How to I choose which printer to buy for my home and home-office?
July 23, 2016 7:49 AM   Subscribe

I am in the market for a new printer for my new home office. Specifications and limitations below the fold. Your recommendations and experiences would be most appreciated.

I would like the printer to have the following properties:
Monocrome printing, ideally double-sided.
Wireless printing from any laptop, desktop, tablet or phone.
Cartridges that do not dry up when I do not print anything for a while - this was a problem with my most recent inkjet printer.
Ability to print to envelopes and address labels.

In terms of colour printing, I do not require photo-quality prints but would like to be able to print colour images. The specific example I am thinking of is colour figures from PDFs from academic journals in the life sciences.Does anyone have a suggestion for a specific model? It looks like a laser colour printer for home could be what I need. Does such a thing exist?

If it is possible, I would like to be able to scan and copy as well, and I accept that this may push the product out of my price range so it is more of a "nice-to-have" than a "must-have".

My home is connected to broadband internet and we have a router. Our computers, tablets and mobile telephones are connected to the internet via wi-fi when we are at home.

Price is less of an issue and I am most interested in finding out what the different options might be. Space is more likely to be the limiting factor than price.
posted by Erinaceus europaeus to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Get a Brother MFC all-in-one. It has scanner/fax. Black laser (no color).

Mine is a real workhorse.

All inkjets are a piece of crap.

How often do you really need color? If its photos, Walgreens and other places will print them for you cheap. And a copy shop can print full-color documents very reasonably as well.

Unless you do something really unusual, there is no need for full-color in-house (at home).
posted by yesster at 7:54 AM on July 23, 2016 [9 favorites]

Another vote for a brother laser. Printing seems to go on forever. Then when the cartridge seems to be running low, you shake it, cover up the low toner sensor with a bit of duct tape, and it continues on for a few hundred more pages.

Then when it's REALLY empty, you spend 20-40 for new cartridge, not your first born for an ink jet.

On the mfc series the fax won't work without a phone line, so that's the only feature that is unused for me. I can't speak to their color printer line as I have only a bw printer, but if the quality is anything like the bw you're set.
posted by Karaage at 8:02 AM on July 23, 2016

I also immediately came into say Brother Laser. I have the HL-3170CDW (though I feel like I paid $30-40 less than that through amazon) which is color, duplex, and wireless which were my three must-haves.

It isn't an all-in-one but I bought a Brother DS720D Scanner to use when I need scanning. Can't help with the faxing part, sorry, can't think of the last time I faxed something.
posted by magnetsphere at 9:05 AM on July 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yes, you need a laser printer. I have the Samsung Xpress C430W and it works fine. Color printing is pretty good. The toners are separate and you replace the one that runs low. I also have had good luck shaking the toner cartridge to get a few more miles out of it. Note that the cartridges they ship in the machine are not as full as the replacements. Don't be discouraged if it seems to run out more quickly than you expect the first time.
Address labels have always been challenging. I finally started saving the page as a PDF, then printing the PDF (using Foxit Reader) making sure to uncheck the box for Fit to Printer Margins.
posted by Tunierikson at 9:09 AM on July 23, 2016

I also recommend laser printers. In fact, it might make sense for you to get a B&W laser printer and a color inkjet if you have heavy B&W print needs and light color print needs.

Many printers are available with duplexing as a cheap add-on. Many multifunction devices are available with scanning and even duplex scanning, although depending on how much you scan, you might want to get a dedicated scanner.

My organization recently got a couple of these Canon multifunction deals. They've got "Google cloud print," which means they hook up to your network connection and you can print to them from anywhere (it took a little fiddling to get my Mac to see them over the Internet, but it does work). Because printers are considered to be about as sexy as cheese graters these days, the printer manufacturers have been trying to jazz them up with features like this, so you've got other options as well.
posted by adamrice at 9:38 AM on July 23, 2016

Very happy with my Brother HL-L2380DW. Does all you ask.
posted by achrise at 9:51 AM on July 23, 2016

I'll second the Brother HL-3170CDW (although, technically, it's not a laser printer, but an LED printer). It's a bit big and bulky, but it's been great for the few years I've had it. Just get a separate stand-alone scanner.
posted by ShooBoo at 10:23 AM on July 23, 2016

I have an Epson all in one that I got at Costco and its held up like a tank. Checks your boxes. Brother is good too. I don't like HPs.
posted by jeffamaphone at 2:36 PM on July 23, 2016

Brother's worked well for me, and for several family members to whom I've evangelized them. We've all used MFC inkjets that scan-copy-fax, but a B&W laser version of that sounds like a good fit for you. I've had great luck with Brother printers from Mac, Windows, and Linux computers.
posted by NumberSix at 8:47 PM on July 25, 2016

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