Looking for a printer with a low cost per printout.
October 23, 2006 5:57 PM   Subscribe

Looking for a printer with a low cost per printout.

I am looking for a printer, or perhaps more than one, with the most important criteria being the cost per page of printing. I have an HP with works ok (good quality but slow) but the cost of ink is just getting too much to swallow. I am willing to spend more up front for a printer if it means longer term savings in terms of ink and maintenance.

I am definitely looking for consumer products here. I am not starting a print center or anything.

After cost per print, the most important factor is speed. Least important of the three is quality (still looking for something acceptable, but it doesn't have to be the best).

The reason I specified the possibility of multiple printers is there are probably different answers to this one depending on usage patterns. The three main types of documents I'll be printing are:

A) Black on white text and simple line graphics.
B) Color vector graphics.
C) Photographs.

If there is one printer that can handle all three well that would of course be ideal but I realize that might not be the case.
posted by Riemann to Computers & Internet (6 answers total)
for A definately a cheap laser printer.

I got a HP 1020 last summer, and I'm still on the included toner, and I must have done 1000 sheets of paper now. Most of what I print is powerpoint slides 4 to a side, double sided, so its at decent coverage too. Its also very fast. I think the printer cost me £100, and I've just spent £30 on a toner refill for when I need it, and that one has twice the toner of the included one apparently!

I don't know about b or c, I print those off at my Uni library because its easier and cheaper for the amount of colour I need.
posted by chrispy108 at 6:19 PM on October 23, 2006

I've been using the Brother 1440 for black and white. It's a relatively cheap printer with very low cost per page. For black and white, you can't beat laser printers for quality and price.

For photos, I've never understood the urge to do this yourself. Once you add up the cost of quality paper and ink, printing pictures on your own is much more expensive than having someone else do it. Give winkflash a try.

As far as the color vector graphics, I'm not sure.
posted by null terminated at 6:24 PM on October 23, 2006

I recommend leaving out (c) completely from consideration, and using a service like Snapfish. Good photograph prints for a consumer are always going to be more expensive when done at home.

I settled on a cheap (and boy are they cheap lately) black and white laser, and it makes me totally happy. If I needed color, for business purposes, I'd use a color laser (can be had for $250 or so these days). But I wouldn't attempt to shoehorn photo printing into my home, anymore. It's a path that is full of nothing but pain.
posted by knave at 6:27 PM on October 23, 2006

you might want to think about a color laser printer - they're not horribly expensive anymore (newegg has some in the $2-400 range). toner carts are pretty expensive for them, though, but unless you're printing color stuff out a whole lot you'll get a fair amount of usage out of them. (of course, if you're not printing out a lot of color stuff, you might want to look into getting a monochrome laser and keeping the inkjet for the times you do color printing.)
posted by mrg at 6:41 PM on October 23, 2006

Yeah, the most cost effective way to get what you want here is to... change what you want a little. Get a nice, fast laser printer (I've bought a number of the Samsung ML-series for friends)... and then use photo kiosks or SnapFish or one of those services to print the photos. You'll save a ton of money and the quality will be much better than anything you can do at home.
posted by fake at 7:31 PM on October 23, 2006

I have a Canon i250 and the ink cartridges are incredibly cheap on eBay (I believe I paid £5 for 8 cartridges last time I bought). I don't print photographs at home but like having color for the odd children's birthday invite or colored Excel doc.

What I would suggest is to do a search on eBay for cheap cartridges and look into compatible printers.
posted by gfrobe at 6:51 AM on October 24, 2006

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