The best printers for writers?
August 24, 2006 12:11 PM   Subscribe

The best printers for writers?

Just wondering if there are any freelance writers out there who love their printers and can recommend them. I steal ink, paper and power at my day job so I haven't printed from home in a long time.

What's more important to you--economy or durability? And, do most of you get by with black/white, or do you prefer color to make your clips look prettier?

I know there are different strokes for different folks (some might want portables, some might not care) so your own recommendations are welcome. Thanks!
posted by clairezulkey to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
laser for text. laser for text. laser for text. laser for text. LASER FOR TEXT.

Seriously, it's a world of difference. And it can be cheap and reliable too, if you get a refurbished HP Laserjet 5 or 6 (the ones with flat paper trays, not the ones that hold the paper up and down).
posted by mendel at 12:19 PM on August 24, 2006

I love my HP Laser Printer. It's the 1320 model, black and white.

Why do I love it? It does double sided (flips the paper itself) and can print up to 4 pages per side. this means I can fit an 96 page document on 12 pieces of paper. Excellent for proofing.

So, it's both economical and durable. Not portable, however.

I would recommend you avoid inkjet printers as the cartridges are ridiculously expensive, print too few sheets, and can streak.

And color? Why bother? If your printer is for printing text, you're wasting your cash. Many color printers won't even print black and white unless the color cartridges are also full.
posted by dobbs at 12:21 PM on August 24, 2006

HP Laserjet 5. £50 off eBay. A total steal.
posted by bonaldi at 12:22 PM on August 24, 2006

I agree with the previous posters ... b/w laser printers.

but does anyone have recommendations for where to get a used one? I wouldn't want to buy them off ebay... that seems like just asking to be toyed with...
posted by krautland at 12:28 PM on August 24, 2006

Would you feel better buying it from, say, HP themselves?
posted by whatzit at 12:31 PM on August 24, 2006

I bought a LaserJet 2100 on eBay from a company in California that refurbishes equipment from bankrupt corporations. It had hardly been used and it was a great deal. If you're picking someone with good feedback who specializes in printers, there's no reason to be afraid of eBay.
posted by bcwinters at 12:38 PM on August 24, 2006

I love the LJ 2100.

I've been using mine regularly for almost 3 years with nary a hiccup.
posted by lyam at 12:45 PM on August 24, 2006

I have the Brother HL2040 bought for ~$100 after rebate. It's plain vanilla but it works and i'm happy with it.

With inkjet, i was finding i was printing out fewer drafts because of the slowness and expense which had a bad effect on my writing quality. No question, for a working writer, a laser printer is a must-have.

I think i would still like inkjet however for personal projects just because sometimes you do need color for various things.
posted by storybored at 1:03 PM on August 24, 2006

I also have the Brother HL2040 and I've been very very happy with it. (I edit my fiction by hand on printouts, so I use it fairly often.) I think you can get it for a little less now -- I got mine for around $80 a couple of months ago.
posted by sugarfish at 1:10 PM on August 24, 2006

My Samsung ML-2010 is only black and white, but it prints quickly and it's been reliable as all heck.
posted by raydexter at 1:18 PM on August 24, 2006

HP lasers are the only way to fly. I had my LaserJet PII for a decade before it gave up the ghost.

This year I got a color 2600N for $399 and love it.
posted by trinity8-director at 1:54 PM on August 24, 2006

Several have said it, but I'll reiterate: older-model b/w LaserJet. IMO, cheap is better than durable, because the idea of a "durable" printer seems to me to be a myth. Too many moving parts, especially with hideous "all-in-one" scanner / fax / printers.
posted by lobrien at 1:55 PM on August 24, 2006

I got a LaserJet IIIp from freecycle. I love it.
posted by devilsbrigade at 2:29 PM on August 24, 2006

Find a local business trashing anything that says HP Laserjet on it. I got a free HP Laserjet 4050.
posted by SirStan at 3:12 PM on August 24, 2006

Second on the Brother HL 2040, it's pretty nippy, and the text is pretty clear. Steer clear of inkjet if all you're doing is text, it's uneconomical and smears.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:30 PM on August 24, 2006

I just bought my favorite writer a Brother HL-2070N... it's network attached, so it can sit with the networking equipment and doesn't take up desk space. Other than that it's exactly the same as the 2040 as mentioned above.

I went for the network printer so that anyone in the house can print without having to turn her printer on. It works great, and she's VERY happy with it.

I was recommended to this page, and found it very helpful.
posted by hatsix at 6:10 PM on August 24, 2006

Laserjets are good machines, but their Windows drivers and installers suck arse.

Samsung makes good cheap printers with much less toxic drivers.
posted by flabdablet at 10:12 PM on August 24, 2006

Second the Samsung, though I don't have one myself. Got my mother an ML2010 at Frys for a little over $100 last Christmas. She's a light printer, but is very happy with quality and hasn't even gone through the (rather small) included toner cartridge yet. She'll complain when she has to shell out for a new cartridge, but it will last her forever.

Older HP printers are durable because so many of the moving parts are in the toner cartridge, and therefore get replaced frequently. My former employer had LJ4 printers putting out 10,000 pages a month 12 years after they were purchased with very little downtime. We replaced most of our LJ5 printers because we needed faster output, not because they were breaking down.
posted by lhauser at 8:34 AM on August 25, 2006

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