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Affordable Laser Printers? 236

Posted by Cliff
from the cheap-networkable-with-decent-output-quality dept.
paul.h.burns asks: "I'm looking now for an affordable laser printer. The qualifications are that it must be network-able, under $300, and produce decent graphics. Color is not so important because I have an inkjet that I can use if I need color on any presentations. I've looked at Tom's Hardware, CNET, Pricewatch, and just plain googled around. I've found a few printers that meet one or two of the criteria, but not all three. Also, I've found some that look decent, except user comment's say that toner usage on those models is really high. So, now I'll ask everyone here at Slashdot: Are there any laser printers that you can recommend that would meet all three of my criteria?"
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Affordable Laser Printers?

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  • by grainfed (726370)
    ... 1000 monkeys. Taking dictation from pirates. Who are working for ninjas.
  • by petard (117521) * on Thursday August 03, 2006 @11:47PM (#15844452) Homepage
    I picked up a brother hl-5170dn. It's network ready, comes with zeroconf (bonjour in the apple world) and includes postscript and PCL emulation. The web configuration interface is quite nice, it's "just worked" with my Mac, Windows and Linux boxes, and is readily available for under $300 [google.com]. And as a bonus, it has a built-in duplexer. It is black-and-white only and has its toner and drum separate. (Which is a good thing, since drums generally outlast toner, and this lets you replace them separately without resorting to dodgy refilled toner).

    Do be sure to download and use Brother's .ppd files for best results. The postscript emulation, while good, isn't perfect. Using their .ppd files seems to take care of all the rough edges I encountered.

    I'm admittedly a rather light user in terms of volume. But after going through a ream of paper or so I'm still on the cartridge that shipped with the printer. YMMV of course.

    There may be a newer better model than this one, but I haven't tried it and this one is clearly still available. I was initially a little nervous about moving away from canon engines, but I have been quite pleased after about a year.
    • I also got this printer when the toner went out on my ancient LaserJet 4. The HL-5170DN was cheaper than a new toner drum for the lj4, and it's higher resolution and faster. Because of the separate toner from the drum it'll be cheaper to operate, and it draws less power I'm sure. It also has Bonjour/Zeroconf, which makes using it with a Mac a snap.
      • by petard (117521) * on Friday August 04, 2006 @12:17AM (#15844562) Homepage
        I was totally not expecting Zeroconf support from a printer at that price point. I was very surprised when I went to save a receipt for an online purchase to PDF from my Mac (thus invoking the print dialog) and saw the printer as an option even though I had not set anything up in print center yet.

        It definitely draws less power than the LJ4, and to all evidence does not suffer from the same problems with the fuser rollers that my original LJ4 did.
    • by Yonder Way (603108) on Friday August 04, 2006 @12:12AM (#15844538)
      But check out the HL-5250DN which is the suggested replacement model.
      • by walt-sjc (145127) on Friday August 04, 2006 @12:41AM (#15844645)
        I have the 5250DN.

        It's not bad, but definatly more "plasticky" than my old 1270N. It also has no straight paper path option like the 1270 had so everything gets curled (envelopes and card stock are more difficult.) Heavy card stock (postcard) does not work. Envelope's get creased. It looks like you should be able to get the paper out the back, but it's got a sensor I couldn't find that prohibits this.

        The front "multi-media" tray works well, but occasionally pulls mupltiple pages in at the same time.

        I've run about 6000 pages through it now (on my second toner) and it works well. The starter toner only gets you about 2000 pages (max.)

        Duplexing is also on the slow side (which is typical on most duplexing printers.)

        I look at this printer as being disposable. By the time it needs a drum, I'll just buy a new printer.
        • by Vidar Leathershod (41663) on Friday August 04, 2006 @09:09AM (#15845832)
          Having used the HL-5170DN for many customers, with no problems, I started getting the replacement, the 5250DN. Had the same problems with envelope creasing. One thing that I like about Brother is their technical support, which is available by 800 number and has a decent amount of knowledge about their product.

          For heavy paper and envelope problems, if you flip a panel down in the back, there are two adjustment levers. I would speak with tech support or find documentation before fiddling with them, because I believe that you only need to adjust one at a time (there are levers on both sides) and I can't remember which side you start on (or if it matters at all). What I do know is that it completely fixed the creasing problem, and it has been a wonderful printer since, with no issues.

          Another customer had a noisy 5250DN, which Brother replaced immediately, providing a shipping label, pickup, and return of a Brand New Model (not refurb'd). I agree that the construction doesn't feel as nice as the 5170, but the product is so superior in it's price range it's not even funny. 30ppm, fake PS3, PCL, Web Management, an admin utility with pretty cool features, updateable firmware, 10/100 ethernet, optional trays, adjustable paper path, good tech support, 32MB exp to 512 I think. It costs me a whopping $230 shipped. And Brother still provides a Mac OS 9 driver!

          If you need multifunction, their unit based on the 5250 is also nice (though I wouldn't bother with scanning, which IME is slow).

          BTW, make sure you are not buying toner/drums from Staples. I can get, and you can probably, too, Brother's 7000 page extended life toner (5% coverage) for $60, and the Drums for $102 (about 25,000 pages at 5% coverage). I think there is no better option for inexpensive B&W printing. Only when you get up to color products do the Xerox/Tektronix products get my dollar. (Have had nightmares with modern HP printers [since 1999]). Good Luck!

          Vidar
    • I second your recommendation, plus it has HTML administration/configuration, just type in the web (lan) address of the printer, and you are given a quasi-web site to change preferences and what not. Plus the toner is pretty cheap ($50) for a ton of pages. I can testify that it works well with Windows, OS X, and the latest Ubuntu pretty easily. Two years ago, it was harder to install for Ubuntu, so I'm not quite sure if Ubuntu improved in this respect, or if the driver got better.

      For anyone looking for a
    • I concur with the Brother recommendation. I recently bought a Brother DCP-8065DN fax/copy/scan/printer. It has postscript, ethernet interface, input and output duplexer and cost around $500. I've been very impressed by its features, driver software that actually works on OSX, and print speed. This printer even supports IPv6, which I'm sure _every_ slashdotter uses on their networks, since it's been around for more than 10 years by now. :)

      I'd avoid HP, unfortunately -- from what I've heard, their consumer-le
      • I can't speak for Brother, though from the recommendations here it looks like I might be buying one soon.

        On your HP comment: I can say that the consumer HP printers are - at least the models I have here in my office - just fine. (I have two DeskJet 3650s, a 3845, a 5440, and a 5600.) I'm not WOW!ed by anything their lower end models do, but they're fairly inexspensive, very effective, and highly reliable.
    • by iamhassi (659463) on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:00AM (#15844879) Journal
      The brother is a good suggestion, but doesn't this topic sound a little 1999? A laser printer that is "network-able, under $300, and produce decent graphics" isn't hard to find, especially if you don't mind using a cheap netgear print server [google.com], then there's a ton of laser printers for under $100 [google.com] that will fit the rest of the requirements, and if you don't mind refilling the toner yourself you can buy toner refills for less than $15 for almost any laser printer [google.com].

      Oh, and if you don't want to go through all that you can just jump to Networkable laser printers for under $300 in froogle [google.com]. Every printer company has one for under $300 listed with froogle, I see the Lexmark, Samsung, Brother, HP...

      I don't mean to flame but I don't see how anyone can spend more than 5 minutes looking for a laser printer and not find a laser printer that is "network-able, under $300, and produce decent graphics".
    • I can vouch for this model as well. It's a good buy.
    • I can vouch for the capability of Brother equipment. My wife and I work at a company, I have an Brother HL-1440 laser printer at my desk, while my wife has the Brother fax machine for the department at her disposal. Although it is not one of the MFC branded machines, it is connected to her computer providing both printing AND scanning (with an ADF to boot!)

      I would describe my printing volume as moderate (and we are using the high-yield toner cartridges), but the "toner low" indicator has been blinking at
      • I also have an HL-1440. I bought it three (maybe four) years ago for about £150. The toner has needed replacing once in that time (cost: £30) and the one it came with was advertised as being 'low.' Mine came with a network print server in the expansion port. It is only 10Mbit, but the bottleneck appears to be the card slot rather than the network. The printer's CPU is quite slow, and printing complex postscript directly to it can really slow down the print speed. On the plus side, converti
    • Can you explain how the duplexer works? I have an older (~4 years) Brother that said it supported duplexing, but basically its manual -- it prints the first sides, then a dialog comes up and you re-insert into the tray so it can print the other side. Is the DN manual or automatic duplexing?

      Maury
  • HP LaserJet 4P (Score:4, Informative)

    by Hikaru79 (832891) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @11:48PM (#15844456) Homepage
    I'm not sure how easy it would be to still find one of these, but I've had a LaserJet 4P since I was around grade 6 (about 6 or 7 years ago), and it has never failed me yet. It's a cheap, black-and-white laserjet with all of the features you request. And I can personally attest to it's printing quality. I've had it for so long, and it's never broken down or had any real problems. I also network it just fine -- it's currently connected to my LinkSys wireless printerserver.

    I don't really have anything to compare its toner usage with, but I have no complaints in that department either. Overall, a great deal.
    • i got one around a year ago at my local computer recycling center for around $100. i still haven't changed the toner! watch out though... the lights dim when i turn it on...
      • Re:HP LaserJet 4P (Score:4, Informative)

        by 1u3hr (530656) on Friday August 04, 2006 @01:33AM (#15844804)
        i got one around a year ago at my local computer recycling center for around $100. i still haven't changed the toner! watch out though... the lights dim when i turn it on...

        Go for an LJ5 (or 5P if you like the smaller size); a little more than an LJ4, but many parts are compatible and has a low power mode.

        I've got an LJ4 with PS and networking, only problem is that the humidity here messes up the toner, unless I leave it powered on all the time in Summer, which is a drag as it draws about 50W when idle, still cheaper than getting a "new" printer though.

        I had an HP4LM fopr several years, small, light, 4 ppm, PostScript, but only 50 pages in the tray and sometimes I had to yank out jammed pages. But was at 40,000 pages and still fine when I left it.

        One great advantage of older HPs is that you can get very cheap, quality toner refills or compatible cartridges.

    • Re:HP LaserJet 4P (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Zzootnik (179922)
      I'll second the "Hooray for HP Laser Printers". They really do "Just work"(tm) pretty much forever. And to beat all that, I've found scads of them at my local university Surplus store for between 20-50 bucks. Every time a friend needs a printer, I usually jusy give them the one I'm using and go pick up another one. My Current one is an HP 4000TN (with 2 paper trays) that I got for $30.00. Jetdirect card was even still intact. For some reason they couldn't find a really deep-seated piece of Paper Jam (
      • I've right now got a used HP LaserJet 4 Plus that my friend gave me – he had two of them, so he kept one and let me have the other – haven't used it that much because it's missing a back panel, I had to jam the little lever with a folded PCI slot cover, but it's worked great when I've needed it – very fast, and definitely indestructible. (For that matter, I still use my original-model HP DeskJet as well; not exactly a speed demon, but it's literally older than I am and still works just fi
    • by Anonymous Coward
      When you're looking at old HPs, DO NOT go for the 4P, 5P, 6P, or any such models. The 'P' stands for 'Personal,' which translates to 'junk.' The 4P was probably the best of the lot, but the 5P and 6P had serious issues.

      Instead, go for a 4+ or better model. The 4+ and 5 series are based off the same engine, a Canon, and they're bloody workhorses. You seriously can't kill these things unless you really try. They're rated for 30,000 pages per month -- 1000 pages per day -- which, while it may be overkill for y
      • It's been a sweet little printer...never gave me trouble unless I used a leaky refilled cartridge. It doesn't draw as much current as the others in Gen 4 and is surprisingly light. Got it off eBay for $25 and cartridges on eBay run about the same. I think there is an LaserWriter that is identical to it except for the Appletalk interface. It's not a tank, it's a mini-tank. An SUV of a printer, if you will.
        • I've replaced many office printers, the 4P (and most of the other 4* series) often are replaced while still functional with over 500k pages. I replaced a 4P a couple of years ago with over a million pages that'd been used as a main printer in a call center. They're generally limited by the feed gear/roller and when people decide not to replace the fusers.

          The Si types were intended to be the workhorse versions. The L types, regarless of series, seem to have the most trouble. The 180 degree turn the pa
      • Agreed. I paid $50 2 years ago for a rebuilt 4+ with everything but the duplexer, including toner, and the thing's still running as if it was brand new. According to the self test it has over 500,000 pages on it, and I intend to keep it until it breaks, which I suspect will be around the 1.5 million mark at the earliest.

        At the rate I print, that means it'll probably last long past when it becomes hard to find 10mbit-capable switches to plug it in to.

        It also has to be the best supported printer I've ever u
    • My HP LaserJet 4L is still kicking after a good thirteen years or so.

      Of course, one time we did have a problem. My cat chewed through the cable.

      The thing is a tank. I will give it up when it is pried from my cold dead hands.
      • by Cylix (55374)
        I find your terms acceptable. ;)
      • i love my 4L... i got it for free too.. went into an office and people complained about it because it wasn't color - they hired me to install the new deskjet as a work group printer... when it came to payment.. i asked for the 4L (you would have thought they would have noticed)

        needless to say... they never asked for it back.. but they had me come in to install a 2100n a month later.

        i would get rid of my 4L if i could get my hands on a ceep 2100n or 2100dn... (one can dream)
    • I picked one of those up at a garage sale recently; I suspect its probably a decade old or so, and will probably still work a decade hence if I don't bother to replace it with something smaller and faster. It currently shares the living room with a record player, an Atari 2600, a mechanical mantle clock, and a number of other more modern and less interesting devices.
    • Yes. The best value for money in laser printers is a single-digit HP Laserjet off of eBay. Most printers made since then are fragile pieces of plastic crap, and the parts+toner for these are still easily (and cheaply) available. I'm running a 4+ and have had no complaints in years. Do *not* buy a new laser printer, get an old HP off of eBay and spend the price difference getting very drunk.
      • "The best value for money in laser printers is a single-digit HP Laserjet off of eBay."

        A few years ago I replaced a late-1980s-vintage LaserJet III (which I think qualifies as "single digit" {smile}) in the marketing department of the business I worked for at the time. The thing still functioned, but they needed something with more processing power and RAM for complex page layouts, and wanted something that could spit out more than single-digits-per-minute copies. I would've taken it home with me, exce
    • Depends how many copies are you printing.

      Many modern printers from Panasonic, Kyosera and even HP themselves will beat the sh** out of 4P as far as price per page is concerned.

      Based on my extremely unscientific observations HP remains the best game in town nowdays. Panasonic has horrid puke crap shite instead of drivers so whatever you win in terms of price per copy,you will lose on computer downtime and driver problems. Kyosera/Mita will deliver the best price per page but you have treat it very nicely, ge
    • Got a used IIP back around 1994 for cheap. Found a memory board for it and bumped it up to max memory. 2 or 3 years ago when I was building my lan, first I hung it off a print server machine on the serial port (the other printer went off the parallel, but the IIP was versitile enough to allow both printers on the one machine). More recently, I got a Linksys 3 port printer server. This printer, plus two more, now are on my home lan and just work. I was printing some forms last night on the IIP. The to
  • Dell 1710n (Score:3, Informative)

    by dduardo (592868) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @11:50PM (#15844460)
    How about theDell 1710n [dell.com]? It is $299, networked and does 27 pages per minute.
    • I second that. I have a Dell 1700 (non-'n' but I share it via IPP from my server) and I really love it. Its *very* fast (25 ppm, and it really prints that fast), and was only $200. At my school, they have some of the 1700n's and the 1710n's. They seem to work pretty well there too. If you can just share it from a computer you could save a hundred, and not buy the 'n' version. Dell provides drivers for Linux, but you don't need them - just using the generic PCL6 drivers work fine. Same story for OS X,
  • Brother HL-2070N... (Score:4, Informative)

    by TeckWrek (220789) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @11:55PM (#15844473)
    ...USB Ethernet 20PPM Laser Printer ~ $170.
    It definately meets the networking and proce requriments. The only one in question is 'decent graphics', but that is subjective! and you know best.

            * Up to 20 pages per minute
            * HQ1200 resolution (up to 2400x600dpi)
            * 250-sheet input capacity and manual by-pass slot for letterhead and envelopes
            * USB 2.0 and Parallel interfaces1
            * Windows® and Mac® compatible
            * One-year limited warranty
            * 16MB memory standard
            * PCL®6 emulation standard
            * Built-in 10/100 BaseT Ethernet
            * Network Interface
    • I was about to recommend this model, but I'll second your comment. We have one of these at home and I love it. As you mentioned, the graphics part is subjective, but it's networked, not very big, and reasonably fast. And it comes at a pretty low price for what you get. I have seen them as low at $150.
    • Thirded -- I'm very happy with mine. The 5170DN recommended earlier in the thread is probably even better, but it's also at least twice as expensive.

  • HP 2600n maybe (Score:5, Informative)

    by alshithead (981606) * on Thursday August 03, 2006 @11:57PM (#15844476)
    It's just around your price and prints like a champ...color too. I'm using it at home to print tri-folds for my wife's business and the price per hard copy isn't bad. We print several thousand tri-folds per month and only have to replace the black cartridge on a regular basis. I have it hooked to a Linksys wireless print server so we can print from anywhere in the house. We've already gotten our money out of so if it dies tomorrow I may just buy another instead of having it repaired. Can't beat HP laser printers as far as I'm concerned. The 4000 series is great for just black and white but somewhat more expensive. I've watched them at work, at work, for years.
    • If you print several thousand tri-folds, isn't it cheaper to take them to a professional printshop?
      • Re:HP 2600n maybe (Score:3, Informative)

        by Afrosheen (42464)
        I guess you haven't been to a print shop lately. They're all rapeage when it comes to card stock and anything semi-professional, which seems like what this guy is using it for.
    • Re:HP 2600n maybe (Score:4, Informative)

      by grotgrot (451123) on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:52AM (#15844983)
      The 2600n uses a proprietary protocol. The Windows drivers give very good output. The Mac drivers have worse colour rendering. The only Linux drivers are at http://foo2hp.rkkda.com/ [rkkda.com] and have poor colour rendering (as the page also states). Also read his comment about how much assistance HP provided. Somewhat uniquely the printer does ship with full cartridges and the printer is cheaper than the price of the 4 cartridges!

      There is a new 2605 that has Postscript and PCL but is out of the OP's price range. My local Costco has had it recently.
    • I just bought a Dell 3100cn color laser printer for about $320 through dell.com, and all the reviews I could find ranked it higher than this HP model.

      It is fully networkable and has PCL and PS support... it's great because now I can finally print from just about ANY operating system using LPD.

      It also comes set with toner cartridges that should be good for 4000 prints.

    • I also have a 2600N and on quality paper it makes great color prints and is pretty fast at it too. Further I used the HP Trade in program (http://www.hp.com/united-states/tradein/home_alt . html [hp.com])
      when I purchased my printer. I had an old HP Laserjet 4 (man those things are work horses) that they gave me an $80 credit on plus paid for shipping back to HP. All in all I spent about 200 - 220 on a color laser printer with networking, I'm very happy with the results.
  • by PyroMosh (287149) on Thursday August 03, 2006 @11:58PM (#15844479) Homepage
    "Good on toner" and "good graphics" are relativly subjective terms. Can you be more specific?

    As for networkable mono laser, most of the first page of this link [bestbuybusiness.com] qualifies.
  • grain of salt (Score:4, Informative)

    by Macgrrl (762836) on Friday August 04, 2006 @12:05AM (#15844503)

    I used to do this for a living, but not in the US market.

    You haven't mentioned how many pages you expect to produce per week/month/year, which makes this a little tricky.

    Ideally you need to look at the expected usable life for the device (for corporate use 5 years, personal use maybe up to 10 years), does the device require a maintenance kit, what is the device lifetime duty cycle and what is the cost/yeild of the toner cartirdge.

    Additionally, do you print a lot of postscript or PDFs, and is speed an issue?

    The cost per page calcualtion is basically: ((purchase cost of the device / lifetime pages printed)+(cost of tomer cart/yield)+(cost of maintenance kit/yield))

    Kyocera make good quality low TCO (total cost of ownership)laser printers - but I haven't found them to be especially durable in high volume applications.

    The HP 4xxx series are generally good entry level workgroup printers, reliable and well supported.

    If speed or large PDFs are a requirement, you may want to consider a memory upgrade or postscript kit. Remember that when they quote pages per minute - that is the speed per page for additional copies of the same page (engine speed) once the first instance has been processed (first page out).

    • Re:grain of salt (Score:3, Informative)

      by Macgrrl (762836)

      Addendum

      Most manufacturers publish the cartridge yields for their toner carts - you may have to ferret around to find the value. Most manufacturers quote in terms of 5% coverage of a 8" x10" page.

      Internal testing where I work has indicated that for a fairly standard basket of typical office documents, the average page coverage is closer to 7.5% of an A4 page (located in Australia), which is nearly twice the area fo the manufacturers quoted coverage - meaning the cartridges last half the number of pages.

      I

    • Way out of the price range, but I do like the Xerox printers. Very fast first-page-out times, and fast print times in general. HP's got VERY cheesy recently (but they are less expensive too.)
      • Way out of the price range, but I do like the Xerox printers.

        Avoid Xerox like the plague. Good printers, but horrible service. At $ORKPLACE-2, we had rented a $2500 per month 11x17 duplex collator/stapling copier/scanner combination monster, and it took ***SIX WEEKS*** to have someone come and "install" it properly (I had to do it myself, guessing at the settings and whatnot).

        Calling Xerox, it was **IMPOSSIBLE** to get to talk to anyone who would know how to setup the printer (it didn't work 100%). Whe

        • While I will accept this happened to you, I would suggest this was atypical.

          As a disclaimer, I work for FXA (Fuji Xerox Australia), and am aware of us routinely installing hundreds of machines on client sites without the issues you are describing.

      • I like Xerox printers too[1] - but if you read I recommended Kyocera, who are not Xerox and are quite cheap. :)

        [1] I work for Xerox, and the next printer I buy will probably be a Xerox. They do not currently make entry level laser printers - only serious workgroup printers. My current laser printer is an Apple Laserwriter 4/600 PS and is over 10 years old.

    • I know that, and still burned myself. I bought a laser printer rated at 100k sheets per month, and cost $1,999

      unfortunately, the page I wanted to print 3000 of at a time- required more memory than the printer could handle at max res, so each page was regenerated..

      so I had to wait FOREVER or add ram to the printer or reduce the complexity...
      one graphic.. reduced quality vs. a lot for more ram (I shoulda bought the 2,400$ version with a duplexer, would have doubled my ram--)
  • by caseih (160668) on Friday August 04, 2006 @12:05AM (#15844509)
    There are many laser printers under $300. Samsung makes a few fairly nice ones. But networkable, that's another story. Probably your best bet is a USB printer supported by linux and then stick CUPs on a Linksys 54GSL or whatever it's called (the wireless router with USB support).

    Although toner is very expensive, you can get a decent full-color laser for about $300-600. The HP Laserjet 2600n. See http://www.nextag.com/hp-2600n/search-html [nextag.com] . The n designation means it comes with jetdirect too. The only downside is the printer language is not PCL or PS, but there is a CUPS driver for linux available. The extra money for color may be worth the extra couple of hundred.

    As for myself, I have an old Okidata 10ex LED printer that is parallel only. I use a USB-Parallel adapter and plug it into my linux box (cups server) with the USB. The linux box shares it to windows and linux clients. I recently upgraded the RAM to 32 MB, so it should be able ot handle anything I throw at it for years to come, even if I have to wait a while for the pages to spit out. Toner is separate from the drum, so it's dirt cheap to fill. I recently bought a new drum for it for $60. This printer has been one of my best computer investments.
    • I second the Samsung option. The cheapest Samsung over in the UK is £80 (so around $150) although it's often on offer - a friend got one for £40 last year.

      For "networkable" though, just find an old 486 and hook it up as a print server. People are practically throwing them away, so check Ebay, MicroMart in the UK (I presume there's a US equivalent), or anywhere else likely to do them. If it costs more than £20 ($30) then you've been ripped off.

      Graham.
      • Old PCs (Score:3, Interesting)

        by coyote-san (38515)
        You need to think carefully before using an 'old' old computer, three years old or older.

        -- can you connect to it? Really old systems won't have USB and may not even have PCI for a network card. You can work around this, but is it worth the effort?

        -- full PCs consume a lot of power compared to a networked printer or a non-network printer and a liberated Linksys router or NSLU2. I could easily believe that half of my power bill comes from idle and even "powered off" electronics, and my place looks like th
    • One could just pay $50 for a Network printer adpater. Linksys and Dlink makes them where they hook up either to a usb or Parallel interface, and are either wireless or 10/100 rj45 jacks. Just do a search on print server.
  • I don't have a specific printer recommendation, but if there's one you've found whose only downside is a lack of a network interface, couldn't you just share the printer from a computer?
  • HP Laserjet 1022n (Score:2, Informative)

    by Pathway (2111)
    You have lots of options, but I must put my vote in for the HP Laserjet 1022n.

    All the B&W laser printers in this price range have about the same features. Resolutions, price, peformance... they are all about equal.

    But the HP works with everything... Except I must warn you it doesn't work with Mac OS 9 or earlier.

    Check out your options... If you're like me, you'll find that a good brand name and support are worth a lot.

    --Pathway
  • by mattkime (8466) on Friday August 04, 2006 @12:13AM (#15844541)
    I'm really not sure what your graphics requirements are on a laser printer as its their weak point. However, there are older laser printers that do a wonderful job and cost nearly nothing - to buy and operate. The HP 5 line is particularly known for being a solid and reliable piece of equipment. Further, they're easy to maintain and buy parts for. Apple's LaserWriter line is based on 3rd party engines that are frequently very reliable and easy to service. Find one locally so you don't have to pay ridiculous shipping fees. Many people get rid of these older machines "upgrading" to a newer, more expensive and less reliable model.
    • Yup - my LaserJet 5L laster for over 9 years before I finally replaced it "just because". I put a bit sign on it that said "works great" when I put it in the Salvation Army pile...

      "Just because" it was 4ppm and I picked up a 20ppm Konica for $50 on the new year's sales.

      My HP 5L was working fine - I had replaced the pinch rollers once (they were multi-grabbing), and had to re-solder the AC socket to the circuit board once (too much wear and tear on the socket - no On/Off switch). But 9 years on one print

  • Konica Minolta (Score:3, Interesting)

    by metamatic (202216) on Friday August 04, 2006 @12:13AM (#15844545) Homepage Journal
    Spend an extra $100 or so and get a Minolta 2430DL. Networkable with Bonjour/Zeroconf support, photo quality color (i.e. output like a glossy magazine), drivers for Linux, toner is affordable. I love ours.
  • by WidescreenFreak (830043) on Friday August 04, 2006 @12:14AM (#15844551) Homepage Journal
    My recommendation: find someplace that sells (and services) used printers. There is no need to go with a new printer unless you really want to or are lulled into a false sense of security because of having a sealed box.

    I have a friend who deals in government surplus and he can just about repair laser printers with his eyes closed. I got a used LaserJet 5 with duplex unit and additional paper tray from him, and it's never given me a problem even though I've printed thousands upon thousands of pages on it. The LaserJet 5 printers are the pre-Carly printers, when HP actually made quality products. The damn things can take just about any beating you can throw at it.

    That and my HP DeskJet 970cxi are on my home network via a Microplex print server (LPR/LPD-based) that can support two parallel and two serial printers. By installing the LPR software that comes with Windows XP (but has to be installed manually) and the drivers from HP's site (because the built-in Windows drivers lack a lot of good features), I have all of the PCs in my house printing to both of these printers. Because the server unit is LPR/LPD based (and uses a lot of UNIX sommands like lpstat), I can print to it from my Sun workstations if I install a PostScript cartridge in my LaserJet, and SimplyMEPIS Linux prints to both of them without any problems.

    The only thing that I question is your requirement that it prints "decent graphics". Anything with 600dpi or above can print decent graphics. But since I can't determine what you mean by that or why you have such a requirement, I can't say for certain that something like an LJ5 would be good. Just don't go lower. The LJ4 was good, but everything below was 300dpi. MAJOR difference in graphics quality!

    If you want to buy a new printer because of a warranty, that's fine, but I have to recommend that you find a good-condition HP from the days when HP stood for "quality printers", unlike today where it seems to stand for "ink and toner supplier". Linksys and other companies sell network server boxes, too. Hell, even an old PC can do that if you want. You don't have to have a network-ready printer in order to print on a network.
    • I agree, buy used. A while back I spent about $75 for a used HP Laserjet 4+ with a 10mbps ethernet adaptor in it and it even came with a toner cartridge. So far, a few thousand trouble free pages out of it, and I haven't even had to replace the already used toner cartridge I got with it (though it has be getting low by now). A Laserjet 5 series will probably run you about $150 or more, but is still a good deal if it can do what you want it to do.

      A good place to look is someplace that deals with retired o
  • I tell everyone I know to check out techbargains.com [techbargains.com]. A quick search there revealed:

    Samsung Black-and-White Laser Printer [bestbuy.com] for $60, not a bad deal, but I don't have any experience with Samsung laser printers, so who knows how good it is.

    Here's another [techbargains.com] by Konica.
    • I have two Samsung ML-1740s, and am thrilled with both of them. Cheap (one was $120 new, the other $100 when I purchased it later), advertises Linux support on the box and it actually does work like a charm. I eventually put one on my fileserver box, which makes a network printer, but my dad's is attached to his network via a $35 DLink network print server. Again, works like a charm. Not terribly fast, but it is cheap, reliable, very low power when idled, and does a nice job printing.
      • I picked up the Samsung ML-1740 600dpi(it's the newer model now, 1200dpi) last summer for around $35 after rebate(s) and a netgear printserver for around $5 after rebate(s). The nice thing about the 1740 is the USB and parallel interface(cables not included). If you're willing to wait a couple weeks you'll probably be able to find one for under 80 or even 50 after rebates, just send them return receipt req so 'they' can't deny receiving it. try dealsea.com
  • by rnelsonee (98732) on Friday August 04, 2006 @12:22AM (#15844586)
    I just picked up a Samsunb ML-2010 for $60 at Best Buy. It's mono (like you, I also have a color inkjet I can use if I need color), but c'mon, $60! And no rebate forms to fill out - the price is $60 at the register. It's light on features, but it does have a toner saver option, so an $80 toner cartridge gets you 5,000 pages. The toner that comes with it is rated for 1,000 pages with the 40% "Toner Saver" option turned off.
    • With your pages/toner and ebay's prices($30 printer; $10 toner; 5000 pages/toner;), it looks like $100 buys you about 40,000 pages. I just looked up the same for a cheap inkjet (slower, but color capable) and it was about 43,000. ($20 printer; $10/12 cartridges; 450 pages/cartridge;).
    • I've also got a Samsung laser printer. It's a few years old (Model ML-1710 I think). Not only is it an excellent printer, but the starter toner cartridge that came with the printer has a small, easy to remove plug on it to refill it. I bought a $15 toner refill kit at Sam's Club, and was able to fill it up. So far, it has lasted a few years with moderate usage, and the toner is still pretty full. I wouldn't hesitate to buy another Samsung printer based on my experience.

      You can get a similar model for aro
    • We bought a Samsung ML-1210 2-3 years ago for home use and have been really happy with it. It works great with both Windows and Linux (using CUPS & foomatic). I'd definitely buy a Samsung printer again.
    • DO NOT buy samsung printers. Every high volume (1 cartridge per month or more) samsung ML series printer i have used has developed weird problems after a year or so. Little plastic and metal bits which are aparently essential to their operation fall off randomly. I have had to crazy glue so many little parts back on these printers.. Not to mention that even a small model number change nessecitates a different type of cartridge (ML-1410 takes a different cart than ML 1510 when they could have easily made the
  • I reviewed [mooo.com] the hp LaserJet 1320 on my web site. In short, it's cheap (maybe not under $300, but definitely under $400, and often discounted on Newegg [newegg.com]), has awesome text quality and very good graphics quality, prints relatively quickly, duplexes (an uncommon feature in such a cheap printer!), and conserves toner (I haven't replaced the cartridge yet, in several years of use.

  • Beats Me (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sunset (182117) on Friday August 04, 2006 @12:52AM (#15844675) Homepage
    I haven't shopped for a laser printer in 14 years because my LaserJet IIIP refuses to die. And yes, I use it every day.
  • Colour laser (Score:3, Informative)

    by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Friday August 04, 2006 @01:09AM (#15844727) Homepage
    If you don't need a colour laser printer, don't get one. The black toner for colour laser printers (or at least for the ones I've seen) is terrible for text, because it's made to be just as glossy as the colour toners. The output is actually quite hard to read under ordinary lighting conditions.
  • Should come in at about $300. The HP4000 is, without a doubt the best departmental laserprinter ever built. They run and run and run, recharged toner cartridges are cheap and they can be overhauled by the user. Memory is also cheap. We have 250k plus on one of ours and it's still working like a champ.
  • by holviala (124278) on Friday August 04, 2006 @01:55AM (#15844866)
    I bought an used HP LaserJet 4000 + ethernet module for EUR 120 a few years ago and it is the best printer I've ever used (much better and faster than the ones @ work). It prints the first paper in about 5 seconds (including warm-up), cardridge lasts forever in home use (years), supports PostScript for easy netcat printing (cups? bah!) and the feeder easily eats a whole pack of copier paper.

    Why buy a new sucky one when you can get an slightly used office printer for less?

    Search Ebay for 4000TN for prices.
  • Used Optra S (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hirschma (187820) on Friday August 04, 2006 @02:06AM (#15844889)
    I had a weirdo project where I needed to print 50,000 pages _quickly_. Hit eBay, and found a used Optra S 1855, plus duplexer, extra paper trays, network adapter _and_ toner for something like $300 plus shipping. Postscript, PCL, 1200dpi - it pretty much does it all. No issues printing from Linux. It even took memory that I had sitting in my junk drawer, helped speed things up a bit.

    I printed the 50k pages using the crappiest, cheapest Staples brand paper around. It jammed just twice. Oh, and predates Lexmark's evil chipped carts. It thrives on cheapo refills (each of which has gotten like 20k pages). And duplexing is excellent, highly recommend it.

    jh
  • I use an ugly HP LJ 1200N for my home office. The "N" indicates two things for this model: an external, ugly HP Jetdirect USB print server powered from an external power supply, and 16 MBytes RAM instead of 8 MBytes. I found that upgrading the RAM to 32 MBytes (ripped out of a dead LJ 8500) makes it a little bit more responsive. A refurbished 1200N would fit into your budget, at about $300 according to cnet. A new toner cartridge costs about $65 for 2500 pages, $80 for 3500 pages if you buy from HP, $40 or
  • Second hand (Score:2, Informative)

    by htnprm (176191)
    I would highly recommend considering a second hand printer. By that I mean something like a printer that is ex-lease, and may have only been running for a few years. In New Zealand I'd source something like this from TradeMe [trademe.co.nz]. I guess in the US you might look somewhere like eBay [ebay.com].

    Remember. Reduce - Reuse - Recycle.
  • I recently replaced my crappy HP Laserjet 1000 with a Samsung ML-2251N and I've been very pleased with it. It's got an ethernet port, web configuration interface, Bonjour support and the output quality and speed are high. It seems to cost around $200 now.
  • Print Tracking (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mendy (468439) on Friday August 04, 2006 @04:02AM (#15845127)
    One which wasn't on http://www.eff.org/Privacy/printers/list.php [eff.org] would be my choice...
    • You know what? You just prevented the sale of a $450 laser printer. I was seriously considering a new HP, but with that crap, no way.

      I'm not even a 'privacy fanatic.' But some things just plain go too far. Especially if they don't tell you up front about them.
    • Note to self: when shopping for a color laser, buy Oki or Samsung -- they were the only two brands with no tracking printers.

  • We have about 20+ Oki printers in the B4000 range (and it's predecessor, the 14ex). I usually pay about £131 for a B4250 [dabs.com] from Dabs.com [dabs.com] in the UK. This unit isn't networkable itself, but they also sell an own-brand print server [dabs.com] that plugs straight into the parallel port for another £23. So that's about £155, or $290, for a networked printer with low running costs - the toner cartridges [dabs.com] are also cheap, at £21, the only ongoing expense is a drum [dabs.com] every 150,000 pages, at about £119.

  • Two, actually. One used. Linux CUPS driver -- basically seems to be a "4" anyway. Running linux, it has been punished with many manuals of several hundred pages (manually) double-sided.

    $39.95 print server at Microcenter. At least one recharge from every cartridge -- works well, takes about 5 minutes like they advertise, and reduces the per-page cost of these smaller "toaster" printers.
  • Does it have to be new? Are you near an ebay vendor selling one that will let you pick one up?

    The HP 5si(MX) is a mule of a printer. It will churn out pages for ever, it can have a duplexor, envelope feeder, 4000page base, jetdirect (10bt), prints up to 11x17 (well, 11.7x17.7 technically), and is fast (24ppm). The memory it uses costs about $5/stick (old 72 pin SIMMs, I think). You can get a non-OEM cartridge for about $60, and refill toner for about $15 (precisionroller.com) for 15,000 pages. eBay prices
  • You can have your printer Good, Fast or Cheap.
    Pick 2

    But seriously I've personally fallen in love with our offices new Dell 3100cn its print cartriges are cheap (45 bucks for 4000 pages of black (the drum is a seperate unit))

    They seem to have replaced it with the 3010cn which looks the same but I can't personally vouch for it, its on sale for 299 right now though.
  • by amper (33785) * on Friday August 04, 2006 @10:47AM (#15846410) Journal
    You should be looking at older, used, well-made laser printers. I've been fairly content with a succession of Apple LaserWriter II's and 16/600PS's, both of which use the same Canon engines that were used in the same-era hp printers (LJ3=LWII, LJ4=Apple LWPro 630 & 16/600PS). I think the 16/600PS is a fantastic printer, because it has Real PostScript, Ethernet (though this requires an AAUI adapter), a parallel port, a serial port, a SCSI port and supports AppleTalk and LPR (though this requires that you load the "UNIX printing" software for Windows (or whatever MS calls it, I forget) for it to work properly with Windows machines. Plus, those older engines were built like tanks the LaserWriter II engine (only 300 dpi) is rated for 250,000 pages before major service is required.

    Also look for HP LJ4's and LJ5's, especially if you can manage it, an HP LJ5SiMx or Nx series (though these are probably still out of your price range, they are a good investment).

    All of these printers have easily available parts and will probably last longer than anything you could buy new for even two or three times the price.
  • by cr0sh (43134) on Saturday August 05, 2006 @06:52PM (#15853614) Homepage
    Specifically, buy a 5p or a 6p. If you need postscript (say you use Linux), you will need the PS SIMM. I believe the model numbers for the ones that shipped with the SIMM was the 5mp or 6mp. There are also multiple feed tray version (mv series?). I have also heard the Laserjet 2100 series is nice. Look for a low pagecount (under 50,000 if you can swing it - but these printers are workhorses, they will last for a long time).


    I picked up my 6p used for $100.00. I added a refilled toner cartridge for another $70.00. That was about 3 years ago and I still haven't run out of toner. I later added extra RAM and the Postscript SIMMs. Not too long back I picked up a 5mp (with RAM and PS SIMM!) at Goodwill for $15.00! It works perfectly, and had a good toner cartridge and even a bit of paper loaded. Not bad for a Goodwill find.

    You can find these printers surplus on Ebay. As I have noted, I have also found them at Goodwill. There are many resources on the Net detailing how to refurbish/repair these beasts if needed. Add on a networkable print buffer (I have found these surplus for $5.00 before), and you are set. You will never need another printer again (as long as you are doing black and white) - these things run seemingly forever. Best of all, you will spend well under $300.00 - if you do it right, you might spend under $100.00.

    Believe me, it is worth it. If you are frustrated with your ink jet printer for any reason - take this route, and buy an older used Laserjet...

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