Help buying new printer?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Jedi5, Nov 9, 2018.

  1. Jedi5 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 16, 2009
    North Burbs, IL
    After some 9-10 years, I'm looking for a new home printer.

    Currently have and using the Brother MFC-9320CW [].
    After 9 years, printer works flawlessly.
    Still going strong, zero complaints.

    Now I'm looking for a smaller, compact, sleeker looking printer.

    So I started to look at new printers and I'm seeing supertank, ecotank, ink plans ... and well, I'm out of the loop with all new technology, LOL.[​IMG]

    What I would like in the printer is:

    Color print, All in One (print, copy, scan), Wireless, ... maybe AirPrint?

    I've seen prices anywhere from $29 to $50 to $200.
    I'm wondering if I would be ok with a cheaper printer.
    Printing would mostly for kids homework.
    Would be printing the occasional pictures too.

    I've found these printers, not say these are the ones on my list.
    Just more of an idea of what I'm looking for.
    Are these any good? The $30 printer is getting great reviews!
    Are there better ones I should look at?
    Anything I should stay away from?

    HP ENVY 4520 []

    Epson XP 440 []

    Canon PIXMA TR8520 []

  2. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    Stick with Brother. My experience going to a client locations is the brother printers are quite reliable. Avoid HP printers. They were once a good brand but everything I’ve seen in the last several years has been unreliable. Can’t say much for Epson or Cannon I don’t see those very often. They don’t seem to have many problems.
  3. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    I can offer staying with Brother is a good option, but I was buying for a couple of elderly friends who live in rural areas. Each wanted a MFP with a fax, ended up buying an MFC-J985DW for each of them on a deep discount at Best Buy - they love that model. The reason I picked out that unit was that it was a decent build but also included several other sets of independent ink tanks (standard size, not starter size). They'd suit your AIO needs with plenty of ink to back you up.

    My small company as a few small Brother laser printers in field offices - they've been bulletproof, I don't recall the model of these but they also came with standard toner cartridges).

    I own a really heavy Canon MF733C laser MFP (also with a fax) for my home office and also on sale at a Best Buy (I've seen them as low as $270 as they're being closed out) - I looked at a couple of the smaller units but opted for the MF733 because it included standard cartridges (not starter cartridges).
  4. grandM macrumors 65816


    Oct 14, 2013
    I own a samsung because of its size and price. My previous printer was a brother. The latter is more reliable.
  5. Euroamerican macrumors regular


    May 27, 2010
    After years and years on inkjets from HP and Epson, I'm over the whole inkjet thing where the nozzles dry out and you burnt through half a cartridge just trying to clean the nozzles.

    I need "business color" and monoprinting and don't print that often. I got an HP Color Laserjet Pro m252. There was an all-in-one model with scanner copier features too. I'd probably go for that I didn't already have a mid-level Epson flatbed. That was about two years ago I got that Laser and haven't had any problems.

    If I did not need color, I'd probably get a Brother. Those things seem very bomb-proofs and long lived.
  6. mikehalloran macrumors 6502

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    Look for Brother printers that use Inkvestment cartridges. These have the longest life and cheapest cost of any I know.

    My wife prints 200–300 pages a week. I go through one set of cartridges a year @ $78 for a set of four. Before that, I was using Epson and HP printers that were using $125 sets up to 4x per year.

    I have the MFC-6935DW that scans and prints up to 11"x17" tabloid in duplex (both sides) and does just about everything but there are others that are smaller and cheaper. INKVESTMENT is what you are looking for. Seriously.

    The Inkvestment line has been updated a bit for 2018, it appears.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 10, 2018 ---

    Brother printers come with standard size cartridges. With the Inkvestment series, the extra-capacity cartridge is the standard size.
  7. MacNeal macrumors newbie


    Nov 11, 2018
    The Left Coast
    I have a Brother MFC-6920DW which I got for the 11x17 scanner bed and have generally been happy with it, with two caveats, however. One is that the Brother color ink cartridges are kind of dull in color. In other words, printed color photos come out darkish and dull. The second is that the printer seems to keep its inkjets from clogging by running a daily cleaning, and that alone uses up the color ink cartridges over the course of a year's time. At least that is my experience.

    All that said, I also have a Brother black laser printer, which is a successor to another Brother laser printer I had which lasted 8-10 years and was a real workhorse. So, let's just say that when I think of printers, Brother is my first choice.
  8. TheIntruder macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2008
    In my experience, Brother lasers (particularly the ones based on the compact laser print engines) do give up some print quality compared to others, but have better support...

    ...meaning that for something like an AIO, Brother will more fully support all the features on the Mac, not make some Windows only. Brother is also good about staying on top of OS updates, being clear about new driver compatibility, and provide them within a few weeks of Apple's release. My eight-year old MFC-7 series still has a current driver for 10.14. I don't think other manufacturers have that kind of long term support. I've found HP doesn't.
  9. The Hammer macrumors 6502

    The Hammer

    Jun 19, 2008
    Toronto, Canada
    Can't say that I've had any of your issues with my Epson Artisan 810, which I've had since 2010.
  10. IdentityCrisis macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2018
    As someone who repaired HP, Brother, Samsung, Canon and other brands of printers for many years, I will tell you HP and Canon are the most reliable. They also don't clog like Epson inkjets do. Brothers are also not very reliable and neither are Samsungs. Yours may have been good in a personal environment, but business, they failed often. I had many issues with Brothers and were the most calls we had to go fix. Keep in mind brother printers, at least the laser printers, have separate toner and drum units so it costs way more than HP does to replace the cartridges where HP has it built into the same unit. Samsungs had a lot of gear issues and laser issues.

    I currently have this printer: HP Laserjet Pro M477fdw

    It works great for our whole family. It doesn't require ink to dry, it does double sided printing. The cartridges, even though they are starter cartridges, last 1-2 years for our use (1500ish pages). I just bought another set off ebay of starter cartridges for really reasonable and those will last another couple of years.

    I was going through Ink much faster on my inkjet than this printer and costing a lot more. This printer was worth the extra cost. I can scan to my computer, NAS drive, and print from our iPhones/Android devices. It has Airprint.

    And getting a Google Phone line, which is free, you can have a free fax line for those rare occasions you need to use a fax.

    When buying a printer, always consider the costs of the ink too.

  11. mikehalloran macrumors 6502

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    Most definitely not my experience. For many years, HP printer cartridges included a new print head. Canon cartridges could be bought with or without. This has changed, however. Replacing HP print heads means that you have to find one first—a real crap shoot on eBay since HP doesn't stock them for that many years.

    Nowadays, the right inkjets cost less to run than laser printers but that's a recent development. This is a spot-on review of the printer I bought and discusses true costs of ownership with links to other brands and models.

    I do have a question for you. Do you repair HP inkjets? I have a c309a Photosmart Premium, the very last HP model sold that could print on CD. Hated my Epson CD printer and would like to have this one repaired if possible.

    Besides 11x17 flatbed scanning, mine does full duplex from the auto-feed which is why I bought it.

    My MFC-6935DW goes through that cleaning cycle about once a month. Compared with my HP and Epson printers that did this many times a day—and still clogged—I'm good with it. Again, mine is on its second set of cartridges including the set in the box.

    The colors on mine are not dull but they do not saturate the paper like my others did. In an A/B comparison, this is noticeable. The MFC-6935DW is not sold as a photo printer but does surprisingly well—my HP was a little better as a photo printer (and slower, more costly to run etc.). The above review goes into that.
  12. IdentityCrisis, Nov 12, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2018

    IdentityCrisis macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2018
    I did repair inkjets. This was many years ago though. I still only trust HP for any printer and never had a problem with any of them currently. There is a reason why most businesses use HP and not other brands.

    We do have one HP Inkjet in the house, and its rarely used, but it hasn't given us any issues. I've personally owned Epson as well, and will never again after 2 of them clogged in under 6 months.

    I don't believe a inkjet will out last a laserjet in cartridges or costs per page count. I've never seen that happen yet. But will say that with these plans they have now, HP you can print 10 pages a month for free, and they will send you new ink! Or 50 pages for like $2.99 bucks a month. Heck of a steal in that case. We plan to use it for our next refill on the other inkjet in the house.
    --- Post Merged, Nov 12, 2018 ---
    One other thing I want to mention and I don't believe this has changed. InkJet vs LaserJet. You print often, at at least 20-30 pages a month I would say, a Inkjet should be okay for you. But if you only print a few pages a month, then any inkjet printer will clog up due to the ink drying on the print head or hoses. Laserjets can go months even years without a print and still print okay.
  13. mikehalloran macrumors 6502

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    If you're going to give such advice, probably best to be up-to-date. Info's out there if you look it up—that PC Mag review is a good read in that regards. There are a number of inkjets on the market that cost less to operate than the least expensive laser. The constant cleaning cycles, likewise gone from some as is the warm up period before the first page prints — if you buy the right one as I did.

    No disagreement there.
  14. Jedi5 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Aug 16, 2009
    North Burbs, IL
    Thanks everyone for chiming in with help and suggestions.
    Glad I asked my question!

    I looked into the Inkvestments printers but they are too big.
    I'm looking for the compact look.

    Inkjet vs Laser is also a concern I had.
    Like many, my first printer was an inkjet.
    Then moved to a laserjet.

    I don't think we print 20 pages a month.
    I'm guessing maybe... maybe 10?

    So if we go with inkjet and the nozzle dries up, is there a way to clean the nozzle or does it become
    garbage and needs to be replaced?
  15. mikehalloran macrumors 6502

    Oct 14, 2018
    The Sillie Con Valley
    Canon may still offer printers with cartridges that include individual printheads—if so, that's what you want. It used to be that they offered two part #s for replacements — one with and one without.

    I know that HP no longer does but, back in the day, that's why my company supplied HP printers for the field. With those, there was no option—cartridges included the print heads. Then HP moved away from that model around 10 years ago.

    Without easily replaceable printheads, trying to keep inkjets clean is a royal PIA — and expensive, too, plus the mess. Brother & HP have good reputations nowadays but it's assumed that you will use the printer often enough to keep it functioning.

    Otherwise, if you rarely print, I'm with IdentityCrisis in recommending a laser printer.
  16. IdentityCrisis macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2018
    If 10 pages are spread out, you should be okay. Sadly, no manual way to clean them if they get clogged these days. Most printers are throw aways. There is a cleaning function on most printers to unclog the heads, but it eats up the ink to try and unclog it.

    To me, that is why I went Laser so I don't have to deal with that. Sometimes it may cost more for the toner when its time, but instead of having to replace the printer when it clogs up due to lack of use, I just bought the laser and it sits till I need it. And when I need toner, I just search for cheaper Oem cartridges like I did on ebay and put them in.

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