Help me find the perfect colour laser printer for my boss
November 9, 2011 2:37 AM   Subscribe

I have been tasked with finding a new color laser printer for my boss, however he has very exacting requirements which I am finding difficulty in satisfying so I thought I would turn to the hive mind for help on this one.

Anyway first and foremost he is using a Mac running Snow Leopard and probably Lion in the near future so the first requirement has to be rock-solid reliability on a Mac.

Secondly he wants a medium load capable networked color laser printer which has to be reasonably quiet in operation as it will be located in his office. By reasonably quiet I don't mean silent or whisper quiet but the current printer he has (An HP Laserjet 2500) sounds like a truck driving past every time he tries to print, it also has a nasty habit of grinding away to itself for no apparent reason which is very distracting for him.

Thirdly he wants the printer to be reasonably economical to run. It seems like the low to mid-end HP laserjets all use cartridges with fairly low capacity yields - around 2000 pages per cartridge. The initial outlay cost of the printer isn't as important as the ongoing costs of the cartridges - he is quite happy to pay more upfront if the cartridge capacity is say 8000 page yield or higher.

Finally our IT department would *prefer* HP but that is not set in stone provided I can justify a different make.

As a guide I thought the HP 3525 would have been ideal but I've seen a number of reviews that it is quite noisy in operation. I was also looking at the Epson Aculaser 3900N as cartridge yields on that seem very high for a reasonable price but our IT manager has warned me that Epson have a nasty habit of increasing cartridge costs for older models when newer ones come out. Another option I've been considering is the new HP Laserjet Enterprise 500 M551 which on paper looks perfect but I've yet to see any reviews and I don't know how noisy this one is going to be. If anyone has one any feedback would be very helpful.

Anyway, any and all suggestions gratefully received.
posted by empedia to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Have you considered any of the Brother lasers? They have high yield cartridges, sit silent most of the time, and print quickly then shut up.
posted by scruss at 4:48 AM on November 9, 2011

I'm not using color right now, but I have to second the Brother. I just switched after years on an HP, and I am still amazed by how quiet it is, both in use and warming up. They also have slightly cheaper cartridges, with options for high or low yield. It has a variety of networking options, and the price point on all their models is slightly lower than comparable HPs.

I can't speak to how they work with Macs.
posted by freshwater at 5:23 AM on November 9, 2011

My Brother HL4150 is quiet when it's not printing, works with my Mac, and uses separate color cartridges so you only have to replace what's out. Brother printer's rock.
posted by Runes at 6:01 AM on November 9, 2011

I have this Brother, which has been discontinued but there are a few similar current models. It works pretty much flawlessly on my all Mac home network, both with a direct connection to one computer and over wifi for the other. I have not used it with Lion yet but earlier versions are fine. I found the duplexing feature to be more useful than expected (and saves paper) but you can get one without it, and there are high capacity (4000-page) cartridges available. I haven't actually checked to see if I am getting the advertised yields from the cartridges but my gut feeling is that they are lasting longer than advertised.
posted by TedW at 6:31 AM on November 9, 2011

n-thing the Brother recommendation. I've used a number of color laser printers, and when I decided to purchase one for home not long ago, I settled on the Brother HL4150-CDN and have been very pleased. It's fast, accurate, reasonably quiet, and comes standard with duplexing and wired network support. The box (which I had to keep because my cats like to play in it... X) says it's compatible with the various flavors of Windoze as well as Mac. Personally, I'm using it with Ubuntu Linux, so I know it also works fine with that. XD I think I paid $175 for it on sale at Staples. And it came with a set of normal toner cartridges - not those lame "starter" things.
posted by Death by Ugabooga at 7:13 AM on November 9, 2011

Does your boss need MFP (copy/scan/fax) or duplex ?

I don't know the cartridge load, but I really like my canon MF 8350 cdn printer. It sleeps, the print is not terribly noisy, it's networked..
posted by k5.user at 7:46 AM on November 9, 2011

nth-ing Brother. Their driver support is fantastic. I run a mixture of operating systems at home (Windows, Mac and Linux) and support for all 3 operating systems is solid.

I'm not running a color laser (I'm running a HL-2270DW, which is a monochrome laser), so I can't give you a recommendation.

My office used to use a HP 2600dn, which is widely-regarded as one of HP's finest color networked laser printers. They're EOL, but if you can find one they are a good bargain.
posted by titantoppler at 7:55 AM on November 9, 2011

One thing to be aware of concerning Brother laser printers is the drum. Unlike the HP (and Canon) laser printers, the Brother laser printers have a separate drum which will have to be replaced. At the least its after 20,000 pages, usually more. It's not something to worry about for awhile, but can be an unexpected expense down the road.

HP also uses some ceramic components in their units that handle the heat of the laser printing process a bit better.

The HP CP3525dn hits a lot of your needs, especially high page yield.

Lexmark is nice too, very well rated lasers and fantastic customer service.
posted by super16 at 12:03 AM on November 10, 2011

Thanks for all your answers. I will run the Brother options by our IT manager.

Super16 - do you actually have the CP3525dn - if so how noisy is it when idle and also when in use?
posted by empedia at 2:17 AM on November 11, 2011

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