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Laser Printing Without the Hassles?

Cliff posted more than 10 years ago | from the avoiding-the-lockin-strategies dept.

Printer 128

yeremein asks: "After yet another black ink cartridge has fizzled out, I've decided that it's time to stop giving money to a known DMCA abuser and buy a new printer. Since I'm fed up with the clogged jets and drifting print head misalignment, not to mention the exorbitant cost of ink cartridges, I'd like to go with a laser printer this time around. It doesn't have to be a high duty cycle one, since it's for home use and I only print maybe 100 pages per month. And black only is fine. Any suggestions for an inexpensive laser that is Linux friendly, and does not employ any 'smart chip' technology that would prevent the toner cartridge from being refilled or cause it to 'expire' and stop working at a certain date regardless of the toner level?"

cancel ×



Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7832003)

SHIT ON ME! It's official - Slashdot has fucking confirmed: Trollkore is dying

Yet another cunting bombshell hit the community of Trollkore asswipes when Slashdot recently confirmed that Trollkore accounts for less than a fraction of one single puny fucking percent of all trolls. Coming hot on the heels of the latest Slashdot survey which plainly states that Trollkore has lost more fucking fp's to the GNAA, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Trollkore is ingesting itself backwards, disappearing up its very own shitter, as fittingly exemplified by beeing fucking owned [] in this recent Slashdot story.

You don't need to be a cock-sucking Kreskin [] to predict Trollkore's future. The hand writing is on the wall: Trollkore faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any fucking future at all for Trollkore because that sorded, shit-filled, mutated testicle of a troll group is dying. Things are looking very bad for Trollkore. As many of us are already aware, Trollkore continues to lose first posts. Red ink splashes across the accounting documents like a series of exploding bloodfarts. Trollkore munches the most ass of them all, having lost 93% of its core trollers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time Trollkore cuntwipes Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: Trollkore is dying and its rotting corpse smells worse than a maggot, vomit, shit and piss cocktail.

Due to the troubles of those arseholes at Slashdot, abysmal trolls and so on, Trollkore showed themselves to be a bunch of retarded tossers, went out of business and were taken over by GNAA who troll another type of trolls. Now Trollkore is also a miserable failure, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house... pathetic.

All major surveys show that Trollkore has steadily fucking declined in first posts. Trollkore is where it belongs, at death's door and its long term survival prospects are almost non-fucking-existant. If Trollkore is to survive at all it will be among moronic, dilettante shitheads. Trollkore continues to Chew Satan's Dick And Fuck The Baby Jesus Up The Pooper. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, Trollkore is dead.



Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7832404)

um, i count more front page FP's (the only kind that count) by trollkore than GNAA.

GNAA is feebly trying to recover by grabbing FP's in the ghetto topics but the true victor is apparent.

No hassles (2, Funny)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832005)

I've come to accept the burnt holes in the walls and the loss of retinal cells as a result of using lasers for printing. Perhaps there is a better way, laser printing without the hassle!

Re:No hassles (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7832454)

That wasn't funny at all, you pathetic nerd. MODS, wtf?

Re:No hassles (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832625)

The moderation was far funnier than my post.

Re:No hassles (3, Funny)

Dr Reducto (665121) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832815)

It's all worth it if you can set your laser printer to "stun".

Samsung 1710 or 1750 (4, Informative)

dcstimm (556797) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832025)

They can be found for $150 and $250, they have no smart chips, they are fast and they work with Linux, Mac, oh an Windows. It even says Linux compatable on the box and it comes with linux drivers on the cd! (which are opensource).. I would also think the latest cheap HP laser would be a good choice too.

Re:Samsung 1710 or 1750 (1)

innosent (618233) | more than 9 years ago | (#7833375)

Or even better, find an old HP LaserJet 4 or 5 at you local county auction, you can usually pick one up for about $5, with a toner cartridge in it. Other than that, try pricewatch for used printers, as long as it is a quality printer, you should have no problems with reliability.

Re:Samsung 1710 or 1750 (2, Informative)

shaitand (626655) | more than 9 years ago | (#7833395)

The 5l's or 6l's have a known issue with the pickup rollers wearing out CONSTANTLY. This is an issue on home printers which should last damn near forever on one toner and maintaince kit.

There are cheapy little pads you can buy that are supposed to "fix" this issue but they can cause more problems then they fix. The replacement rollers which are supposed to resolve the issue from HP doesn't work and still need replaced on very frequent basis.

A good laserjet 3 is probably a better choice, granted it's the size of a small tank and has a weight to match but they are rock solid. Or you could go the same route I did, I recently replaced my laserjet 3d with a laserjet 4100 and couldn't be happier with the results.

Re:Samsung 1710 or 1750 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7834162)

I would agree to get an HP but not the 4-6s because of the feeder issues. I would say to get the HP LaserJet 1300 or 1300n (networked).

Samsung (4, Informative)

Bruha (412869) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832028)

For less than 100 Dollars a Samsung ML-1710 should do the trick for you.. Sold at most compusa's, best buy's, or Fry's.

I've had one for almost a year and it's still running great.. Even under Linux using the foomatic Samsung 4500 drivers.

Re:Samsung (1)

dcstimm (556797) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832076)

weird, we thought of the same printer...

Re:Samsung (2, Informative)

Geam (30459) | more than 9 years ago | (#7833270)

I second the Samsung ML-1710. I've had mine for a couple months and only print only a couple times a week. The quality of the output is great, the setup was easy (USB), and -- after the warm-up -- the pages do come out at 17ppm as promised.

The only downfall I found was the manual feed slot. The pages don't always pull in evenly and crumple one of the corners. Adding the page to the top of the tray resolves this problem. Also, I can't get envelopes to go through properly so I use labels instead.

This model is/was on sale at Best Buy for only $100 (after $30 instant and $70 mail-in rebate) and replacement toner is $70 a pop at Best Buy and similarly priced (very few less) online.


Re:Samsung (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 9 years ago | (#7835121)

Is there a wrapper for Windows printer drivers like the Linuxant wrapper for NDIS 5 drivers? If so, the Minolta PagePro 1250W is a very good choice. I've got one, and I'm sharing an adaptor made with GhostScript and GSPrint, and pushing it through Samba to my Linux laptop. Works fairly well, too.

A used HP Laserjet (3, Informative)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832033)

Look for a LJ 4/5 'M' model. These printers support Postscript 2 and are ideal for any unix.

Re:A used HP Laserjet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7832310)

And they weigh a ton! They make great boat anchors.

Re:A used HP Laserjet (1)

gremlin_591002 (548935) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832559)

I'll vouch for the 4MP. Great printer, cost me $10 at a garage sale. I didn't even care if it worked for that price. It's been a year and a half and I haven't replaced the printer cartridge yet. Screaming deal of the century.

Re:A used HP Laserjet (1)

sakusha (441986) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832616)

I'll agree, I bought an HP 5MP back when it was new, I don't think I've ever replaced the toner cart. Man they had high capacity carts in those days. But AFAIK the M models are primarily for macs, they have Appletalk added, but still have a parallel port. I added an HP DirectJet ethernet adapter, it can do LPR printing or any other Ethernet protocol you like. I've used it on various Linux and Mac systems for more than a decade, it's a great printer. And you can't beat real PostScript. The new HPs all use fake cloned PostScript.

Re:A used HP Laserjet (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832783)

You are correct, the 'M' models are targeted at Macs, but as a rule of thumb Mac laserjets are postscript printers. (You could buy a postscript card for a non-postscript printer as well.) I think this is because the Apple Laserwriters were postscript printers, and mac applications expected PS to be there.

The other big advantage to buying vintage HP is that IBM, Xerox and others actually manufacture their own 3rd party toner cartridges, so if you ever need to buy new toner (unlikely at home), it's cheap.

Re:A used HP Laserjet (1)

sakusha (441986) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832894)

yeah, gotta have real PostScript. But actually, the old "vintage" HP carts are all made by Canon (I noted this elsewhere in this discussion). IBM, HP, etc, all just slapped their labels on the carts. This is actually a good thing since the carts are ubiquitous and cheap, and Canon technology was excellent. It was actually TOO good, which lead to the aftermarket for cart refills, there was usually a lot of life left in the selenium target roller even after the toner ran out.
On the other hand, the Canon Personal Copiers of that era used similar carts, and they sucked. I remember someone sending me a copy made on a CPC, I got it in the mail, the toner hadn't fused at all, when I opened the envelope I got a sheet of blank paper and a pile of black powder..

Re:A used HP Laserjet (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 9 years ago | (#7833400)

yeah they were too good, on some of the old hp printers the postscript was actually significantly faster than the native pcl of the printer!

Re:A used HP Laserjet (1)

sakusha (441986) | more than 9 years ago | (#7833447)

Depends on what you were doing. Nothing beat PCL for plain old text files, but it was a bitch to do graphics, especially on Macs. You could get software to convert QuickDraw to PCL but it ran on the Mac as a driver and it sucked bad. IIRC you had to bump up the printer RAM just to buffer the image before printing.
Actually, come to think of it, there IS one printer that could beat an LJ1 on text files, back in the day. I used to sell NEC Spinwriters, they could often beat a Laser when you had documents that weren't margin-to-margin full pages of text. Screenwriters used to love the Spinwriters, they could print the narrow script columns in far less time than Laserjets. They hit 65CPS if I recall, wow, how long has it been since you heard printers measured in char/sec??

Re:A used HP Laserjet (4, Informative)

MarcQuadra (129430) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832733)

Those things have NO regard for electric use, BTW. And cats will LOVE nesting in them while you're at work because they're always warm.

And NEVER plug a laser printer into any setup with a UPS invloved, they draw way too much juice while printing and can easily overload the UPS.

Re:A used HP Laserjet (4, Insightful)

toast0 (63707) | more than 9 years ago | (#7833121)

Why would you plug a printer into a ups anyhow?

When was the last time the power went out, and you thought 'hey... i wish i had printed out that thing i was working on, so i could read it in the dark'?

Seriously, if you get a UPS, you should only plug the stuff you need to stay on for a little bit longer into it.

Re:A used HP Laserjet (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 9 years ago | (#7836438)

Heh.... By accident!

When I was untangling cords, I accidentally plugged my LaserJet 4050TN into my little UPS instead of my computer. The power switch on the printer was on, and the UPS lasted slightly less than a second... Made a cool noise too!

HP LaserJet (2, Informative)

justanyone (308934) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832039)

My wife brought an HP [] LaserJet 6P into my life and it works fine with my Linux box (Redhat 7 onwards).

It's been very reliable and we haven't changed toner in about 2 years. Of course, we don't print that much.

They have 3 printers priced at $200, $400, and $600, information is here. []

Re:HP LaserJet (4, Informative)

Zocalo (252965) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832351)

Seconded on the HPs; both the printers and the drivers are rock solid. I've got a LaserJet 6L which has been going strong for six years now and is on its third toner cartridge and due another RSN. I have it on a network print server and it's been just fine printing with Red Hat from v6.1 onwards using LPRng and now CUPS with v9.0, no PostScript, but the Linux drivers handle that just fine too.

It's just starting to have some problems with the paperfeed though, occasionally pulling several sheets of paper through at a time (successfully I might add!). And that's another thing about HPs; when they actually do jam you very seldom have any problems getting the paper out, you can usually pretty much expose the entire paper path by flipping the lid and removing the cartridge. I'm actually kind of sad to see it failing because it's served me that well, so I'll definately be getting another HP laser to replace it. The big question for me is whether or not to go colour...

Re:HP LaserJet (1)

Green Light (32766) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832438)

You don't need to retire this printer; I have the same model, same age, also on the third toner cartridge, and it also started feeding multiple sheets. is your friend here: for 29.99 USD they will sell you a simple to install kit that fixes the problem. It worked for me!

Re:HP LaserJet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7832479)

That's a common problem with some HP LaserJet printers, including the 6L. HP used to offer a free kit to fix it, which worked for me. Unfortunately, it looks they have withdrawn the offer now. See this [] . Follow the link in 15.

Re:HP LaserJet (4, Informative)

Sabriel (134364) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832488)

Some of the older HP printers develop the multiple sheets problem, and HP was offering a free repair kit for certain models (dunno if it's still available - if not another reply mentioned a site where you can buy a fix for your model I believe).

Re:HP LaserJet (1)

silvwolf (103567) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832800)

Looks like HP stopped the program on Oct 31, 03. I picked up a kit for free, from HP, last year and it solved my problem. I see some auctions on eBay for kits right now - 3448949602 and 3448998429 are a couple.

HP's kit is just a "patch" really. The real fix is to buy a new seperation pad and pick up roller.

Lawsuit page. []

Samsung (1)

alienw (585907) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832056)

Samsung has a nice line of laser printers. They are cheap (I got mine for $120), have linux support, and work very well. Not to mention the cartridges are cheap ($50 for a 3000 page one) and refillable (look on ebay). I owned an ML-1210 for over a year now, prints beautifully, not a single paper jam yet.

Re:Samsung (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7834737)

completely anectdotal evidence I know, but my ML-1210 crapped out on me for no apparent reason a few months out of warranty. It was a really good printer though when it worked.

Samsung (1)

m0rph3us0 (549631) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832057)

I use a Samsung ML-1210 hooked into cups on an OpenBSD box that serves print to Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Really great driver support in UNIX. You can copy the cups ppd files to any other NIX and use them there.

HP LasterJet II (3, Interesting)

RealityMogul (663835) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832061)

Bought it at a yard sale for $15. Worked fine for 3 years, using the same cartridge that was in it when I bought it.

Just shows Error 50 now though and has been retired to the attic. The things are tanks though. It's gotta be 50 pounds. It's kinda like an IBM XT case.

Much better than the current crop of HP printers in my opinion. We use the 4400s at the office, and they're ok, but the speed isn't any better and the increased resolution isn't a big deal for text. But they start reading "low toner" 3 weeks after a new cartridge is put in though, even though they'll last for 6 months after that warning first shows up. A little suspicious.

You must have some serious network problems.. (1)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832116)

If your 4400 at work is as slow as a Laserjet II.

Re:You must have some serious network problems.. (2, Funny)

RealityMogul (663835) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832319)

Yes, I would agree with that. My comparison isn't really fair. Don't anybody laugh too hard, the network was already setup this way when I started at this place and I have no control over it.

To get from my machine to the printer, which is about 20 feet away, I end up going through three 4-port hubs, and one 16-port hub. The 16-port is also hooked to another 32-port hub.

Printing a large document takes down the network.

Re:You must have some serious network problems.. (0)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832386)

People like you should not be allowed ANYWHERE NEAR a network.

Really, whould it have been that hard to buy/make a 25 foot Cat5 cable?

Re:You must have some serious network problems.. (2, Insightful)

TC (WC) (459050) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832416)

I agree... people like him who have no control over the idiotic network they use shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a network!!!

Re:You must have some serious network problems.. (1)

DA-MAN (17442) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832685)

The parent poster had said:
the network was already setup this way when I started at this place and I have no control over it.

It sounds like he knows why it's bad and just is not in a position to make a change. I totally disagree, with your:
People like you should not be allowed ANYWHERE NEAR a network.

Either you misread his post, or are a dumbass who shouldn't be allowed ANYWHERE NEAR posting on Slashdot.

Re:You must have some serious network problems.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7833014)

you're an idiot. *plonk*

Re:You must have some serious network problems.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7835495)

Hi, I just wanted to check to see if you got those Lantastic drivers you asked me for last week. I sent them, but you never responded. Let me know.

Re:HP LasterJet II (2, Informative)

bigenchilada (257160) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832134)

You can fix that error 50 problem yourself. Check out the HP repair kits at:
$ 69.95 gets the printer back in business.
And as you said, the HPs of that vintage were built like tanks and last seemingly forever.

Re:HP LasterJet II (2, Informative)

ShawnD (21638) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832595)

You can replace the blown traic on the AC module for a lot less (I think I paid about $5 for the part). Just use an NTE generic replacement. Also, put a larger heat sink on it.

I think you can find details using google groups on

Re:HP LaserJet II (1)

sakusha (441986) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832646)

Yep, a guy I know used to run a side business, he'd buy up used HP LJII and III printers and refurbish them and sell them for good money. Most of them needed nothing more than routine cleaning, although a lot of the more heavily-used printers would grab multiple sheets instead of one sheet, so those models needed a "spring retensioner" kit. It's very simple to refurbish those printers, since most of the hardest-working parts were in the replaceable toner carts. If the electronics worked OK, the mechanical stuff was simple to repair.

Re:HP LasterJet II (1)

shfted! (600189) | more than 9 years ago | (#7833302)

Funny... I bought the same printer used the other year, and it worked briefly, but one of the gears had a bald spot on it that got worse, to the point where it would always paper jam. Sigh. Just threw the thing out two weeks ago. Damned heavy beast of a machine. Crappy quality, too, compared to my very low-end HP Deskjets.

Re:HP LasterJet II (1)

bscott (460706) | more than 9 years ago | (#7833403)

I'll second that on the LJII/III series - they're tanks. Get one on eBay, from a seller local to you to avoid shipping hassles. They're easy to fix, and with proper maintenance will outlast the owner... and like the VW bug, they're so ubiquitous that you'll always be able to find parts online cheaply. (disclaimer: I used to fix printers for a living, especially HPs, and currently own an LJ2 along with a boxful of spares in the closet from my old job...)

In general, older printers are great values. Even inkjets - a high-end model from 4-5 years back, like my Epson Stylus Photo EX (11x17", 5-color process) might cost only $30 from someone nearby (check the Craigslist for your city) and you can get carts for as little as $3 on eBay. And forget buying that expensive 11x17" paper - $1 a sheet?!?! - I found a finger-paint book at a 99-cent store with what feels (and works) like the same stuff, and it's 30 sheets of 18"x12" for a buck!

Moving on to automobiles, skip those expensive 'new' cars - check out my website for tips on building your own Humvee out of a used toolshed and 50,000 wind-up motors out of children's toys...

OK, I'm joking about the last bit, but the point remains - go used. You're recycling, you're saving money now and in the long run, and really, what printing innovatino of the 21st century are you missing out on??

Re:HP LasterJet II (1)

Matthias Wiesmann (221411) | more than 9 years ago | (#7833892)

I'm still using an old Laserjet 6MP connected to a localtalk bridge. The only time it did not work was when I mistakenly disconnected the localtalk transmitter. I have been using this thing for years (since around 1995), and there was never a hitch.

At the office, we have an HP 4100 printer, and it is much less stable. Some postscript jobs crash the whole printer, including the network server, needing a full reboot. It seems HP does not build its printers like it used to :-)

One thing I recommend if you are going to buy a laser printer, is to take one that accepts old memory and one that can do pass-thru printing (i.e paper goes in front and out behind), this means you can print on heavy paper or cardboard, which is a nice feature.

Re:HP LasterJet II (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 9 years ago | (#7833997)

The LaserJet Series II is a ghastly slow behemoth. It has no vector drawing capabilities.

This makes printing anything other than plain (ASCII) text a process best measured in minutes-per-page, as everything else gets sent to the machine as a huge bitmapped graphic. No vectors=no scalable text=(agony+pain).

If you're printing in Wordperfect 4.2 under DOS, you'll find that it's quite fast. With any modern system, it's horrible. Especially with Ghostscript.

Don't bother with one unless it's free, or you're using it for parts.

From the LaserJet III (which has the same bulletproof mechanics as a II) on up, things are way better. It's actually got a brain, and vectors do flow forth with great speed. New parts are very cheap. It will last forever with minimal care and feeding.

HP LaserJet (4, Informative)

adb (31105) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832082)

Every time I've tried something else, for myself or the company I work for, I've regretted it. Inkjets are slow and expensive per page, Lexmark lasers are flaky and expensive per page (because there are a dozen different things that can run out besides ink, and Lexmark has a monopoly on all of them). HP stuff always Just Works, and there's a large third-party toner market. If you're up to spending $650, buy a 2300it's absurdly fast. Alternately, used LJ4*s are cheap (like $50 cheap) and ubiquitous on eBay; just make sure you pick up some spare parts, too. (The roller thingies tend to die after a while.)

Re:HP LaserJet (3, Informative)

JLester (9518) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832446)

Stay away from any of the "L" models like 4L, 5L, 6L, etc. Their paper path is terrible and prone to misfeeds. The M and P models are great.


Cost per page (1)

iksowrak (208577) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832110)

I've been wanting to leave inkjet and go to laser soon as well, but I'd like to check out the cost savings first. Anyone have any good data on cost per page for inkjet printers vs. laser? Toner cartridges nicely provide an estimate of the number of pages they're good for but I haven't seen anything like that for inkjet.

I think you've confused.... (1)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832129)

Comments with Ask Slashdot

Re:Cost per page (4, Informative)

Txiasaeia (581598) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832266)

My HP 842C (840 series) printer's black ink replacement cartridge is rated 450-500 pages; cost is $40 CAD. The Samsung ML1710's cartridge (includes drum) is rated for 3000 pages, cost $100 CAD. You do the math.

Re:Cost per page (1)

qengho (54305) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832274)

cost per page for inkjet printers vs. laser

This MacWorld article [] discusses the costs. Basically, lasers cost 3-4 cents per page, inkjets 5-10 cents (black only).

Re:Cost per page (2, Informative)

Permission Denied (551645) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832747)

Anyone have any good data on cost per page for inkjet printers vs. laser?

A member of our IT department did a report on exactly this about a year ago. I don't have the report with me, but I can dig up details if required. The laser printers we evaluated were high-end workgroup printers and we took all costs into consideration (initial investment, rollers, maintenance kits, labor (whether we have an in-house technician or contract out the maintenance)).

We also used more realistic estimates on toner/ink usage than the industry defines. The standard industry test for toner cartridge life is at 5% coverage: they have a standard letter they send through the printer multiple times to see how long toner lasts. I wrote the print server software we use and for a few months I calculated and kept logs of ink coverage (on spare CPU cycles, render pages from postscript using printer's DPI and count pixels based on a gray-level heuristic that makes the standard test page come out at 5%). In (what I would call) a normal office environment, our coverage was around 8%, significantly higher than the "industry standard." There are lots of variables here, but the numbers we got for coverage roughly matched how much toner we actually purchased versus pagecount (also logged systematically). As such, I would not put much faith into the numbers printer manufacturers give you. The cartridges we buy are either refilled or we get a good enough volume deal on OEM cartridges that they cost the same as refilled.

Anyway, end results:

Laser: circa $0.07 / page
Inkjet: circa $0.25 / page

The inkjets costs were driven that high not just by cost of ink, but by cost of initial investment and maintenance. We usually have a lifecycle of at least four years on our laser printers in a high volume environment, but our investigations turned up the the average lifecycle of a personal inkjet is about two years. Also important is that most inkjets are simply thrown away when there is something wrong with them but laserjets like the ones we use are repaired and eventually retired to lower-volume environments, but rarely scrapped.

If you're looking at a personal laser printer instead of higher-end workgroup stuff the difference will of course fall (similarly to how the difference would grow if you're looking at professional print-shop stuff), but I'm pretty sure the savings would still be significant. As for myself, I don't own a printer - I just print my personal stuff after-hours at work :)

Re:Cost per page (1)

iksowrak (208577) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832966)

Thanks for the detailed response. Yeah, I figured the difference between a personal inkjet and a personal laser wouldn't be as drastic as everyone makes them out to be but as you said it sounds like the savings are still enough to make laser worthwhile.

Re:Cost per page (1)

iksowrak (208577) | more than 9 years ago | (#7834158)

HP's site has been updated since I last looked and now offers estimated number of pages per ink cartridge to compare against toner cartridges.

Re:Cost per page (1)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 9 years ago | (#7835465)

Anyone have any good data on cost per page for inkjet printers vs. laser?

I don't know about inkjets, but since I'm the guy in charge of the laser printer budget at work, I can give you these numbers:

A 4000 series laserjet, for toner and maintenance, costs about 0.4 cents per page.

A 9000 series costs about 0.8 cents per page.

Neither of these costs include paper, or the initial cost of the printer.

Anyone know how much a deskjet costs, by comparison?


postscript is your friend (1)

blackcoot (124938) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832141)

short answer: any postscript printer should work just fine. longer answer: i've had my lexmark optra e 310 for nearly five years now, printing several hundred pages per month and i've had to change the toner exactly once. bonus: toner and imaging drum are all in one package, so it still prints as beautifully today as it did when i first bought it. yes, i know we all hate lexmark, but at least take a look at the optra e 220 or e 321.

Re:postscript is your friend (2, Interesting)

yog (19073) | more than 9 years ago | (#7833348)

How is the paper handling on your E310? My Optra E312 is prone to jams and multi-feeds. Lexmark tech support denies it's a problem and will supply a long document on how to properly feed paper, what kind of paper to use, how to tighten the guides and then loosen them to the exact paper width, not to ever add an extra sheet to an existing stack, don't use used paper, etc. In fact it comes off as one long excuse for their sucky paper feed mechanism.

The only real solution I have found is to feed one page at a time. It works pretty well with Linux, but I'd never buy another one just based on this multi-feed problem and Lexmark's unwillingness to fix it.

Re:postscript is your friend (1)

blackcoot (124938) | more than 9 years ago | (#7833769)

i think i've had one paper jam ever and that was when i fed the machine too much paper :-/

HP Again (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832166)

Look for used HP printer. Ours is a 5P which just goes and goes and goes. It's probably the one bit of technology here that hasn't been upgraded, replaced, or even cleaned in the last five years. Needless to say, every OS since the C64 seems to support it out of the box.

Brother HL series (1)

spitefulcrow (713858) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832190)

I don't think they sell the HL-1240 any more, but you could get a comparable model. I'm not sure what retail price is on these because I got it at a garage sale, but it's a good printer. Works fine with CUPS and lprNG, and the toner cartridges last for a while. I don't refill cartridges, but it looks like the stuff is available to do so.

Re:Brother HL series (1)

GuardianBob420 (309353) | more than 9 years ago | (#7834717)

The current models, the HL-1440 and HL-1470N (built in ethernet) are great, use them at home and at the office (for low-volume stuff). The price is right, about $199 at any office store - $162 from newegg.

Linux Support Details [] in case you're interested!

Re:Brother HL series (1)

lga (172042) | more than 9 years ago | (#7837360)

I have been using a Brother HL-1250 since 2000 and it is fantastic. I bought it to print many copies of a 150 page thesis using Latex on Linux, and it cost me UKP240 at the time. I have only had to give it new toner once, in August this year.

My experience of Brother printers is that they are rock solid, dependable, and worth buying. Just don't buy a winprinter.

HP LaserJet (1)

wintermute1974 (596184) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832236)

Hi Jeremy,

I would recommend an HP LaserJet.

I bought a new HP LaserJet IIP+ with a postscript cartridge and four megabytes of RAM in 1992. It cost me a small fortune, and I have never regretted it.

If you are a patient fellow, and can accept that something isn't brand new, then you may want to look for a used HP LaserJet online or in your local second-hand computer shops.

I just bought one (1)

$exyNerdie (683214) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832243)

I bought a laser printer for home last week. I already have two inkjet printers at home but they suck.

This is the one I bought from local Bestbuy:

Samsung SCX-4016 [] .

It lists at about $280 with $ 70 mail in rebate. I paid only 250 for open box buy. With mail-in-rebate, it's a good price for a laser printer!!

I love it so far. Print quality is good. Though you have to set it to dark while printing in photo mode...
Best value for money I could find...

Simple (3, Informative)

NanoGator (522640) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832279)

Brother HL-1440, and a $20'ish memory upgrade from I can personally vouch for the printer, even bought one as a present for my dad, no complaints from him either.

I do a lot of graphics printing on them, not as much text. Not sure how that translates to pages per month, but I can tell ya I'm well beyond several ink cartridges from my old inkjet.

I second this (HL1440) (1)

Sits (117492) | more than 9 years ago | (#7833569)

I've used an HL1440 and HL1450 and they do seem to be reliable and work well with Linux (the only thing I wish they supported is postscript but it's no big deal and they do PCL emulation).

HP's Laserjet 4 is what I would pick up second hand. Those things are like tanks and I'm sure they last for decades. Stay away from HP's Laserjet 5 (you feed the sheet in the top) as the one's I've seen always wind up being nothing but trouble after a few months (stop picking up paper, jamming etc). I'm also less impressed by the Laserjet 4000 series printers (they just don't seem to be as sturdy as the 4).

Apple Laserwriters also seem good in the second hand market.

Re:Simple (1)

FroMan (111520) | more than 9 years ago | (#7835024)

I'll put my ditto behind the HL-1440 also.

Setting it up under gentoo was childs play with CUPS. Just read their documentation. My wife does the church bulletins (50 pages a week double sided (we have to manually flip them)) and we have been using the printer for since last may. In that time we have had to replace the toner once at about $70 for the "big" toner cartriage. I'll need to send out the old cart for refill somewhere.

HP Laserjet III (1)

dfinster (65564) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832353)

It's a tank. You can't kill it. Send me an email and I'll sell you one cheap. I get better than two years per toner cartridge. Shipping will cost you more than the printer is worth though...

Brother HL-5040 (1)

martinde (137088) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832368)

I just bought a Brother HL-5040 [] . [] gives it a "works perfectly" rating, it's fast, it's quiet, it has expandable memory using a standard SDRAM DIMM... The toner is cheaper than Samsung's if you use the extended capacity cartridges.

I searched for "OfficeMax coupons" on google and found a $30 off rebate deal + free shipping from a local store, and it cost me less than $200 after rebates. So far it's all good - just a satisifed customer, as they say.

Ebay (2, Informative)

Hungus (585181) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832387)

I recently purchased a LaserJet 4M for $50 on ebay 75 with shipping 600 DPI and you will most likely never reach its duty cycle for a month in the time you use it. Like teh poster on the HP III said this line is bullet proof. Want the ultimate Bulletproof Laser printer? Lok for a Laserwriter II NT its slow but you could use it for an anchor drop it out of a plane hook it up and it would most likely still run just fine :)

Re:Ebay (1)

sakusha (441986) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832703)

You want bulletproof? Find an Apple Laserwriter. Yeah, the ORIGINAL Postscript laser printer. It's the only laser printer I know with "corner feed," you can print on business cards. Any other printer will jam on business card size paper. The Original LW had a serial port, it's easy to hook up if you're good with wiring your own serial cables.

Anyway, note the one thing that all the highly recommended printers have in common: the mechanism is made by Canon. Canon made the carts and mechanisms for Apple Laserwriters, most of the earlier HP models, and many other brands. Those Canon mechanisms are bulletproof.

Brother (1)

jensend (71114) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832427)

I consistently hear HP, Samsung, and Brother recommended for personal lasers. I don't have any experience with HP or Samsung personal lasers, but I have a Brother HL-1440 which has worked very well for me (though I do sometimes wish I'd gotten the next model up with postscript emulation, or maybe even a model with auto duplex).

Samsungs are cheap and linux ready ... (4, Informative)

timothy (36799) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832517)

If you don't do much printing (like me), even a low-budget b/w laser printer is going to last a long time. Samsung makes several cheap-n-cheerful compact lasers that even come with a little penguin on the box. Watch sites like techbargains; recently some merchant had Samsung 1700 b/w lasers for $70 (after rebate) *shipped*. Not bad.

DMCA or not, I've been happy with my Lexmark E210, nicely Linux supported and (since I print little) still on its first cart. after 1.5 years ...


LaserJet 1300 (2, Informative)

yancey (136972) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832541)

I'll recommend the HP LaserJet 1300 which supports PostScript Level 2 for all your Linux printing needs and which you can find for as little as $350 on PriceWatch [] .

Re:LaserJet 1300 (2, Interesting)

trmatthe (311613) | more than 9 years ago | (#7833938)

Seconded. I bought one of these a few months back and they are smashing. It is super quick printing, has USB and an EIO (comes with parallel adapter plugin, but you can buy Ethernet) and the initial cart seems good for a few thousand pages.

Did have an LJ4+, but it was causing the house to subside.


Lasers are built to last, inkjets are not (4, Informative)

bluGill (862) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832561)

See subject.

Okay, it is a generalization, so you can find exceptions. However that should be your guide. There is no reason and old eBay laser printer can't work for years to come with only toner replacements. Slow, but only compared to modern lasers, what is your hurry at home?

Inkjets are generally disposable. For as little as I print, a inkjet would have to be replaced every time I wanted to printer. My laser (which I got used for almost nothing) should last for years. Unfortunatly you never know, I said the same thing about my last laser printer and it no longer works. However used they are cheap enough that you can afford a lemon, and breaks are rare enough that you are unlikely to get two lemons.

Inkjets are still good for color. If you demand the best color, I've seen cheap inkjets that come out on top when compared to $50,000 color printers (when compared to a pantone standard after an expert adjusted the expensive printer for that color sample!). Most of us do not need that level of abilities in color, and if you do there is probably a reason to get the epensive color printer anyway. Still something to consider if you need color.

Postscript is in theory better than PCL, but Ghostscript does an excellent job in the real world, and not all printers have postscript that is up to standards. (but in most cases it it either real postscript, or an older version of ghoscript, so you can't really go wrong) Don't worry too much about it, but if all else is equal prefer postscript.

One warning, laser printers do need a lot of power, prefer one with an automatic power saving mode, otherwise you will want to turn it off after each use.

Brother 1440 (2, Informative)

Tomah4wk (553503) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832608)

This printer is absolutely amasing. You dont have to buy a new drum each time the toner runs out (like on hp laserjet) as the toner cartridge and drum a seperate units. Its fast, reliable and is really nice quality. It also has a proper (i.e. not like horrible inkjet) paper feed mechanism so never jams, or gets layers of dust on the top sheet if you dont use to for long. On top of that it has a front and back manual feed (front for envolopes, transparancies and the like, and back for non flexible media) for when you want to do something without removing the paper already in the tray, which is really handy. And mine has been runnging solid for about 2 years (with 3 house moves) without a single problem you cant really go wrong. There are even linux/osx/whatevernix drivers on the cd.

Lexmarx Optra E+ (1)

Patman (32745) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832757)

Bought one off Ebay for 50 bucks not too long ago. Works great under Windows and Linux. VERY happy with it. As a bonus, it's lightweight and can fold up fairly small, if you need to move it around.

Re:Lexmarx Optra E+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7835487)

Got to agree with you there. I snagged an Optra E from ebay for less than it would have cost me to replace the cartrige for my inkjet printer (including shipping). It's a little work horse. It's a bear trying to find memory upgrades for it though.

LaserJet 4si, for dependability and expandibility (1)

megabyte405 (608258) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832814)

Incredible machine, it is. It's big, sure, but it's worth it. About 1000 sheets paper capacity, 17 ppm, job separator (the print output rollers actually move, offsetting print jobs, incredibly useful once you get used to it). Very nice print quality, cartridges are cheap-ish and long-lasting.

Big plus: Expandible.
You can pop memory in there (up to 32 or so MB, if I'm not mistaken), I have a JetDirect ethernet card in mine, and you can even pick up a PostScript DIMM that fits in the first memory slot to provide PostScript support, if PCL isn't good enough for you. Oh yeah, you can also put in a duplexer for double-sided printing with no fuss.

I love mine muchly.

One note: feed it the right paper. I was using Xerox, but they changed their paper, and it jammed almost every page. Now I'm using Georgia Pacific, and so far *knocks on wood* it seems to work just as well as the old Xerox paper.

Re:LaserJet 4si, for dependability and expandibili (1)

raju1kabir (251972) | more than 9 years ago | (#7833194)

Incredible machine, it is. It's big, sure, but it's worth it.

I agree, it's an excellent printer, from the good old days when things were built to last, but honestly, you have it in your house? It's the size of a kitchen stove.

Re:LaserJet 4si, for dependability and expandibili (1)

megabyte405 (608258) | more than 9 years ago | (#7836291)

Oh, I know this very well. We have two kitchen areas. They had old gas stoves. We put a new stove in the bigger kitchen... and put the printer on a stand in the other, in place of the stove. :-)

Brother, don't go Samsung (1)

GiMP (10923) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832837)

Samsung looks cheap, but you will get a much better deal with the Brother HL-5040. The toner is much cheaper (get the high-capacity toner), it has more memory, and it supports Postscript.

Re:Brother, don't go Samsung (1)

tomcio.s (455520) | more than 9 years ago | (#7834375)

Got a Samsung, works like a peach. (Even came with a n installation cd for Linux, which worked great for me).
The toner is nice and cheap too- CAD 80.
I couldn't beat them on price as well. I got the printer new for CAD 170.

So far I have done 2 rims of paper on the 1000 page rated 'starter' toner included with the printer and I am not seeing any graying yet.

hp laserjet (1)

fuzzy1 (128925) | more than 10 years ago | (#7832840)

I bought a HP 4Si duplex printer used for $30, and
a bunch of toners at $10 each. I expect to be
printing postscript friendly for several years
before I need to worry about printing again.

The local government and educational units
have surplus sales that make it easy to live
cheaply a cycle or two behind the "latest" thing.

HP Laserjet 5MP (1)

billh (85947) | more than 9 years ago | (#7833229)

I'm just now changing the toner. I bought one new in 1998 or 1999. Rock solid, postscript, easy to upgrade the memory. I've added an external jetdirect, and everything just works. I will never, ever sell this printer.

My toner would have lasted if I hadn't printed out about 5000 flyers a couple of years ago. I just kept changing paper the whole day, never concerned about the printer.

But don't take this as an endoresment for HP. The new printers suck. I supported about 30 of these until earlier this year. Constant problems. Driver issues, paper jams, even the occasional lockup. Go with the older HPs, or a newer Samsung.

Really do the math... (1)

McSnarf (676600) | more than 9 years ago | (#7833709)

First, calculate what one page of printout will cost you. Simplified, this is price of printer divided by expected years of use + price of consumables divided by number of copies rated. Plus - cost for paper, power and maintenance.
Copier people (nowadays a digital copier is scanner + printer) call this click cost - which is lowest for well-designed printers with long-life components. Drum life can vary greatly - one major cost factor.

Then check if the printer you have in mind is too slow (unlikely if it is a laser) or too fast.

Isn't faster better ?
Answer: Not always.

While it is simple to fuse toner to paper when printing 5-12 pages per minute, you'll need serious heat rollers for - let's say - 50 ppm. The whole engine needs lots more thought when paper speed is higher, all this adding to cost, size and weight. Energy-wise, a rather foolish thing to buy for home use. Besides, larger print endinges also have something like a lower limit for prints per month - expect trouble if you only print a couple of pages every few days with them...)
Finally, stay away from old printers. While they might still print nicely, they might produce loads of ozone due to old corona design. (Buying a cheap LED printer instead of a polygon motor based laser can help.)

One final remark - check the exact model of printer here [] , as something like a Frobozz 20X can work with Linux, while the Frobozz 20Xa is a paperweight...

Postscript for sure, don't forget about ethernet (2, Interesting)

smoon (16873) | more than 9 years ago | (#7833933)

Whatever you get, make sure it's postscript. Although you can 'make it work' when it's not, it's nice to have it supported out of the box. The biggest reason for this is cross-platform compatability -- if you've got postscript it's easy to print from Windows, Mac, Linux, *BSD, Solaris, HPUX, etc. If you don't, then its an exersize in finding drivers and setting up lpr filters. Postscript adds a lot of functionality to a printer. For example, one feature I like is to print 2 pages on one sheet. This is really easy to do if you've got a postscript printer since it's part of the 'page setup' when you print. Although it's possible to render 2 pages per sheet on a non-postscript printer, it's not nearly as easy to set up or use.

Another point -- make sure you plan for an ethernet lpd style connection. Right now you might just have it hooked up to one machine, but long-term you will likely have 2 or more machines to print from and it's a lot cleaner to just have the printer 'on the network' than shared from another computer. Many printers have ethernet 10baseT or 100baseT ports as options, or as part of a slightly more expensive model. You can also get 3rd party connections as well, from companies like Lantronix or Castelle. Built-in ethernet is a lot faster for printing than an ethernet adapter plugged into a parallel port.

I finally bit the bullet and got an HP LaserJet 6MP about 7 years ago. At the time it was around $1,000 -- and as far as I'm concerned it was worth every penny. Still prints great, cartridges last 2-3 years (and I print 300+ sheets a month).

I got a color inkjet last year and have already spend more on ink in one year than I spent on toner in 7.

HP LJ 4plus (1)

vogon jeltz (257131) | more than 9 years ago | (#7833934)

I recently bought an HP LJ 4plus (around 1995) on ebay for 88 Euros, plus shipping. It has only printed 110000 pages (estimated lifetime: 1M). I got a new cartridge with it for free (some 8000 pages). You could drop it from the Eiffel tower and it'd still work. Perfectly supported under Linux, although you should have at least 16MB of RAM. It actually *does* print the promised 12pages/min. Funny thing though, it was considerably cheaper than any of the crappy "L"-models which yare consistently slower and of poor quality. When buying one, be sure that the seller tells you the total of pages printed (anything under 200000 should be fine). You might also consider HP 5-series.

Re:HP LJ 4plus (2, Informative)

DarkDust (239124) | more than 9 years ago | (#7834262)

I was going to recommend the HP LJ 4/5 series as well. They are very robust printers, Linux plays very nice with them (and every other OS as well). Replacement parts are also still avaible and very cheap. I've got an 5L and had a 4 at work and both work without any problems for years now.

I know it's trite, but I can't resist (1)

Pooquey (549981) | more than 9 years ago | (#7834228)

Though you've already written off Lexmark for what I think is only barely a legit beef, try their laser printers. I purchased a Lexmark Optra E310 for under $300 almost 5 years ago. I have yet to replace the toner cartridge and I tend to go through at least 10 reams of paper a year [video game walk through can be lengthy :-)]. The main reason for your switch is the main reason I never bought an inkjet. All of the manufacturers face the same problem. It's the technology not the company. So, give Lexmark another chance.

Re:I know it's trite, but I can't resist (1)

mo26101 (518770) | more than 9 years ago | (#7834542)

[I]All of the manufacturers face the same problem. It's the technology not the company. So, give Lexmark another chance.[/I]

This is untrue. Lexmark is the leader in abusing the DMCA to prevent the consumer from refilling their ink cartridges. Lexmark includes a chip in their printer cartridges. Without the chip, the printer will not print. To refill the cartridge, the chip must get "reset". To create third party cartridges the chip had to be reverse engineered (this was done by a company called Static Control). Reverse engineering of consumer products has been protected under fair use laws for over 100 years.

Lexmark has stepped in and called the reverse engineering of the chip hacking and circumventing security measures. Lexmark is using the DMCA hammer to stop refilling and after market printer cartridges. Thus protecting the outrageously high price they charge for printer cartridges. Lexmark is, by far, the most active company in preventing aftermarket cartridges and refilling. Sure, the other companies are trying to slow the aftermarket, but none are nearly as aggressive as Lexmark.

If Lexmark wins this, it could lead to horrendous abuses in all industries. For example, auto makers could use the same scheme to prevent after market auto parts from being used in cars. The possibilities are endless. Fortunately, the eff has taken on this case, see eff Lexmark vs Static Control [] for more details.

So, no, do not give Lexmark another chance.

samsung ml-2151n (1)

mdaitc (619734) | more than 9 years ago | (#7834637)

try the samsung ml-2151n

$300 from (they go like hotcakes when they get them in stock - took me 2 weeks to actually catch one!).

Print Speed: 21 ppm
First Page Out: 12 sec
Print Resolution: 1200 x 1200 DPI
Printer Memory: 16 MB/144 MB MAX
Processor: 166 MHz
Automatic 2 Side Printing: YES
Paper Trays: Std 2, Max 3
Input Capacity Std/Max: 600/1100 sheets
Output Capacity Std/Max: 350/350 sheets
Cartridges: ML-2150D8/XAA
Connectivity: 1 USB2.0, 1 LPT, 1 10/100 Base-TX
OS Support: Win 9x/me/2K/NT4.0/XP, Mac OS Classic/OS X 10.x, Linux (Red Hat, Caldera,Debian, Mandrake, Slackware, TurboLinux, SuSE.)
Dimensions(WxDxH): 14.3 x 16.1 x 11.6 in

Laserjet 4M+ (1)

SW6 (140530) | more than 9 years ago | (#7834956)

I love my 4M+. I got it for the grand total of 15, and spent a few quid on cleaning solvents to make it look brand new. It had 123,000 sheets on the clock, and I managed a further 1,500 sheets on the "empty" cartridge that was in it. These things just won't die.

A warning about buying old laser printers is the power consumption. Some are especially bad in that they don't go into a power-saving mode so can draw upwards of 1kW constantly. Either make sure you've got some form of power saving, or remember to switch it on only as long as you require to do printing.

A used Okidata printer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#7835221)

If it was made in Japan, it'll be rock solid.

The ones made in Thailand, while good, are not indestructable like the ones made in Japan.

The advantage of the Okidatas over the HPs is that the toner cartridges and the EPs are two seperate items. It is much cheaper to replace the toner when it is empty than the entire EP.

Old school. (1)

saintlupus (227599) | more than 9 years ago | (#7835397)

Any suggestions for an inexpensive laser that is Linux friendly, and does not employ any 'smart chip' technology that would prevent the toner cartridge from being refilled or cause it to 'expire' and stop working at a certain date regardless of the toner level?

I use an old HP Laserjet 4M. Toner refills are cheap and available from any office supply store, the printer is so durable it could probably take a bullet and keep printing, and they're cheap as hell. Just go on eBay and look for one in your area, and ask the guy if you can pick it up. I got mine for $81, with a Jetdirect card installed and a fresh set of rollers.

(And the print quality is great. My wife and I printed all of our wedding invitations on it, and people kept asking which print shop we had them done by.)

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