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A Buyer's Guide to Inkjet Printers 399

An anonymous reader writes " has posted a good writeup on how to select an inkjet printer without falling prey to many of the common marketing gimmicks."
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A Buyer's Guide to Inkjet Printers

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  • Gimmicks? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nuclear Elephant ( 700938 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:46AM (#13268882) Homepage
    how to select an inkjet printer without falling prey to many of the common marketing gimmick

    The first of which is that you should buy an inkjet printer in the first place.
    • Re:Gimmicks? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ryanov ( 193048 )
      What are you going to buy for a color printer if not an inkjet? I can't afford to blow that much on a color laser.
      • Manuals (Score:2, Informative)

        by cuzality ( 696718 ) [] has downloadable technician manuals for just about every printer out there. If you ever have any trouble with your inkjet (ya think?), their manuals will be indispensable.

        Found it on [] a while back.
      • Re:Gimmicks? (Score:4, Informative)

        by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @11:55AM (#13270060)
        I can't afford to blow that much on a color laser.

        Color lasers can now be had for under $300. [] That's the cost of a decent color inkjet plus two or three sets of ink refills. Are you sure you can't afford that?

        • Re:Gimmicks? (Score:3, Informative)

          by dgatwood ( 11270 )
          If you've ever printed photos on a $300 color laser, though, you'll understand why people buy inkjets. Some color lasers can compare in color quality, but the cheap ones don't come close to the quality of an equivalently-priced photo printer.

          That said, if you are trying to print text and spot color graphics, the reverse is true. The best inkjets are no match for a laser in terms of print cost, and the difference in quality for high-saturation graphics is negligible.

          • Re:Gimmicks? (Score:4, Informative)

            by nelsonal ( 549144 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @01:07PM (#13270844) Journal
            I agree, but don't think it is worth trying to compete with professional equipment down at the photo lab. If it cost $0.15 or more per print at home and $0.11 at Costco, I'll keep my black laser printer and let someone else own the good hardware. Personally, if I wanted nice color, I'd get one of those wax based plotters.
    • Troll? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:54AM (#13268945) Journal
      I don't know what the moderator who marked this as a troll was thinking. Inkjets are a marketing gimmick (even if they weren't always). They have a significantly higher TCO than an equivalent laser printer, offset by the fact that they have a much lower capital investment cost.

      People are conned into thinking that they are cheap because the initial outlay is low, and then they realise later that they will keep paying for it. Maybe for very low volume printing they are good (except that if you use them infrequently the ink in the heads dries up and you have to replace both the print-head and the ink), but for everything else they are a very expensive way of transferring data to paper.

      • I print out about 50 pages/yr.
        I want colour.
        I want a printer at home.
        At $1/page, it's still cheaper to buy an inkjet then a laser printer.
      • Re:Troll? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by FreeBSDbigot ( 162899 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @10:11AM (#13269052)
        I agree except for one application -- have you ever tried printing photos on an affordable laser printer? It's not pretty. Yes, inkjet consumables are expensive compared to laser printers, but laser printers just don't produce decent photographs.
        • Yeah, but unless you really have a habit of printing mucho pictures of your favourite furry wombat, what you get in local printshops is far better than anything a relativly cheap printer will give you.
        • prints better than any inkjet I've experienced, including the $800 Canon at work. And at 15 cents a pop, it's far cheaper. (A recent PC Magazine article placed the cheapest decent photo printer at 25 cents for a 4x6 print.)
        • The reason I got a digital camera in the first place is that I have no interest in having pictures on paper.
        • Re:Troll? (Score:3, Interesting)

          Actually, if you do a lot of printing, you can get a continuous flow system for some ink jet printers. I used one when I was doing alot of printing. Took price per page (11X17 page, not 8.5X11) from 30 cents per page to 1.9 cents per page, AND you can still print high quality photos as well []
      • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot.keirstead@org> on Monday August 08, 2005 @10:12AM (#13269061) Homepage
        The question is, are you someone who prints off a page from Google Maps once/twice a month, and an occasional photo, or are you someone who prints off huge online novels to read later?

        Sure, cost-per-page is much lower for a laser - *over the long haul*. Personally, I print less than 100 pages per year. I am lucky if I even go through one color ink cartridge before the ink inside just dries out from non-use.

        I don't print enough that I would *ever* be able to recover the much higher initial investment of a laser printer. By the time my cost per page savings would recover the $350 more it would cost me (in say, 10 years), the printer would liekly not even work with the computer anymore.

        My all-in-one HP inkjet / scanner / copiter cost only $69 CDN, and has HP supported Linux drivers. I have been using it now for 8 months, and the cartridges are both still 75% full. I am extremely satisfied with my purchase and doubt I would have had any better luck with another printer (although I wish I had splurged and gotten the one with the built in memory card reader, that would be handy).

        • A few laser printers are now $100. Dell claims it introduced the "first" such printer, but now Samsung and HP have $100 lasers. Yes they come with starter cartridges, but a $70 cartridge will last you a very long time.

          My Samsung ML-1710 cost me something like $150 and I've bought one $80 cartridge for it in the past 2+ years. I never have to worry about ink drying out or chips claiming to have expired.
          • Color? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by brunes69 ( 86786 )
            Correct me if I am wrong, but none of these are color lasers. Even the cheapest color laser will run you at least $400 AFAIK.

            Even the infrequent printer like me likes to be able to print off a color picture once in awhile. And a color map is much easier to follow than a B+W one.

      • You're right about how they used to be more than a marketing gimmick. I still have an HP inkjet from 1997 (722 model) and I will keep it until it dies. It cost over $300 at the time, which says something about how they used to be built. No modern inkjet at any price is as good as this one, and it's print quality is still pretty decent. For the extremely low volume that I print, it would be hard to justify a laser.
      • As others already stated if the useage is low enough it makes sense, also a photo color quality laser is enourmously expensive.

        Another additional benefit is those combo fax/scanner deals. If you scan in and fax out a lot it doesn't cost you any ink, and you got it at a discount from the laser version.
      • Re:Troll? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by tgibbs ( 83782 )
        I don't know what the moderator who marked this as a troll was thinking. Inkjets are a marketing gimmick (even if they weren't always). They have a significantly higher TCO than an equivalent laser printer, offset by the fact that they have a much lower capital investment cost.

        However, for color printing, color laser printers simply do not approach the quality of an inkjet on high-quality paper. Indeed, I can barely distinguish the output of a modern $100-200 ink jet from our $9500 Kodak dye-sub.

        By compari
    • Re:Gimmicks? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nuclear Elephant ( 700938 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:56AM (#13268962) Homepage
      Sorry, that wasn't meant as a troll. But it is beyond me why we're still using technology that's just a slight spin on the old dot matrix printers. Especially in light of newer and still somewhat inexpensive technologies such as color laser ($400) and Dye Sublimation ($250). Especially considering most people use a color inkjet for photos, which Dye Sub is far superior to. It clicks in my head at least that the only reason anyone's using inkjet today is because of the propaganda from manufacturers who make more money on the ink than the printer.
      • Re:Gimmicks? (Score:3, Informative)

        by Kaa ( 21510 )
        Especially considering most people use a color inkjet for photos, which Dye Sub is far superior to.

        Ahem. 99% of people who are serious about photography and want to (digitally) print at home use inkjets. The do not use dye-sub printers. Think there's a reason for this?

        And no, they are not clueless. There are huge discussions on 'net forums about the minute technical advantages of this printer vs that, the comparative advantages of ink sets, etc. etc. There is no real discussion of whether dye-subs are a via
  • by jeremymiles ( 725644 ) * on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:46AM (#13268886) Homepage Journal
    The final word, from TFA: "Once you gone through the list of this buying guide, make sure you do general research by reading individual reviews and evaluations before making the final choice."

    And so the point of actually reading this guide was ... ?

    • Ad revenue son!
      • exactly is this flamebait? It is at best informative, but I was going for funny a bit there. Ye mods! It is indeed a fact that the point of having any sort of article is, ad revenue. Sorry. That's how the real world works. Notice how I didn't say that it was a bad thing or anything inflamatory. Is it flamebait because I called him son? Well, look at his freaking UID. Its not exactly my fault I have nearly half the UID he has. :)

        Isn't there anything better you guys could have done with the mod point
  • by grasshoppa ( 657393 ) <skennedy@AAAtpno ... inus threevowels> on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:49AM (#13268905) Homepage
    You shouldn't. Not unless you want to print your photos out, but even then it's probably cheaper to sign up with some place online.

    Inkjet printers are a scam, played on a public that doesn't know any better.
    • by dsginter ( 104154 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:54AM (#13268953)
      Inkjet printers are a scam, played on a public that doesn't know any better.

      They're doing it with laser printers, [] too. $25 for a USB cable and $65 for toner.

      The people responsible for this greed will pay one day.
      • The people responsible for this greed will pay one day.

        And this, children, is the /. post that on that historic 8th of August has sparked the New American Revolution.
      • Inkjet printers are a scam, played on a public that doesn't know any better.

        They're doing it with laser printers, too. $25 for a USB cable and $65 for toner.

        The people responsible for this greed will pay one day.

        It isn't greed but simple economics. Manufacturers have cut prices to the point where printers are low margin products. This happens because consumers buy the printer based on it's price, not its total cost of ownership or cost per printed page.

        Since manufacturers can't seem to sell expensive pr

      • Recently, I needed a USB cable. I was aghast to discover pricing of $25 to $40 for a simple cable!!!! UG. Best Buy, Circuit City, even Sears had these prices. I know from my cable-making days (Good 'old RS-232 hand-soldered connections!) this was wrong.

        Turned out [] had the cheapest ones, at about $3 each. [] did that for me. Don't get fooled.

        Best as I can figure, the chain stores know you need a cable and can gouge you because usually you need it right now, and lots o
    • Hardly, I got my hands on one of these really cheap HP inkjets, it was around £29 about 2 years ago - it is great for printing that pdf that I can't be bothered reading on the monitor. Simetimes you just like a hard copy and this cheap thing gives me it.

      New cartridges I hear you say? £4 for one of these refill kits that go on for years, sure the quality is not as good as the genuine ones, but I am reading this once and throwing it in the recycle bin. I am still on kit no 1 and going strong. A
    • And if indeed you do want to buy a inkjet printer for photo printing.

      Plase do buy one with atleast seperate cartridges.minimum 4 CYM-Bk or if possible 7 CYM-RGB-Bk. Although they cost more, in the long run it will save you a lot on ink.

      And DON'T buy Lexmark. ever

      • And DON'T buy Lexmark. ever

        I don't have a lot of injet experience from Lexmark (brother-in-law has one that didn't work well but don't know of any other friends/family with inkjets from Lexmark), but the Lexmark laser printers seem to need pretty regular repair visits in my building. The HP laser printers seem to run pretty well and for home, I'm fairly happy with my Epson Stylus for the occasional prints. The Epson Stylus C86 [] I have uses the four cartridges (CMYK) and for the few prints, the convenien
        • I do repair work for Bantek (they farm out service work in various regions. We do the work for USBank through Bantek, if that makes any sense.).

          All the calls we are sent to for lexmarks have needed pars (from pickup rollers to print heads -- especially the front display. Those things go bad if you LOOK at them wrong.). The *one* call I received for a HP was user error. They had the second tray set for legal paper but had letter in it. They simply had no idea that they needed to adjust anything despite

    • Inkjet printers are a scam, played on a public that doesn't know any better.

      See, that's not always true. First, like you say, inkjets are much better for photos unless you drop $1000, and many people aren't willing to wait days for prints from an online place. Second, not all companies go for the expensive, tiny, DRM'd cartridges like Lexmark does. Third, many low-end lasers are complete pieces of crap. Fourth, many people want the convenience of a printer but won't ever print enough to make back the in

  • Ink (Score:3, Insightful)

    by QMO ( 836285 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:49AM (#13268915) Homepage Journal
    I can't get the article, but from experience I know:

    Find a supplier of ink before you buy the printer.
    (Ink that works and is cheap.)
  • ink... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rwven ( 663186 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:50AM (#13268920)
    The biggest curse with inkjet/bubblejet printers is that when you want one, they all but give the thing to you, but then charge you 50+ for an ink refill which will run out within a few hundred pages (or less). The companies really pretty much stay in business based on the ink sales.

    Buying a "cheap" laser printer is actually much more cost effective. You save a lot more in the long run if you don't mind printing only in B&W. 5000+ pages per toner at about $100 for the toner is a much better deal than $50 for the ink which will likely last you only around 100 pages give or take.
    • You can usually get toner cheaper than that if you shop around. There are a lot of places that recycle the toner cartridge (and they often give you a rebate if you send in the old one). I paid about the same amount for my last toner as I did for a black cartridge for my cannon inkjet. The inkjet cartridge only lasted about a month, the toner is still going over a year after I bought it, and get used more.

      Even colour lasers are relatively cheap on eBay - as long as you factor the cost over a year or two

    • Re:ink... (Score:5, Informative)

      by SimilarityEngine ( 892055 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @10:04AM (#13269006)
      Tell me about it. I work for a printer manufacturing company, and we make virtually nothing on the printers themselves. There is an enormous profit margin on the ink, on the other hand - without it we'd be nowhere. Hence, my company goes to a fair amount of trouble to make sure that third-party stuff won't work properly with our printers (i.e if it works at all you get faded colours).
  • How to select an inkjet printer where the cartridges are not more expensive then the printer itself!
  • CoolTechZone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Matthew Weigel ( 888 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:51AM (#13268932) Homepage Journal

    This is the site that last week, had an op-ed up arguing that "loving" Microsoft is OK, and Linux is just the product of some nefarious cabal of hypesters and PR men. Yeah, uh, I don't see me caring about this review of inkjet printers either. One of the things that matters to me is whether I can print to it in Linux, which I kind of doubt they'll be able to handle.

    • Seconded.

      CoolTechZone didn't impress me in the slightest with its earlier misconception-heavy informed-opinion-light gibberish. In fact, it annoyed me so much I ended up responding point-for point [] to the article. Summary: most of it was uninformed ranty BS, with about one piece of valid criticism in the whole thing.

      This "printers" piece was even written by the same underinformed fanboy as the last "Linux 5uXx anD M$ i5 t3h r0xxoRZ!!!" crap.

      I haven't RTFA yet, but my advice would be to take with a metric t
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Buy a used or re-conditioned HP Laserjet 4* or 5.

    Work it like a rented mule and pass it on to your grandkids.
  • slashdotted (Score:5, Funny)

    by dtfinch ( 661405 ) * on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:57AM (#13268972) Journal
    Somehow, cooltechzone managed to stay up throughout the "Is it wrong to love Microsoft?" article, but they can't handle the traffic generated by their inkjet printer buyer's guide. Maybe people are RTFA this time.
  • by El Cubano ( 631386 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:58AM (#13268981)

    how to select an inkjet printer without falling prey to many of the common marketing gimmicks.

    Buy a color laser printer. Here is why:

    Many prints for low cost (mine was ~US$400 and has 7k page black toner and 5k page color toner for each of C, Y, and M).

    If all you want is a printer (i.e., not multi-function do everything device). Laser is the best way to go. I bought my Samsung CLP-550N from NewEgg (I am not affiliated with either Samsung or NewEgg) and have been exceptionally happy. There were cheaper versions, but here is why I got the one I did:

    • Samsung has a real Linux installer and Linux support for pretty much all of their printers (though, in my case I did not use it, see below).
    • The 550N came with a built in ethernet card
    • It speaks PS level 3 (this is why I did not need their installer, as it speeks native PS).
    • It has a builtin duplexer
    • the CPU is 266 MHz and it has 128 MB of RAM
    • It is exceptionally quiet
    • Setting it up with CUPS took about 15 seconds. Much easier that when my father visited and needed to print something from Windows (Windows wanted the install CD for drivers, which he had not brought with him, so we had to hunt down drivers on the net).

    Seriously, just the built in duplexer and laser alone would be a deal at US$400. The builtin ethernet and extra CPU and RAM were basically a bonus. Not only that, but the quality is better than that of other inkjets I have seen.

    THe only down side: you need to purchase special laser quality photopaper. Inkjet photo paper can melt when it hits the the 180 degrees C drum (or so I am told).

    • However, most people aren't that good at math. They assume that $50 is always << $400, and cannot justify spending the extra $350 for a printer that 1) works 2) doesn't need a chronic watering of expensive ink 3) the toner does not dry up. I can't justify spending any money for printing something at home, I'll print at work if necessary the 1 to 2 times a year I need something on paper.

      If I would do digital photography, I would send/take the pictures to a professional on a CD. I already have the in
    • * Samsung has a real Linux installer and Linux support for pretty much all of their printers (though, in my case I did not use it, see below).
      Most people don't use Linux and don't care.

      * The 550N came with a built in ethernet card
      Most people use USB and don't care.

      * It speaks PS level 3 (this is why I did not need their installer, as it speeks native PS).
      Most people don't know what that is and don't care. They just click print and don't care how it gets from the screen to the paper. That

      • You have to install the Windows drivers to use it from Windows? Well that sucks.

        I agree. Why on earth do you have to monkey around with some driver cd for a PostScript printer?

        Oh, were you being factious? Do you think modem drivers are a good idea, too?

      • I think you're very wrong on the duplexer front. The one thing my dad loves about his HP inkjet is the duplexer, as it avoids wasting paper and gives you a much smaller volume of paperwork to file (as he trusts paper for archiving).
    • by discontinuity ( 792010 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @10:28AM (#13269156)

      Buy a color laser printer.

      But this isn't ideal for everyone (although I grant you it's probably an adequate solution for many people). My GF is a graphics designer who specializes in print media. We compared many printers about a year or so ago and the inkjets blew away color lasers w.r.t. color accuracy. My mother won't notice if the laser printer makes the sky in her picture a few Pantone shades off from ideal, but stuff like that does matter to someone proofing a brochure before sending it off to the print shop.

      Basically, I find anyone who is serious about their color tends to prefer inkjets despite the obvious fact that they have turned into a marketing scam.

    • I'd be concerned about speed. I used a similar printer to this at school, and it would take almost a full 5 minutes before it started to print. I'm not about to place blame squarely on the printer (our network sucks), but I've never seen a printer with that type of performance.

      Also, I've noticed that there are a lot of color lasers that look [] identical [] to this one. Chances are it's an OEM equivalent of some tiwanese model....
    • Buy a color laser printer.

      I agree for 95% of my print jobs a color laser is best. But I also own an Epson Stylus 3000, and it rocks for some types of color printing - it takes a 22"x17" sheet of paper and prints in stunning resolution. There are a lot of aftermarket suppiles for it too. The ink carts are huge too - the size of a deck of cards. I got it for a good price too at one of the overstock web outlets.

    • LAst time I tried to print a photo on a colour laser printer, the results were... less than satisfactory.

      Now, yeah, this was about 4 years ago and I didn't really have a lot of time to experiment. Are colour lasers good at printing photos now?

      To this day, I still /love/ laser printers. I'm still amazed by how GOOD printoutsfrom them look. I'd /love/ to know that colour lasers are good photo printers!

      (I have a high-quality inkjet for photos, and a Laserjet 4si for B&W text. I love that thing, 200lbs of p
  • by Cutie Pi ( 588366 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @09:59AM (#13268986)
    There are now many ink jet printers on the market that cost $49, which is cheaper than the ink replacement cost.

    One way to stick it the manufacturers would be to throw away the printer after it runs out of ink, and buy a new one. This would wreck their business model, since they typically sell the printers at a loss.

    I bet if enough people started doing this, the manufacturers would relent on ink cartridge prices.
    • by intermediate_represe ( 715812 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @10:08AM (#13269037)
      I bet if enough people started doing this, the manufacturers would relent on ink cartridge prices.

      They already know about this. The printers available these days have very little ink in them. It's called a demo ink cartridge.
    • I bet if enough people started doing this, the manufacturers would relent on ink cartridge prices.

      I've never bought one of the newer disposable inkjets, but I've heard that they only come with a drop of ink to begin with. If people start doing this, they will either put less ink in the printer, or none at all.
  • by Kevin DeGraaf ( 220791 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @10:00AM (#13268990) Homepage
    For me, a major inkjet selection criterion is a printer's ability to be adapted to use continuous inking (without major hacking/drilling/etc.). Screw the printer manufacturers and their stupid ink-based business model.

    Linky linky: [] ink-system-review.html [] []
    • Mod parent up!

      I have been using an Epson 1520 for about 5 years now. Very good at printing photos, and being a 4-color unit (not 7 or 15 color), it is cheap to get ink, and continuous ink supplies are available REALLY cheaply.

      With people complaining about inkjets, you have to realize that this is the cheapest possible printing technique. Unfortunately, most manufacturers don't pay attention to what people want in a printer, and make their products to sell units -- not to last, or work great, etc.

  • by Ancient_Hacker ( 751168 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @10:03AM (#13269000)
    • IJPs is an anagram for "jips"!
    • If you're like me and only want to print out "The Onion", in color, once a week: by the time the next week rolls around, the inkjet heads have clogged. You waste a sheet or two of expensive paper in finding this out again for the galumpty-umph time.
    • If you use the "control panel" to clean the heads you have to put up with 5 minutes of Grandpa-getting-out-of-a-Miata-type groaning coming from the printer. And it wastes a whole boatload of ink in the process.
    • If you instead take the printhead to the sink and give it a Sitz bath, you get your fingertips all colored in the process, as you forgot how indelible the ink is.
    • Some of the HP IJPs require a 59MB download to install one 37k driver. And 39MB of slow, clunky, and unreliable "Print management" admin software doodads. Which do not want to uninstall themselves.
    • The HP installer hasnt heard of virtual LPT ports-- it bombs out if you don't have a real, live, 378h hardware LPT port, even if you wanted to use a USB virtual port.
    • Don't buy even slightly past their expiration data ink cartridges-- I thought I was a real winner buying a bunch of HP ones for $1 each cause they were a bit expired. The red ink had magically turned into dark brown, like overnight. Not good if you're printing skin, er, I mean job-related bar-graphs.
    • Don't buy one of those refilling kits, just don't.
    Instead scarf up some lightly used color laser printer at some local auction. You won't regret it. Oh wait, you will if it needs a new photoconductor belt, $350.

    Do Not ask me how I learned these things.

  • A couple years back I bought an HP all in one deal for about $300.00 and paid an additional $50.00 for the extended warranty through CompUSA.

    Well, after about a year and a half, it starts messing up.
    So I have it run down to the store and they give me a brand new one for free and sold me Yet Another Extended Warranty for $50.00.

    So for an inital deposit of $350.00 and $50.00 installments every year or so, you get a free laser printer replacement.

    Not bad if you ask me.
  • by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <`sd_resp2' `at' `'> on Monday August 08, 2005 @10:05AM (#13269013)
    If it isn't rated for industrial use, don't buy it.

    If it's rated for industrial use, but it either doesn't have Linux drivers, or the Linux drivers aren't under an OSI-approved licence, don't buy it -- even if you don't want to use it with Linux today.

    If the Linux drivers for your industrially-rated printer were written by a third party, it might be worth buying -- after all, it's a good sign that somebody actually thought it was worth bothering to support.

    Bear in mind that you have already managed up to now without an inkjet printer. Investigate all alternatives fully before you buy one. Can you e-mail your files, or host them on some web space somewhere? If you want to show off some photos, try burning them onto a CD-R -- most DVD players will read CD-Rs of .jpg files and display them on the TV. Even if the person hasn't got a DVD player, you should be able to connect your DVD player to your VCR with a simple SCART to SCART cable. Just running out of screen space? Increase your number of virtual desktops.
  • by caseih ( 160668 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @10:12AM (#13269060)
    I've owned my little black and white Okidata 10ex LED printer (basically a LASER printer) for more than 5 years and I've replaced the tonor cartridge a couple of times. By now the cost of this printer is a fraction of the cost of buying and maintaining an inkjet printer.

    With budget Laser printers on the market these days, even if you have to pay twice the cost of an inkjet printer, for 99% of your printing needs the Laser is the far far better deal. You can get the Samsung 1710ML, for example, at less than $100 on some sales.

    I do sometimes need color, and a color laser would be nice, although the colors from such a printer are not good enough for some applications such as photo printing. Photo printing is the one last domain of the ink jet, and probably always will be. But I do that so rarely that taking my photos to walmart to print is the best deal for me.
    • Right on... I got the 1710ML for under $100 and have been happy with it so far. However, it's kind of a laser printer with the inkjet business model -- it comes with a "starter" toner that is only good for 1500 pages or so, then you get to buy expensive toner cartridges that are good for 3000-5000 pages (I think). The 1710 replaced my old NEC consumer laser printer (don't remember the part number) on which the paper handling system gave out before I ever had to replace the toner. That lasted about 5 year
      • I bought an NEC Superscript way back in the day, for $119. The cartridge must have been good for a couple thousand pages, since I never ran low on toner. When I saw that the replacement cartridges were $129, I gave it to my cousin to do her homework on. I told her, "when it runs out of toner, just throw it away."
  • There is no way to purchase a good inkjet. They are slow, unreliable, and the ink is more expensive than gold on a /weight basis. If you do any amount (change cartridges every two months)of printing, a color laserjet is cheaper to own. The exception to this is if you need a multifunction device (fax/copier/printer) in which case a brother ethernet enabled multifunction device is available for $200.

    This is to say, if you replace your ink cartridges on 1x/month basis - an inkjet is more expensive than a laserjet. I have several clients who change both the black and color cartridges on a monthly, or bi-monthly basis: $25/chartidges (bulk) x 2 x 6x/yr = $300/year for cartridges. This is the cost of a color laserjet.

    Based on the duty cycle of the $100 high capacity cartridges in my Konica Minolta 2430DL, an inkjet cartridge with a capacity of 300-800 pages will cost between $830 and $300. (If we assume that black is 800 pages, and colour 300 pages, you are paying between twice and three times as much for ink)

    Further, you get to escape the duties of changing the cartridges and making a mess on a (bi)monthly basis.

    If you need a color copier, and a fax - then a multifunction inkjet makes sense. Otherwise, anyone who prints often should get a laserjet.

    OH, almost forgot: Yes, Epson inkjets are wonderful for printing photos. However, if you are really serious about printing pictures - a color correction system (~$200) is required and can match your screen to any printer. And some (my)laserjet printers do have pictbridge so you can print directly from the camera. (Without proofing, why?)

  • by antifood ( 898331 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @10:32AM (#13269184)
    I am seeing alot of comments on how inkjet printers "suck", and that laser is the way to go. Well I am sorry, this is not always the case. Sometimes people need quality, and by quality I mean something a laser printer are incapable of providing. I have yet to see a laser printer that can provide the quality of say... even an Epson stylus 2200. I mean sure, if all you're doing is printing 72 dpi webpages, by all means get a cheap laser printer. But don't snuff off inkjet because you're not taking advantage of it's true worth: print quality. Now as far as inkjet printers go, I am a huge fan of the 4000 7600 9600 stylus lines (they have recently upgraded these using another tone of gray, but I haven't used them yet). Throw in a good RIP, like Colorbyte's Imageprint and you have some absolutely stunning prints. Now of course these printers are... considerably more expensive than what most folks are willing to spend on a printer, but they are out there and they print beautifully. So ya, high end? Epson definitely.
    • Finally some sense, I agree with the parent. I have a 170 EURO canon printer that gives beutiful color photo color pictures. Far superior to anything a laser can do. From Canon that ink is much cheaper than HP for example. They do not have any lame asses DRM in the cartriges and are refillable should you choose. To say all injets are the same is the same as saying all laser printers are the same. SOme suck and some are good.

      Also not all of us want to spend 400 EUR on a printer so that when the toners run ou
  • by cthrall ( 19889 )
    My old DeskJet 9xxc was junk, complete new DeskJet 6220 All-in-one is great. Seems to be much easier on the ink, paper feeding problems are gone, color copies are very very quick, networking built in, you can find them for $200...only downside is the *huge* software install, over 70M for the "minimal" config, don't bother with the all the extraneous stuff.

    One thing I learned with the old printer: never, ever will I use parallel printing with Windows again. That was horrible...USB or the net all th
  • by Junior J. Junior III ( 192702 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @10:47AM (#13269307) Homepage
    Inkjet printers suck. Don't buy one.
  • I mean, come on. There was almost no useful information in that guide whatsoever

    I am incredibly surprised that they didn't even remotely talk about things that people are actually confused about-- like whether or not you can replace the ink TANKS without replacing the ink cartidge. Or how long a ink cartidge lasts when NOT printing.

    My problem was always that I would not print for 3-4 weeks, then go to print and find out that the head had dried out.

    Finally went to laser and haven't been happier.

  • by NotAHappyCoder ( 223421 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @10:51AM (#13269357) Homepage
    They should also write an article titled 'How to select a GOOD webserver'. It seems they could use one...
  • When I purchased my HP Deskjet 1125C, it read on the box: "Two-sided printing" and "Excellent photographic quality", or something like that. After the purchase I learned what these meant.

    The "two-sided printing" means that after you print one side of a paper stack, you can turn the stack over (manually) and print the other halves. The windows driver helps with this by printing only even/odd pages. Of course that doesn't work in reality, because the printer jams about every 20 page, or feeds two pages instea
  • I'll take the chance to do an 'Ask Slashdot' in the comments section since it actually pertains to the topic:

    I'm going off to college very soon, and need some sort of printer with a very small footprint. I don't care if it's laser or inkjet, although I'm pretty sure I'll have access to a laser for high-volume stuff.

    The low-end HP models are perfect for this task, but as I've found out by owning one, you get gouged on the ink. Cartridges are low-capacity, cost a mint, and have no generic equivalent. Reple
  • Buy an old injket instead.

    I have an HP DeskJet 832C (which was made in 1999) that still works beautifully. It prints pages at about 2-3 times the rate of the brand new colour inkjet one of my friends bought recently. I've not had to change the ink in at least two years, if not longer.

    If you go this route, your only problem will being finding someone who's willing to part with one.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Reading the posting on this topic, I can see that few- if any- of the posters do much more than dump text to a printer or print the occasional low resolution image they've grabbed from the web. They sound more worried about volume than anything else. They certainly don't seem to worried about the quality of their printing. I work in an industry that lives and breathes it.

    Sorry. but unless you're willing to invest in something like a Fiery system or lease an imagesetter, your "cheap" lasers wo
  • by lcsjk ( 143581 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @11:24AM (#13269719)
    So far, I have read all the comments and it seems that no one has read the article. All it has is basic information and defines terms such as pictbridge. The article really is useless for purchasing a printer. It has no information about the "false" claims by printer manufacturers, or other technical information that one would need in purchasing a printer. For instance, what is the "real" difference in the inks used for various printers? What does water resistant really mean? Which printers use inks that "actually" have long life when exposed to light? And there are many other questions that could be of interest in buying a printer. Most of the respondants to this article (so far) have made claims about color laser, and price of prints per page, price of ink, etc., but seem to have very little knowledge of what is really good or bad about printers, just the same as the article.

    I just bought a photoprinter from HP that claims to print 4x6 prints at a rate "as fast as" about 20 pages per minute. However, a photo (4x6 inches) will print at a rate of one print in about 1 to 3 minutes, based on whether I choose Best or maximum DPI for printing. (How can maximum DPI be better than best?) Even after research, I had to buy based on brand name and advertised specifications, because it is difficult to find evaluations of printers on the internet that actually give useful comparisons.

    Before buying the printer I decided against Epson based on the fact that if the printer is not used for a few days (maybe a week or two) the print head can dry and cause extensive cleaning before it works properly.

    Also, Epson cartridges have a microchip that may cause the printer to stop operation when it decides the cartridge is empty, even if it is not. (A completely stopped up print head does not allow ink to flow, even during a cleaning cycle.) Printers with the print head attached to the cartridge should be more expensive, but are only slightly so, so even if you should damage the head, they are replaced.

    Some companies sell Epson cartridge chip "reset" devices. I have not tried one yet.

    If your Epson printer will not clean, you have to discard it or have it repaired at a price that probably is at least half the cost of a new printer. I have found that by filling an old cartridge with water, using a hypodermic syringe (break off the sharp point first) and then running a few cleaning cycles over the period of a few days, the printer can be recovered. Takes time, but seems to always work.

  • by sirwired ( 27582 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @11:45AM (#13269955)
    One advantage of inkjets that has been pointed out by many on this story is their photo quality compared to color lasers.

    This is like saying a port-o-john is better than a pit toilet because it has deodorant in it. Technically true, but it still smells strongly like crap.

    If you are a typical consumer that just wants to shove out prints from a digicam, just take your CF, CD-R, SD, whatever to your local drugstore, Wal-Mart, Target, random one-hour photo place, pay them 19 cents a piece, and they will do a much better job than ANY consumer-level inkjet printer.

    The photos from a minilab will be more consistent, free of dithering, mostly waterproof, light resistant, and also guaranteed.

    The photos from an inkjet mostly fade in sunlight (a few exceptions), are not waterproof, suffer from nasty dithering, and if you screw up, you just flushed your money down the toilet.

    If you REALLY want to print out prints at home, then use a home dye-sub. Sony, Kodak, and Olympus make fine dye-sub printers. The prints only cost a little more than inkjet, and they are waterproof, UV resistant, and far higher quality (no dithering).

    For non-photo printing, Lasers are superior in every way. Sharper text, cheaper supplies, faster, more reliable, etc.

    • by bananahead ( 829691 ) * on Monday August 08, 2005 @01:23PM (#13271001) Journal
      You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about, and your advise is worthless.

      I am a professional photographer and I have been using the Epson 2200 and Espon 4000 for my work, and there is NO WAY a dye-sublimation printer could do the work these pigment-based inkjet printers do. I use a bulk-feed system for my 2200 with the Lyson Cavepaint pigment inks and I have compared my 13x19 prints with dye-sublimation. There is no comparison, the inkjet is far and away better in color gamut, subtle tones and in the huge variety of archival and canvas 'papers' that are available.

  • by arexu ( 595755 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @12:09PM (#13270232)
    For all you slashbots who think the only use for color is photos, you need to stop and ponder the possibility of other uses for printed material before you crap all over my inkjet printer. YOU might not use an inkjet for anything beyond that, but there are plenty of us who do. If you do paper (cardstock) modeling the inkjet is far superior, because that expensive laser toner CRACKS and flakes off if you score or bend it too much (two things you tend to do when modeling anything more than a flat panel). Inkjet printers can even print on plastic card and other structural materials (not to be considered with the heated drum of the laser...) I only wish I could get a good continuous ink system for my HP 842C printer.
  • by fmaxwell ( 249001 ) on Monday August 08, 2005 @02:49PM (#13271913) Homepage Journal
    Sorry, but this article wasn't "News for Nerds." It was fluff for technophobes.

    Touting Pictbridge, card readers, and little tiny color screens, because "you need not bother booting up your PC every time you want to take a print out"?! That's great for granny who feels threatened by her PC, but for us "nerds", the thought of printing a picture without any processing (denoising, unsharp masking, exposure correction, etc.) is pretty heinous. Besides, most of us have our PCs on all of the time anyway.

    The rest of the article was just as intellectually hollow:

    Ink cost is a concern. No kidding?

    Longer warranties are better than shorter ones and on-site service is better than having to ship the printer out for service. That's news.

    Bigger input and output trays are more convenient. More insight from the tech wizards at CoolTechZone...

    "Duplex printing enables you to print on both sides of a page." You don't say?

    I sure am glad that I have that kind of insightful commentary to guide me -- should I ever want to buy a slow printer that costs more per page than my laser printer and can't do photo-quality printing of color images.

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!