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Best SOHO Printer Choices?

rueger (210566) writes | about 9 months ago


rueger (210566) 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?"

cancel ×


Pournelle is still right (1)

guanxi (216397) | about 9 months ago | (#45208219)

Pournelle is still right, in a way:
  * Most of your cost will be consumables, toner, drum, and fuser in a laser printer. Toner most of all; and usually the drum comes with the toner.
  * More expensive printers have much less expensive consumables.

The best approach is to start by estimating your consumable usage, based on pages per month and adjusting for toner coverage per page if you regularly print something besides standard text documents. Then find the printer whose purchase and lifetime (I assume 5 years for laser printers) consumable costs will be least.

Usually it's a more powerful printer than you need, but it's better to spend money on hardware, where the money yields better performance, than on consumables, which are all the same.

Also, consider power consumption; however, I haven't found a good way to estimate it. It depends on power consumption when sleeping, when idle, and when printing, and how often the printer is doing each.

Finally, for reliability, I'd get printers with their own on-board processors and memory, rather than "host-based" printers that use the computer's resources and often are less reliable. And avoid wireless networking which isn't worth the hassle for printers, which generally don't move around much.

"So I ask: who's making good printers these days?" (1)

guanxi (216397) | about 9 months ago | (#45208237)

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

HP's business products (not their consumer line) are still very reliable, IME buying and installing many of them. If your time is worth something, it's worth the extra cost. Also, any odd system with unusual printing requirements will work with HP LaserJets.

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