Ink-jet printers

Do any of you Dopers have advice on what would be a good all-in-one printer for a PC computer? I have been using Epsons, but my last one, a WF-2650 is most unsatisfactory. The instruction manual is poorly written, the controls for the printer are very difficult to decipher and use, and it is a real ink hog. It still works (kind of) but the frustration and expense are not worth it.

What’s your experience with printers? Any advice on getting a new one (not Epson) would be much appreciated.

Consider laser printers. The ink doesn’t dry out, they are relatively fast, and they are cheap nowadays. The “ink” is also waterproof.

Laser printers typically have a higher up-front cost but a much lower cost per page. And that’s before considering all the ink wasted in nozzle cleaning. That said, inkjet printers do give you a vastly better picture if you’re printing photos on photo paper.

I bought an HP 850 when they first came out.
I quickly learned how to re0fill ink cartridges.

Now I go to Fry’s Electronics (local chain of all things electric) and look for the “re-furbs” at < $100.

Not only because I’m poor, but I have decided that inkjets are inherently disposable.

Have never tried laser, but, since I do want decent photo-quality capability, I will not consider them until their colors are both cheap and good.

My last one (Brother) was the first non-HP.
The current Canon has a huge “no Go” - there is no tray for the paper 0 you apparently just stuff a small stack in the bottom.
I have yet to even finish the “comic book” style setup instructions.

Buy cheap and expect it to last 2-3 years. Do not buy ink carts in advance - you may end up throwing out the ink before ever getting near requiring it.

99% of printers for the consumer market are crap. (Greatly exceeding Sturgeon’s Quotient.)

Look at stuff for small business, and carefully evaluate the cost of cartridges. Most printers cost as much as a full refill set because (1) the unit is priced as a loss leader and (2) they use “unique” cartridges with a very small aftermarket or clone quotient. Buy the slightly more expensive models that use “commodity” cartridges.

I also strongly dislike All-In-Ones, which seem to do three jobs poorly instead of any one of them well.

As to price-points.

I paid $500 each for the HP 850 and the HP 4p “Scan Jet”.

The scanner is now obsolete due to image resolution limits, but the optics and mechanics are still top notch - much better than the crappy “scanners” built into the “3 in One” units.
It has a mechanical carriage lock - I haven’t seen a 3-in-1 with anything like a carriage worth securing.

It’s like “one size fits all”; no, one size does not fit all, and by trying to produce something that light and flexible, you have created a product not worth calling a “fit” on anything.

Any SOHO oriented MFD’s (multi-functional device) will do a good job. It very much depends on the use case. Could you post more regarding how much you print, and what? essentially if you print a lot (many pages a day), go laser. If you print a little (few pages per month) go ink jet. The business model for ink jets is all about selling consumables, and some manufacturers have made the use of 3rd party cart’s difficult.

I serviced Canon ink jets, back in the day. As such I have a weakness for Canon. However in my experience as an IT guy for 30+ years I would say any of the big printer manufacturers, Canon, Brother, Epson, or HP wold have a product that does the trick.

You might want to look at current printer reviews, but my own inclination based on personal experience would be a laser printer, and I’ve had good experience with HP. The previous one gave me no problems whatsoever for the better part of ten years until the auto-power-on feature decided not to work. The next one was equally flawless and much cheaper than the first and I have it still – probably more than a decade now. The print quality is clean and perfect and neither printer ever jammed. And a new toner cartridge, while not cheap, replaces most of the important moving parts so it’s almost like rebuilding the printer (and on most models it’s trivially easy to install – basically old one pops out, new one just drops in).

I also had a cheap Canon color inkjet printer that produced decent quality photo prints, especially on expensive glossy photo paper, but the jets would frequently clog or streak or have other issues. I’m fine with a black & white laser and I use commercial services for digital photo prints.

I’d mostly agree with other responses here: buy a black-and-white laser printer to do the majority of your printing, and then get a separate photo-quality inkjet to do the photos you need. (Or even consider emailing the photos to a local copy shop or office supply store to be printed – many of them offer that service at a reasonable price, and if you don’t print many color photos, saving the cost of a good photo-quality inkjet and the constant expense of ink cartridges can pay for a lot of OfficeMax prints.)

And do look for small-business quality printers. They cost a bit more, but are easier to use & last longer. Not having to buy a new printer every year or two, and having to spend the time installing & getting it working is worth the expense. And these printers generally still work with new versions of the operating system, unlike some cheap consumer printers.

I know you said not to recommend Epson and I don’t blame you. However, I swallowed my pride and bought an overpriced Epson model, the ET-2550 “Eco”Tank. It’s basically a $80 printer that cost $280 because it doesn’t use cartridges, it has ink wells that you can fill cheaply and last years at a time. Hopefully it will last long enough for me to get a return on investment. I also own a cheap Brother laser printer that handles the majority of printing, no regrets there.

I’ve only ever had HP inkjets and I think in the 17 years I’ve had my business I’ve only had to purchase 2. This current one is going strong. I buy the print/scan/copy/fax models. Right now I have the HP 8600 and it’s a delight.

I’ve had no end of problems with inkjets, particularly those with fixed heads where you only replace the ink cartridge, not the print head. Clogged nozzles on a daily basis, and so much ink wasted in unblocking them.

I eventually got a small-office colour laser, which I am very happy with. The consumables pricing model for smaller laser printers has started to somewhat resemble that of inkjets though (cheap printer, small expensive consumables)

In my experience the all in one printers don’t do anything well. Perhaps manufacturers try to keep them close to the price of single printers and lower quality.
I like HP laser printers.

I’d go back to asking the OP: What do you print, how often do you print, and how much do you print?

Without knowing the OP’s mission we’re all just guessing. And without stating our own missions alongside our own experiences we’re adding noise, not data.

My experiences FWIW …

I’ve been perfectly happy with our last 2 HP all-in-one laser printers. This is for a small office that prints a couple dozen B&W text pages a day, receives a few pages of B&W text fax a day and sends about the same, and scans a dozen 8.5x11 sheets a week.

I think the same machine would be fine for 10x that workload. But not 20x. It’d also be utterly useless if the OP needed color, legal size or larger scanning, etc.

My Canon laser all-in-one does everything well, although I can’t attest to its faxing abilities because this is the twenty-first century.

As for scanning, I’m not looking for archival quality photos. It scans what I need, and OCR takes care of the rest.

If I need to print a photo for reference, it’s good enough. If I want to frame something, then not even inkjet is good enough – I’m sending out to a service for that.

TWAIN-Technology Without An Interesting Name.

The only non-HP I’ve bought in decades was an Epson 2200, which was/is a superlative large-format 6-ink photo printer. I’d take most HPs over any alternative.

They do have a sharp division between the “unique” cartridge models and the “commodity” ones, though. I would steer away from consumer-grade ones under $200. But get up into the office-grade ones $2-300 and it tends to be pretty good.

I’d also concur to focus on general page printing (get the best/cheapest/most reliable you can) and leave any kind of photo printing to Kinko’s or Mpix or whomever. Trying to do both is a frustrating waste of money, ink and paper without long-term satisfaction with either. One of those things that sounds better in the marketing than the reality.

One of the questions I’d ask is, do you really need an all in one? That is, do you really need to scan and fax? If you do, I’m not really sure what’s out there, at my work, we’ve always had an actual fax and no use for a scanner.

Having said that, I’ve always like HP LaserJets. I’ve had very good luck with my last handful of them. Regarding the toner, I usually pick it up on Amazon (or monoprice for a while). Read a few reviews, check the ratings and pay $20 for some generic (probably refilled) toner that got 4 stars on Amazon instead of HP toner for $150-$200.
In all the years I’ve been buying generic toner, I think I’ve had one blow up on me and make a mess*. It’s still worth it for all the money I’ve saved.
FWIW, I currently have a M401n that I really like. But, again, not an all in one, just a standard laserjet that we use quite a bit.

*and that one may have been an incorrect product getting damaged by being wedged into a drum it didn’t belong in, I’m still not clear on that one.

Agree, what are your printing needs? Now and projected into your future usages.

I’d add do you need photo quality, do you need color at all, do you need a multifunction printer, and what is your price range?

Lots of advice above but I would suggest that reading reviews of current machines will be more useful. Look on a site like Amazon where you get loads of reviews, as well as the magazines. There is always a trade off between up-front cost, quality and ink use/cost.