Can you recommend a color printer to replace my EpsonStylus Photo 895 printer
January 8, 2004 1:53 PM   Subscribe

My Epson Printer is bleeding me dry and I won't take it anymore. [More inside.]

When I bought my imac I was "offered" an EpsonStylus Photo 895 printer to go with it. Every hundred pages or so (even though I only switch it on when printing - otherwise it lasts 30), I have to buy a new colour or black cartridge, as one won't work without the other.

I Googled and found there's a $20 chip that will prevent the bastard from doing this, but you can't get them in Portugal. Cartridges cost $30 each. That's 30 cents a printed page! I should add that I only need black and white (and it doesn't have to be very good), as I only use printing for reading and revising stuff I've written. I don't ever print colour - but the cartridge wears out all the same.

As I do print a lot, it's seriously eating into my finances (and it's a lousy printer as well, always requiring cleaning and mucking about). What no-frills, no-hassle, robust, just-black, idiot-safe workhorse should I get (i.e. like the old HPs I stupidly gave away), considering I never need presentation quality, letters, graphics or indeed anything but plainly, quickly printed paper (if possible always set to "draft quality"), I can revise by hand or read and then throw away?

I used to have a very expensive Xerox laser printer that was quick and economical but it was always breaking. This was a long time ago, mind you. Any help will be much appreciated - excuse the cheapskate character of the question.
posted by MiguelCardoso to Computers & Internet (21 answers total)
I have to buy a new colour or black cartridge, as one won't work without the other.

Okay, I had a Lexmark that did that to me: The colored would run out, and the damned printer would REINSTALL itself in such a way that I could not choose the option to print in greyscale, so I theoretically HAD to buy a colored cartridge. I found that the printer had two icons and two installations, and I deleted the new installation and went back to the old, allowing me to simply print in B&W till I shelled out for the new color cartridge.

Bastards! What a cheap trick...
posted by Shane at 2:00 PM on January 8, 2004

Refill supplies are the only way to go.

Just search for "ink supplies" in google. I use something like this, a big syringe and ink tank. Don't wear your Aramni while trying it, but it works really well and is really cheap. You eventually have to replace the cartridge (if the ink head is in the cartridge) every so often because they aren't meant to last that long -- but I think I managed to go 10-15 refills before needing to buy a cartridge. I don't know the savings exactly but it must have been substantial.
posted by geoff. at 2:06 PM on January 8, 2004

Sounds like what you really need is a personal monochrome laser printer.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:16 PM on January 8, 2004

Yeah, if I were printing out drafts of novels and such I would definitely spring for a laser printer. They run cheaper these days, but I don't know anything about their reliability. An inkjet would drive me batty for that kind of work.
posted by furiousthought at 2:36 PM on January 8, 2004

monju_bosatsu is correct. i bought an hp laserjet 1012 for like $130 back in october. i use it exclusively to print things i don't need to have in color. it works well. i've heard good things about the samsung monju linked to as well.

the best tip is to do a side by side on # pages the cartridges will print. also look at the costs and availabilty the cartridges in your market. the cost per page for printing a page on a laser printer is much better than in an inkjet.
posted by birdherder at 2:40 PM on January 8, 2004

If you are doing lots of printing, a bubble-jet is not a good idea, in my experience and an Epson an even worse one. Unless things have changed very recently, Epson do not put the print head on the cartridge, which makes the cartridge cheaper but means that, once the print head wears out, the printer is worthless. You say you got the printer for free - you get what you pay for, as a rule with printers.

A laser printer is what you need and I can certainly recommend the HP range, as I have purchased several for companies I worked for and never ever had a problem. Even though Canon supplies the print engine for many HP printers, I have heard bad things about the Canon laser printers. I know this is not really what you asked, but I think you are going to be throwing good money after bad trying to use a cheap photo printer for high-volume mono printing. Horses for courses and all that ...
posted by dg at 2:42 PM on January 8, 2004

The problem with Epson printers, so I found, is that there is a chip on the ink cartridge that monitors the release of "microcapsules" of ink. When it thinks it's supposed to be done, it just won't print anymore, even if you refill it. However, you can purchase a chip resetter, readily available on ebay (look up "epson chip resetter", usually abour $10 USD), that will (duh) reset the chip so the cartridge thinks it's full again. That, combined with inexpensive refill ink, makes owning an Epson bearable.
posted by ferociouskitty at 2:48 PM on January 8, 2004

As much as I hate to boost HP, I agree with the HP recommendations above. We have about ten 1000 and 1200 series LaserJets and I never have any problem from them other than the fact that *very* occasionally when someone cancels a print job they have to be briefly unplugged and/or the print spooler reset. has a reconditioned LaserJet 1000 for $137.95. A 1200 costs a bit more, but the only discernable difference I have seen as far as performance/usability is concerned is that the 1000 requires opening and closing the cartridge compartment briefly if it runs out of paper or experiences some other printing error, while the 1200 picks up automatically with the insertion of paper or alleviation of the problem. The cartridges seem to last quite a while. Even billing and administrative people who go through a ream of paper (plain-text printing) daily only require a new cartridge every six months or so. I use a 1200 for occasional printing (less than 50 pages a day) and have not changed mine in over a year. Hope this helps.
posted by littlegreenlights at 3:03 PM on January 8, 2004

When I run out of ink I buy a new $50 printer that comes with ink cartridges. I put the old one on a specially modified pedestal outside my backdoor and crush it with a large stone.

Keep an eye out here or here, cheap printers are not that uncommon.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 3:05 PM on January 8, 2004

Samsung and Brother make $150 personal lasers. Canon doesn't chip their printers (yet).
posted by mecran01 at 3:25 PM on January 8, 2004

I recommend the HP LaserJet 1300. We just tossed out my mom's Epson after 5 months of trying to deal with it.
posted by rushmc at 3:29 PM on January 8, 2004

Definitely go with a laser printer if you're only interested in text. They're much cheaper to operate, more reliable, faster, better. I have an HP1200 that I got for ~150USD that has convinced me to never fall for the "cheap" inkjet scam again.
posted by TimeFactor at 4:10 PM on January 8, 2004

I've had a LaserJet 4M Plus for years. It's not the fastest printer around anymore, but it's a tank, and mine can print on both sides of the paper, which has come in handy more than once and also cuts your paper costs for many things significantly. I paid about $1500 for it back in 1995. So yeah, I recommend the laser.
posted by kindall at 4:27 PM on January 8, 2004

Response by poster: Wow: talk about fully satisfying someone's query.

As is the marvel of AskMe, I have parsed your kind answers and absorbed all the information (which actually cover a lot of possible solutions, from keeping my Epson to switching, leaving the asker a lot of leeway) and, if I've read all your helpful advice correctly and adapted them to my circumstances and possibilities, I will be buying a second-hand, reconditioned (or cheapest possible recent) HP laser printer.

The way I figure it, I should "amortize" (can you say this? It means make the new purchase financially worthwhile) in about two months.

Thanks a million!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:49 PM on January 8, 2004

Response by poster: P.S. I feel rotten about not being able to comment on and individually thank all those who took time and trouble to make the specific recommendations (thereby saving me not only a lot of money but a lot of time) I'll be following up on, but I'm obeying the "no chat" proviso which keeps AskMe so useful and lean. Sorry if it appears ungrateful or rude. :)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:57 PM on January 8, 2004

P.S. I feel rotten about not being able to comment on and individually thank all those who took time and trouble to make the specific recommendations

let's just ask Matt for a new AskMeFi feature then!!!
The "AutoMefiThankUNoteSender"!

no, seriously Miguel, I agree with the HP Laserjet posters -- you won't regret it.

and it would be nice to dedicate a small obrigado to the AskMeFi community in your next novel thank-you's...

posted by matteo at 5:23 PM on January 8, 2004

I use a Canon i950 for color prints. It uses seperate ink modules for every single color. So when you run out of one color, you only have to buy that one color, and not 5 other you may not need.

For b/w printouts, I am a big fan of Samsung printers. They can be little workhorses. I had one that printed around 4000 pages on a 1000 page toner cartridge.
posted by benjh at 6:20 PM on January 8, 2004

I ran over my Epson (which came bundled with my 1999 iMac rev "B") with my car.

At that point it was a just thing to do.
posted by troutfishing at 9:31 PM on January 8, 2004

I never had an inkjet printer last more than a couple years even with light usage. I've been looking for a small cheap reliable laser for a while and based on this will probably go Samsung.

It's the right tool for the job philosophy. Color printers you need a good color printer like the Epson Stylus Photo 2200. heh.
posted by stbalbach at 11:50 PM on January 8, 2004

>considering I never need presentation quality, letters, graphics or indeed anything but plainly, quickly printed paper (if possible always set to "draft quality"), I can revise by hand or read and then throw away?

Sounds like a job for... DOT MATRIX MAN.

Seriously, there are no printer out there that will beat the cost per page for a re-inked dot matrix ribbon. Period. You're talking about $0.001 - $0.005 per page for ink in draft mode (yes, that's right, tenths of a cent).
posted by shepd at 5:56 AM on January 9, 2004

I'm actually with shepd on this--you might be able to get a dot-matrix for 50 or less 2nd hand--they're louder, but for draft-quality black and white text they're perfect..but can you still get ribbons/cartridges for them? Otherwise a 2nd hand b/w laserjet is fine.
posted by amberglow at 6:06 AM on January 9, 2004

« Older 2 TVs and a TiVo   |   Is there somewhere near Kansas City which is... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.