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LJ hivemind - all-in-one printers? [Feb. 16th, 2011|12:43 pm]
Chalk this up to something I should have bought while employed, but put off because reducing debt was wiser.

I need a printer (or scanner or fax) once in a great while, but when I need it, I need it to work.

My brain says "so I want a *LASER*. Toner doesn't degrade and get all sticky and gummed up, like inkjet cartridges."

And then I say to my brain "brain, you're thinking of the ink jets of a long time ago. Ink jets from, like, 10 years ago! Heck, you're thinking of a time when people sold *printers*, not "boxes to allow them to sell printer cartridges!"

I can afford a color laser all-in-one. Really. But if I can get by on a $300 inkjet rather than a $600 laser, then I'm probably wiser to buy the ink jet. Unless, of course, inkjet cartridges do degrade over time, and you really shouldn't buy them if you're not going to use them up within a year or so.

Any advice?

[User Picture]From: jhetley
2011-02-16 08:52 pm (UTC)
I have both a color inkjet all-in-one and a monochrome laser printer. So far, I've used up cartridges faster than they have degraded, with about 8 months service on the black print cartridge. Heavy-duty printing (manuscripts), I use the laser.

Both are HP products.
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[User Picture]From: autographedcat
2011-02-16 08:53 pm (UTC)
I have been deliriousness happy with my Canon MP640.
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[User Picture]From: awryday
2011-02-16 09:08 pm (UTC)
I'm a little of an expert in this field, so here is my advice.

Don't buy an all-in-one product unless you are honestly and regularly planning on using the full functionality. If you only plan on sending a couple faxes a year, buy a good printer and then take your faxes to Kinkos. If you do plan on scanning regularly, I would recommend buying a printer and a scanner separately.

All-in-ones generally have a markup for their functionality, are of middling technology and are less reliable. People like them because they now only have one device on their desk, but they're problem-prone.

That being said, if you go for an printer (regardless of brand), there hasn't been a real difference in print quality between laser and inkjet for about the past 6 years. I'm talking mid-to-upper range inkjet and low-middle laser . Businesses like laser because it's lower overhead (you change out a toner cartridge less often than a bunch of smaller inkjet cartridges). The only performance metric where this is not true is pages where there is full-color bleed (i.e. printing a page of solid blue color). Laser prints are dry coming out of the end, and commercial inkjet prints usually take a couple seconds for the solvent to evaporate. If you're printing comic books, go laser, otherwise you'll save money with inkjet.

When selecting your printer (regardless of manufacturer) do not purchase a bottom-rung printer. You will get screwed on the cartridge replacement costs. All printer manufacturers (Epson, HP, Canon, Lexmark, etc) make their money on their ink and sell their printers at a loss. If you buy a bottom-rung printer, the only cartridges you will be able to buy are ones with a low-ink volume load. Mid and upper range printers are keyed to allow larger fill cartridges. Don't try to save $50 up front, you'll waste more on that over the life of the printer.

If you DO buy an HP printer (and obviously I'm a partisan), I would buy a printer that takes the NO.2 cartridges. It's the latest revision of the technology. It's not first generation so it doesn't have release bugs. And you get to replace one ink at a time. Way less money over life.

I could give you a specific recommendation on a printer if you choose an HP. Send me an email.

All the best!
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From: kightp
2011-02-17 04:21 pm (UTC)
What he said. I'm an HP partisoan, myself - they do printers better than anybody, IMO. I've been happy with every HP inkjet I've ever owned, and even the older models didn't have any problems with cartridges gumming up.

I really like my current HP color laser printer, but keep in mind that a lot of my color use is for making theatrical props, many of which get coated afterward with a clear medium to protect against wear, so bleed was an issue when I was using the inkjet. For normal printing, an inkjet will serve you just fine and you can put the few hundred bucks you save into your rainy day fun.
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[User Picture]From: essaying
2011-02-16 09:15 pm (UTC)
I have been very happy with my Dell 3100cn color laser printer, which retails for under $300. Downsides: It's enormous; the cartridges are pricey (but last a very long time; if you use your printer seldom, I wouldn't expect to have to replace them more often than once every year or two); it has a steep learning curve. And, of course, it's a Dell product, which means the possibility of poor support, although I've never had a problem with their printing division. Upsides: It turns out very nice copies very fast -- I especially like that when I set it to "black only" for manuscript printing, it spits out pages faster than one per second; it's relatively quiet; it can manage envelopes and labels reasonably well, once you figure out how to make it do so.
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[User Picture]From: hobbitbabe
2011-02-16 09:18 pm (UTC)
I agree with awryday about all-in-one products. After a while one part breaks, and you either have to keep the old one around or replace all of it. Flatbed scanners that plug into USB ports are tiny and inexpensive.

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[User Picture]From: bkwrrm_tx
2011-02-16 09:30 pm (UTC)
If you're interested in paying to ship it up there, I have a Lexmark all in one that I won't be able to drag around with me. It's a couple years old, but works like a charm.
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[User Picture]From: suzilem
2011-02-17 02:42 am (UTC)
I have a Brother monochrome laser. It's had the same cartridge for close to 3 years now. I also have an all-in-one Epson color. Print quality is great, but the scanner has degraded within one year (has a dark stripe down one edge which means I cannot scan a full 8.5x11 sheet.
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[User Picture]From: marypcb
2011-02-17 12:52 pm (UTC)
after looking at some health reports, I decided I didn't want to be in a room with a laser. ink-jet quality is excellent, good printers have mechanisms to cap cartridges so they don't dry out, own brand cartridges cost more but are far better quality and less likely to dry up or go off over time (the chemical list for original ink is fascinating - anti cockle, chalation, koganation...). there are printers well under $300 but then you can pay a lot more for cartridges for cheap printers so do both sets of sums (and yes, do the sums for original cartridges; they're better)

all in one scanning is a pain in the butt; the drivers are usually hundreds of megabytes and horrible to work with, and the scanner is OVER THERE not here by your computer. get a cheap scanner like a Doxie for documents or a decent epson flatbad for photos if you'll actually scan anything; remember a cameraphone will get a document onto your computer in an emergency.faxes you can send pretty cheaply by email if you ever need to. we've had 3 all in ones ina row that have been reliable - I don't really believe the 'one bit will always break' fear - but the driver pain and scanner inconvenience is sucky enough alone.
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[User Picture]From: tigerbright
2011-02-17 05:05 pm (UTC)
I'm still not crazy about inkjets from a price-per-page point of view. (Email me at ljname at pobox dot com and I'll send you the three-year price comparison I did about a year ago.)

That said, we have two HP Officejet Pro 8500 A909a printers at the office, and they work pretty well.
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[User Picture]From: nsingman
2011-02-19 01:29 am (UTC)
We've had a b&w laser (Brother HL5040) for almost a decade, and it still works great. I've been through a few inkjets, and currently have two different all-in-one boxes, both from Canon. The MX860 is our primary color printer, and the MX560 is our primary photo printer (for the past couple of years). I do cheat a bit and use non-Canon refill cartridges, but haven't had problems with either printer.
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From: (Anonymous)
2011-02-19 03:24 am (UTC)

This is a illy way to contact you ...

but I don't seem to have the new email address in my webmail box yet. Or my LJ password on the netbook. Duh.

Train's running about two hours late - we just left Portland.

Email me so I can get the address into this thing. *smooch*

(Hoping you have mail comment notifications turned on...)

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