Please recommend a home office printer.

I’ve gotten tons of great recommendations for products on the SDMB, and I don’t see why this should be any different.

Long story short, I quit my job and am going back to school full-time. I need an all-in-one printer at home. This printer should:

[ul]
[li]Print color with reasonable quality[/li][li]Print black and white text with reasonable speed[/li][li]Have Wi-Fi capabilities[/li][li]Work effortlessly with both PC and Mac (Ubuntu would be nice too, but not necessary)[/li][li]Be able to scan and copy (feeder scanning is preferable; I don’t care about faxing)[/li][li]Not cost a fortune in ink[/li][/ul]
Also, I’d prefer inkjet to keep the cost down, but if a really good argument can be made for laserjet, I could go that route. I’m looking to spend no more than $160.

Consumer Reports listed the HP Photosmart 7520 as their best recommendation, however, a lot of people have complained on Apple’s shopping website that HP’s software utilities are complete crap and that the Wi-Fi loses connection every hour. Consumer Reports’ user ratings also aggregate at 2/5 stars. Does anyone have opinions about this model?

In general, can you recommend any good home office printers based on the above criteria? Thank you so much.

The line of printers you’re looking at now is where I’ll probably go if the color laser in our office ever dies. I’m not up on how each specific model varies, but they’re solid printers and the long-run cost of consumables is much more reasonable than a lot of inkjets. I see a review that says $0.05/page for black and white for the Photosmart 7520.

However, if you do any kind of volume printing, I really think you need a laser printer. My office’s main printer is a Brother HL-5370DNT and the cost per page is something in the $0.005 range (we usually buy cheap off-brand toner; it’s still $0.01 even if you insist on name brands). It only cost us about $300.

Brother has some cheaper models available. Last year, Costco had an online deal for a Brother printer capable of duplexing for under $100. If you bought that as a second printer, it’d only take 2,500 pages to pay for itself in toner savings. Every office is different, so I’ll leave the final value calculation up to you.

I’m mainly using the printer to print written assignments for school, so I can’t really see myself needing a laserjet. If it’s a choice between price and quality, I’d rather go for quality (within reason).

I would look past consumer-grade stuff at HP’s business-grade inkjets. I have a K550 which has almost absurdly low ink costs and will churn out pages near the quality and almost as fast as its big brother HP5550dn (office-grade 12x18 color laser). You will spend a little more, but instead of a shoddy little box that eats expensive micro-cartridges and is forever jamming and needing a cleaning cycle, you’ll get something near laser quality, reliability and page cost.

Under no circumstances - none - should you buy an all-in-one of any kind.

Thank you. I am currently reviewing the business-grade models now.

Why shouldn’t I buy an all-in-one?

I think you’ll find the extra money - which need not be much, if you shop carefully and buy your choice from a good online discounter - well spent in print quality, longevity and reduced hassles.

Because hardly anyone needs fax capability any more; combining two or three functions doubles or triples the way the device can fail; the scanners are usually second rate even compared to your basic under $100 models; and most have expensive cartridges, second-rate printing abilities, or both.

Buy the best printer you can afford, a scanner if you need one, and use Kinko’s or your local library for fax should you ever need it. :slight_smile:

the advantages of an all-in-one (with or without the fax function) is desk space, for the purpose of a few copies it also is a standalone photocopier.

it is true that parts and functions can fail.

i bought an older model new and it does a good enough job scanning even with the machine has no ink. i got a newer model, working as a give away, because it also had a fax function; when i turn it on all it will do is tell me it needs ink and refuses to scan or fax until it is fed.

What sort of colour printing are you going to be doing? If it’s charts and the like then go for a colour laser, something like a Laserjet Pro 200; if photos then an inkjet. I am very happy with my Canon Pixma inkjet printer.

And, of course, research cartridge costs for ANY printer. The smaller, techier and more feature-laden, the more likely it uses cartridges that will bankrupt you. Smaller color laser printers tend to have horrifying page costs. Find a model that uses the most widely-used, most-cloned, OEM-option cartridges and you’ll likely do well.

Sorry for the delay in response. I haven’t been home all weekend.

I predict that initially 85-90% of my printing will be black and white text for written assignments. The rest will likely involve color charts and graphs. As I progress through school, I see myself having to do a lot of PowerPoint presentations.

We just bought an Epson all-in-one nodel WF4520 after owning two HP all-in-ones which sucked mightily. We were able to set up the Epson and link it to our wireless network and print to it from four different devices (two laptops, two tablets) in about the time it took to try to try to find the page in the HP “owner’s manual” that might (but didn’t) explain wireless printing. I would not recommend an HP printer to anyone. So far I love the Epson, even though parts of the book were apparently written by a non native speaker. Why is tech writing so horrid? Sorry, off topic. Take a look at the Epson.

ETA it’s inkjet.
I also want to say that I figured out how to scan with the Epson in under five minutes. I NEVER figured out how to scan with the HP. A couple of times I succeeded by accident but I never did figure it out.

Sounds like a colour laser printer is the way to go.

Some of the ‘entry level’ desktop/small office colour laser printers are no more economical than inkjets. Because they are pitched as competitors against the top end of the consumer inkjet market, they often use similar pricing tactics (cheap initial cost, small, expensive refills).

I’d probably still recommend a laser if the output is not to include photos, just because the quality and durability of printing often looks a bit more professional.

My personal preference for all-purpose home printing is: inkjet, but before buying, make sure you can get third party refillable cartridges and bulk ink for it - then the cost is very reasonable - less than 1/20th of the normal running costs for inkjet.
Or you could go for an after-market continual ink system, but these look to me a bit likely to fail and make a horrible mess.

Good to hear (I just ordered one).

Ink cartridges are quite pricey ($75 for a complete replacement set), but there are “compatible” non-OEM cartridges with chips that are supposed to work well with the machine and cost less than half as much.

Printer costs are pretty much irrelevant - it’s the ink that manufacturers make profits on.

I’ve found, with almost no exception, that 3rd-party cartridges produce 3rd-rate results… moreso for refills. Lessened imaging quality, more frequent printing faults (blobs and whiteouts), early failure, leakage, mess.

It’s completely foolish to buy a printer and expect to run it cheap on anything but OEM or OEM-quality refills. If you’re a student or a business with completely undemanding print needs, maybe. The OP needs good photo quality; that’s not going to happen (at least, not with any consistency) from compatibles and refills.

Pay somewhat more for the printer to get a model that uses a “commodity” cartridge, then buy your refills from the cheapest online source you can find - I end up at TheNerds.net about nine times out of ten. If you can’t afford OEM cartridges, you’re probably buying the wrong printer. It’s not a lot unlike buying a high performance car and expecting to put retreads on it and lawnmower oil in it.

didn’t read all, so:

If inkjet:
Get ink and syringes to refill. Note the ink can be used in many different models across mfg’s.

I have a Fry’s Electronics nearby - they are just the right size for this:
Watch for stacks of “refurbs” being sold for $30-50. Pick up a couple.

These cheapies will work for 4-5 years with luck. The carts can be refilled about twice.

Once you decide the thing has all the tape (to hold covers closed - the switches fail and give you error messages) and the ink build-up is excessive, toss it and plug in the next.
When youve plugged in the last, start watching for stacks of refurbs…

Unless you want to spend serious money for commercial grade equipment, any “home office” item will fail with 10 years. The money is now in the ink, not the printer, so I go cheap.

My first ink jet was a HP 850 ($500, early 90’s). It was well built and put up with great abuse (I duplicated VHS and CD products - 4 each, with full color jackets, probably 50 of each). The HP 8xx series were the last of the ‘expensive printer, cheap ink’ I saw at a big box.

Once somebody came up with a cheap printer/expensive ink model, everybody jumped on board.