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Peripherals Printer recommendation

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by bawjaws, 21 Mar 2020.

  1. bawjaws

    bawjaws Well-Known Member

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    Hey all,

    Hope everyone is keeping safe and well in these extraordinary times.

    As the reality of extended WFH and home schooling starts to bite, I am in need of a printer. I dug out my ancient HP inkjet but tragically it is pining for the fjords, merely resting, an ex-printer. So I'm in the market for a new device but I suspect things have moved on considerably in the last 15 or so years :D

    I will need to print out a fair amount of schoolwork for the kids, so probably closer to dozens of pages a week rather than hundreds. Am I right in thinking that a laser would be the way to go? Back in the day they were extortionately expensive to buy compared to inkjets but caught up quickly depending on volume. Are colour lasers still much more expensive to buy and run than mono?

    I'm thinking that a colour laser printer would be ideal, but a mono one would be fine if it's a lot cheaper. I'm also looking for something that isn't brutally expensive to run (if such a thing exists). Oh, and wireless printing would be absolutely ideal as my WFH setup has turned what used to be a relatively tidy desk area into a nightmare of overcrowding and cable spaghetti, so I'd like to relegate the printer to another area. I'm not overly fussed about things like automatic duplex printing or scanning/copying.

    Does anyone have any suggestions or recommendations, please? Budget is... flexible, within reason - let's say £150 - but I'm not keen on spending money unnecessarily in these uncertain economic times!

    Thanking you kindly in advance :) Take care of yourselves.

    Bawjaws
     
  2. Jeff Hine

    Jeff Hine .

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    Laser printers are great quality, but only make economic sense for SMB; good inkjets will be perfectly serviceable.

    Factoring in that even duplex is now stock on a lot of units, you can probably get a unit you'd have expected to pay close to a grand for, ~15yrs ago.
     
  3. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    I'd disagree - lasers or LED printers can be suuuuper cheap to run and very economical for moderate home use, and they're not too expensive to buy either these days (though oddly, they're more now than when I got my colour laser 10 years ago). You can pick something up worth having for your £150 budget (both colour and wireless for around that or perhaps a smidge more, but you can give up colour and save a few quid), but for reasonable running costs, make sure you buy one that has a decent selection of 3rd party toner available.

    For very, very low use, some inkjets have a free tier of ink-on-demand, but with the volumes you expect to print you'll be paying, quite a bit in all likelihood. And unlike budget inkjet carts, which IME are a bit ropey in terms of quality, I've never had any complaints about budget toner at £20 for a full set, and it lasts foreeeeeeeever. Basically.
     
  4. Jeff Hine

    Jeff Hine .

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    Our most recent acquisition on this front came in 'under budget', IIRC... a HP OJP 7720; wide-format A3.

    Probably OTT, but...

    EDIT:
    If you end up keeping a laser for a long enough time to have to replace the drum, make sure it doesn't cost as much as the printer TO replace.
     
    Last edited: 21 Mar 2020
  5. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    You can get inkjets for peanuts, but once you get through the included low-capacity carts, ongoing costs with moderate printing levels will soon outstrip that of a laser.
     
  6. bawjaws

    bawjaws Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies, gents :)

    This was my thinking behind opting for laser over inkjet - I've been stung by the TCO of inkjets before. I think my HP printer was £30 and replacement ink carts were £40 for black and £45 for colour. And of course the bundling carts were only 10% of the capacity of the replacements. Added up very quickly.

    Are there any specific brands or models where this is or isn't the case? Or any brands that are good or to avoid in general? My printer knowledge is absolutely zilch these days!
     
  7. Mister_Tad

    Mister_Tad Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    My knowledge of 3rd party toner only extends to Dell printers, and you won't find one of those these days.

    I'd cruise amazon for toner sets and check out reviews, and look for a printer that matches toner that appears to be up to scratch, and then google for accounts of using 3rd party toner in said printer as well - unfortunately I can't be more helpful on that front. All are not created equally, just as there will be printers out there where budget toner is indistinguishable from OEM toner, there will undoubtedly be ones where it's a train wreck.
     
  8. Jeff Hine

    Jeff Hine .

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    Too many low-end inkjets are cheaper to replace than refill - not exactly WEEE friendly
     
  9. bawjaws

    bawjaws Well-Known Member

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    Cheers @Mister_Tad . Time to google the granny out of this :D
     
  10. David

    David Take my advice — I’m not using it.

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    +1 for a laser.

    I have a Dell colour C1760nw I picked up for peanuts a few years back, and have a set of spare 3rd party carts for it. I don't do a lot of printing, but I can leave this thing for months and it'll work first time when I switch it on. I have never been able to claim that with any colour inkjet printer I have owned - they've always dried up and use a quarter of your ink running cleaning cycles to get it printing properly again.
     
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  11. edzieba

    edzieba Virtual Realist

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    +1 for laser (or LED, which for all intents and purposes is the same)

    Unless you urgently need a printer same-day for the cash jingling in your wallet, an inkjet should just not even be a consideration unless you're intending to print large art prints at least daily. Printing less than daily means most of your ink will be going to head-cleaning cycles. Less than weekly means there's a good chance that by the time you next go to use it the heads will be irrevocably clogged and you'll need new cartridges.

    I've had one of those always-on-a-cashback-deal Bother MFDs for about 3 years now, and just needed to refill the original charge of black toner (with the kit for doing so costing less than £20). No hiccups, no clogged heads, no cleaning/alignment cycles, etc. Sits in sleep mode in the corner, press print and the thing wakes up and chucks a page out, every time.
     
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  12. bawjaws

    bawjaws Well-Known Member

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    Oof, colour lasers seem to be a bit on the porky side, don't they! 40+cm on a side and knocking on the door of 20kg :jawdrop:
    Not sure that'll fit in the cupboard very easily!
     
  13. silk186

    silk186 Derp

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    Laser printers are always a better option unless you want to print photos. I'm a fan of Brother prints and have owned several over the past 20 years. Before you buy a printer, check eBay for pricing of compatible toner. For £150 you will probably only be able to pick two of the three: mono, colour and scanner.

    I ended up with a Brother MFC-L8690CDW office laser printer. The Brother website has them for £478, but ended up getting one for £169 in the end with a 10% off eBay code and a mail-in rebate.
     
  14. bawjaws

    bawjaws Well-Known Member

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    I think I'm going to go for a B&W laser rather than colour. Possibly a Brother HL-L2350DW or a Xerox B210 or Phaser 3260DNI. All are just over £100, wireless, duplex, and cheap to run (especially using compatibles). And importantly they are reasonably small and light.

    Having looked into it more I can't really justify a colour printer, on the grounds of initial cost, running costs or footprint/mass. And scanning/copying seems fairly pointless if just going mono.
     
  15. silk186

    silk186 Derp

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    Scanning is colour, most copy is Mono but they are bigger. Mine is even more massive than I had expected.
     
  16. bawjaws

    bawjaws Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, I just can't accommodate a 45x45x40, 20kg behemoth in this house! Need something small and light enough to sit on a shelf or be put away in a cupboard.
     
  17. edzieba

    edzieba Virtual Realist

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    I went for the gargantuan colour/scanning/copying/duplex/wireless/makes-you-tea-in-the-morning monolith under the usual Enthusiast's Mantra:
    "If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing".
     
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