Inkjet Printer Recommendations
June 13, 2007 5:34 AM   Subscribe

I'm loking for a small, not too expensive inkjet printer for mostly black and white printing of documents. I don't do photos and only occasionally want color--for Mapquest printouts etc. Lowest cost ink cartridges preferred. Speed and resolution not a big consideration. Footprint (size) is important but I don't want a "portable" which seem expensive. Thanks for your recommendations
posted by NorthCoastCafe to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'd recommend going into your local Office Max/Depot and buying the cheapest HP you find. I was just recently shopping around for the same type of printer. I asked the salesman for the "most cheaptastic" printer they had :)

I picked up an HP 4160, i believe - a model that was recently replaced by the 5160. It was about 60 bucks on clearance and came with full size black and color ink cartridges. You can get Lexmark printers much cheaper, but then you have to spend 20+ more on black ink (it only comes with a color cartridge)!!
I also managed to pick up a USB printer cable for about 6 dollars at the local warehouse retail store.

Cartridge refills for this machine will cost, I think, 15 for black, and a bit more for color.
posted by at 5:57 AM on June 13, 2007

Whatever printer you buy, go to a cartridge refill site or third party cartridge manufacturer like, and price out the cartridges. Also, you may find that a laser is much cheaper in the long run (price per page). There are some total cost of ownership (TCO) tables for various printers linked off a comment by me in the second thread below.

Earlier AskMe threads on this are still relevant:
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:34 AM on June 13, 2007

I have a Canon i250 and the cost of ink is dirt cheap. Check eBay and you'll see cartridges are about a buck each. In fact, the cartridges seem to be compatible with a whole load of Canon printers so pick the printer that you find the best deal on.

The i250 was the cheapest in the shop when I bought it a few years ago and still works fine.
posted by gfrobe at 6:34 AM on June 13, 2007

If you are doing primarily black and white you almost certainly want a laser printer, not an inkjet. Lasers win by a landslide for the cost of consumables (toner and occasionally a replacement drum) compared to inkjets, and they have unmatched crispness and sharpness. I think Samsung's line is well-regarded; there was a laser printer reco thread several months ago.
posted by Rhomboid at 7:03 AM on June 13, 2007

The new Kodaks are supposed to be pretty darn excellent - the lowest-end EasyShare 5100 is $150; the color ink replacement tanks are $15, the black and white $10. (which is about half you'd pay with an HP, for example).

I'm thinknig about picking one up.
posted by mephron at 8:09 AM on June 13, 2007


If you're doing black and white text printing, laser is the way to go. Way cheaper, higher res and faster. Here in the UK I got a Brother 2040 for about £80 ($160 give or take). I'd imagine it'd be cheaper in the US.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:52 AM on June 13, 2007

I'll fourth getting a laser. In my experience, it's not just the consumable cost difference; they're just way less temperamental than inkjets. Inkjets clog and need to be clean, have weird driver issues where they decide to print everything in brown or spit out gobbledygook, get ink all over the rollers which streaks your pages, and generally make a pain of themselves. Lasers by contrast, even the sub-$100 Brother and Samsung ones, tend to just work. Keep an eye on the Dealnews laser printer section for a cheap one.
posted by boaz at 10:50 AM on June 13, 2007

less than $25 Lexmark inkjet from walmart.
Cartridges compare in cost with HP, but it comes with a color cartridge that would cost over half of what the printer does.

Frankly, i used it for a year at college, and went through 2 black '16' ink cartridges ($25+ each) and the color cart. that it came with. It was running out at the end of the school year, and i bought the $17 "moderate yield" black cartridge.

That's the last one i'm buying for it: $25+ 25 + 17 = $67+ in cartridges alone!! Add that to the cost of the printer, and i could almost buy a cheap laser -- and it would in all likelihood still be on its 'starter' toner cartridge.

I'm in the market for a Brother HL-2070N. My parents have had excellent results with Brother LASER printer/copier/fax machines in their small business, and i can get a NETWORKED LASER printer for around $150. Less than that if i get it on sale or with a rebate.
Better quality than inkjet, and faster to boot.
And brother uses drum units that you replace when they wear out instead of buliding all that stuff into every toner cartridge... it lowers the cost of replacement toner.

And with the networked printer (the non-networked one is around $120...), i can just get my apartment mates throw in the cost of a spare toner cartridge and some paper, and we can all print as much as we need to.
posted by itheearl at 9:18 PM on June 13, 2007

If you'd like something tiny, you might be interested in the Canon BJC-85 - one of the smallest printers I've ever seen that can autofeed standard paper. The Black-only ink cartridges are tiny, and the color/black pairs are microscopic, but (like most Canon carts) are easy to refill. It's IR, USB and Parallel equiped, comes with an optional battery pack and optional scanning cartridge...

If you get an inkjet, learn to refill your own cartridges. You can enjoy the cheap up-front, small size and low power consumption of inkjets, while still getting somewhat reasonable per-sheet prices.
posted by Orb2069 at 9:38 AM on June 14, 2007

My Brother MFC-3220C died today (Machine Error 41. Unplug machine, then call Brother). I Googled the error and got this, so I would avoid buying a Brother.
posted by tellurian at 11:14 PM on December 24, 2007

« Older The internet says my flight is delayed. What do I...   |   Looking for Slideshow Inspirations Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.