What type of printer for a college student?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by curiosa863, May 10, 2007.

  1. curiosa863 macrumors member

    Sep 5, 2006
    Should i get a b&w laser printer? and just worry about doing color at a kinkos, or mooching off a friend? Or spring for a color laser? The cost of printing on an inkjet is just too much to be practical i think. how often do you need to print color in college? i'll probably take some computer/design classes for fun, but my major is in marketing. This will be the first of 4 years at college, so i'd like something that will last all 4 years, and i wouldn't mind spending a lot if it will last. in my family we've had terrible luck with printers, and nothing ever lasts more than 2 years, so i don't want to spend hundreds on a color laser if it is going to be the same way.

    Thanks for your advice, and i'd appreciate hearing some of your experiences with printers through college.
  2. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    Most universities offer printing in their labs. I have a 500 page quota (per year) and that suits me just fine. I'm lucky to print more then 100 pages per year as it is.

    Then again I do have unlimited printing within my department. I don't abuse it though.
  3. jng macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2007
    Find out if your school does free printing (most don't, but some still do). If not, how much do they charge per page? Some charge $0.05, some $0.10. My school charges the latter and as a liberal arts major, I bought an HP laserjet 1012 four years ago. It's served me well and I use about one cartridge a year.

    I don't know how much printing you'd do in marketing though. In history, poly sci, and seminars, I needed to print a lot of readings off jstor (I can't read off a screen).

    I'd recommend go to school first. Figure out if you need to buy one. Then buy it. Less to pack/ship come Sept. :)
  4. Mr.Texor macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2007
    There's almost no need for color printing.. hell, I cant remember a single time I had to print something in color.. but, some labs had color, iirc. As eidorian said, most labs will have printers.
  5. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    I will admit that this semester I printed a lot more then usual. Most of my courses were offering entire lectures via PowerPoint and PDF. Then again I did set it to 3 slides/page and double sided. The PDF slides were 4 slides/page double sided.

    There are a lot of ways to cut down on pages while still keeping it readable.

    A lot of course packets lately. I can't read soruces off of a screen either. I need my paper!

    Blame the Mac labs for me being here! No lines to print! :D
  6. Shotgun Pete macrumors regular

    Jul 11, 2006
    Saskatchewan, Canada
    either use a school printing lab, Or get something like an HP 1020, a brother HL-2040, or a samsung ML-2510. The samsung has the best Toner value. Dont get a colour, too expensive and youd never use it. the three mono lasers that I mentioned are usually about 100 bucks.
  7. bearbo macrumors 68000


    Jul 20, 2006
    i'm always under the impression that laser printers are more expensive than inkjet printers. how much is the laser catridge, and how much is ink catridge, how many can a laser catridge print, and how many can ink do?

    i'm interested because i might just invest in a laser printer when my current one goes out. but my current hp 5150 has lasted me 3 yrs, i've only needed to change ink once. granted, i don't print course packets all the time.
  8. Father Jack macrumors 68020

    Father Jack

    Jan 1, 2007
    A laser toner cartridge is between 30% and 50% of the initial printer price. :mad: Although the cost per printed sheet works out very cheap.

    I would definitely check with the college, here in the UK / Ireland students are allowed a certain number of free print copies per academic year (usually 250 - 500)

    If you need to buy a printer get a black & white laser, my last one (Brother HL2030) cost £85 gbp

  9. Osarkon macrumors 68020


    Aug 30, 2006
    From my experience fixing people's computer problems in Uni, it really doesn't seem to matter anymore what printer you get if you're just printing off documentation.

    The cheap, £20 printers seem to do the job just as well as the expensive ones. The only difference seems to be when it comes to colour printing.
  10. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Laser printers cost more initially, but are cheaper to operate in the long run. You also have the added advantage that your printouts look cleaner and crisper, never smudge, and are waterproof.

    I had a Canon injet printer where the black ink cartridge cost about $10, but it would print... maybe 100 pages? Where my HP laser printer toners cost about $100, but would easily print 5000 pages before it needed replacing.

    I wouldn't suggest a color laser for a college student simply because they're still so expensive to operate. You're looking at FOUR toners that you will have to buy and replace. With inkjet printers at least if a color cartridge runs out, you can get away with leaving it empty and just live with funny looking printouts or just keep printing in black and white. What I found with my Lexmark color laser printer is that as soon as any ONE of the four cartridges is declared "empty", the whole printer shuts down until I replace it.

    However, we're at the point where laser printers have hit the same disposable culture as ink jets. It would cost me close to $500 to replace all four toners in my Lexmark. But Staples has the newer model Lexmark color laser on sale for $299 (and it, of course, comes with toners). Hmmmm.
  11. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    HP-1020 is cheap and nice, but OSX does NOT support it, and drivers on the internet might not work neither..
  12. DeaconGraves macrumors 65816


    Apr 25, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    I picked up a hp deskjet 5550 right before my junior year and it worked fine for me. It sounds like that I had a lot less printing to do than some of the other posters. I didn't have to print our course packets or very many readings longer than 6 pages, so it was mainly used for printing out my own writings. I probably had to change the cartridges once a semester for about $50 (hardly an expense). I've now had that printer for 4 years and it works perfectly.

    Personally, I would save the money and get an inkjet. Any massive printing jobs can probably be handled at a computer lab for free or for a very small cost.
  13. TraceyS/FL macrumors 601

    Jan 11, 2007
    North Central Florida
    I'd go laser - if you think you will print a lot one that can double-side would be nice. We have a Brother Color laser and the cartridges last the longest and the cost is low - but not low enough for us to let the kids print everything on it. I have them printing to the inkjet for now on draft.

    B&W laser wise we have always had HPs. The one we are using now is about 10 years old? Still going strong! You might look at a laser all in one in case you might need to make copies, this might point you the right way: http://www.officedepot.com/browse.do?Nr=200000&N=2530014

    For me, i'd need a printer in my room - but heck, i was the only one in my apartment to have a computer when i went to college. It was nice to be able to print right there :D
  14. Detlev_73 macrumors 6502


    Jul 20, 2004
    Roswell, GA
    Not officially. If you do some snooping around, as I did, you can get a 1020 for about $99 dollars, AND get the Mac OS X drivers on the internet. I am visiting my parents in Florida right now, and using a Dell (gasp!) for internet access, so I don't have the link to supply y'all with the correct page, but when I get back home I can provide it.

    Wait until all the stores announce their "Back to School" specials, and you can usually get the 1020 for about $79-99 AND tax-free. Most states I know will have a tax-free shopping week/end to help out families for the new school year. Good luck in college, and study hard! :)
  15. gers84 macrumors member

    Nov 27, 2006
    Aberdeen UK

    Thats not strictly true most universities in Scotland seem to charge per sheet around 0.5p to 2p b/w and 5p - 25p for colour
  16. MacKitten macrumors newbie

    May 31, 2006
    If you are looking for a really robust printer that will last you years, go for a HP, otherwise if you are looking for a cheap and cheery printer, even Canon can do this for you
  17. gnasher729 macrumors P6


    Nov 25, 2005
    Mine cost £50 for printer with a half empty cartridge. It printed about 1500 pages, never caused any problems whatsoever. A new cartridge would have cost £50, instead I spent £15 on toner and refilled it myself. Should last for another 3000 pages or about four years.

    Ink is _really_ expensive if you don't print all the time, because you are forever cleaning the heads, which costs ten times as much as the actual printing. And when you run out of ink, you can't print. If you run out of toner, you think "well, this isn't as dark as it used to be", then you still have three weeks time to get new toner because it doesn't just stop printing.
  18. clevin macrumors G3


    Aug 6, 2006
    well, I will be waiting for your news.

    Its not like I didn't try, I had a post on peripheral board weeks ago asking about this 1020 ( http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=298901&highlight=laserjet ), AFAIK, 1022's driver with complicated setup process isn't working on my mini. Heck, even my linux supports the 1020 out of box.
  19. savar macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2003
    District of Columbia
    Don't get a color laser, those things are a rip and you won't find yourself often needing color prints. (I never printed in color once during college.)
    I suggest a multifunction printer/scanner/copier if you can get it...they are about $200-400 but really useful to have.

    Then again, my "free" lexmark inkjet broke sophomore year when I put a sketchily purhased (read: random internet site) inkjet cartridge in there. I threw that piece of crap away and just printed in the computer labs or library from then on. We actually got free printouts in the engineering buildings, too. I never missed having a printer. (I wouldn't print a final draft of a paper on an inkjet either, the quality is awful.)
  20. xfiftyfour macrumors 68030


    Apr 14, 2006
    Clemson, SC
    jeez.. I've never even considered buying a laser printer as a home/student user. IMO, those things are for businesses. I guess I'm lagging behind the curve on this one. :p

    I just have an inkjet at home (I print off a lot of color for my classes though), and if I ever need to print off a lot of pages, I head to my school's library. Our students don't have any limit..
  21. puckhead193 macrumors G3


    May 25, 2004
    I have an hp all in one that copies and scans. Its great i can make copies in my room instead of walking across campus to the library. I would highly recommend an all in one.
    Just don't let your friends in the habit of printing off your printer. Like me.... bad mistake...
    but bring a printer to college a lot of my friend didn't and are always asking.
  22. seany916 macrumors 6502

    Jun 26, 2006
    Southern California
    get a b&w laser, they're like $200 retail. we have a Brother & it has never had problems (any inkjet we've had has been a dismal mistake).

    will never go back to inkjets

    if color is needed, take it to a pro printer & get REAL color.
  23. jng macrumors 65816


    Apr 6, 2007
    There was a crackdown on course packets and the printer my school uses for course packets got slapped with all these copyright violations. So course packets ended up being REALLY expensive. For example, an art history one (less than 100 pages) cost $40. No, it was not because of images. It was all text.

    For that reason, it was worth it for me to buy a laserjet printer. I bought my HP 1012 for about $120 four years ago. The cartridges are $70 a piece, so the printer itself was only $50. I think the $70 gets me about 2000 pages, which lasts me a year. And 2000 pages at $70 is $0.035/page compared to the $0.10 school charges me.

    Seriously, the best advice is to wait until you see how much you will need to print. In marketing, maybe you'll need a color printer to really grasp those graphics. Maybe you won't. Maybe you won't have a textbook and you'll need to print your toner out. Who know's. It depends on you, your major, and your school.

    So wait.
  24. devilot Moderator emeritus


    May 1, 2005
    I second both of these options.

    I have the slightly older model Samsung ML-2010 and it's conveninent. Not too big, not tiny though. It can get noisy, but what're you expecting w/ such a cheap printer? Search around some bargain hunting sites (fatwallet.com/ slickdeals.net) and you can find amazing deals. I got mine for about $20 AR (after rebates). A $20 B&W laser printer that gets decent reviews. Not to mention, I just bought (don't need it yet though) toner to re-fill it from a 3rd party seller for $10 shipped. Not bad, methinks. :)
  25. wako macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2005
    only reason why i have a printer is because when i bought my mac it i took the offer of getting a mac and getting 100 dollars back, which translated to a free printer when you chose the cheapest one. :)

    Honestly a printer is convenient to have. If you are doing papers last minute like me and you dont have time to goto the lab and print it out and then go turn it in, it is nice to have.

    I must admit though, I dont use mine much. There has only been one class where I printed things out on a regularly basis which was class notes, but mostly I used the labs and printed out for free.

    Having color printer did help me. For some of the things I printed if I were to print in B&W, i wouldnt be able to tell which fluorescent dyes were used and how to distinguish things.

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