Recommendations for the Dismal Peripheral
December 26, 2011 10:06 PM   Subscribe

Please recommend a small, reliable printer for around $100, but by all means, go higher if you think non-shit just doesn't exist at that price.

This is for a person that has an older polycarbonate MacBook. I don't know what's good in printers these days (and in fact, hate printers and wish for the time when they are entirely obsolete to come to pass), so I was hoping you would know.

Other details:

- Color isn't necessary.
- Printing over wifi would be really nice, but not necessary.
- The same goes for printing from an iPad via AirPrint.
- Laser would be great, but I'm guessing it's not available in that price range.
- Doesn't need to print larger than US Letter size.
- They previously had a Canon Pixma that broke down.
posted by ignignokt to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You can print from iPad by running an AirPrint server on one of your computers; I do this. You can also share a printer over wifi from a connected computer. (I don't have a printer recommendation other than to watch out for cheap printers with expensive ink.)
posted by katrielalex at 10:17 PM on December 26, 2011

Best answer: AirPrint Activator will let you print to a shared printer from iOS devices. You can enable printer sharing from System Preferences. This opens up many more printer options than just HP, which tend to be overpriced, IMHO.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:30 PM on December 26, 2011

I bought a SAMSUNG ML-1865w wireless laser printer at Newegg when they were on sale during black friday for $40--I see they're now back to $110. It's a decent printer for the class. No Airprint, but you can use one of the third party software solutions for that.

Basically, what I'd do in your shoes is check the printer category on and then setup an email alert, and wait for something decent to come by within your budget. I suspect it'll take less than a week or two to find something good. (Make sure you read some reviews.)
posted by danny the boy at 11:45 PM on December 26, 2011

I really like my little monochrome Brother laser printer. It's speedy, has a very small footprint, and prints duplex without my having to flip anything over. I print to it from a wifi network from both Macs and Windows machines but don't know if it's AirPrint compatible.

The same printer is highly recommended by Patrick Rhone at Minimal Mac.
posted by nrobertson at 12:21 AM on December 27, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I would buy... Another Cannon Pixma. No really, I know the last one broke, but it's only 20$ on NewEgg: at that point you do the happy dance because treating printers as consumable items is actually easier than trying to buy a sturdy one and maintaining it as it ages.
posted by anaelith at 6:38 AM on December 27, 2011

+1 Brother laser printer. I have a version of this & it's great. Ink is expensive, but lasts forever. Also learn the "tape over the ink window" hack.
posted by MesoFilter at 9:24 AM on December 27, 2011

+1 on Brother printer. I have a fancier version of this that does color and it has been so awesome. I am getting to have some brand loyalty to Brother between this one and may label printer that got gooped with battery acid so I opened it up and washed the insides and now it has worked awesome for over a year more!

-l on anaelith. Unless you are being sarcastic, that is a terrible way to go about things!
posted by JayNolan at 10:59 AM on December 27, 2011

No, I'm dead serious. I expect to get 3 years out of the 20$ Pixma, on average. Do you expect 15 years from your 100$ printer? (How many people do you know who are just getting rid of printers from 1997--and who don't hate that printer yet?) Do you expect no advances in technology in the next 15 years (for example, your 15 year old printer definitely does not print wirelessly!)? For home use, a longer-lasting printer is a poor investment.
posted by anaelith at 12:33 PM on December 27, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, guys! Great suggestions. I'm going to recommend both the $100 Brother and the $20 Pixma and let them decide if they want to go for quality or extremely low price.
posted by ignignokt at 3:21 PM on December 27, 2011

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