What printer should I buy?
January 26, 2011 4:10 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a printer that fits my needs. I don't really know a thing about printers.

I don't care about color and I don't need anything fancy. I just need to print out Paypal receipts for my Etsy business. The smaller the better but I don't want some cheap POS that jams up on me or gives me some kind of an error on a regular basis. Something less than $200 would be ideal. Oh and I have a PC if that matters. Thanks!
posted by MaryDellamorte to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Do you want/need it to be wireless? I'd recommend my Brother 2170 (or something like that), but it's very fussy about the network connection.
posted by Madamina at 4:16 PM on January 26, 2011

If you're only printing b&w, laser is generally faster, easier, and less of a mess. I've heard good things about this Brother.
posted by supercres at 4:17 PM on January 26, 2011

I have the same Brother printer and I love it, though it did take a bit of work to get it functional on my network.
posted by Zophi at 4:18 PM on January 26, 2011

I have a Brother HL-2140 monochrome laser printer. I've done about 2,000 pages so far in 5 months without a single jam or feed problem. At about $120 the price is hard to beat (although I thought I paid more like $80 on sale...). It takes TN360 toner which is not super cheap ($45) but reasonable for 2,000 pages. The plastic is super cheap but it holds up just fine sitting on my desk. The basic version is USB only but the wireless version other people have suggested is only a few bucks more.

How many pages will you print per month?
posted by ChrisHartley at 4:19 PM on January 26, 2011

Response by poster: I won't be printing a large volume a month. Wireless seems cool but if it's going to be a hassle, it isn't necessary. I just want a very low maintence printer. I'm liking the look of that Brother printer (both models).
posted by MaryDellamorte at 4:26 PM on January 26, 2011

I have a brother b&w laser and it took me through an entire creative writing degree without a hiccup.
posted by sugarfish at 4:33 PM on January 26, 2011

I've worked on small office and home printers for around 4 years now. I agree with ChrisHartley's suggestion entirely. You want a monochrome laser printer. Do not buy an inkjet. Wireless vs wired network vs USB is a preference and won't affect speed. What it affects is when you have multiple computers as running a print server through one computer is a PITA.

The HL-2140 has the best rating on newegg, 5 egg average (this is good!). Consider the variant printers. All of the following I believe run on the same print mechanism, and are all rated for 10,000 pages/month.

HL-2140 - Basic monochrome laser, $120
HL-2270DW - Basic monochrome laser, but with a duplexer so you can print on two sides of the paper - $140
DCP-7040 MFC - All-in-One monochrome laser, has a scanner, can do direct copying, no duplexer - $170
MFC-7840W MFC - All-in-One monochrome laser, scanner, copying and faxing, no duplexer - $210
posted by Mister Fabulous at 4:33 PM on January 26, 2011

I have a very similar Brother printer (2170 I think), and it is easily the best printer I've ever owned. No contest. It is absolutely low maintenance. It's a workhorse of a printer.
posted by Adridne at 4:33 PM on January 26, 2011

I also have the Brother HL-2140 mentioned. Its quite good and with my low volume of printing, I have not yet replaced the included test cartridge (supposed to get about 800 pages out of it). This is over the course of owning it for over a year. I got mine for ~$70 on sale at Office Max, so it does change price periodically. The cartridges are about $45 for the high volume version; however this claims 2,600 pages.

Of note, the toner warnings are fairly inaccurate. Mine triggered at ~400 pages; I'm up to around 600 printed overall now. To fix this, simply cover the sensors on the side of the toner cartridge with electric tape or similar.

Overall, I'm very satisfied with mine; obviously though if you had a need for color printing, you would need a different solution.
posted by graxe at 4:43 PM on January 26, 2011

Response by poster: It looks like I'm probably going to go with the HL-2270D model. Thanks for helping me out, this will be the first printer I've ever owned.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:46 PM on January 26, 2011

HL-2270DW is great. It is fast, duplexes, and has wired, wireless and USB connections. I think it is my 4th Brother printer, and I have never had a problem with any of them.
posted by SNACKeR at 9:22 PM on January 26, 2011

nthing the Brother HL-2140. I have the N variant, and it plugs right in to my wireless router for simple wireless network printing.
posted by Sphinx at 10:19 PM on January 26, 2011

Nthing the Brother black and white lasers, which you should be able to find for $100 or so these days.

I have two of the HL-2070N models, one in each home (the N is for network, not wireless) and no matter what I try to print from (Mac, Windows, Linux), either from direct USB or over the ethernet network, they just fucking work.

I have heard similar lovely things about the wireless-capable ones, but have no direct experience.
posted by rokusan at 12:08 AM on January 27, 2011

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