Good enough color printer/scanner
May 12, 2017 3:07 PM   Subscribe

Periodically, I need to scan in a slightly crisper fashion than TinyScan on my smartphone, and periodically it would be nice to be able to print something in color, just for personal use. I see that color multi-function printers have now dropped to $100 or less. What's good these days?

My regular workhorse printer is the beloved Brother 2270DW wireless laser, so I am well and happily covered for hardcore printing and duplexing and such.

Wireless would be nice, but I do have a spot by the router if wired/networked is the way to go.

I would like to land somewhere in the midrange of color ink bullshittery. Like, I live in a major urban area, I can get ink overnight or probably nearly 24 hours a day in an emergency, but I would prefer not to spend $100 for a suite of ink that dries up if I don't print for a month.
posted by Lyn Never to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I don't really have much input on a specific brand/model, but I would suggest looking at the Target Cartwheel app, which frequently had great deals on printers (sometimes up to 50% off) and sometimes ink. Right now there's an HP at 25% off and an XP at 15% off. I have a lower-end HP which I use only medium-frequently and haven't had dry ink problems.
posted by charmcityblues at 3:23 PM on May 12, 2017

I have used probably five cheap ink jet printers of the sort you're describing in the last 8 years. Off the top of my head, an HP, a Brother and an Epson. They all had the problem with ink drying up. I think it was the HP that wouldn't scan when it was out of ink, but I'm not sure. My choice is a relatively inexpensive multi-function B/W laser printer for scanning and living near a Staples for colour printing.
posted by jacquilynne at 5:49 PM on May 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

FWIW, my workhorse printer is the Canon MX870 purchased at Costco a few years ago. In addition to standard family printing, my daughter went through her Master's Degree using our printer. I get the genuine Canon cartridges through Amazon at I believe a reasonable price, never had a problem so far.
posted by forthright at 5:54 PM on May 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Canon Pixma's are good. My father's lasted 10 years after he died, and I don't know how long he owned it before he died, but it was quite a while.

I get my ink refilled at Costco for about $7 per cartridge.
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:08 PM on May 12, 2017

Canons are nice. There are also some newer Epsons which come with several years of ink for a reasonable price.
posted by coberh at 10:21 PM on May 12, 2017

I like Canons too, and prefer them over HP & Epson.
There are a bunch of canon wireless printers and All-In-Onesunder $100, so not going to try to pick one for you. But some tips:
- To prevent ink heads from drying out, keep it ON all the time (I know...but inks are expensive). And each time you turn it on it uses a lot of extra ink to start up.
- If you don't print color much, at least run a color test page or print a foto once a week to maintain it.
- I buy compatible inks, not canons. Search 'Skia'. They've worked perfectly for me for less $.
posted by artdrectr at 11:50 PM on May 12, 2017

I agree with the Canon recommendation. Our Canon Pixma is head and shoulders ahead of any all-in-one that we've had. We buy the ink through Amazon, and it's not crazy expensive--definitely cheaper than our similar HP.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:52 PM on May 13, 2017

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