In the market for a printer/scanner

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by macandal, Jul 1, 2016.

  1. macandal macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2008
    I am in the market for a printer/scanner. It doesn't have to be fancy, it just has to be good. Printing and scanning are the only two option I'm interested in. I know there are some printers that have copying and faxing capabilities but I frankly don't need these. My only requirements are:
    • That I can use generic (i.e., less expensive) ink cartridges.
    • That it can print (in black and white) even when the color cartridges are out.
    • That it's not too expensive (up to $100 would be great but I don't know how realistic this is).
    • That it is an inkjet printer (because I think those are the less expensive ones). I don't need high quality for this.
    I think that's it. I don't know if there are other issues I should be looking out for. At this moment, I can't think of anything else.

    This printer/scanner will be for general/family use so it doesn't need to be able to print high quality photographs or scan negatives or anything like that.

  2. jmiddel macrumors regular

    Mar 3, 2010
    Land of Enchantment
  3. macandal thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2008
    If you were asking me only, I'd say that no, I don't need color, but I won't be the only one using it, so, yes, I must have color.

    Thank you.
  4. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010
    If you only have $100, don't be tempted by inkjet printers as the running costs are too high. A black and white toner for a laser printer will cost around £30-50 (don't know the dollar price), but you will get 3000-5000 prints out of that where as a £20-30 inkjet cartridge will get typically less than 500 pages, often a lot less. The quality of laser printers is also a lot better.

    All the scanners on these devices are colour., even if you choose a mono printer The Fax can copying come bundled in whether you want them or not - just the way they are made. I previously had something like this

    The samsung printer/scanner software is very good and works well on a Mac.

    I've now got one of these

    It's not too expensive to buy and if you don't print in colour all the time, then default to b&w in the printer driver to save on costs and only print in colour when you need it. Again the toner appears expensive compared to inkjet, but you get a lot more prints out of a cartridge.

    Look for deals where they give away free toner or a free extended warranty.
  5. theluggage macrumors 68040

    Jul 29, 2011
    Seconded - especially if you use the printer infrequently: inkjets waste a lot of ink (not to mention time) on cleaning cycles. Laser cartridges cost a lot of money in one go, but last for ages (but certainly check the price of replacement cartridges & whether the printer comes with half-full "starter" cartridges, although even those may last some time).

    The fact that (esp. for colour lasers) a new set of cartridges costs as much as the printer is painful but in reality that's why you can buy the printer so cheaply to start with (c.f. 1985 when a LaserWriter cost 7 grand!)

    The only thing I'd buy an inkjet for is quality photo and/or large-format printing - 6-colour inkjet on special paper is still better than anything a laser can produce - but modern, cheap colour lasers are o.k. for, lets call it "newspaper quality" photos, and these days you can always get digital photos printed at a booth in the high street/local superstore.
  6. shaunp macrumors 68000

    Nov 5, 2010

    Exactly. I have the Brother colour laser for all my general 'stuff' and the cartridges seem to last ages. If you find somewhere that gives a free toner or two as part of the deal you may have enough toner to last the life of the printer if you don't print that much. The only inkjet I use is for photos - the Epson SC P800. But this is a £900 printer designed for printing A2 photos on expensive fine art paper. It's miles apart from what any laser printer can produce in terms of colour quality, but on the other hand I'd never print a document on it.
  7. HDFan macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2007
    My brother laser printer HL-5250 DN ran for years with no problems. Totally reliable. I don't print that much however.

    Once I went to a printer with scanning and document feeding I started having problems. Document Jams, software didn't work, etc. I went through two inexpensive printers, a LexMark Prospect Pro 205 and a Brother. I finally decided that it was a mistake buying a totally cheap all-in-one. All that extra mechanical complexity in a cheap printer was doomed to failure.

    So I upped my budget to get a low end office machine, an HP LaserJet Pro 200 color MFP at Costco. Cost in the ~$300 range I think. I have had no problems with it. The software integration with my Mac works seamlessly. I have been getting the error message that the black cartridge is almost out of ink for about a year and a half and it still prints just fine. But as I mentioned my usage is low: 352 monochrome pages and 549 color impressions over the years I have had it. I am still on the original cartridges.

    Consumer Reports has an interesting article on how to save on Printer Ink (paywall).

    In summary:

    1. Change the font. You can get 27% more mileage with Times new Roman than Arial. There is also an application called Ecofont which punches holes in other fonts as you print, saving you about 15% in ink. Windows only though I think. In 2011 Ecofont announced that a reproducible test comparing Arial with Ecofon Arial, a TrueType font they created, showed ink savings of 28%.

    2. Inkjets are catching up with Lasers in ink cost, if not speed. An HP Office Jet Pro 8610 prints at a cost of .017 a page.

    3. Consider Epson. They have reversed the pricing model for printers: cheap printer, expensive ink. You pay more for the printer, but ink is inexpensive.

    Here's a direct quote from the Consumer Reports Website:

    "Then there’s the Epson EcoTank line of printers, which have a novel take on the home printer, eschewing the classic ink cartridge for ink bottles and reservoirs. The bottles cost $12.99 each, and you need four of them. The printers have a pricey upfront costs—the Epson Expression ET-2550 costs $299. But the per-page printing cost is tiny, roughly an order of magnitude lower than some other printers at just $0.003. Do all that arithmetic, and you'll be saving money after about three years. According to Epson, a set of Ecotank ink bottles is equivalent to around 20 standard-capacity printer ink cartridges."

    With a consumer average of 23 pages of text, 9 pages of graphics, and 9 photos per month at the end of two years the total cost is $400 for the Ecotank and $325 for the next cheapest printer the OfficeJet Pro 8620. At 5 years (2460 total impressions) the Ecotank is $448, HP 8620 $588. So if you do a lot of printing you will save a lot of money with the Ecotank.

    Their take on Inkjet vs Laser: if you print text, graphics, and photos go with Inkjet. Lasers are best with black and white but poor with color. They end also to be difficult with unusually sized paper, such as 4x6.

    They also have another article discussing "disappearing ink". If you don't print continuously but very intermittently up to 30% of your ink can be lost due to print head maintenance, evaporation, etc. They list some printers which have lower residual ink loss.

    Their inkjet best buys are the HP OfficeJet Pro 8610, 8620, 8630, Epson Workforce Pro WF-4630 running from $130 to $200, with the Epson at $500. Their top 3 rated are the Canon Pixma MG5620, MG7720, and the Epson Expression Premium XP-830. Only the Epson is recommended due to the high ink costs of the Canons.

    For Laser they have one best buy, the Dell H625cdw at $300. Top rated for quality but with poor versatility is the Dell E525w.

    Finally my experience with Brother is that they have excellent customer support.
  8. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    I know firsthand that laser printers are cheaper to own in the long run than inkjets, but I don't know that you're going to find one for $100. That being said, I'm also not sure you'll find a printer/scanner that doesn't also fax and/or copy.
  9. blesscheese macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2010
    Central CA
    Nothing new here, but as others point out, while the initial cost of an inkjet is low, the cost of the cartridges must be considered.

    I had a Canon inkjet which I loved, cost about $99, but I would estimate the cost of ink (with light use) to be at least $50 a year (mostly printing documents, not photos).

    I just got a Brother laser printer -- love it! It is only B&W, but I got the model that can scan double-sided, so I'm very happy. It was about $180.
  10. HDFan, Jul 7, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2018

    HDFan macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2007
    I did a quick price check on a Brother laser printer using the TN850 high yield black toner that costs $103.06. At 8000 estimated pages that's 1.128 cents per page. The epson ecotank inkjet is .017 per page. I'd probably call that a draw when you consider the better color quality of the inkjet.

    So the mantra that laser is much cheaper than inkjet per page of ink is no longer true, at least in the case of the Epson. But you do have the higher printer cost.

    Corrected incorrect decimal on cents per page number as suggested by JoeInMilwaukee
  11. wickedpapercut macrumors member


    Jul 17, 2005
    I'm not a fan of multi-function peripherals. I had a printer/scanner/fax that was fine until something went wrong with the print mechanism. At that point, the machine was dead. Even if I only wanted to scan docs, the printer reported an error and nothing worked. After that experience, I bought a nice Canon flatbed scanner, a Brother laser printer, and an Epson color ink-jet (which is rarely used). Having the three devices takes up more space in my office but I know that if any one part breaks, at least the other components will continue to work.
  12. JoeInMilwaukee macrumors regular

    Apr 7, 2015
    Milwaukee, WI
    That's 0.0128 DOLLARS (or 1.28 CENTS) per page and I'm assuming 0.017 DOLLARS (or 1.170 CENTS) per page for the Ecotank.
  13. carestudio macrumors 6502

    Aug 6, 2008
    what about an Epson C88+ printer. It doesnt have scanner but it's working pretty well for just printing family photos.
  14. blesscheese macrumors 6502a


    Apr 3, 2010
    Central CA
    Honestly, I avoid HP printers like the plague. Someone gave me one, and I immediately ran into the problems of HP milking me for every penny they could. Examples:

    1) It wouldn't print a B&W page, if the color ink was "out" (more on that next), and vice versa. Every ink cartridge had to be full, and not only that, unexpired.

    2) It would not print with ink cartridges that were expired. This meant, even if the ink package was unopened (I'll repeat, *unopened*), and then I freshly opened it and put it in...if it was past the expiration date, it would say it would not print (so forget about planning ahead and always having a spare cartridge, and then also forget about being economical and not using ink needlessly).

    3) It also, iirc, would not scan or do anything with empty ink or expired ink.

    In other words, it was the most frustrating printer experience I ever had. This is going back about 6-7 years, the OS X drivers also sucked, but maybe that isn't an issue.

    I'm guessing you already have an HP printer, I don't want to make you feel bad. I would just recommend to anybody else, that I have had way better experiences with Epson, Canon, and Brother printers. Anything but an HP!
  15. jimthing macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2011
    London, UK (Europe, Earth, Space)
    That doesn't answer my question about the ink programme though, does it. That's about he printers themselves, which may or may not be true these days.
  16. elf69 macrumors 68020


    Jun 2, 2016
    Cornwall UK
    As been said above laser is way to go.

    I'm a printer engineer BTW.

    ONLY laser can still print black when colour is out (with a few inkjet exception)
    Yes laser cost a little more so way more reliable and price per page is cheaper over life of machine.

    I have a samsung laser at home, colour print no copy. was £35 2nd hand with new toners!
    3 years later still going, although now needs imaging drum.

    try get one with a drum on the toner cartridge, that way new toner new drum.
    Drums can be expensive, £55 or more for compatible drum for mine as NOT on the toners.
  17. jimthing macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2011
    London, UK (Europe, Earth, Space)
    FYI, I went with an HP Envy Photo 7830. AFAIR now, it was ~£125. Seems to work pretty well for my low printing needs, and doesn't drop off my wireless network either (a pain point of the past, with other machines).

    I also got 4 months free Instant Ink plan with it, then pay £2/month for up to 50 prints, with 1 month rollover on unused amount. Seems to work well, as I only tend to print less than 20 pages per month.

    Given I frequently had carts fail when not in use, and then paid £15-20 EACH for replacements, I'd say that £24/year is a bargain. And even if you went to the top Instant Ink plan, it'd still be MUCH MUCH cheaper than buying your own carts all the time.

    TBH, I'm surprised the other non-HP printer companies haven't bothered to follow suit by doing their own similar plans – no doubt they’re making a killing continuing to rip-off users with new cartridge sales, to bother!
    So HP have a serious leg-up over all the other apparent players in the printer market, for sure.

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