Recommend a low-end inkjet printer

Well, the Epson Stylus Photo 700 that we got free from a friend a couple of years ago appears to have finally given up the ghost, and it’s time to think about a new printer, so i thought i’d ask for some recommendations.

Here are the general uses and requirements:
[li]we print fairly regularly, but not every day by any means, and there are times when the printer may sit unused for up to a week.[/li][li]about 95% of the printing done in this house is standard black-on-white text documents (Word, Acrobat, etc.). The only color printing we do is some basic web images, Google Maps and stuff like that. I have a digital camera, but am not really interested in a photo-capable printer right now.[/li][li]the printer should ideally have a pretty small footprint, as my desk is a bit crowded; definitely no bigger than the current Epson.[/li][li]i think a USB interface would be good; the SCSI interface on the current printer seems to be slow and a pain in the ass (actually, are any printers even sold with SCSI nowdays?).[/li][li]acceptable levels of ink usage. I remember reading that some brands of inkjet printer are notorious for dumping shitloads of ink during the startup and head-cleaning process.[/li][li]low cost [/li][li]speed of printing isn’t too much of an issue; just about anything would be faster than the current Epson, and we’re not usually in a rush or printing huge documents anyway[/ul][/li]Based on these criteria, if anyone has any recommendations or brands to avoid, i’d love to hear it.

I have a Hewlett Packard psc 2410, which is something like this one – which is amazingly cheap and has good consumer reviews.

It prints faster than the one I have at work and an ink cartridge lasts forever. I love it. I’ve used mine for 3 years without any problems.

The recent Epsons are pretty good and generally dirt cheap (up until you have to buy ink refills). You can buy an “all-in-one” copy/scanner/printer for something like $70.00 right now. The R200 is a very good photo printer and is usually on sale for around $90.00, but you can sometimes get significant rebates on them. (Sadly, I once bought an extra one because buying a new printer for $50.00 after rebate was cheaper than buying all six new ink cartridges.)

Thanks for the advice, but i guess that we might have different definitions of what “amazingly cheap” means when it comes to inkjet printers. The cheapest i found for an HP PSC2410 was about $250, which is about $150 more than i want to spend.

Well, that’s part of the equation for me. I am willing to spend a little more on the printer itself if i can get one that won’t cost a fortune in ink. It’s a matter of balancing printer cost, ink cost, and ink usage. Also, i do have a certain moral objection to buying printers that are effectively disposable, costing less than their ink cartridges.

I’ve looked at a bunch of reviews online, and unfortunately most reviews don’t seem to have any details about how long an ink cartridge lasts, or how many sheets you can expect to print before it runs out.

A few reviews that i read suggested that Canon printers, while a little more expensive than some of their counterparts (HP, Epson, etc.), tend to be cheaper on ink. If anyone knows anything about this, i’d love to hear about it.

Ah, but the one in the link (similar to the 2410) was just over $100, and it does as much as my 2410. $100 is pretty reasonable, for an all-in-one machine.

Yeah, $100 would be fine for a decent printer. But i’m not sure which one you’re recommending, as your link takes me to a page with 24 printers on it.

Do you mean the first one, the HP Officejet 5610?

If you can survive without color printing, Samsung sells some inexpensive laser printers (in the $100 to $150 range). They have pretty small footprints and are excellent for black and white documents. Toner is a lot cheaper per page than inkjet ink.

Just DON’T get a Lexmark. Cheap, moderately good print quality, and ink cartridges that last 35 nanoseconds.

I’ve had good luck with HP Photosmart printers. The 73XX had good reviews when I bought mine. There are certainly newer models now.

Yep. Sorry about that.

And ditto on what Waverly said about the Lexmark. The ones I’ve worked with were terrible.

Funny, when i read you post i had just started thinking about whether a cheap laser printer might be a good option. I talked with my wife, and we decided that we really can live without color printing, especially for the speed and convenience of a laser printer.

Seeing your recommendation, i looked at some reviews of Samsung’s cheap laser printers, and ended up going with the Samsung ML-2010. At most places it’s over $100 (e.g., $130 at CompUSA), but Newegg had it for $100, as well as a $50 rebate, so assuming that i email the rebate in on time, the printer will cost $50.

Also, they had a combo deal where i got an extra $10 off by ordering a toner cartridge with the printer. The cartridge cost $70, but the reviews suggested that it should get up to 5,000 text pages on a single cartridge. Even if it only gets 2000, that’s only about 3.5c per page fpr a cartridge, which is better than i’ve been getting out of our old inkjet.

The review sites i found all had very nice things to say about the Samsung (e.g. 1 2 3). The main criticisms were directed at the fact that it’s not really good enough for business use, and that graphics reproduction isn’t great, but for home use and for printing text (exactly what we need it for) it seems to be just the thing.

The 261 customer reviews on NewEgg are also almost uniformly positive, and the printer averages a 5 egg rating.

Thanks for the advice everyone. The Samsung should arrive early next week, and if it doesn’t live up to expectations you can be sure that i’ll be back here to bitch about it.

Don’t buy Epson if the printer is going to be lying idle for any length of time; unlike most other inkjets, the print heads are not part of the cartridge; they’re part of the printer. The upshot of this is twofold; a) if they get clogged, you’re screwed and b) Epson realises this and the printers run frequent prophylactic head cleaning cycles, wasting lots and lots of expensive ink.

I’ll suggest something out of the ordinary here…find on Ebay or through a friend someone who has an old HP Deskjet 810c. They’re not huge, not small, but here’s the thing…they came out before the trend of just throwing away ink got so pervasive. I could get TONS and TONS of printing done from that printer because it wasn’t trying to be a photo quality printer or put more ink per page than some newspapers.

Also, it won’t require you to have 700MB worth of drivers and software loaded. WinXp, 2K, and Win98 should already have built-in drivers for it which will work just fine.

Mhendo - thanks for starting this thread. I’ve meant to ask the same question myself (our printer needs are almost exact matches), but kept procrastinating. Seems if you wait long enough, someone will post the same OP. I guess that is why my post count is so low! I almost feel guilty, as I’ve gone and ordered the exact same printer, from the same place - but you’ve done all the work :slight_smile: . Thanks again.

Also - I have had the exact same experience as Mangetout with my Epson. The last straw was it telling me I’m out of colored ink - and I’ve never printed any color documents. It has gone thru a buttload of ink just cleaning the printheads. And there appears to be a permanent defect in the print image due to lack of use and the print head clogging.

Ditto. I have the Epson Stylus Photo 900 (just like the OP but faster) and the damn thing was always clogged, so I finally bought a new printer for maybe 1/4 of the cost of the Epson (about 4-5 years ago) with much better functionality and better print quality (not surprising, though, for 5 years later). I bought a Canon Pixma i-something for maybe $140 and you can get Canon inkjets starting under $100.

I also recommend avoiding the Lexmarks. I got one in a bundle with an eMachines computer and it was basically toast in no time, not worth the money it would take to get it fixed.

I would also avoid Dell, for which ink cartridges are available only by mail from Dell (although apparently another company makes them for Dell and their own brand cartridges fit the Dell’s; I haven’t checked into it).

Hey, don’t feel guilty. I can’t count the number of times that i’ve benefitted from someone else’s thread on these message boards.

Just one thing: when you ordered the printer, did you order a USB cable with it?

The printer doesn’t come with a cable to connect it to your computer, so you need to fork out another $3 for a separate USB cable, like this.

Yes, I actually remebered to to get a cable (I usually forget this kind of stuff so it was odd that I remembered). I didn’t get the toner combo tho, figured I could always get one on e-bay after the original runs out (I assume it does come with one, right?). I can’t, however, print the rebate coupon till I get the printer (or maybe I can print it from work if I remeber). My Epson C84 won’t let me print anything becuase it is out of color ink. Hey Epson - how about on option to print in black/white/grey scale so you still print if your color runs out? I still rember the good old days of dot matrix printers. Slow as crap but tough as hell. I think I had the same Dot Matrix for 10+ years.

Well, when i bought the printer i assumed that the answer was “no,” and that i had to buy the cartridge separately. Looking at the pictures of the printer contents on the NewEgg website, though, seems to suggest that there is, indeed, a cartridge with the printer.

If there is, then i’ll have two. We’ll never run out of toner.

You probably did use colour ink without realising it, and not just for keeping the print heads clean; Epson (maybe others too) uses the colour inks to in conjunction with the black - supposedly either to make it dry faster (how?) or to make it blacker (in which case, how did mono inkjets manage?)

I’ve related the story many times before, so I won’t go into too much detail this time; I have disassembled many Epson inkjets for fun, profit and revenge; in my estimation up to half the total ink ever installed in the machine ends up in the waste ink reservoir, having been used to clean or ‘charge’ the print heads.

Lexmark indeed fellates with great allacrity. They gave them to us at work so that we would buy the ink. Mrs. PLant bought one for $25.00; the color ink, sold separately was $30.00
I’ve been buying this guy at work. He’s monochrome, but a laser. Beautiful quality, cheaper per page than a bubble jet. He is also networkable. Not just sharable over a windows network mind you, but networkable in that he will plug into a switch or router and may be seen and used by every PC in the joint if you so desire.

After looking around, i found out that the printer does indeed come with a toner cartridge, but it’s apparently a “starter” cartridge" that will only print about 1,000 pages, compared to the 3-4,000 of the full-sized cartridges.