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Ask Slashdot: Best SOHO Printer Choices?

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the just-print-it-in-the-cloud! dept.

Printer 381

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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381 comments

So, I ask: who's making good printers these days? (5, Informative)

nospam007 (722110) | about 6 months ago | (#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.

Re:So, I ask: who's making good printers these day (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#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.

Re: So, I ask: who's making good printers these da (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210485)

ow out new HP printers to

Re:So, I ask: who's making good printers these day (3, Informative)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about 6 months ago | (#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.

Re:So, I ask: who's making good printers these day (1)

Simulant (528590) | about 6 months ago | (#45210865)

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.

My personal recommendation... (1)

Noryungi (70322) | about 6 months ago | (#45210327)

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...

My two rules of printing (5, Interesting)

jabuzz (182671) | about 6 months ago | (#45210345)

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:My two rules of printing (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210387)

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:My two rules of printing (3, Interesting)

BrokenHalo (565198) | about 6 months ago | (#45210759)

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 whatever needs no user-side configuration.

Re:My two rules of printing (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210417)

> 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.

Re:My two rules of printing (4, Insightful)

AC-x (735297) | about 6 months ago | (#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

Re:My two rules of printing (2)

jabuzz (182671) | about 6 months ago | (#45210635)

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 ditch the scanner and colour inkjet.

While you could use a Raspberry Pi as a print server, why bother messing about like that and just buy a printer with an ethernet port to begin with.

Re:My two rules of printing (1, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | about 6 months ago | (#45210499)

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.

Re:My two rules of printing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210699)

I rarely use my inkjet and it doesn't cost that much to clean the heads, a simple bottle of 99% alcohol, some paper towel and you're set. Total cost, $5 which will last you YEARS depending how many times you need to clean the heads, I had to once, in 4 years of rarely using my printer.
As for costly ink, refills. An 8 oz bottle of ink cost about $15, you have enough to last for a while, sure not as much as a laser printer, but still a good 5k pages. Which is perfectly acceptable for people who print less than 200 pages a year, like me. (and most people these days.. seriously, who still print stuff other than taxes...)

Re:My two rules of printing (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 6 months ago | (#45210703)

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.

Re:My two rules of printing (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 6 months ago | (#45210817)

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 print booklet for larger jobs.

Even comes with software to let you send an email to the printer to be printed, which I don't use, but is a nice idea - modern equivalent of a fax machine :)

The ink is about 50% cheaper than toner too, but the print quality isn't as sharp as a laser.

One more rule: (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210769)

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 freedesktop) apps now produce pdf instead of postscript, but that's no matter, since the printable part is a subset of postscript; the same stuff with loops and such removed and compression added, and so trivially convertable to postscript for printing. For that reason it'd be extremely strange to find a printer that would print pdf but not postscript.

Personally I picked the hp 2200d (and ended up with a dt), which is the last model in (that market segment as hp sees it) with unchipped toners, is hp so likely to have toners available for a long time, was available cheaply second hand, does postscript and has a duplexer, and has an EIO slot for a jetdirect. Extra memory and a jetdirect would've been nice, but it does USB and so works well enough for the few times a year that I need it.

But the niceties aside, the one thing that really matters is making sure it does PostScript. Even if you only ever install the thing once, the difference in hassle is worth it. That this requirement mostly wipes out the oh-so-cheap-but-screwing-you-on-the-ink inkjets is just happy coincidence, I'm sure.

B&W (5, Informative)

MikeZ52 (314911) | about 6 months ago | (#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.

Currently searching - some Brother ref (4, Informative)

advid.net (595837) | about 6 months ago | (#45210373)

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

Re:Currently searching - some Brother ref (4, Informative)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 6 months ago | (#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.

Re:Currently searching - some Brother ref (3, Informative)

redback (15527) | about 6 months ago | (#45210437)

Brother black lasers are bulletproof.

Their colour lasers not so much.

Re:Currently searching - some Brother ref (4, Informative)

kbonin (58917) | about 6 months ago | (#45210593)

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.

Reliable ratings for me (4, Informative)

jimbrooking (1909170) | about 6 months ago | (#45210379)

Re: Reliable ratings for me (1)

KJSwartz (254652) | about 6 months ago | (#45210825)

Exactly. Do your own research on quality issues through reviewers you can trust, and don't burden Slashdot with such unquantifiable services as "product reviewers". But to pose a question back at you - what OS VERSION and DISTRIBUTION do expect to use in your office computers? Purchase the multifunction printer that either had, has, or will have the best reputation.

Linux = no Canon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210389)

I can't tell you what to get, but I can tell you to stay away from Canon.

Eventhough Canon is getting better at supporting Linux, it is no where near any of the other major manufacturers. Last Canon printer I had (can't remember the model number) only started to work under linux after it was discontinued.

Re:Linux = no Canon (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 6 months ago | (#45210561)

I have a Canon wireless multifunction MG4100.

It costs a fortune in toner. It works with Linux and Windows, but the drivers are useless - Linux: Dialogue boxes come up tiny, and "remember this setting" fails to remember, but, mysteriously, other settings won't change. Windows: fills desktop with indeciferable icons and general bloat, and wants to phone home/be registered, etc.

But... It prints wirelessly from Ipad and Macbook pro, and scans wirelessly from Android and Windows (not effortlessly, though).

Oki LED printers are cheap to run, and don't go wrong.

Brother (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210399)

Brother laser with networking handles my print load with minimal sweat/bucks. Brother toner & drums ain't cheap but aftermarket saves you here. When replacing drum with a good value cheaper one -- take apart new drum kit and place drum into original carriage for trouble free front/back print operation.

My best advice: ***AVOID INKJETS*** !!! (4, Informative)

DrYak (748999) | about 6 months ago | (#45210427)

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).

Re:My best advice: ***AVOID INKJETS*** !!! (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 6 months ago | (#45210461)

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 spending time now in thailand and the local malls all have many places which sell just ink bottles for inkjets though. if you have to go with an inkjet(to get affordable a3 printing or something) explore the options for models where you can hack fill 'em up.

Re:My best advice: ***AVOID INKJETS*** !!! (2)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about 6 months ago | (#45210697)

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. They waste ink on routine cleaning cycles. HP has all these scary messages about how you could damage your printer and void your warranty if you don't replace that out of date cartridge that is still more than half full of perfectly good ink. I've heard some printers (Lexmark) use encryption on the cartridges to lock out 3rd parties. Even if you have some luck with refilled or 3rd party cartridges, at about half the price of new name brand ones they still cost too much.

Even if the manufacturers played no games, inkjets would still be a bad deal.

I avoid the problem by simply not using or having the damn printers. Unfortunately, my aged parents have never grasped that printing can be avoided entirely, and my father insists on having a printer. He hardly ever uses it, but he wants one handy. He will create a handwritten document on paper instead of using a word processor, then use the all-in-one device as a copying machine. I've told him many times that he should use a word processor, but he just doesn't understand. I tell him time and again where the office program is, and when prodded to try it, he still hunts through Firefox's menus trying to find the office program. The closest he gets to using a word processor is an input box in Firefox, which causes other problems. The worst is that it is too easy to lose a document. Sometimes just navigating to another page, even with just the back button, is enough to lose an hour of labor. I've tried this Lazarus plugin to deal with that, but it doesn't always work and sometimes makes the input box behave weirdly. Especially aggravating are those occasions when he wants one of his handwritten documents emailed. He resorts to retyping the whole thing into Firefox. I wonder how much the manufacturers count on seniors to be stuck on their printed paper ways.

Re:My best advice: ***AVOID INKJETS*** !!! (5, Insightful)

Connie_Lingus (317691) | about 6 months ago | (#45210901)

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.

Re:My best advice: ***AVOID INKJETS*** !!! (1)

alphatel (1450715) | about 6 months ago | (#45210465)

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.

Printable DVDs (2)

Rande (255599) | about 6 months ago | (#45210479)

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).

Re:Printable DVDs (1)

jabuzz (182671) | about 6 months ago | (#45210681)

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.

Re:Printable DVDs (1)

FatLittleMonkey (1341387) | about 6 months ago | (#45210809)

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?

Re:My best advice: ***AVOID INKJETS*** !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210511)

For an Office. Sure. But at home I don't like having a laser printer buzzing away. They create a lot more pollution in the form of nanoparticles and ozon than an inkjet printer. At least that's what I was told.

I was told (by a workplace safety expert) that laser printers should ideally always be in their own, well ventilated, room.

Re:My best advice: ***AVOID INKJETS*** !!! (1)

Custard Horse (1527495) | about 6 months ago | (#45210643)

For an Office. Sure. But at home I don't like having a laser printer buzzing away. They create a lot more pollution in the form of nanoparticles and ozon than an inkjet printer. At least that's what I was told.

I was told (by a workplace safety expert) that laser printers should ideally always be in their own, well ventilated, room.

I have a laser printer in my home office so it is in it's own room. I don't see the problem.

Choosing inkjet over laser is a folly as far as costs goes. Colour lasers are dirt cheap and if you choose wisely you can buy perfectly serviceable refilled cartridges for very little. The Dell 1320CN printer I have cost around £100 ($150) and came with starter toners - good for around 500 pages.

I can get a full set of high capacity toners for £20 ($30) including delivery. The quality is great and any photographic material beyond school projects can be ordered from an online service as suggested elsewhere in this thread. You can get a similar deal for cartridges for the Dell 1765NFW which does everything bar make you a packed lunch.

Remanufactured toner cartridges are the key to low cost. The cost of ink is astronomical (I read somewhere that it can work out at £1000 ($1500) per litre which wouldn't surprise me).

Re:My best advice: ***AVOID INKJETS*** !!! (2)

jabuzz (182671) | about 6 months ago | (#45210651)

Yeah and I am sure you don't take your vaccinations either because they are also dangerous.

Re:My best advice: ***AVOID INKJETS*** !!! (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about 6 months ago | (#45210727)

Both the nanoparticles and ozone spread by laser printers are a real issue, especially in areas where the machine is used a lot. They might not be a meaningful health issue in all cases, but definitely something we should keep an eye on.

Re: My best advice: ***AVOID INKJETS*** !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210893)

If I had the equipment and expertise to measure nanoparticle pollution I would but laser printers and return them if they emitted too much. Therefore, I keep them in a separate room and ventilation system in the office, and never use them at home. Much less since I have children.

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/78455.php

I already have pulmonary problems, may be out of soldering and not using protecting equipment when dealing with particulate. So I don't want to endanger my family or myself even more for just a few dollars. That would be miserable.

Home = less printing = less dust (2)

DrYak (748999) | about 6 months ago | (#45210859)

For an Office. Sure. But at home I don't like having a laser printer buzzing away. They create a lot more pollution in the form of nanoparticles and ozon than an inkjet printer.

On the other hand, at home you'll print a lot less pages than in an office. Thus generating less noise and dust.
And the laser printer can just stay where it is fine (toner doesn't age). Whereas, as said before, an InkJet will either have do go on self-cleaning cycles and waste some of its "unicorn-blood-priced" ink, or risk ending up being clogged, which will require you to change the cartridges and throw away the remaining ink.

I was told (by a workplace safety expert) that laser printers should ideally always be in their own, well ventilated, room.

If you're that much affraid, you can still keep the abominable printer in its own closet or cupboard (advandage: the material needed to clean dust spill in case of mishandling toner replacement is in the same closet).
(For the extra paranoid: but a vacuum cleaner's HEPA filter [to filter dust] and a fan blowing out of the cupboard [to keep the pressure gradient lower and keep dust particle in] - that should enormously lower the amount of particles in the air)

But if you find laser printers scary, think also about all the evil solvent that are inside the ink and that evaporate as the ink dries.

Epson Workforce 3540/3520 (1)

sandGorgons (1528485) | about 6 months ago | (#45210455)

I would say it is the Epson WF 3540 [epson.com]. First of all, it has two sided ADF scan - which is damn useful for getting rid of all those bills by scanning them and also very rare for a printer at this price point. Secondly, you can connect a CISS ink system for bulk printing and refillable ink tanks. You will be able to buy non-OEM refillable ink cartridges anyway, plus the fact that all the different colors have different cartridges means that you want be overpaying for just printing a lot of black and white. It has Android and iPhone apps for the usual wireless printing. It has gotten good reviews for its build quality, particularly its scanner head hinges [thewirecutter.com].

Re:Epson Workforce 3540/3520 (1)

servies (301423) | about 6 months ago | (#45210487)

One of the conditions is that it should support Linux and this one doesn't.

Re:Epson Workforce 3540/3520 (1)

sandGorgons (1528485) | about 6 months ago | (#45210663)

actually, it seems like it does from this review here [amazon.com]
The drivers from here [epson.net] are also looking to be fairly compliant and is registered as a SANE backend [sane-project.org].

Re:Epson Workforce 3540/3520 (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 6 months ago | (#45210767)

Well, I guess I today get to be the semantic web nazi, but here goes... Hyperlinks should flow nicely along the text and not be words like "here" or "this". This is how I would tweak your message:

actually, it seems like it does from this Amazon review of the printer [amazon.com]
The drivers from Epson website [epson.net] are also looking to be fairly compliant and is registered as a SANE backend [sane-project.org].

Re:Epson Workforce 3540/3520 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210795)

Be careful with Epson Linux drivers, they are crap. Test them if they really work before buying the printer to avoid nasty surprises.

It depends, but I've owned a lot of printers... (2)

sanermind (512885) | about 6 months ago | (#45210467)

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, necessitating wasting even more ink! I'll just print out a cute picture or webcomic to put up the fridge if I have nothing else. And I may not bother buying a new one in the future... but I have an old epson 6-color (CMYKcm) printer that's almost 10 years old and still works great (as long as you don't let the heads dry out)... which also takes super-cheap generic ink. Newer ones can have issues with DRM chips in the ink cartridges which can make it harder to get generics sometimes. YMMV. But it costs me less to print a full page photo on cheap glossy-photo or matte paper, then it would to order it online, so I've stuck with it. ;)

But for any normal printing (i.e. NON-PHOTO), you're going to want to use laser printers exclusively. Their more durable, much much much faster (a 8x11 photo in hi quality on the ink jet takes something akin to 12 minutes to print)... on a laser, everything is blindingly fast.

You also definitely want to find a laser printer with cheap non-OEM toner that's readily available. I have two laser printers for day-to-day printing, a cheap ass low-end 600dpi brother (which is perfect for text buisness documents, word processing, printing the ocassional groupon or amazon return lable, etc) and generic replacement toner is dirt cheap. Even the drums are very reasonably priced. Use this for standard monochrome documents (comes out to under $0.01 a page (not including paper, and assuming %5 coverage, standard text documents, not solid black, etc))

I also have a nice office color laser (full duplex is a bonus in these larger higher-capacity office printers). There a lot of options here, look for a refurbished one online. (Also verify you can get generic toner) Mine was $300 and comes to about ~$0.06 a page.

Are you getting a theme here? ;) Bottom line, whatever printer you get, make sure you can buy non-OEM consumables readily.

My two cents (4, Informative)

scdeimos (632778) | about 6 months ago | (#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.

Re:My two cents (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 6 months ago | (#45210753)

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.

Just curious (2)

DeathToBill (601486) | about 6 months ago | (#45210475)

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.

KYOCERA ECOSYS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210477)

Best printer for reliability and cost per page. They also have a great warranty service.

I'm using.. (2)

jawtheshark (198669) | about 6 months ago | (#45210483)

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 what I hear the consumables aren't that expensive (but not dirt cheap)... at least, I didn't get any complaints from accounting.

Forget HP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210493)

HP has lost it. The printers are cheap, not inexpensive, and the drivers are horrible bloatware.

Re:Forget HP (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 6 months ago | (#45210587)

Buying a new HP today, I agree with you. I say the same. But I still have my 4P and it's still cranking and I don't use HP's drivers anyway. It comes from HP's better days.

Re:Forget HP (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 6 months ago | (#45210943)

I have had a consumer-level HP 3070A print-scan-copy machine for a couple of years and the experience has been really good. The drivers are a 22 MB package and they work 100% fast and reliably. Both printing and scanning work wirelessly. The UI panel of the printer is super easy to use. Great print quality, no clogged print heads. This particular unit has provided me good value.

Brother 5250 (1)

birdspider (1476517) | about 6 months ago | (#45210503)

I bought a Brother 5250 [brother-usa.com] with network and tumble (print on both sides of a page).
Works flawlessly with Linux/OSX/Win.

Though I know of an Kyocera BW Laser bought ~ 1990 which still works fine as long as you don't bust its RAM by printing images.

HP 3055 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210521)

Don't even know if this model is still available, seeing as we bought ours a long time ago (can't even remember when). Just feed in a new toner cartridge every month or so, and keep the paper feeder fed.

laser all the way (3, Informative)

Tom (822) | about 6 months ago | (#45210551)

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?

Re:laser all the way (1)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 6 months ago | (#45210793)

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-in-one, that means size at least A4 for the scanner, but in the end it's not much bigger than that. Speed is far less of a concern, and quality is good enough for my use - if I really need better quality I'll go to a professional print shop.

Re:laser all the way (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210861)

Yes, for very low print volumes, lasers are still cheaper because they still work when you need them. Inkjet printers are often clogged up after a few weeks without printing. If you can get them to work with the built-in cleaning, it costs a fortune in ink. Laser color printers cost less than an inkjet with three sets of original cartridges. The main drawback of laser printers is that they're still comparatively bulky. In a surprising twist, inkjet printers are now more suited for high print volumes, where ink wasted on cleaning is a negligible factor.

You really need to specify more information. (2)

mmkhd (142113) | about 6 months ago | (#45210555)

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 have to print enough color pages,

Personally I would buy an Kyocera FS-1370 for cheap black and white laser printing. As mentioned by a post above this, it only needs toner and cheap refills are available without loss of quality. A new toner cartridge wheighs like a pound and it's all toner. But if you buy a cheap color laser from Kyocera the toner costs a lot.

For cheap color printing I would buy the above mentioned Epson.

And I woul buy a dedicated scanner.

If space constrains make you buy an all in one machine for scanning copying and color printing. I would get an Lexmark X748de It's expensive but the toner costs are OK. YOu can even use it as a b/w laser without feeling too bad. Lexmark has a rightfully deserved bad reputation for their small printers because ink was very expensive. Their professional models are great, though and the repair service is good.

HP printers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210567)

ha ha... that 4P hell of a workhorse! 10K pages is nothing!
every color printer by HP has been total shite. ugh.... go with Epson.

I STILL recommend HPLJ4P (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 6 months ago | (#45210571)

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.

Re:I STILL recommend HPLJ4P (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | about 6 months ago | (#45210875)

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.

in a word, dont. (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 6 months ago | (#45210573)

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 run about $80 at their cheapest, cant be thrown in a landfill and if they fail mechanically, have to be recycled regardless of prints remaining. the ink for an inkjet printer routinely rivals the price of heroin.

for SOHO consider picking up a cheap external modem and running a hylafax server to pick up correspondance from the dinosaurs still using fax machines. if its too technical, try using any of the fax-to-email services hat exist online. Buy a used scanner on ebay and sign your name, then scan it. whenever you get a fax simply overlay the signature or initial as necessary into the document. I did this for 4 years and no one who used a fax machine ever noticed or cared. send documents in PDF or better through email, and discourage snail mail correspondance whenever possible (trust me, your paper recycling bin will thank you.) its your SOHO, so shun partners and service providers that cant step into the 21st century with you.
if you need shipping labels printed then consider USPS kiosks or various shipping stores. theyre much more well equipped to deal with your shipping needs than you are anyhow. this goes for any label or signage. I cant count the number of small businesses I've had to deal with that laser print their own stock and somehow think it breaks even. 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.

Re:in a word, dont. (1)

stoploss (2842505) | about 6 months ago | (#45210665)

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 power. If your business is being dragged down by 50 cents of energy per month for rare printing then perhaps you should reconsider whether your business is tenable.

My office hasn't drowned in a sea of paper merely because I have a printer. Instead, I don't have to gnash my teeth every time I get some goddamn "print and return" request from someone. My convenience is worth more than any dubious potential savings I might get by spending my time and gasoline to use a Kinko's instead of a cheap printer in my office.

Re:in a word, dont. (1)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | about 6 months ago | (#45210895)

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.

New (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210589)

"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."

You must be new here.

Dell 3115cn (1)

QA (146189) | about 6 months ago | (#45210595)

The Dell 3115cn is an all in one color laser and I use it for home. It is not inexpensive, but has been bullet proof over the last year. Networkable, scanning, SMB, email and more. After the initial toner ran out, I purchased 3'd party "rainbow packs" and have had no issues using non Dell toner.
Now at work we use Kyocera 550's and they are tanks, but not something you would wat in your home.

Brother (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210613)

Brother makes a line of Laser printers (Monochromatic) which have features of the 90's printers, all in one very compact unit, for below $100
Very reliable, uses ethernet or WIFI,
I just piked up the 2270dw from brother. Very reliable, quite cheap, and feature rich. Took me less than 30 seconds to set it up.

Photos or not? (1)

Thyamine (531612) | about 6 months ago | (#45210625)

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.

Brother inkjet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210631)

Brother inkjets may not be quite the top of quality but they take fake ink just fine and seem robust enough to cope with it.

No need to worry about chips or refilling just buy the well reviewed cartridges off amazon and slot them in.

It only has to last one set of fake cartridges and you are in profit compared to almost any other printer and a set of official ink. Then the rest is gravy. You save a fortune and no hassle.

Too bad there isn't... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210649)

...An open hardware effort in this field. (Or at least a well known one.) All the focus with open hardware is on 3D printing, you'd think there would be at least one project aiming to make an open source inkjet or laser printer with the goal of having something sturdy and cheap to operate. I know it's likely there are patents and such in the way, but it seems like it can't be that hard to figure out. Is it just that people don't want to get their hands dirty with an inky smeary mess while experimenting, or is it still too hard to get the price point low enough in terms of a home-built piece of hardware vs. the so-so quality and disposable nature of what is on the commercial market?

Yet you'd think there would be at least one well known effort in regards to specialty printing. Large format printers are definitely still expensive enough that a DIY project might be worth doing.

Avoid Epson (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210657)

Whatever you do, don't buy an Epson Inkjet printer. Ten years ago, I would recommend those to anyone, but these days, they have built in all kinds of tricks to get you to buy as much ink cartridges as possible.

I have an Epson Style Office BF300 all-in-one, which was pretty cheap, and prints and scans pretty well, but if you run out of colour ink, it won't print B&W anymore. If it decides that you have printed enough pages with your cartridge, it will refuse to print. If you use an ink cartridge which is not an official Epson cartridge, it will work for a while, and then suddenly (possibly after a driver upgrade) tell you that the cartridge can't be recognised.

For me, these things always happen at the worst possible time. While it works, it's great, but if you want a printer you can rely on, forget Epson.

For Linux? Brother DCP/MCP's is the best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210705)

I spent a lot time comparing network laser printer/copy/scanner multi-function devices looking which one was best supported in Linux for the office and Brother is the best I have found. HP has Linux drivers for most of their printers, and Canon has software too, but my goal was to have the easiest possible setup without having to install their software on every single workstation. With Brother I only had to configure CUPS with the ppd file they provide and that's all, I choose in each program if I want to print duplex or if it's in color or B/W. You can scan from the computer too, but I like more the scan-to-FTP or scan-to-USB feature that gives you directly a PDF file to attach or save without having to to install or use any scanning software. To check the current status / usage / stats you just have to connect to the printer's web server.

In any case, before buying anything i would look if it's supported and HOW it is done. It's not enough that it supports Linux, for example the software that Canon provides sucks, it creates it's own printer queues, messes with stuff I don't understand and seems to be completely broken (I gave up and never managed to print a single page with it). Then I got a Brother DCP-9040 and i'm really happy since then

Re:For Linux? Brother DCP/MCP's is the best (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210837)

Btw there are a lot other reasons why i choose the Brother DCP-9040 like automatic two-side scanning to PDF and automatic duplex (two sided) printing, good reviews from users, affordable priced tonners (choose the jumbo tonners, cost per page is a lot lower), networked, 100% linux support, scan to FTP, easy to setup on computers with just one ppd file, good color and B/W quality and so on

Two Words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210707)

Solid Ink

I have a Xerox sold ink printer and holy shit the print quality is awesome for monochrome and color, and the ink sticks never dry up and last ages.

But yes, they are expensive, and yes a laser printer will be cheaper and last longer between needing more ink.

Avoid inkjets and buy HP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210709)

I strayed from the 'just buy HP' mantra for a few years, but am back there now for the past year. Don't bother with the inkjet, just get a colour laser.

They're all the same (2)

danielzip53 (1717992) | about 6 months ago | (#45210713)

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.

My usual question to people in your market is "Why do you need a printer"? Unless there is a specific legal requirement which is daily business, you don't actually need a printer. There are a host of ways to communicate without printing out reams of paper (ie email). Of course this is different in every country, so check what "legal needs" you have for hard copies before deciding. The other point is that in most cases an account at your local print shop can often suffice for incidentals, just save to PDF and get them to print it out, it will cost a lot less, and they usually offer pretty decent contract rates based on minimum volumes (can can often include mailing services if eg it's like an invoice run).
(remember I work for a manufacturer of printer products, so I don't say the above lightly).

Finally, if it's a must, get a Multifunctional network device, that was you'll have all the doc input/output functions you need, and make sure that the printer works with whatever "special" systems you use on your network (ie anything not Microsoft related, and even then sometimes Microsoft)

Just buy the cheapest printer. (1)

xizzi (837334) | about 6 months ago | (#45210717)

I don't have to print a lot and if I had a large job I would just go to the copy store. Generally, I just go to the store and buy the cheapest printer I can find. Prices seem to run between $40-$80. If its on sale then that is just great as between Christmas, the 4th of July, and back to school sales there is often a deal to be had. I go home with my new printer and print with it until I run out of toner. The starter toners are often small cases but some printer toners cases are bigger than others and Google can help with this. When I run out of toner I go out and buy a new printer. Its cheaper than buying toner refills. Plus, I don't have to replace parts that wear out on poorly designed machines. I can donate the 'old' printer for another win. I often get a lot of great features with the new printer. Yes, its a horrible waste but then you are probably aware that there are no good options from printer manufacturers.

Wrong question (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 6 months ago | (#45210725)

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.

Oki (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210773)

I've owned an Oki MC160n for three years now and I absolutely love it. The only issue I have had is if the paper guide in the built-in paper tray isn't snug on either side of the paper, it will tend to jam, so you need to make sure the paper guides aren't sloppy. Other than that, it does every Multi-Function terrific - built-in 10/100 Ethernet, scan to email (PDF or JPG/TIFF), fax, copy, color, black and white, etc.

I recently replaced all four toners from the original low volume versions to the high volume versions and I don't expect to need to replace those for a long, long time.

Dude seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210783)

Just buy a damn HP Laserjet and move on with your life.

Several thousand printers, several dozen models, several decades on 1 server running AIX using 1 god damn HP 4000 driver and it just fucking works.

I'm talking about printing at a very large hospital system in a very large city.

Printing is a non-issue.

HP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210789)

I picked up an old HP 1020 a couple of weeks back, dirt cheap second hand (about $35). Consumables are really inexpensive, even HP branded. It still works perfectly.

Samsung seems to work ok. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210799)

I've used a Samsung ML2251N printer, monochrome laser, for a few years now - probably no longer sold, but it's successor might be worth checking. It's a networked printer with in my case a postscript interpreter, but it can also handle parallel port and I think USB.

Entirely reliable, cheap to buy, very cheap to run, handles envelopes (straight-through feed path) and standard paper.

The last (very old) Epson inkjet I had dealings with was kind of tricky - its jets blocked pretty easily if it wasn't used constantly, and apparently that entailed a new print head.

Will

Postscript (1)

Thor Ablestar (321949) | about 6 months ago | (#45210803)

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.

Get a proper simple laser (1)

zmooc (33175) | about 6 months ago | (#45210819)

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 driver support (linux support!) and a network connection is just fine.

Rat in Your Pocket (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210847)

I gave up on commercial printers when feeding and maintaining them became too steep for the service they provide. Refilling is sloppy, irregular in quality, and is only a part of it.

I think that's due to the modern commercial "capitalist", "western", version of old "Iron Curtain" dictatorships outlawing typewriters and mimeographs. The cost is meant to impede or curtail the people from printing too easily or cheaply. Ditto for the sharing of ideas and information. The interests involved would range from the printing industry, to plain (rotten) vanilla 'control of information'. [wikipedia.org]

I'm sure the same hobbles will apply to fabbing, er, I mean, 3d printing as well.

It's business equipment (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 6 months ago | (#45210851)

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.

Wirecutter? (1)

Vroom_Vroom (29347) | about 6 months ago | (#45210869)

How is it no one has linked to The Wirecutter? This website answers your query. I see it as the new Byte in some ways.

http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-best-multifunction-printer-is-the-epson-workforce-wf-3520/

http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/brother-hl-2270dw-best-laser-printer/

http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-photo-inkjet-printer/

Avoid non-free drivers/firmware/plug-ins (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#45210885)

First off I'm probably the only expert on this matter here so listen carefully. Almost nobody does a proper job of advertising or supporting Linux. It it is supported properly it is by coincidence. Even my favorite (HP) isn't advocating free software. They merely make it easy to check which are truly free software friendly.

The one reason I continue returning to HP is because the company does a good job of tracking which printers will hold me hostage to the company and which I can reasonably expect will be supported down the road (regardless of HP's continued support for them).

Five things to check before buying a printer:

1. Check the Minimum HPLIP version and make sure your distribution and version have at least this (most printers won't support Ubuntu 12.04 that are on the market now)
2. Check the Support level from HP lists it as Full
3. Make sure where it says Recommended? that it says Yes
4. At the bottom it says Driver plug-in and you want to make sure it says None
5. Again at the bottom check Requires firmware download is No

http://hplipopensource.com/hplip-web/recommended.html

If nothing else- ThinkPenguin sells a few models (no lasers at the moment) and they all work with Ubuntu 12.04, Trisquel 6, Linux Mint 13, etc. For those who don't know these are the long term supported releases.

Buy an older business machine (1)

ckthorp (1255134) | about 6 months ago | (#45210907)

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 consumables.

Again with the alphabet soup (2)

barlevg (2111272) | about 6 months ago | (#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).
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