Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-04-2004, 11:17 AM
Eve Eve is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 22,064
Are There Any "Non-Piece-of-Crap" Printers?

When I got my computer a year or so ago, my techie friend said, "Doesn't really matter which printer you get, they're all crap." So I got a Canon S330, which, true to form, is a total piece of crap. I have to hand-feed every sheet of paper in, coaxing it the whole time like trying to get Karen Carpenter to eat pancakes.

Every printer I have ever had was a piece of crap. The giant expensive state-of-the-art printers we have at work (Xeroxes and Canons) are giant expensive state-of-the-art pieces of crap, which spend more time being repaired than working.

Are there any not-too-expensive desktop printers I can buy to go with my laptop Toshiba? I mean, that aren't total pieces of crap? You know, when you hit "print," the paper actually goes through the printer and comes out the other end with stuff on it?
Old 01-04-2004, 11:26 AM
Lobsang Lobsang is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Douglas, Isle of Man
Posts: 18,214
when you hit "print," the paper actually goes through the printer and comes out the other end with stuff on it?
Mine does that. It's a cannon colour printer.

The ones at work usually print stuff too. a HP laserjet 1200 and a laserjet 1100.

Sometimes they print more than you ask them to, like big blotches of blackness.

Sometimes they do something really cool and amusing - they print with non-stick ink, so that when you feel the paper the ink comes off on your hand.
Old 01-04-2004, 11:27 AM
Governor Quinn Governor Quinn is offline
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,056
I use a H-P Deskjet 722C, and it doesn't give me too many problems.
Old 01-04-2004, 11:28 AM
Eve Eve is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 22,064
I have a Canon color printer, too, but it has an eating disorder.

Maybe it's the different between "color" printers and "colour" printers . . . That extra "u" must put the skids under the paper . . .
Old 01-04-2004, 11:29 AM
ParentalAdvisory ParentalAdvisory is offline
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: The Chicago Area
Posts: 5,956
I've never had a problem with Epson line of printers, the paper always goes through. But I think the ink management on these things are horrible. You have to constantly clean the damn thing every other 2 pages to get *all* the colors to print. They're all shit.
Old 01-04-2004, 11:31 AM
Lobsang Lobsang is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Douglas, Isle of Man
Posts: 18,214
ParentalAdvisory Mine automatically cleans it'self before every print.

Eve It might be the extra 'n' in 'cannon'.
Old 01-04-2004, 11:34 AM
Whiskey-Hotel Whiskey-Hotel is offline
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 88
Feeding disorders is usually a sign of dusty feed rollers. You could try using a cotton swab, or lint-free cloth, dipped in rubbing alcohol, to wipe the rollers. This usually works best if you remove the paper and send a print job to the printer as that will get the rollers moving so you can clean the entire surface.

Aside from that bit of advice, good luck. It seems that color inkjet printers have become a commodity be used and disposed of every two-years or so.
Old 01-04-2004, 12:08 PM
Mort Furd Mort Furd is offline
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: An American in Germany
Posts: 1,432
My Lexmark Z52 does just fine, as did the Tektronix Phaser 740 we has at work, as did the HP Laserjet 3, 4, and 6 printers I've dealt with.

Epson was the pits. We had one at work and I had one at home that both sucked - slurping down the ink and clogging all the time.

As for feeding problems, the only time I've had trouble was when I used some off brand coated paper for high resolution. The coating left dust on the rollers, and the printer wouldn't feed even one sheet properly before fucking up.
Old 01-04-2004, 12:34 PM
xash xash is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Palo Alto, CA
Posts: 4,133
Moved to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator
Old 01-04-2004, 12:45 PM
Jaade Jaade is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: On the balcony
Posts: 1,679
I have a Lexmark X73 and it's only given me one problem, which was software related, and fixed itself after a time. They aren't terribly expensive either, Eve, and customer service helped me out when I needed them!
Old 01-04-2004, 12:52 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
Join Date: Jun 1999
Posts: 26,843
I've got two printers - an HP Laserjet 4, which intermittently doesn't fuse the ink properly to the paper so that it rubs off when you touch it, and an Epson Stylus 640 for color work, which ALWAYS dries out the nozzles between uses, requiring me to run several sheets of paper and nozzle cleaning cycles before giving me decent output. That really sucks.
Old 01-04-2004, 12:56 PM
Sam Stone Sam Stone is offline
Join Date: Jun 1999
Posts: 26,843
There have been some good printers, though. The HP Laserjet II was a tremendous success, and turned out to be so reliable that it actually hurt HP's bottom line in subsequent years, because no one needed to replace their printers with new HP models.

There are still plenty LJII's out there, working flawlessly after being in service for more than 15 years. I had one that I used for years, and I don't recall so much as a paper jam. It just worked. Every time.
Old 01-04-2004, 12:56 PM
AbbySthrnAccent AbbySthrnAccent is offline
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Texas, U.S.A.
Posts: 3,448
Never had a problem with my HP DeskJet 882c. I think we've had two jams in four years with fairly regular use. Not daily but certainly more than a couple times a week. I've even run fabric backed with iron on paper through mine.
Old 01-04-2004, 01:32 PM
Enright3 Enright3 is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 6,367
Canon S600 here. I haven't had any problems with it, although when I want to print envelopes, I have remove the paper, readjust the tray to the envelope size, etc. etc. The next printer I get will have a manual feed slot on it.

Old 01-04-2004, 01:41 PM
voguevixen voguevixen is offline
Join Date: May 1999
Location: San Leandro, CA USA
Posts: 6,302
We also have had the HP L4 for nearly 10 years now and have had no trouble with it. In fact my husband bought it to print his thesis back then and it had done so (to the tune of about 5 packs of paper) and since then has helped me run a small home business for a couple years (brochures, business cards, catalogs, newsletters, iron-ons, etc) and even after all that, I've only needed to change the toner cartridge once. Bargain.

We've had a HP DeskJet 832C for ages and ages as well. (4 years maybe? Five?) I don't use it nearly as often but I've never had problems with it. Just used it to make the covers for my Xmas CDs as well as the little "mass card" type thingies I sent out when my cat had to be put to sleep. I've also only had to change the ink cartridges in it only once, and that was after an extended period of inactivity which I supposed caused them to dry up.

In my experience I'd say to stick with the HPs, but I know that is not everyone's experience as I constantly see them (and newer versions of the ones we have!) at the thrift store. I suppose there's the possibility that they work fine, but needed something faster/bigger or what have you, but most likely not.
Old 01-04-2004, 01:58 PM
KellyM KellyM is offline
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Illinois
Posts: 3,172
We have a Canon i9100 which we've been happy with. Our HP k60x served (and continues to serve) well, and my HP 660C would probably print very nicely if I were to dig it out and plug it in.

I've heard bad things about Epson and Lexmark. Lexmark is especially bad, from what I've heard. Really really bad. Don't do it.

On the institutional/corporate side, I really recommend HP. I've had all sorts of problems with Xerox printers/copystations and can't recommend them at all. Xerox slashed R&D funding to next to nothing about two years ago and has been teetering on the edge of bankruptcy for quite some time now. The only decent products they sell are the ones they bought from Textronix a few years back. On the other hand, we have an HP 4si that has over a million pages on it, and it rumbles along pretty well for being as old as it is.
Old 01-04-2004, 02:00 PM
lee lee is offline
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Cook County, IL
Posts: 4,682
I like my i9100 by canon. It does not have an eating disorder, it prints fast and well and even reliably prints envelopes. This is the first non HP printer I have been pleased with. I got it because the large format HPs were much more expensive and I like that the print head can be replaced seperately from the individual 6 ink cartridges. HP printers you replace the head and the cartridge at the same time. IIRC Epson, you simply don't replace the print heads so if you need a new one you get a new printer. I had problems with other lower end canon printer's paper feed. The HP 4500 color laserjet we had at work was reliable and held up under heavy use with no problems. The people upstairs who also had access to the expensive xerox color printers seemed to prefer the HP for reliability.
Old 01-04-2004, 02:32 PM
Lobsang Lobsang is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Douglas, Isle of Man
Posts: 18,214
Here's a strange thing:

Just hours after reading and replying to this thread a colleague rings me from his home (I am at work) and tells me that another colleague gave him a printer, which is not working. When he tells it to print it sends a blank sheet of paper through every time. Strange, as this colleague rarely rings work for a non-work related reason. Strange because the OP asks about printers where the paper comes through with stuff on it and my colleague's printer sends paper through without stuff on it.
Old 01-04-2004, 02:40 PM
Eve Eve is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 22,064
Originally posted by xash
Moved to IMHO.

General Questions Moderator
Well, IMHO, this was a factual question. Whatever, if you want to winnow out your forum, just say so . . .
Old 01-04-2004, 03:18 PM
Blonde Blonde is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 2,416
The HP 2210 model - fax, copier, and scanner. It prints beautiful pictures (from screen or prints laid on the glass). It will take a very thick piece of glossy print paper and pull it through with no problem. The display buttons are idiot-proof, and the fax works fine (answering machine must be turned off.)

At $300, it wasn't cheap, but I've been very happy with the performance.
Old 01-04-2004, 05:28 PM
bluecanary bluecanary is offline
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: London, England
Posts: 1,528
I've got a fairly old HP Printer, an HP Deskjet 930C. It still works fine but it seems to get through cartridges pretty quickly. Occasionally the paper jams.
Old 01-04-2004, 05:42 PM
Eve Eve is offline
Join Date: Dec 1999
Posts: 22,064
I've had both HPs and Canons and find lots of problems with getting it to suck up the paper. I have to coax every goddam sheet through, which, when you're printing 100 pages, is a royal pain.
Old 01-04-2004, 05:52 PM
KellyM KellyM is offline
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Illinois
Posts: 3,172
Eve, I've never had that problem with any of the HPs I've owned or used. You sure you don't have defective paper?
Old 01-04-2004, 06:51 PM
Magiver Magiver is offline
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Dayton Ohio USA
Posts: 27,201
Originally posted by Sam Stone
I've got two printers - an HP Laserjet 4, which intermittently doesn't fuse the ink properly to the paper so that it rubs off when you touch it, and an Epson Stylus 640 for color work, which ALWAYS dries out the nozzles between uses, requiring me to run several sheets of paper and nozzle cleaning cycles before giving me decent output. That really sucks.
I also have an HP Laserjet 4 and an Epson 2200. I clean the rollers on the HP at least once a year to keep the paper moving.

As for any inkjet, you really need to use them almost daily to keep the heads from clogging. At least a couple of times a week.

When buying an inkjet, you should look at the paper handling abilities as well as the cost of ink. The cost of a printer goes down over time if you can feed each ink color separately. I have a 7-color printer and 2 of the colors get used up at least 4 times faster than the other colors.
Old 01-04-2004, 07:20 PM
ianzin ianzin is offline
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Near London, UK.
Posts: 4,202
I've worked with printers since they were invented, and I've used most brands either professionally or personally.

IMHO, Hewlett-Packard make the best, in terms of price/performance ratio and general non-suckyness.

I own two Helwlett-Packard printers, a laser and a hi-res colour inkjet for photos and stuff. Both are essential for the daily smooth running of my business, and I reckon they're as good as home printers get. The sting, as with most brands, is the price of the consumables and ink cartridges, particularly if, like me, you have learnt the hard way not to trust the substitutes and always cough up (through gritted teeth) for the brand-name supplies.

I have no commercial interest whatsoever.
Hour Youth Income Ache Sad If Ran Stow Watch Oath Ink
Old 01-04-2004, 08:16 PM
Uncommon Sense Uncommon Sense is offline
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Wisconsin, Untied States
Posts: 7,306
I`ve had an Epson Photo EX for 6 years now and not one problem ever. I recently bought an Epson C82 (for speed and color fastness) and have not had a problem in a whole year so far. My brother has the Canon I960 and Swears by it. I think that will be the next printer I get.

Eve, you got some unlucky POS printers. I think every manufacturer can put out some shit, but all the bad ones seem to be floating your way. Maybe it`s time to renew your membership in the Good Karma Club. Good Luck.
Old 01-04-2004, 08:46 PM
TheFunkySpaceCowboy TheFunkySpaceCowboy is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: The 2nd largest US state.
Posts: 301
You'll never find an inkjet printer that isn't crap, at least to some degree. In the long run they are all unreliable and exspensive to operate (page per page ink is far, far more exspensive than toner, plus it dries out but toner lasts pretty much forever) compared to laser printes. Also, in general, pretty much all printers marketed as "personal" or "home use" tend to be sub par. In my experience the best printers available are HP LaserJets marketed at business users.

You can find great deals on used LJ's on Ebay, particularly 4's. They are rated for about, I think, a monthly duty cycle of 20,000 pages, it's quite easy to find used office printers that have only done about two months worth of printing for around $100. New toner for the LJ4 runs about $50-$70 and is good for 8K-10K pages. The most common problems with these printers is paper jams caused by dirty rollers, easy enough to clean with some rubbing alcohol and a rag. They're very well built and quite user-servicable. For the price of a cheap inkjet and three or four ink packs you can get a business class laser that will probably break or even run out of toner when used in a home environment.
Old 01-04-2004, 08:48 PM
Ringo Ringo is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Houston, TX, USA
Posts: 11,261
There's quite a few in the $100-200 (or less) range thesee days, and I get the impression they are consumables. There aren't too many shops that repair them.

My only inkjets have been an Epson Stylus 1500 (which I no longer have, but is still going strong at ~8 years of age) and an Epson Stylus 1520 which is about 4 years old. Whatever the current model is might be a bit pricier than the horde of personal printers out there (probably ~$400 or so), but the quality has been excellent and the only problem I've had with the 1520 is paper feed when using the large format sheets (17" x 22" and 11" x 17"); the letter size, legal size and envelopes have never given me a problem.

I've also used an HP LJII in the past and had an HP650c and now use an HP750c+. I doubt any of those are what you're looking for, but that experience allows me to say that the upper end HPs have treated me well. I don't know how their low-end stuff is.

Generally, it seems that with inkjets, the larger the cartridges, the better off you are, with longevity and functionality as well as with the long run economics. IMHO, of course.
Old 01-05-2004, 09:05 AM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Over by dere
Posts: 27,023
I have the Canon combination thingy that has the fax, copier, scanner, printer action all in one. I hate it, but it isn't the kind of deep, "don't-make-me-pitch-you-out-the-window" hate I've felt for previous printers. It's true...they're all crap. Every. Last. One.
Old 01-05-2004, 09:49 AM
lieu lieu is offline
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Bedrock
Posts: 26,079
Our Canon desktop model at home seems to feed fairly well, although the occasional page will get stuck. I'll check on which model it is tonite, although my guess would be the Momma Cass.
Old 01-05-2004, 10:26 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 57,239
I've had nothing but problems with Epson Stylus printers - ranging from serious paper-handling faults through to rejection of brand-new ink cartridges - I will not buy Epson again.

My experience of HP inkjets has been generally good.
Old 01-05-2004, 10:31 AM
zephyrine zephyrine is offline
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 437
HP rules.
Old 01-05-2004, 12:29 PM
JackaRoe JackaRoe is online now
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Augusta, GA
Posts: 156
HP makes the best printers by far. I had a Canon Multipass that jammed and I always was replacing the ink cartridges at least monthly. I now have an HP Officejet, it copies, scans and prints. It has never jammed and the ink seems to last a lot longer than the Canon ever did. My advice is to spend a little more on the prinetr and then you will not be disappointed. You do get what you pay for when buying a printer.
Old 01-05-2004, 12:45 PM
Rick Rick is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 16,451
Old HP printers rule. The newer stuff I have had some problems with. I had a 590 (one of the first all in ones) that wasn't worth the effort that it would take to throw it away.
I have laserjet 4's in several of my offices. Built like tanks, and bullet proof. I had a roof leak over one, the suspended celing got soaked and went splat all over the printer. Cleaned it up and the damn thing still works.
At home I got a Lexmark free with this computer. total POS. It would cause a system crash if I tried to print one than one piece of paper during a particular boot (yes I had the latest drivers)
I got a Cannon S600 and have never had a problem since. My only issue with the Cannon is that the instructions don't tell you that if you have not printed for a while the printer will do a clean cycle before printing your job. So it took me a while before I understood why my first page took so long to print.
I bought my duaghter a Epson CX5200 all in one for college (print scan copy) so far it is excellent
Old 01-05-2004, 05:04 PM
Mtgman Mtgman is offline
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Searching for Tanelorn
Posts: 6,117
I worship at the altar of the HP LaserJet II. Those printers are just the shizzle, no two ways about it. Sam Stone isn't exaggerating when he said there are plenty of them still in service after 15+ years. They are a really fine piece of equipment. At home I have gone through two Canon POS Inkjets which both cost me ~250 bucks each and were still both far and away much better printers than most of thier competition. I went through the BJC420 and am currently nursing along a BJC6000. Someday I'll fork out the cash for a laser printer, but that day is not today.

I kind of hesitate to take the side of the printer-makers, but have you considered what they're up against? The modern inkjet/bublejet printer is an absolute marvel. Imagine a machine which can put 1200X1200 individual little dots in a single inch of paper. Get out a ruler, mark off a 1-inch square and go at it with your pen. Get the finest-tip pen you can find and try again. I bet you don't come anywhere near 1,440,000 dots in your square before you start overwriting some of the ones you laid down before. Even if you manage it, I bet your square would smear if you touched it within the kind of timeframe you normally try to pick up paper off the printer in. Now if you managed to get all those dots in that tiny area and used a high-enough quality ink that it dried and didn't smear, how about you try to do that over the entire surface area of twenty three pages in a single minute.

As much as they suck compared to more reliable products, the modern inkjet is still a fantastic piece of work. An ink which stays liquid in the tank but dries in a fraction of a second without drying on the print head and causing clogs is a marvel in and of itself. An ink which has to look good even if printed on crappy paper. A machine which can switch all those nozzles between several types of ink at millions of squirts per minute is just mind-boggling. Here is a discussion of the inkjet printer which focuses on the precision of this machine. Microscopic ink jets which are self-cleaning. Absolutely brilliant.

The average monitor? It lays down somewhere between 72-100 dots in an inch compared to the 1200 the average modern inkjet is capable of. Did you ever wonder why people who work with graphics need such huge screens and such high-quality monitors? It is because printing is capable of SO much higher quality than monitors are that they need to narrow the gap between what they see and design on a screen and what will print as much as they possibly can. Something that looks great on a screen may look like utter crap when printed.

So in my more lucid moments when I'm thinking about an inkjet printer, I'm inclined to cut them some slack. They're doing an amazing job. Like a juggler who is riding a unicycle on a high-wire while juggling flaming torches mixed in with razor-sharp machetes which weigh twenty pounds each. If he can keep that up for more than a couple of minutes then he's a god. These days when I think of what a printer is actually DOING when I hit "print" I tend to see that juggler. I'm not willing to go back to the dot-matrix days, or daisy-wheel days, so I'll take my lumps and be glad that when the juggler finally misses a torch or takes a machete in the jugular that replacement jugglers aren't nearly as expensive as they used to be.

Old 01-05-2004, 06:01 PM
bluecanary bluecanary is offline
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: London, England
Posts: 1,528
Um, yeah, get an HP
Old 01-05-2004, 06:33 PM
Lao Tsu Lao Tsu is offline
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Hope, RI
Posts: 308
Do you want or need a color printer? Do you care about printing photographs? If you just want to print documents, go with this

If you do want color, go with a modestly priced inkjet, but check the price for refill cartridges, before you buy. Some of those are expensive. For about 200 bucks, you should be able to get a decent printer.
Old 01-05-2004, 07:03 PM
Max Torque Max Torque is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: Raiderville, TX
Posts: 10,524
I suspect Eve is printing documents, and long ones at that. That being the case, a laser printer is the way to go. A laser printer is much faster than an inkjet, the toner cartriges last at least 20 times longer than ink carts (not to mention that they don't dry out if you don't print anything for two months, nor does toner smear if it gets wet), and the paper capacity is higher, so you won't have to reload unless you're printing well over 200 pages (in most cases).

Now for the anecdotal story: before I started law school back in 1999, I bought a HP Laserjet 2100M. It was pricey, about $700 at that time, but it's performed like a champ in the years since. It's doing even better since I upgraded the memory recently (from 8 megs to 24 megs, cost me about $20); it had been choking on some multi-page large TIFFS I needed to print, which means it would sometimes spit out a blank page. Not a problem anymore. I only wish I could afford another paper tray so that I could keep it filled with envelopes constantly.

Anyway, if you don't need color, go with a laser. And if you do need color, think about shelling out for a color laser instead of an inkjet; in the long run, the stress you save is worth the money you spend.
Old 01-05-2004, 07:46 PM is offline
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 13,824
Originally posted by Sam Stone
There have been some good printers, though. The HP Laserjet II was a tremendous success, and turned out to be so reliable that it actually hurt HP's bottom line in subsequent years, because no one needed to replace their printers with new HP models.

There are still plenty LJII's out there, working flawlessly after being in service for more than 15 years. I had one that I used for years, and I don't recall so much as a paper jam. It just worked. Every time.
I fully agree about HP LJ II's. That was my first, and probably best, laser printer. I used it for years, and then donated it to my nephew, who used it for 4 more years of college. If it hadn't been stolen, I'm sure it would still be working for him. That thing was built like a tank (weighed like one, too) and just kept on working, time after time.

I replaced it with an HP 4p, which was indeed a piece-of-crap printer, and almost turned me off HP altogether. But now I have an HP 6P, which seems to work even better than the LJ II (though I doubt it will last a decade like that did).

I have a friend who buys HP LJ II printers whenever he can. Often gets them very cheap. Then he refurbishes them and sells them to businesses for use in dirty, dusty factory environments. They like them because they just work reliably in these locations, and when they stop, a good cleaning gets them going again. He says in many years of using HP LJ II's he can only recall a small number that actually 'wore out'. I can see why HP had trouble selling replacements for them!
Old 01-05-2004, 08:57 PM
nuthinboutnuthin nuthinboutnuthin is offline
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 179
I had a Canon BJC4100.
I hated and despised that *^^#%$$%$^$ing printer with every fiber/bone/cell in my body.
The miseraable %^$*%%&^%^%ing thing.

Last year I bought a new printer.
I LOVE and ADORE my truly wonderful and always sweet HP2210
I can download all my digital pictures with it too.
Somebody did GOOD.
Old 01-05-2004, 09:43 PM
EddyTeddyFreddy EddyTeddyFreddy is offline
Charter Member
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Exurbia, No'thuh Bawst'n
Posts: 12,823
I had the HP 2100 for several years, printing drafts for proofreading -- often several hundred pages each day. It ran very well, till I printed some clear stick-on labels and the heat melted some of the glue goop onto the rollers. I never could get them really clean, and the edges of the pages had shadowy scallop marks. The paper feeding was usually okay, although sometimes it refused to feed through previously printed on paper I was printing on the back of.

After about five years, the printer started getting wonkier, and I upgraded to the HP2200d. Love it! It's twice as fast, feeds all kinds of paper, even jumbled together, and does a great job overall fulfilling my B&W workhorse needs. It's definitely not cheap -- but it's worth the roughly 700 bucks I had to shell out for it.

The toner cartridges do cost 80-something to 90-something dollars, depending on whether you use the HP ones or, say, Staples cartridges. The printer works just fine with every cartridge I've used.

For color, and for high-quality results -- letters, invoices, photographs, envelopes, etc. -- I use the HP DeskJet 842C. It's given me at least three years of intermittent service with no problems.
Dude, your statistical average, which was already in the toilet, just took a plunge into the Earth's mantle. ~ iampunha
Well, maybe you shouldn't use the political equivalent of the Weekly World News as a factual source. Just sayin'. ~ RTFirefly
Brought to you as a public service by EddyTeddyFreddy Industries, Inc., purveyors of wit, wisdom, badinage, and run-on sentences since 1949.
Old 01-05-2004, 10:14 PM
Maxxxie Maxxxie is offline
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 805
Ex-Canon (and HP) tech checking in here.

[nitpick]Laser printers do not print with ink! They apply a static charge to the paper, which attracts toner to it. The toner is then fused (ie high heat is applied, and the toner melts), which gives the effect of a printed letter on the paper. Hence why the "ink" doesn't run or rub off, and also why the paper feels warm when it comes fresh out of the printer.[/nitpick]

To answer the question - *MOST* bubblejet/inkjet printers will have some level of suckage. As others have already pointed out, the biggest problem with inkjets is to do with ink quality and print head quality. Left unused, a printer's print head will dry out, leaving nozzles clogged. End result is a line through the print, crooked print or fuzziness in the print quality.

The Canon S300 series (and the 600) were the bane of my fucking existence. Print heads, print heads and print heads. And when the print heads actually worked, the paper feed mechanism would usually have some problem or another. Misfeeds, multiple feeds, non-feeding were commonplace. The issue there (IMHO) was an overly-complicated feeding mechanism.

Print quality problems (in inkjets) are further exacerbated by using non-genuine ink. Yes, I know it's a ripoff. But the fact remains that the genuine product usually doesn't fuck up quite as badly as the knockoffs. Additionally, if you have problems with the head and it is found that you have used non-genuine ink, there will be problems with any warranty claim you make on the consumables.

Speaking of consumables, consider that a printer in the $100-130 mark uses consumables that cost $80. That should tell you something about the cost (ie worth) of the printer itself.

With laser printers, you immediately bypass most of the suckiness associated with inkjet printers. Still, there are problems that are common to both (paper feed problems, jams), and problems that are specific to lasers (most commonly the fuser unit).

As much as it seems strange, I never had a great deal of Canon (or HP - most are built on Canon engines) lasers come back for repair. Of those that did, it was most often a paper feed problem - worn separator pads causing multiple pages to feed, or paper pickup rollers worn causing paper to stop halfway through.

If someone were to ask me what laser printer they should buy, I'd tell 'em an HP. As for inkjets.. bah... they all suck (for reasons stated above).

Old 01-06-2004, 11:06 AM
Mtgman Mtgman is offline
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Searching for Tanelorn
Posts: 6,117
FYI, any masochists out there who are interested in the inner workings of those things we call printers(and often malign for unjust reasons) there are two excellent articles on the How Stuff Works site. One on Inkjet Printers and another on Laser Printers.

Old 01-06-2004, 11:18 AM
jjimm jjimm is offline
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 28,704
Depending on how much you want to spend, OKI do some really neat color printers. The cheapest is less than a grand. They use LED strips instead of a laser, and they have a single pass method that works like a printing press, where the paper just passes flat through the CMY and K strips before the toner (acrylic powder) is heat-sealed onto the paper. I have had one running constantly (around 10,000 impressions so far) for two years, and have had no problems at all - no paper jams, no double-page snagging, etc. The toner and other components are really easy to replace, too, although they do cost a bit more than other printers.

At home I just have a Canon inkjet - poor quality but gets the job done, though heaven forbid you should drip coffee on a page, as the stupid ink is water-soluble.


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:09 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to:

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to:

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017