Help me print high quality posters from the comfort of my own office!
February 3, 2015 4:50 PM   Subscribe

I need to buy a new printer for work. It must: (1) print high quality posters up to 11 x 17 inches. (2) cost < $500.

Right now in my office the only printer we have that will handle 11 x 17 documents is the HP OfficeJet 7110. It is a generally well-reviewed printer, as far as I can tell, but I find it TERRIBLE. It takes forever, the color is WAY off and faded, and it looks like I'm doing a "draft" print even when I set it to the highest quality. This is the case even when I print photos on special HP photo paper.

So I end up using our HP Laserjet Pro 400 to make small 8 1/2 x 11 posters most of the time, because it's faster and more importantly the quality much higher. Crisper, bolder colors and a much closer match to what I see on my screen.

I know very little about printers. I understand how laser vs. inkjet printers work, but I don't know what's better for my needs. I most often use 80 lb. paper, if that makes a difference. I feel like I must be doing something wrong. Help!
posted by Isingthebodyelectric to Technology (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We have this printer at work for 11x17. We paid around $250 (marked down from $300) for it two or three years ago. Originally we had an almost identical model with only one paper tray, but it was a pain to switch them multiple times a day, so we upgraded. It actually gets mediocre reviews but my experience has been very good. Ours is in heavy use on a daily basis and still prints quite nicely and has never given us any trouble. We go through a fair bit of ink, but again, heavy usage.

That one appears to be discontinued but this one is very similar to what we have. There's also a one-tray version of that too and it seems to get better reviews.
posted by futureisunwritten at 5:04 PM on February 3, 2015

I'm not really an expert on printers, but I would ask: have you compared the total cost of ownership of this kind of printer with the cost of subcontracting the work out to a local printing company? (I think some FedEx and UPS locations will do this, for instance). I used to print full-color 11x17 art projects off at Kinkos for pocket change.

It may well be that owning makes more sense for you. But given the costs of supplies and ongoing maintenance, it might make sense to hand this off to someone else. Just a thought.
posted by doctor tough love at 7:35 PM on February 3, 2015

Here's an enthusiastic NYT review of a printer that I believe would fit your needs.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 6:16 AM on February 4, 2015

What futureisunwritten said. The Brother printers are doing very well on bang-for-the-buck.
posted by Goofyy at 8:40 AM on February 4, 2015

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