Author Topic: Cost effective Printer recommendations - new or used, inkjet or laser?  (Read 4059 times)

Peachy

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Hi Mustachians- 

I am in need of a new printer- and am looking for recommendations on a decent- low cost to operate printer.  What have you used that can do mostly B&W, and some color printing without spending a fortune on ink cartridges.   Decent speed if needing to print 20 pages or more.   

I had an old Canon that died- and it was very cost effective as I refilled my own ink cartridges for years.   It also had a print head separate from the cartridges that I could remove and clean if it got clogged- I think that was a big reason it lasted as long as it did.   I specifically bought that printer because it had separate ink tanks for the different colors.   (I learned the hard way after getting a cheap HP that had one cartridge for the 3 colors and when one color ran out, the entire cartridge had to be tossed- such a waste and sooo expensive).   

This last printer has not been on the market for many years.   Many of the newer inkjet printers are specifically manufactured these days to try and prevent refilling (chips in the cartridges) etc.     I saw the same one I had on Craigslist  for $60-  but it was over an hour away- so I hesitated and now a week later it's gone....   was I foolish to not have gone for it?   Don't know if I'll see another one become available. 

I have been reading about the newer Epson Eco models that have refillable cartridges that last up to 2 years-  they are pricey up front (almost $300)- but if the refilling is as good as they say-  it might be worth it??    Does anyone have experience with these?   

Or is there an older model that others use that they refill cartridges that I might be able to find on Craigslist or that is still on the market?

There are so many different printers....  even if you can tell me what to AVOID will be of some help!

TIA!



I.P. Daley

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Any of the Brother entry-level B&W laser printers are pretty decent and economical, especially when you use toner save and turn off the early toner shutdown.

As for color printing, save the money on the equipment investment and farm out full-color report printing to your local closest Staples, FedEx Office, etc. If the color printing is for photographs, use AdoramaPix instead. Far cheaper per print than the lifetime cost of an inkjet, and far higher quality prints overall - and definitely beats the pants off of the local dye-sub photo kiosks.
Hi, I'm Daley, the Howard Cosell of MVNOs and the Technical Meshugana. I'm also the author of the Frugal Communications Guide and our own Superguide.

GuitarStv

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I second the Brother B&W laser rec.  We've been using a cheap one for well over a decade with no problems.

acroy

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3rd recc for the entry level Brother B&W laser printer.
We homeschool and print everything out. thousands of pages in a year. the thing is a workhorse.
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Kitsune

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Agreed with previous posters, with one caveat: we wound up printing iron-on transfers, magnets, etc (kids....) and only inkjet printers work for those. So far, we've gotten away with asking to print 1-2 pages on my mom's inkjet every 3 months, and buying her lunch as thanks.

It's not worth buying an inkjet just for that, mind, but just be aware that if you buy a laser printer and want to do any of that stuff, you'll have to find alternate arrangements.

Another Reader

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The Brother 2320 slave printer is often on sale at Staples for $59.99.  We have two of them.  Seem bulletproof.  Had an Epson ink jet - POS.  HP inkjet ok, but fussy.  If you can work around color printing and don't need wireless, for $60 you won't be sorry.

Clean Shaven

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Another vote here for a B&W laser printer.  My current one is a Canon all-in-one (copier/ printer/ scanner/ fax), wifi enabled, bought from some Slickdeals sale about a year ago for ~ $100, including a complete full extra toner cartridge.  Toner is cheap, but I haven't even gone through the initial "starter" cartridge yet. 

Recommend searching toner replacement cost on any printer you are considering, before buying.

I like the AIO laser because we use it sometimes just as a standalone copier, and the wifi is nice because I can print from a tablet or smart phone, without having to boot up the desktop computer.  It's handy when I just want to print an email.

bender

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I've had a samsung ML series B&W laser printer for several years.  Looks similar to the brother version - I would agree, just buy the cheapest B&W laser, they are cheap commodity these days.

Thought I'd throw in a tip - When your toner runs out, don't buy a new cartridge.  Likely you can refill it yourself super cheap with aftermarket refill kits.  For my cartridge, it just involves taking out a few screws to expose a refill port.  I would guess other cartridges are similar.  You won't find this in your printer's manual (they want you to buy new cartridges), search youtube for details for your printer. 

One example is below:
www.amazon.com/Non-OEM-Brother-HL-2230-HL-2240D-HL-2270DW/dp/B0054EADOK/


patrat

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Not-canon. They are not even trying to support their all in ones with windows anymore.

dcozad999

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what would be the most affordable cost effective all in one laser printer?

Clean Shaven

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Not-canon. They are not even trying to support their all in ones with windows anymore.

Really?  Well, crap...    Mine works fine with Win 7, but that's the newest version of Windows I have in the house (no 8/8.1 or 10).

I.P. Daley

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what would be the most affordable cost effective all in one laser printer?

Same advice. Brother. One of their MFC models that uses the same TN420/DR420 refills as the entry level non-all-in-ones.

They're about the only laser printer with easy enough to refurbish on your own toner cartridges, and they don't put anti-refill microchip kill switches on the toner cartridges like Samsung and other makers do.

http://www.uninetimaging.com/downloads/technical/TecArtWebAdded/Brother_HL2270_TN450_Reman_eng.pdf
« Last Edit: April 21, 2016, 02:25:29 PM by I.P. Daley »
Hi, I'm Daley, the Howard Cosell of MVNOs and the Technical Meshugana. I'm also the author of the Frugal Communications Guide and our own Superguide.

alsoknownasDean

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I'll agree with the Brother laser printer recommendation. I had one (an entry-level model) for a while while I was at uni. Good unit.

I was able to buy replacement third-party toner cartridges pretty cheaply on eBay (and the printer itself was only about $40).

If you really need to scan or print in colour, you could get a second multifunction inkjet for the job, but like IP Daley said, photo printing can be farmed out (and would produce a better quality product than a cheap inkjet), and most of us have a portable scanner in the form of a smartphone that can do that job OK.

Peachy

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Thanks for all the great feedback-  will def look into Brother- and I hadn't considered refilling laser toner cartridges- duh- can't be any more messy than refilling liquid cartridges.

Forgot that my old inkjet could scan/copy- and will have to consider if I really need that functionality- it does come in handy when you need it.   I had a couple times where I needed to scan/OCR a typed paper- a scanner with (not just an app on the phone that takes a photo) really came in handy for that.   Not essential...   

My teens use the printer for school projects on occassion- so the color is not always NEEDED if they plan ahead so we can get color prints from another source.  I'd consider a cheap inkjet to keep on the side- but my experience with inkjets is that if you don't use them fairly regularly- the print heads dry up and clog...     

Looks like I've got some weighing of options to consider and some more research to do but this has been extremely helpful!!   

Thanks!

Jardeny

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We're never going back to inkjet at my household. We replaced our previous printer with a Brother HL-L2340DW laser printer and couldn't be happier with the thing.

I.P. Daley

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Thanks for all the great feedback-  will def look into Brother- and I hadn't considered refilling laser toner cartridges- duh- can't be any more messy than refilling liquid cartridges.

Toner powder is a bit messier, especially when you clean out the waste toner and remaining old toner. Just be careful, take it outside, and wear an effective dust mask. If you do go Brother TN420/450, the linked PDF I gave in my second post is the official technical way to refurbish and refill a Brother toner cartridge, including resetting the gear wheel which is necessary. You can usually get about four-five refills before something breaks. One thing, it can take longer than an inkjet refill to do, so if you do refill, always keep your next one ready when you do run out of toner. The nice thing about toner is that it doesn't go bad, so refill in advance.

Final little pro tip for successful and proper toner refilling: Not all toners are identical. On your first refill after an OEM Brother cartridge with an aftermarket refill, or if you switch toner refill providers, do your best to clean out all of the old toner before adding the new. This will minimize the patchiness in printing that you can sometimes get when you mix toners.

Lastly, even if you don't feel like taking on refilling cartridges, there's no shame in that. The TN450 cartridge is the better deal. Stay away from aftermarket cartridges, though. They tend to leak toner and degrade overall print quality. If you do go aftermarket, use authentic refilled/re-manufactured Brother cartridges instead. The print quality will be higher, and the lifespan of the printer will be better for it.
Hi, I'm Daley, the Howard Cosell of MVNOs and the Technical Meshugana. I'm also the author of the Frugal Communications Guide and our own Superguide.

Peachy

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Thanks for the tips!   Will look into this.... 

MarioMario

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I got tired of paying more money for ink than the stupid printer was worth.

I bought a brother DCPL2540DW laser printer and have been super happy.

Brother had cheaper printers that don't have the multiple scanning input or double sided printing. 

My cost to print per page is really low now.  Sometimes I have to remind myself that just because I can print cheaply and super quick doesn't mean I should!  And I love that I don't have to worry about accidentally printing in color!
« Last Edit: April 26, 2016, 06:02:38 PM by MarioMario »

tonysemail

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thanks to the folks who recommended the brother laser printer.

Picked one up from craigslist a few weeks back and it's worked out really well.

It's quite old, so I hope it lasts me at least two years :)

SoccerLounge

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thanks to the folks who recommended the brother laser printer.

Picked one up from craigslist a few weeks back and it's worked out really well.

It's quite old, so I hope it lasts me at least two years :)

I dropped mine off the back of a U-Haul, and it still works great! Fantastic little workhorses. :)

dcamnc

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Just don't buy a cannon. I want to throw mine through my window.