choosing a color laser printer

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by Tatmoof, Nov 29, 2008.

  1. Tatmoof macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2008
    I have read through as many posts as I can find on this topic, but still am not sure which printer to select. Most of what I have read has been basic B/W printers.

    I am running OS 10.4, have used an HP 4Plus for years as my primary printer, print lots of B/W documents (I am a lawyer....yeah...I know), I do not need it to be wireless or to print duplex, although if the price was right that would be dandy. I do think I want a color laser at this point tho.

    My first inclination is to go look at another HP. After reading all the feedback on the forum it appears they may not be my best choice at this point? I did wander over to my local Staples and did some hands on looking. Those ink cartridges ARE pricey and I am no further ahead of the game than when I went in.

    I am looking to spend up to about $400

    What I really want is a printer that is reliable, supported or has support available (on line or print is fine), will work when it is connected either by wires or not with little fiddling with IP addresses or filters and won't cost me next months salary to pay for ink.

    Any and all feedback, suggestions are appreciated.

  2. ab2650 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2007
    I've only used one color laser (at work) and it works perfectly fine with my MBP. It's a Xerox Phaser 6180N.

    The interesting thing is I have heard rumors that Staples will have a pretty significant sale on Monday for it's smaller brothers, the Phaser 6125 and 6130n for $150 and $200 respectively.

    I've been considering one of these, but have no first hand use of either, only the 6180N which I thought was pretty decent, but huge and expensive.

    *Edit: BTW, I think the sale is online on Monday. The 6125 is normally $350, so it's a pretty significant discount.
  3. scottydawg macrumors 6502


    Jan 22, 2008
    Sacramento, CA
    I can add my vote for the Phaser line of printers. We use a 6360N at our office and it outputs very nice quality and is extremely fast. I am sure the 6130 or 6180 would serve you well.
  4. johnjay1776 macrumors member

    Jul 25, 2008

    MacWorld has a buyer's guide available for a few of the color laser printers. Almost had me convinced to buy one and I didn't even know I needed one :).
  5. Dreamail macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2003
    The Phasers are nice as they have original Adobe Level 3 PostScript (at least some models), yet after lots of research I decided to buy the latest HP CP2025DN. It's a brand new model, does 21 pages per minute in both color and black & white and has duplex printing. All in a very compact package (the Phaser's are rather huge).

    HP currently runs a Black Friday rebate offer (until 12/3). The N model (without duplex) is in your price range for $399.99:

    The DN model is $50 more.

    Whatever model you decide to get, before you buy do check the running costs as toner cartridges are rather expensive. Still cheaper than most inkjets on a per page cost but a complete set of toner cartridges will likely cost you as much as the printer itself.

    It's important to check how many pages you can print with these cartridges too. HP states 2800 pages, and e.g. Brother states 1500. So even if the Brother cartridges are 10-15% cheaper than the HP ones, they are actually much more expensive on a per page cost.
    That's what ruled out the Brother for me e.g..
  6. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Still another vote for Xerox. However, you need to understand the economics of printers. Inkjet printers are like razor handles. Gillette gives them away or sells them cheap because it makes money on the blades. In the case of inkjet printers, the "razor blades" are the ink cartridges. Toner cartridges for a laser printer may cost $100 each, but they are much cheaper per printed page than liquid ink cartridges.

    I strongly recommend that you get a networkable PostScript printer. It will end your concerns about drivers and print sharing. My two Xeroxes, a Phaser 8400 and a Phaser 8550, are blazingly fast and are built like anvils. Many Mac users swear by Brother. Unlike the genuine PostScript used by Xerox, Brother features a PostScript clone. However, a networkable Brother should feature many of the same advantages of Xerox.
  7. Tatmoof thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 28, 2008
    the Phasers seem a bit large and heavy. Is it just the images or are their footprints really that large?

    I have no interest in an inkjet so we don't even need to think about that one. This will be used in a home based office with no other users. I have the good fortune to be a research attorney so no need to do the suit and tie thing and sit in a cubicle. I don't think I really need something that is networkable......what would be the advantage to a user like me?

    I am sort of teetering on the Brother side of things, but HP still pulls me in. The Xerox units I have looked at all seem to use wax inks?

  8. ab2650 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2007
    The Phaser 6180N I've used is a behemoth.

    Do you have a laptop you run wirelessly? Printing while in the john is one benefit. :)
    Edit: (...while the computer that's connected to the printer is turned off.)
  9. Dreamail macrumors 6502

    Jun 17, 2003
    The Phaser 8000 series are unfortunately rather big: (w x d x h) 16 x 21 x 14.5 in).
    The smaller 6130 model is 15.75 x 15.51 x 15.3 compared to the HP CP2025N's 15.9 x 17.9 x 12.7 in.
    But the 6130 has barely more than half the speed of the HP. What you really want is the 8000 Phaser series at 30 pages per minute.

    The solid ink tech is probably better for the environment. But at $700 for the smallest 8000 model (8560) this is far beyond your price range. And I'm not sure about price per page on the solid ink as Xerox' page seem to be very tight lipped about the number of pages you can print with one block of ink. 3 blocks cost $99, but now many pages at 5% !?!?
  10. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    I would highly recommend Xerox printers; I have a 6350DP, but that's a bit big, but it's definitely worth it. :D

    As with toner: Have been using the same toner cartridges for the last 10,000 pages.
  11. Galley macrumors 65816


    Mar 24, 2008
    Check out an Oki Data. I bought a c3200 four years ago, and I'm still on the original toner cartridges.
  12. ab2650 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 21, 2007
    The staples deal is on. I just bought a 6130N for $199.
    There's a great deal on the 6125 for $149, but I was unsure about the drivers for OS X. The 6130N is guaranteed support under OS X.

    Link at Staples.

    The discount appears on the checkout page.

    BTW, you can buy a "$30 off $150" coupon at for around $2.15. The would bring the 6130N down to $169 before tax, and free shipping.
  13. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Both of my Xerox printers use the wax ink. I love them. Phasers come in different sizes as you can see from the link that I included in my last post.

    A networkable printer is wonderful if you have more than one computer. If you have a laptop, then you can print over Wi-Fi just as you would over Ethernet.

    There was a time when I swore by HP. They were anvils. That back when HP made its own printers. Now, it contracts-out the manufacturing. HP no longer holds a candle to Xerox. I don't know about Brother, but for a laser printer, I would check it out before settling for HP.
  14. fhall1 macrumors 68040


    Dec 18, 2007
    (Central) NY State of mind
    Recently picked up a Brother HL-4040CN from Newegg (it's now down to $199 until 12/6)...hooked to my home network, easily accessible from my Mac (drivers included with Leopard) and PC. IT's a heavy monster, but got good reviews and the price was right. Print quality seems great so far.
  15. velocityg4 macrumors 68040


    Dec 19, 2004
    Personally I would go to the color laser printer section on Then choose my criteria and sort by best ratings. Once I do all of this I start reading the customer reviews. Thus you get a much larger range of printer options and many opinions from users of the products.

    This Brother HL Series HL-4070CDW has really good reviews, costs $300, supports networking, color and duplex.

    If you want and All-in-One then the HP LaserJet CM1312nfi CC431A has decent reviews, costs $430, supports networking but does not have duplex.
  16. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Another advocate for Brother Color Laser Printers. :D
    (Nice page to check out the features of various models). ;)

    Since you don't need wireless (W) or duplexing (D), take a look at the HL-4040CN.
    Newegg offers it for $199.99 on sale for the moment.

    If you want to add the copier capability, look at the DCP-9040CN.

    Supplies are inexpensive (separates), don't expire like HP's (chipped), and work nicely with a Mac. :D
    PCL6 support. :)
    Good street prices. :D
  17. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Something I was wondering about laser printers and their cartridges...

    What's the average lifespan? Think college student. I don't know how many of my assignments I will actually need to print off, but assume an average number. How long would a CMYK set last me? I'm trying to justify getting a color laser printer over an inkjet and I'm at the quality/(massive?) cost & longevity of toner cartridges argument.

    Anyone have any input on a CMYK set's lifespan?
  18. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Check out the rated capacity of the color toner cartridge. That rating is based on 5% usage / page (weak).

    Personally, I divide that number by 4 for most documents (20% coverage).
    For web pages, it will use more toner than that. Say 40-50% coverage, depending on the page.

    Black has more toner in it, and is cheaper than color. If you don't need to use the color, just select grayscale (B&W). ;)

    My estimates are perhaps a little high, but closer to realistic I think.

    Apply the same coverage percentages to ink cartridges, and you should definitely see the economy going to laser.

    Hope this helps. :)
  19. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Thanks a lot for the info!

    So going by your numbers, a 1,000 page-rated cartridge would only give 250 pages?! Or did I just completely screw that up?

    Also, where's the cheapest place to get toner cartridges?
  20. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Your math is correct. ;)
    Remember, I do estimate what some may consider high, as I use higher page densities. (5% IIRC, is a double spaced, 12pt. text page. Not much). If most of your printing will consist of reports,... that are similar to the basis of a 5% page content, you'll get more life out of the toner. :D

    I just look online for the exact part number. Due to past problems, I tend to avoid re manufactured units, and DIY refills. It ended up costing me more. Though that was for HP supplies. ;) :p

    I might try a refill on the Brother, since it's really just a plastic container. :D
    Undecided for the moment.
  21. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    That's disgusting, wouldn't you think? Even INK CARTRIDGE prices seem good in comparison, don't they? What's the standard number of pages for an ink cartridge?
  22. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    ~85 Color

    The toners I use are High Capacity versions.
    Black is rated at 8000 pgs. IIRC, and Color 4000 pgs.
  23. Tallest Skil macrumors P6

    Tallest Skil

    Aug 13, 2006
    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    Okay, now you're making numbers up. I've NEVER had an ink cartridge last for that few sheets! I've always gotten over 200 color or grayscale with our printer. Do you do full-color, full-paper work or something?
  24. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    No, I didn't make it up. I just used a lot of ink per page. Both HP and Lexmark.
    I even tried 3rd party supplies and DIY refills, with poor results.

    Which is why I tried to explain my usage may be much heavier than most. (I go through supplies fast, printing research materials. The color density is much higher than 5%. To me, many web pages do). I've been trying to help myself by using "Printer Friendly Version", and grayscale when I can. Black cartridges are cheaper than Color.

    I'll look up the toners I use (cost and capacity). Then determine your expected usage per page, and run the math. ;)

    Let that determine your ultimate decision to go with a laser or stick to ink.

    When I did, laser produced less costs per page. After going that route, it proved true for me. YMMV. :p
  25. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    Brother Cartridges for MFC-9040CN

    Black (TN-115BK)
    High Yield = 5000 pages (not 8000):eek:
    New $66.41
    Reman $49.95

    Color (TN-115C/Y/M/)
    High Yield = 4000 pages
    New $91.86
    Reman $74.95

    Better pricing can be found by buying it in 4 unit sets.
    $249.95 (Reman)

    So, at the 5% coverage:
    New = $0.013 per page*
    Reman = $0.01 per page*

    New = $0.023 per page*
    Reman = $0.019 per page*

    Buying in sets will be a little cheaper yet.


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