Need a printer, stat
May 30, 2020 1:09 PM   Subscribe

My older all in one printer has officially just kicked the bucket, and I need a replacement pretty quickly. I'm having trouble sorting out printer wheat from chaff and need your recommendations. Mac OS.

I've looked through lots of printer questions, and reviews, but it seems like there's always some kind of terrible reviews for anything I think might work, often related to not working with iMacs. I bought an HP all in one color inkjet many years ago when I first started working from home and had to scan and fax things. Mostly now I just use it to print text documents and labels for stuff I'm getting rid of on eBay, and it's used very sporadically and often sits for weeks without use. So black and white is just fine, preferred really, so I don't have to pay for color inks and heads.

I'd like something that will work reliably, as I suck at troubleshooting, and I'd love to not have to pay the extortionate prices of replacement inks just because some evil corporation says that I now have to change my ink so they can make money. But I realize that might not be possible these days. I'm not exactly rolling in dough, but if something great costs a bit more, I'll deal. A laser printer is fine, and I don't really need wi-fi ability, it would sit next to my desktop with a cable to my computer, though if it works that way, it's fine.

Ease of setup and use is paramount, as I'm just really shitty at this sort of stuff and increasingly disabled from arthritis, and can't have anyone in to set it up. It has to work with Mac OS 10 whatever--I'm using High Sierra right now, and hope to for a while longer. I kinda hate HP, but I know they bought someone else out, I can't remember which company, so I'm resigned to that maybe being something I'm stuck with. (Also, please don't tell me about your great printer that is no longer available, that's too frustrating since I need this soon. If you know of a similar model that is, though, that's cool.) Ideally I could get this from Staples, but if I have to go Amazon, I will.
posted by kitten kaboodle to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Brother laser printer. Cheap, invincible, works fine with Macs.
posted by kindall at 1:20 PM on May 30 [14 favorites]

The answer here, and in my personal experience, is Brother.
posted by Candleman at 2:11 PM on May 30

Brother, all the way.

Here's one:
posted by jgirl at 2:15 PM on May 30

Coming in to also say Brother. Love mine!!
posted by pearlybob at 2:37 PM on May 30

The only reason to get an inkjet would be if you cared about color printing and a color laser printer was too expensive.

I just ordered this one a couple days ago:

I'm replacing an older (now discontinued) Brother printer that was reliable for years, but broke during a move. In that time I think I had to replace the toner cartridge once.

It was very easy to install on MacOS - literally just plug in the cable and add it through the System Preferences menu. Any of us could lead you through those steps if you needed it.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 2:42 PM on May 30

Brother! Don't bother with wifi, just get one with a cable. Make sure you know when you buy one that it does or does not come with a cable.Enjoy your no-bullshit printer. They just work. I have an older version of this one (note: does not come with cable and also does not have wifi).
posted by jessamyn at 3:05 PM on May 30

My partner has had a brother laser black and white for four years now and we both like it.
posted by bilabial at 3:35 PM on May 30

If Black/White laser printer (with or without scanning or 2 sided printing) is something you can do, Brother is the equivalent to the opposite of DTMFA.
posted by zengargoyle at 4:29 PM on May 30

Nthing the Brother laser printer recommended by multiple people in this thread; while I wouldn't say it's been problem free (the WiFi printing feature doesn't work on my network anymore for some reason, so I have it hooked up directly instead, and I'd probably get the wi-fi-less version if I had to buy it again) it's been the least troublesome printer I've ever owned. If all you need is b/w prints, it performs very well, and the fact that it has a built-in duplex printing pushes it over the top for me. I use mine very sporadically, and I never have to worry about clogged inkjet heads or whatever letting it sit for weeks or months at a time. I bought mine 5 years ago and only changed the toner cartridge it came with a few months ago.

I use Windows, so I can't speak to the experience with MacOS, but it officially supports it so I imagine it'd do fine.
posted by Aleyn at 5:11 PM on May 30

Okay, the rare mefi consensus seems to be Brother! Unfortunately, had to go to Amazon since Staples is out of stock, but hopefully I should have this in time for the next label printing.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 5:45 PM on May 30

So it was before and so shall it be again. WiFi sucks but it's the Wake-on-LAN that home routers don't do well or are misconfigured and don't handle well and the time that it takes for the toner fuser to heat up. It's probably fixable and is some shite that your WiFi does to protect you... WiFi sucks in general, and WiFi that you don't configure yourself sucks worse. But mostly works except when it doesn't.

If it's a network (Ethernet/WiFi) printer of the modern age and it works with MacOS, it's probably based on CUPS and will work with anything that supports the Common Unix Based Printing System. If the printer doesn't do that and is Windows only, avoid like the plague unless you really really need it and run Windows.

Look to MacOS/Linux/not-Windows reviews and pick things that work on standards and you'll be happier in the end. It's only crap that doesn't work with everything that you have to worry about buyer's regret and owning a piece of crap that costs you $$.
posted by zengargoyle at 5:52 PM on May 30

I bought a brother all-in-one laser a few years ago on mefi advice as it was on sale, and it has been my best printer ever, so +1 to all the get-you-a-brother replies.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 10:16 PM on May 30

We bought and installed a Brother ink jet about two weeks ago. The wifi setup was easy. The hardest part was temporarily linking the printer to the main computer with a USB cable (not supplied but I had a suitable one). This is an alternative to finding and entering a serial number manually. After that, linking to various Windows, Android, and IOS devices was trivial.

The Brother utilities seem simpler and less powerful than the HP utilities for the previous printer.
posted by SemiSalt at 5:17 AM on May 31

Brother all the way.
posted by kathrynm at 8:19 AM on May 31

Though my earlier post in this thread correctly recommended Brother, I hope they have made the network setup easier. When I set up my HL-2280DW, I had to enter the WiFi password using arrow keys. That wouldn't have been so bad except the display doesn't scroll and my password is long, so I had to enter the last few characters of the password completely blind (counting presses of the up-arrow to get to the characters I needed). It did eventually work, though.
posted by kindall at 10:18 AM on June 1

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