the long run - if you're calculating decades. I can buy like five of those inkjets for one laser. And my inkjet is doing colour even.

      • by gbjbaanb (229885)

        I second this - bought myself an Epson WP-5454 with wifi (new models [epson.com] seem to always be available) and its worked perfectly. The software updates are good too - even the android print/control app is good.

        Wifi is very good - so it can be "conveniently located", but it does have an ethernet port if you must. Frankly, printing is slow enough that a few seconds extra over wifi to get the job to the printer really doesn't matter. It also does automatic double-sided out of the box which I like a lot as I prefer to

    • One more rule: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Get something with PostScript support. That pretty much guarantees the thing will print, now and later, certainly any Unix, any other OS probably too. Can get away with very simple lpr configs too.

      And it's available on pretty cheap printers these days, though obviously not on "winprinters" that depend on the driver to do all the lifting bar the putting stuff on paper part--you don't want those anyway as they might not work with the next version of windows either.

      Apparently various "linux" (in casu freedeskt

    • by dargaud (518470)
      You are absolutely correct in your assessement, but if the OP still wants an inkjet, those are the rules:
      • check the price and availabilty of the inks before buying the printer
      • print regularly (at least twice a week) to avoid clogged heads
      • for printing photos, get a printer calibrator [amazon.com] (you can share it with other people since you need to calibrate only once for each set of printer / ink / paper). While you are at it, calibrate your screen [gdargaud.net].
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Some lasers don't like not being used, or used in the "wrong" way either. We had an Oki office grade printer, rated for 25,000 pages/month or something, but we printed maybe 1000/month. The problem is we were always printing single pages (receipts for customers) and after about a year some part failed. Oki support explained that after every job the printer did some kind of cleaning process, and so if you kept printing single pages it would die prematurely.

      You also have to look out for the new breed of cheap

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      Yeah, if I every actually needed to print anything I'd find a decent PostScript laser. Last time I checked they were ballpark of $300 for a color model. As rarely as I print, I'd use an inkjet once and then a couple years later when I need to print another document the ink in the damn thing would be dried hard as a rock. You don't have that problem with toner. One toner cartridge would probably last me for the rest of my life.

      I worked in IBM's business printing group for a while and they had some pretty n

    • by Copid (137416) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @11:34AM (#45212855)
      My rule for inkjets is similar. Unless you're a pro-grade graphics type doing pro-grade graphics stuff on a pro-grade inkjet printer, you probably bought a machine with one design intent: Turning full / working ink cartridges into empty / dead ink cartridges. Any printing the machine does during that process is purely coincidental. Don't do it. You'll only encourage them to make more.
  • B&W (Score:5, Informative)

    by MikeZ52 (314911) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @05:38AM (#45210365)

    I can't comment on the cost of consumables, but the office where I work has had a couple of Brother MFC lasers. The Brother site has linux drivers and I've been able to do everything the Windows users can do. These 2 printers get used a lot and have held up well.

  • by advid.net (595837) <slashdot@NOSpAm.advid.net> on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @05:39AM (#45210373) Journal

    I'm looking for a multipurpose B&W printer, laser, for home.

    My current choice is the Brother MFC-7460DN [trustedreviews.com] , also good for SOHO.
    It's a multipurpose B&W laser printer, 26ppm print; 35-sheet Auto Document Feeder; Duplex print, Fax, colour scanner.

    It looks like people have less problems with this brand/model than some others, so I think I buy it

    • by Registered Coward v2 (447531) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @05:50AM (#45210419)

      I'm looking for a multipurpose B&W printer, laser, for home.

      My current choice is the Brother MFC-7460DN [trustedreviews.com] , also good for SOHO. It's a multipurpose B&W laser printer, 26ppm print; 35-sheet Auto Document Feeder; Duplex print, Fax, colour scanner.

      It looks like people have less problems with this brand/model than some others, so I think I buy it

      I have used Brother laser printers for a number of years and am quite happy with them. They are reliable work horses and relatively cheap to buy and operate. My 5 year old one still works fine and I picked up a duplex wireless one for less than $70 on sale. At those prices, it's cheaper to replace the printer than the drum if and when it wears out. They use really cheap toner as well, I use cheap Amazon refills that cost about $15 and have never had an issue with them.

      • by redback (15527) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @05:55AM (#45210437)

        Brother black lasers are bulletproof.

        Their colour lasers not so much.

        • by Ignacio (1465)

          Brother black lasers are bulletproof.

          Their colour lasers not so much.

          Bah, where did my mod points go?

          I have access to both a MFC-7840W and a MFC-9325CW. The former worked perfectly under Linux (network print *and* scan) until I installed the drivers for the latter. Now whenever I try to print to the 7840W the printer disappears from Zeroconf temporarily, causing CUPS to error out. USB printing still works on it though. Maybe I'll get around to reinstalling the driver eventually...

          And the latter has a feature that I affectionately name "Manual Misfeed": unless you are *absolu

    • by kbonin (58917) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @06:39AM (#45210593) Homepage

      Seconded. Brother was my last pick based on lots of reviews, I wanted a B&W laser with duplexer, page feeder, scanner, fax over Ethernet for Windows and Linux in SOHO setting - got MFC 8480DN. Extremely happy with this printer, reminds me of how HP used to build.

    • I'll second Brother for the occasional printing at home. We have the MFC-7860DW, which replaced our old Dell USB laser printer (similar to the 1110) I used for the previous 8 or so years. The MFC has been very nice for us, however I've noticed that the ethernet connection has been more reliable than the wireless connection (wireless has sometimes had issues waking up from standby.) IPv6 support, duplex support, both wired & wireless support for when you need to use the printer on the go, it's been we

    • by Builder (103701)

      If you're getting the N then you probably won't use the USB, so you'll be fine.

      If you're trying to use the scanner part of a brother MFC device on 64 bit Debian / Ubuntu / Mint, you need to be aware that the brother brscan packages install the shared objects into /usr/lib64 and sane only looks in /usr/lib.

      Other than that, they're great.

    • by Necroman (61604)

      When I did my printer hunting a little over a year ago I ended up with a Xerox 6505 [xerox.com]. I was looking for a color printer, and they have overall good reviews. When you are looking at toner, there are fairly cheap aftermarket toners you can get for Xerox printers that keep costs down.

      One thing I looked for in a printer that would let it work on any OS was that it could accept PCL and PostScript (that way you don't need a print driver). Though, still having a printer driver is nice for configuring little thin

  • by jimbrooking (1909170) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @05:39AM (#45210379)
    http://www.consumerreports.org/ [consumerreports.org]
  • by DrYak (748999) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @05:52AM (#45210427) Homepage

    and a color inkjet with a solid flatbed scanner for copying music

    Forget about inket altogether.
    Just use a colour laser, toner is much cheaper than ink, and most modern mid- to high- range laser printers have a good enough quality even for photos.
    (If it's single pass, and has a high dpi, you're okay).

    In addition of the price, there's a technical advantage of laser: you can print at any pace you want, as seldom as once per month if you want (or even rarer) all the way up to what your printer can mechanically sustain before falling apart (most printers can take quite some abuse, well within the needs of SOHO). Ink can dry and clog printing head or ink channels. Either you'll *HAVE TO* print at least a few page now and then to keep the ink flowing. Or you'll have a printer which will automatically run through a clean/un-clogging cycle (spitting some ink into a reservoir) or you'll need to replace completely clogged cartridges/printerheads. You can store a laser printer unused in you basement for as long as you wish, whereas an Inkjet will always cost some (expensive) ink, even if you don't use it.

    If you really must buy a inkjet and cannot buy a colour laser for some obscure reason, at least try to go for a brand where the ink refill is just that: ink. (some Epson would be a random exemple). At least the refills are not too expensive, and because it's an open market, you can find a whole range of options. Including dead cheap no-name refills of dubious quality, but also refills from cheaper 3rd parties which are known to make good inks (and probably have been already in the ink business even back when fountain pens have been introduced)

    *ABSOLUTELY* avoid any brand where you replace the whole cartridge (ink + printing head). There is a very small marginal advantage in that (new cartridge means a brand new CLEAN printing head, and shorter paths between ink and head means less risk of clogging). But in virtually every brand, the cartridge has some electronics built-in, which is used as a crude for or DRM and anti-tamper. That means that you're in a locked market (no 3rd party licensed to sell cheaper heads, difficult to refill your self and persuade the electronics that the cartridge is (again) new). And thus, such brands tend to pump up catridges' price like crazy, so much you'll wonder if their ink is made out of unicorn blood. (Up to the point that a whole printer refill could cost more than the printer and would probably have throw away a lot of the old ink anyway).

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      exactly.

      a cheap inkjet combo might be the cheapest way to get a scanner but don't rely on it for printing..

      I have a samsung laser color printer that a company bought for me. that was 3 companies ago and getting close to 7 years!

      I print maybe 4 times a year with it and it ALWAYS works. I've never changed the color cartridges with it(I've maybe at most printed.. 800 pages, or so) and everytime I plug it in it still works. wasn't that expensive either, 320 bucks or about so and it has ethernet as well.

      I'm spen

      • Yes, avoid inkjets. Don't get one thinking you can beat the manufacturers' outrageous ink prices with 3rd party cartridges or ink. Too much trouble and expense even when it works.

        You can fool the printers about the cartridges some of the time, but they're programmed to give you grief about it. They'll claim cartridges are empty when they aren't, claim the ink is too old when it isn't, insist that you provide working cartridges of every color even when you only want and need black, and other things. Th

        • by Connie_Lingus (317691) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @07:47AM (#45210901) Homepage

          ahhh....Dads...gotta love them :)

          I miss mine...he passed away about 8 years ago and I went through the exact same IT-thing with him.

          I realize now that he did that stuff on purpose because it was a way for us to connect and spend time together.

          Not that you need to hear it from some random stranger, but you need to hear it from a random stranger...enjoy every minute with Dad he won't be around forever.

          • Dammit. You actually made me feel bad for getting my dad an iMac. He hasn't called me for 'service calls' in ages. In retrospect, it's after I set up that system for him that I started visiting him less often...

      • by mark-t (151149)
        Actually, it's not even necessarily the cheapest way to get a scanner, since in my experience, the device often won't even be usable as a scanner if anything is wrong with the ink cartridges, and ink in cartridges have a propensity to eventually dry out, even if you are not printing... which is yet another reason to not get an inkjet.
    • by alphatel (1450715) *
      I was confused if the op wanted a heavy duty scanner copier like the Kyocera someone mentioned, or two separate devices, which would be far cheaper. Most of our clients continue to run HP LaserJets for B&W and the sustainability and durability remain high. For color inkjets, yes for $125 you can be the king for a day of savings but they are garbage. Definitely get the upgrade to laser by any manufacturer unless you really are printing only 10 color pagers per month and scanning the rest of the time.
    • 50% of my printer usage is to print images onto printable DVDs. AFAIK, there is no laser printer which will do this.
      3rd party ink is cheap enough that I'm not too worried about cost. And so far the chipped cartridges don't give me too much trouble (Last 3 printers have been Epson).

      • by jabuzz (182671)

        That would be the exception to the rule of don't use inkjets, but one could of course just use a lightscribe drive which is how I tackle the issue.

      • AFAIK, there is no laser printer which will do this.

        That's because the fuser (heater) will kill the disc.

        3rd party ink is cheap enough that I'm not too worried about cost.

        Have you tried continuous feed ink systems?

        • by necro81 (917438)
          Then, too, the paper path in every laser printer is convoluted and passes over rollers and drums. This is fine for paper; but good luck doing that with a DVD.
  • I'm not old enough for a daisy-wheel (although my dad had one, and I remember it from when I was tiny) ...but I've owned a lot of printers over the years, and I tend to be the go-to guy to set up and configure those of family and friends.

    First off, the only reason to have an inkjet is for photo printing. But the consumables are rediculous, so only get one if you can get third party ink at reasonable prices. Also plan on printing something at least once or twice a month, or the heads will clog, necessita
  • My two cents (Score:5, Informative)

    by scdeimos (632778) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @06:08AM (#45210473)

    First up, let's get this out of the way: all inkjet printers are cheap (and nasty) because they are loss-leaders for consumables.

    I used to swear by HP but they've started this nasty habit of discontinuing ink cartridges after about three years, forcing you to buy a new printer because you can no longer get "original" cartridges for it.

    On Windows I like Canon printers. But forget about trying to use the CD/DVD-printing Pixma series on Linux - while you can print on paper and labels just fine there is insufficient adjustment in the printer driver config files to allow proper alignment/registration when you wish to print directly on a CD/DVD, meaning you have to plug it into a Windows machine and use Canon's crappy CD Label Printer software that looks and behaves like a Windows 3.1 reject.

    I'll be due for a new printer as soon as I can't get cartridges for my current HP OfficeJet. And this time I'm seriously considering a Samsung laser printer, or perhaps a Kyocera.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      I used to swear by HP but they've started this nasty habit of discontinuing ink cartridges after about three years, forcing you to buy a new printer because you can no longer get "original" cartridges for it.

      I used to own an Officejet 75xx. Duplex printer, sheet feeder for scanner (unfortunately didn't work well), network port, fax. Except for the sheet feeder issue (but didn't really need that part), very happy. NO problems getting original (no copy) ink all the time, even after four years. Used it to print a couple thousand pages a year - overall cost maybe US$0.06-0.07 a page.

  • by DeathToBill (601486) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @06:08AM (#45210475) Journal

    Why do you need a colour inkjet for copying music? I don't think I've ever seen sheet music where the colour is important - to the extent that about three quarters of the sheet music I've ever seen (and I've seen a fair bit) has been photocopied on a black and white copier.

    I guess if you're copying for sale then you might think that colour decoration / presentation is important. But if you're doing this as a business, you should be using something more amenable to high volume than a colour inkjet printer.

  • by DeathToBill (601486) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @06:09AM (#45210481) Journal

    It'd be very useful to know what volume of printing you estimate each printer will be used for.

  • At home. I'm using a Ricoh Aficio CL2000 with network module and duplex unit. It wasn't cheap back in the day, but back in the day cheap lasers didn't exist. I'm still happy with it. Doesn't do scanning, etc... I'm sure they have models that can. The rule of thumb for Linux compatibility is PostScript. If it has PostScript it will work.

    At work, we nog have a Xerox WorkCentre 6605DN. Scanning (with feeder), duplex, network, PostScript and Fax. It was a mere 650€. which is damned fine. From wh

  • laser all the way (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tom (822) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @06:29AM (#45210551) Homepage Journal

    Several years ago, I moved from an inkjet printer to a (color) laser printer. At home, for private use. I've never looked back, and these days I have no f&%$! idea why people buy injket printers.

    It's got higher quality, it's cheaper per page, a toner lasts forever, and I can fire it up after not having used it for three months and it'll print - no cleaning required.

    I personally own an OKI and am happy with it, but I agree with you that there is no true market leader. Online reviews can't be trusted, so I went with the technical data. Maybe that's a workable approach for you, just go for the facts?

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      Laser printers are still much more expensive to buy than inkjets. Sure after 10,000 pages they're cheaper but most inkjets never make it that far - especially if you don't print for three months at a time, as you indicate your situation is. At such a rate you're likely to do maybe 500 pages over its lifetime, or even less. Laser still cheaper that way?

      Lasers are also bulkier. And that's for me a major concern. When buying a printer last year, I looked first of all at size. I wanted a scanner as well, so all

      • by RKThoadan (89437)

        I bought my latest color ink-jet 2 years ago and color lasers were getting very close to reasonable then. I just checked Amazon and there are HP, Ricoh, Brother, Dell and other decent brands for less than $200. That seems like an extremely reasonable price.

        They are somewhat bigger though, so you're right about the space issue.

  • Already people are perpetuating a lot of myths.

    - Laser ist cheaper than Inkjet
    This is not true. A cheap color laser has very expensive toner needs whereas an expensive inkjet printer can be cheaper than many color lasers. If you cheaply want to print color the Epson B510DN [epson.com] is a goot choice. It is not so great for photos though and as with any Inkjet it wants to be used regularily.
    If you want a color laser you have to buy a very expensive model to achieve cheap toner costs. This is only interesting if you h

  • I still have my HP Laserjet 4p. It's a great printer. I have no problems with it and never have. And to look back at how old it actually is? Wow. It's impressive. And toner? I have plenty. Home use just isn't that much you know? And I do have a color printer as well, but the toner is expensive and I just don't need color that often.

    Nice thing about laser printers -- they can sit on a shelf a lot longer.

    • Its hard to kill a PX engine printer. Toner is cheap too, brand new HP branded carts can be found for under $20. The only downside is print speed. It'll take awhile to print something at 4ppm.
  • SOHO needs a printer like the titanic needs an iceburg. consider what you're doing:
    electricity: even the most energy efficient lasers use more than 600 watts of power while printing, and even more in warmup phase. small colour laser requires a motor to turn a cartridge drum in most cases, much like a tiny carousel.
    media: this cant be stressed enough. the price of paper might not seem backbreaking but printers beget printing. for laser printers you may get more prints per cartridge but those cartridges
    • by stoploss (2842505)

      its your SOHO, so shun partners and service providers that cant step into the 21st century with you.

      Excellent plan, but please tell me how best to shun the government and fire my customers. These are the entities that demand the overwhelming preponderance of my SOHO printing.

      And no, I'm not driving to a Kinko's every time I have to print out a copy of some goddamn government form or print an address label for a fucking paper return I cannot submit electronically.

      Seriously, a Brother BW duplex laser is like $300. Hell, turn it off when you aren't using it. Remember, you are being billed for energy, not pow

    • Eventually companies will want your labels to include RFID tags or 2d barcodes, both of which your laser will cost a fortune to do in software licensing and burned up RFID tags.

      If you do enough shipping to have an account with UPS, you can usually convince them to give you the label printer and labels for next to nothing.

  • by SternisheFan (2529412) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @06:42AM (#45210611)
    I found this link ( http://theoatmeal.com/comics/printers [theoatmeal.com] ) from the comments section of this ( http://www.howtogeek.com/174232/htg-explains-why-is-printer-ink-so-expensive/ [howtogeek.com] ) article. Hope it helps.
  • Since everyone is sharing anecdotal stories, I'll throw in my two bits. I have an HP ColorSmart C7280 and I love it. It's an inkjet, and we usually print fairly regularly, but it does still run through it's little maintenance run now and then. And photos look great usually. I use it for scanning fairly often as well, and it has a flatbed and a feeder. I wouldn't mind a laserjet, but I haven't sat down to figure out costs and determine if the quality would be as nice.
  • I work for one of the Manufacturers, and I can tell you that at the SOHO level they're pretty much all the same. They all have their positives and negatives though none really related to the function of printing or standout. In fact most of the manufacturers re-badge the print engines and add their own features for which can be good and bad (good if they pull it of, bad if there are compatibility issues between the engine and controller Firmware).

    NOTE: stay clear of inkjet cause they just cost you a fortune

  • So, I ask: who's making good printers these days?

    Pretty much all the well-known brands

    What you should ask is...

    So, I ask: who's making the cheapest toners these days?

    The cost of running a printer is much higher than the purchase cost (if not, then a laser printer is not for you)
    Look for the price-per-page of toner and see if there are third party toners available for your specific model.
    Also make sure the toner model is popular enough for third party vendors to keep making them.

  • I should mention that the printers with built-in Postscript "just work" under any kind of *nix. No more specific drivers, font problems, bad picture scaling etc. I have 2 of them (bw and color) and I remember a Windows-only device and Ghostscript driver for it as a terrible nightmare.

    Unfortunately, I've never seen a cheap Postscript printer-scanner.

  • After the stack of somewhat dead inkjetprinters reached the ceiling of my basement, I decided to get the printer my mom had been using for 5 years without a problem (apart from the plug falling out once:P). That was a Samsung. I've been using it for 2 years and it's awesome. Would highly recommend it.

    Also got myself an A3 Konica-Minolta color laser printer but that may be a bit pricey for your needs. Would also highly recommend this.

    Whatever you do, don't get an inkjet. Probably any laserprinter with proper

  • Some low end B&W photocopier/scanner/printers seem to last for years without hassles. Getting it second hand is an option since some places are ditching them for colour. Most brands, apart from those run by idiots that leave to go into politics, will take postscript or even PDF so you can print to them with anything from an Atari ST up without having to care about drivers.
  • If you're handy, you can get amazing deals on full size business machines. I currently use a Ricoh Afficio 2238c for my heavy use work. It was $1000 and only needed about $200 in parts. It is 38ppm, color, duplexing, and can handle 11x17. It has an ADF and 11x17 flatbed which would be nice for the sheet music. I pair that with an HP4100 dtn that is better for short runs and turns on faster. I have a 4600dn too, but don't really use it anymore. The older HPs are really a steal and have cheap aftermarket co
  • by barlevg (2111272) on Wednesday October 23, 2013 @07:57AM (#45210945)
    Does everyone really just know that SOHO = "Single Owner Home Office" (took a bit of Google fanciness to get around the neighborhoods in London & NYC).

    To answer the OP's question, I've had great luck with my Canon Pixma MP495 [canon.com]. Canon *did write* Linux firmware/software [canon.com.au], it's just not available through their US site for whatever reason (it's also kludgy as hell, but it gets the job done).
  • Honestly, because you can write them off yearly and replace them yearly. a $99.00 color laser or even the B&W ones are perfect and you can use the hell out of them knowing that if it fails then only $99.00 to get a new one. Offbrand refills are 1/3rd the cost and if they blow up the printer who cares, IT's only $99.00

    Unless you are doing extreme volume and need things like 11X17 duplex and document management it is purely stupid to buy a higher end printer.

  • Get a HPLJ2300DTN. There's millions of them out there in surplus because they don't break down. You can get rebuild kits for when the feed rollers get tired. Fast, reliable, speaks multiple protocols, networked. Couple hundred bucks. Toner is cheap as hell.

  • I've been using one of these for some months now and am very happy. I recommended it to a colleague recently and he like it too. It is an inkjet with flatbed and ADF scanner, fax and WiFi. It works really well on Windows 7 for me but Linux drivers are available. Separate ink cartridges and there are usually compatibles available for Epson printers.
  • Canon makes good cameras.

    Canon makes good projectors.

    Canon makes good inkjet printers.

    And... Canon makes good multi-capable printer-scanner-fax-sheet fed-flatbed-etc. capable machines. Also, they don't gouge you on ink like Epson does.

    The CEO of Epson was quoted a few years ago as saying that printers are "vending machines for ink." F U Epson.

  • Replaced my HPLJ4+ with a ML-2855ND some years ago now. No problems with reliability. Similar form-factor to the LJ4, more power efficient. Our usage is light to medium - it got most usage when my wife was working on her doctorate.
  • Little secret, Dell Laser Printers are generally re-branded Xerox or Lexmark. I've been running a Dell Color Laser 2130cn that cost me $400 originally in 2005 for 8 years now only changing the ink maybe 4 times so far (ok no I don't print all that much). But the sucker has never failed me one.

    Google whatever Dell printer that interest you, you can generally find people mention what printer its a rebrand of.

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