Good basic printer/scanner?
August 26, 2018 5:47 PM   Subscribe

What are latest recommendations on a RELIABLE printer/scanner for a new law student who uses MacBook Pro's? Don't want to spend a fortune. Something I can pick up at Best Buy, for example (not interested in internet purchase at the moment). Don't need color particularly. Really looking for personal recommendations; obviously I can research this on internet sites.
posted by DMelanogaster to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The standard rec is what ever Brother laser printer is there. They are bulletproof, people tend to like them. The one I am using right now is the HL-2170W. Fast. I can't always get ti to print wirelessly but otherwise Just Works. This seems to be the one that BestBuy has but you can also buy them at Walmart. (note: NOT those crappy all in ones, just a B&W laser printer)
posted by jessamyn at 6:22 PM on August 26, 2018 [4 favorites]

Get a laser printer, rather than an inkjet. Brother makes some good all-in-one models, and after fighting with two different inkjets (because they're nominally cheaper) in my first year of law school, I got a Brother Laser printer that actually worked. I still printed out some really big summaries and my bar prep materials at Staples, though, because it was so much faster and quieter.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:22 PM on August 26, 2018

Another vote for a new Brother Laser printer, and a scan app for your phone. I like CamScan as a scanning app.
posted by Thella at 6:27 PM on August 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

I've had a cheap ($100) Brother laser printer since my first year of grad school (2010). It was $100, I feed it about a toner cartridge a year (your milage may vary) and it's been great.

I used to keep a real scanner around, but frankly, a decent paid app on your smartphone will do any scanning you need, aside from film.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 6:33 PM on August 26, 2018

$100 Brother, no question, all other printers suck.
posted by aramaic at 6:38 PM on August 26, 2018 [2 favorites]

Oh gosh sorry I skipped the scanning question. Sort of depends on what sort of volume you are looking at (i.e. document feeder or no?) but I prefer ones with feeders. I mostly use my phone. Brother does have pretty decent cost scanners as well.
posted by jessamyn at 6:39 PM on August 26, 2018

I have the previous generation of this Brother printer/scanner. If you’re going to scan a lot, you could get the version with the feed tray, but the one without the feeder works great for my occasional light scanning (or copying) needs.

As someone who often has students papers that they “scanned” with their phones, I would implore you to get a real scanner. My experience is that those “scans” are not nearly as good as the senders think they are.
posted by Betelgeuse at 6:58 PM on August 26, 2018 [1 favorite]

Nthing the Brother laser printer. Since you’ll be printing a lot, a model with double sided printing is something to consider. Also, you may want to look for a model that supports AirPrint to make wireless printing from Mac as easy as possible.

I’ve had two of these printers, and the only reason I replaced the first one is because I wanted two-sided printing when I went back to school for my masters degree.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 7:08 PM on August 26, 2018

I have the Brother HL-2280 printer/scanner that lots of people recommended when it was in production, and it's annoying me right now -- vertical streaks on prints when it says the toner cartridge and drum are good, and the cost of a new cartridge and drum equals what I paid for the printer -- but you should still get whatever Brother model is in production now, because even with its annoyances it sucks less than other printer options.

We will eventually have flying cars and printers will still suck.
posted by holgate at 9:04 PM on August 26, 2018

Former law student here, concurring that the Brother B&W laser printer's your best bet. Keep in mind that the law school library will have printing capability and is certainly the best and most reliable way to go for any larger-volume print jobs. Same's true for scanning. A home printer's only really handy for the occasional smaller print job. (This stuff's included in tuition and fees, and there's no refund if you fail to use the school's services.)

I didn't have to buy toner through all of law school; the toner cartridge my printer came with lasted three years while printing semi-regularly.
posted by asperity at 9:38 PM on August 26, 2018

Keep in mind that the law school library will have printing capability and is certainly the best and most reliable way to go for any larger-volume print jobs. Same's true for scanning.

This is exactly what I came to say, from the same perspective. Our university page allotments were incredibly generous. Take advantage of that. No affordable home printer is going to do really great at printing off 300 pages at a time, they're just not made for that.

Similarly, for the volume of scanning you're really going to need to do, the library's sheet fed scanning is going to be faster, and its flatbed scanning is going to have better quality. Your law student is going to be spending a huge quantity of the first year in the library anyway.

Not to say not to get a printer for at home, but don't worry about higher capacity stuff, and I'd probably skip the scanner entirely because we didn't even have page limits for those.
posted by Sequence at 5:51 AM on August 27, 2018

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