Printing Made Easy

Today I’m looking at printers for consumers and small businesses. My mission here is not to do a run down of everything available but to offer what I consider the best of the best for differing needs.

Most of us have experienced printer problems. It seems like mine is always out of ink. My old HP 750xi prints 15 pages when all I wanted was the one page showing on my screen. Another one of it’s favorite tricks is to print in “Best” mode. This means it takes 4 ½ minutes to print one page and uses about 3lbs of ink per inch. I usually get about 4 pages per cartridge this way. No matter how many times I change it to Draft Mode (less ink used), it changes itself back. If I add up the cost of Ink, paper, electricity to print and shred excess pages, and the cost of a single gallon of gas to replace the cartridges every other week it comes to $11.76 per page. Ha-ha, yeah I’m exaggerating, but not by much. Every time my printer works I feel like I won the lottery.

I always laughed when I heard someone say, “what the heck, I could buy a whole new printer for what it costs to buy ink cartridges”, but guess what? They are right. On a recent trip to Remaining Nameless, I picked out what seemed to be a reasonably priced All-In-One printer. I immediately asked the sales person how much the refills were. His reply was ”they are all about the same”. I persisted until he pointed me to the bottom shelf where I choose the four cartridges needed. Red, blue, yellow, black X $64.99 = $259.96 x 1.06 tax = $275.55. The printer was selling for $249.99 with cartridges included. Hummm, something wrong here! Besides, that’s not, “they’re all the same”, that’s exactly three times the cost of my current ink cartridges from HP which are considered relatively high priced.

Inkjets, All-in-one, Laser, the choices are staggering. A quick search of the internet will bag you dozens of Printer Show Downs and comparisons This is great but when I need a printer I need it now and not after waiting several days for an online order. When it breaks I’ll go to the store and buy a new printer. Within 5 miles of my house are BestBuy, Circuit City, OfficeMax, Office Depot, Wal-Mart, Costco and a boat load of others too numerous to mention. My recommendations today are made up of what’s available five miles from my home and not just online or by special order.

The cost per page figure includes the cost of paper. Paper prices are based on a .01 per sheet price which can be found just about anywhere and of course could be higher. Ink costs are averaged between color and black only, for a full page. Because this is a cost per actual page printed the figure may appear higher than other reviews showing the cost of ink per page.

The prices shown are a range of what I found online and on the shelf. They are changing daily so check all of your options as there are some major discounts available. Each make and model mentioned is linked to the manufacturers’ website. They provide a complete feature list and include specifications. All you need to do is decide what your needs are.

I know you’re ready so here you go.

Simple Inkjet Color Printer

HP Photosmart D5460/ $79.99 to $89.99

Full Color graphics and photo
Input Tray 125 sheets
Output tray no info.
Speed Upt to 11 ppm
Refill Cartridges $9.99 x 5 or $50.00
Cost per Copy (ink and paper) .16

This is by no means the least expensive printer available but it is a good choice for someone having minimal printing needs. The 5 ink cartridges are low cost at $9.99 to $10.99 each and also designed for low consumption at an average of 300 pages per cartridge. In spite of the low cost of operation this printer does surprisingly well with print and graphics quality. This is mostly due to HP’s inclusion of an additional pigment based ink for printing text that supplements the usual dye based inks. If you’re looking for a low initial cost with very economical inks this is your baby.

Best Deal Laser Printer
Samsung ML 2510 Laser Printer/ $89.00 to $139.00


Input Tray 250 Sheet

Output 100 sheet

Speed Up to 24 ppm
Refill Cartridge $27.98 to $49.99

Pages per cartridge 3000 @ 5% coverageMBR>
Cost per Copy (ink and paper) .02

This is a down and dirty, no nonsense, get the job done laser. Most places also carry a similar but higher priced HP model but there doesn’t seem to be any doubt about the Samsung being the better of the two, providing better quality at about half the per copy price. If you’re looking for a low cost, low maintenance laser printer, this is it. The lowest price I found was from an online retailer and included shipping, but I also found this locally on the shelf for $129.99. If you are looking for additional features and color capability there are many to choose from with prices that range from $300.00 to $600.00. Check the Brother below.

Color Laser Printer
Brother HL-4040CN/ $359.99 to $599.99


Full Color
Input Tray 250
Output Tray 250
Refill Cartridges Black $94.99
+ Color $129.99 x 3 = $389.97
Total = $484.96
Pages per cartridge 4500 @5% mixed
Cost per Copy (ink and paper) .09 (black and color mix)

Whew, talk about cheaper to buy a new printer. Well that’s not really true because the original box comes with reduced capacity cartridges. The cartridges that come with the original purchase won’t give you anywhere near as many copies as I’m quoting for the refills. This is also not for the average home user but for an office situation that will give it a daily workout. Remember that half the battle with printers is choosing the correct one for your needs.

Best Deal All-In-One

Canon PIXMA MX700/ $99.00 to $159.00
Full Color
Input Tray 250

Output Tray 250
Printer, Copier, Scanner, Fax
Refill Cartridge $14.99 x 4 = $59.96
Pages per cartridge = 420 @ 5% mixed (Photos will be less)
Cost per Copy (ink and paper) .15 (black and color mix)

An amazing unit, not only is the print quality excellent but the photo quality gets solid reviews from everyone. Easily connect your digital camera by using USB or “PictBrigde” and print directly from your camera.

Best Quality All-In-One Printer

Canon PIXMA MX7600/ $299.99 to 399.99

Full Color
Input Tray 150

Output Tray 50
Automatic Duplex
ADF scans two-sided documents in one pass
Printer, Copier, Scanner, Fax, Fax Answer/auto dial
Refill Cartridges
Black = $14.99
Color = 4x 14.99
Clear = $17.99
Total = $77.95
Pages per cartridge = 820 @ 5% mixed

Cost per copy (ink and paper) .082 to .10
Clear Coat (not included in above) is $17.99 for 1600 pages.

Canon has gone the distance and then some on this excellent multifunction printer. In addition to outstanding print quality the graphics that are being produced are getting rave reviews from everyone. This is due to Canons new Pigment Reaction technology. Canon added a clear spray cartridge that bonds with the color pigments to make them appear to jump off the page. Even using plain paper, the graphics are surprising.

Completely automated duplex printing coupled with outstanding fax and scanning options make this the MUST HAVE printer for busy and demanding users. To get a detailed look at the features offered, be sure to check the manufacturers link above.

Are you ready for even more savings. There’s a new program available that stops your printer from printing page after unwanted page. At the beginning of this article I mentioned the waste I was seeing from unwanted pages and incorrect ink settings.

One of our partners is a company called GreenPrint. The company has designed software to save paper and ink which not only helps me with my printing costs but saves trees and resources to boot.

I’ve been using the free version of their software for a while now and I’m here to tell you that it’s awesome. No more printing unwanted pages. As soon as I click [PRINT], it shows the pages to be printed. All I have to do is delete the unwanted items from the print job. It takes about 60 seconds to configure and acts as a link between me and my printer. Absolutely goof proof. Try it and cut your ink and paper costs in half.

Happy printing.

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61 thoughts on “PRINTING MADE EASY”

  1. I am feeling very happy after reading this article of yours. The way you have explained in this article is a great compliment. I read your article every day.

    If you have a job as a printer then you can buy a Canon printer by visiting our site. You can also use WiFi in our printer

  2. I have an HP Photosmart 3210xi All-in-one. Purchased at Costco 2 or 3 yrs ago for under $300. with a Lrg blk $18.99 and 5 colors $9.99 I have been happy not to throw away a Multicolor cartridge because the red is gone!
    Wanting to see how economical I logged the cartridges.
    Since 10/06 I have purchased
    6 Black
    2 Yellow
    1 Lt Cyan
    5 Drk Cyan
    1 Lt Magenta
    3 Drk Magenta
    Thats $233.82 I have never had a cartridge dry out either!
    To top it off I would get free paper then it was free paper or $3 off for recycling the cartridge! Thats $6.99 a cartridge! Well times have changed now I get a $3.00 credit on my Office Max card for each cartridge I recycle.Which I can use the next mo.

  3. I went to Staples when my 6 year old HP K60 died. It ran forever on Black and large Color cartridges. I found a Brother MFC-465CN for $129.99 that could be connected by network,(to your router) directly to the computer (USB) and wireless. Plus it took Memory Cards and a Picture Bridge with your Camera or Cell Phone. * In addition it was a flat top Scanner, Copier, Fax that had double hinges so you could Scan an object or copy from a book or use the automatic feed for 35 pages to Scan, Copy, or Fax. It also came with a full set of four inkjet cartridges. While I was there I bought another set of three color cartridges and a twin pack of Black cartridges for $55 which printed about 500-600 pages. * Needing just a color printer as a backup. I was shopping a few months later in the same store when I saw a clearance sale on the Brother MFC-465CN for $78.99. Needless to say I snatched it up and now have one just for Faxes and one for Printing, Copying, Scanning, and Photo needs. *

  4. Staples is an excellent place to buy ink cartridges. Turn in your used ink cartridges for recycling and get a $3 to buy anything in the store. You can turn in 3 cartridges a day for a maximum of $9 credit. Go the next day and turn in 3 more cartridges and so on. My HP02 cartridges cost $9.99 and with the $3 credit they actually only cost $6.99. Plus I am recycling the used cartridges. Have priced cartridges all over and this even beats Costco’s prices.

  5. i have a canon pixma ip6000d. it has 6 separate cartridges for ink, the four standard colors and two photo inks. i will only have canon printers (unless i ever find a decent color laser printer that allows me to duplex), as every one i have had has separate tanks for each color, and has allowed me to duplex, one of the best ways in the world for saving paper. the print quality is very good, i can get away with using generic cartridges that i get at my local ‘puter show (although i do use canon ink and paper for my pictures, as oem supplies seem to do a better job, for me at least), for about $2.50 or $3.00 each, and i can tell them all exactly what to print and how. the only problem i have ever had is that my printers are on shelves that are a bit too high for me to reach comfortably, so i struggle with putting paper in them, but that’s my fault, not the printer’s. i even have a canon portable (ip90- i got it for a phenomenal price when the ip90v came out, just around the time our local compusa closed. talk about a bargain!) that i carry to use with my laptop. it does as good a job as, if not better than, the ip6000d.

  6. I’ve been using my HP69c since 1998. Back then it cost £120 and it was about £30 each for black an colour cartridges. I used to have it set to greyscale printig to save on coloured ink but the colour cartridge dried out and had to be replaced anyway. It’s definitely on it last legs now (it keeps taking in more than one sheet at a time and printing my document spread across 3 pages).

    My problem is I’d like to replace it with a printer I can use wirelessly so I can access it from my laptop wherever I am in the house as well as from my desktop PC. Any recommendations for a wireless printer with low running costs? Oh yeah, and it has to work with both Vista and Linux!

  7. Brian’s “not printing” idea is a good one in many cases. I’ve cut back a lot on printing by “printing” to PDF files instead. I like the doPDF program, but there are several to choose from. Works fine for those online transaction invoices & confirmations, and if I want to look back at one, I can find the file a lot faster than I could a piece of paper. And I can always print the PDF image if I find I need a paper copy. And I don’t worry about losing the files because all my important data files are backed up to a thumb drive immediately after creation/update, to a normally-offline external HD daily and to DVD-RWs periodically.

  8. You forgot the new Kodak printers. the ink is the least expensive of any prionter Ihave ever see, the print quality is exceptional for an ink-jet and the colors stay vibrant, as the ink is different. These are all-in-one units and run from $89-$119. Best purchase I ever made in a printer!!

  9. The most important issue for me is that the ink tanks be refillable. Some printers have a counter and the cartridge will stop working even if it has plenty of ink. This should be disclosed.

  10. I have used an Epson Stylus Photo 895 for years now, and am very frustrated. I cleans the heads even when you haven’t asked it to and uses enormous quantities of ink in the process, and to make matters worse, it takes only one cartirdge for all the colours. Clearly Epson’s way of printing money!! Soon will be changing to a far more economical printer, and one not made by Epson.

  11. I bought 2 Samsung CLP300 laser printers when my old faithful (12 years) died . One for the young adult who finally moved out and one for myself for less than 100 taxes incl, each, at a big box.
    I saw a test on it at the store when they brought them in and bought 2 right away. It prints photos like the pros do. At first I had problems with card stock feeding but over time the machine feeds the heavy stuff in -just like the 32 pound paper.
    I must admit the initial service from the Samsung site sucked but they finally resolved the hesitant software issues. I use the built in preview and just print what I want even on used name tag sheets with holes in it. Beat that!
    I have replaced the black laser dust and I weighed it -it does hold more then the original tube. (I learned to weigh the cartridges for our laser copier at work so we stopped getting ripped off.) It is the best quality printouts AND the best price any of our friends have paid. And I save paper: I use the least expensive and most recycled content paper I can find.

  12. Hey, for those looking for good prices on printer cartridges for the Samsung ML-2510 (or any other printer), check out . Free shipping, too. I’ve been buying there for years.

    You can also buy laser toner on eBay for CHEAP and refill your cartridge. I have a Samsung ML-1740 laser printer and refill it every other time. The waste toner begins to overflow the cartridge if I fill it more than once.

  13. I have an older Epson Stylus Photo 820. It does a reasonably good job albeit slow.I do have some problems with nozzles clogging and use an abnormal amount of ink in the cleaning cycle. Is there such a thing as a nozzle cleaner? If so, is it practicable? How does it work? Where can I purchase one (preferably online)?

  14. I have always used Canon printers for two reasons. I buy a model that has SEPARATE ink cartridges for black and each color–one never depletes all cartridges at the same rate. And when I print, under Preferences, I select Fast and almost always I select Grey-scale printing because usually I don’t NEED full-color display.

  15. My canon pixma MP 130 all in one costs me $2.49 for black and $3.90 for color .I buy them from Piloshop out of Montreal

  16. Here’s a thought; how about simply *NOT* printing? I have an Epson R220 and I print about 3 pages a week. Not because I don’t have much to print, but because I find it is much easier to find other solutions like linking to a PDA or even just keeping it open on the screen.

    I have supported “Printer Addicts” for years and find that most print jobs they send never really needed to be printed in the first place. I hear excuses like “I printed it so I could make sure I have it”, which translated means “my hard drive is a mysterious black box to me because I don’t understand computer file management”.

    I would encourage anyone to question EVERY document you send to a printer and ask, “Do I really need to print that”. If you are tough on this question, you will find your print jobs will drop to a trickle, and then of course so will your costs. Your productivity will increase as well, as you are keeping everything digital.

  17. I have a canon iP4000 and I buy generic cartidges for a $1.59! Works great but I think Canon stopped building it and went to one that has a cartidge with a computer chip so you can’t get a generic.

  18. Get a Samsung ML2510, cheap as peanuts, dont bother to buy replacement cartridges you can refill the original for some more peanuts. Goes like a train and just keeps working. Mine is in constant use every day.

  19. I have owned three Epson’s. All worked great. I still use my Epson R220 as it gives me the best colour and will print on CD or DVD’s. This year, I bought a Kodak 5300 because of the price of the ink. It has never given me a good or even close to a good colour when printing. Only use it when I absolutely need to scan something.

  20. Hello Phil.
    I took a good look at the Kodak printers. Their cost per copy is excellent for photos. It’s the overall quality of print and photos that seemed to be a little lacking. I did give them quite a good look though. I found their approach interesting and hopefully quality will improve in the future.

  21. Lexmark X4850 is an excellant 3 in 1 with 2 replacement high density for $20 each ($40.00 total). HP 6310x all in one is good, with 2 replacement cartridges for $36.00.

  22. My HP Laser 1020 works very good and i’ve had the same cartridge for over a year, so definitely an advantage over inkjet printers

  23. I always used to use Lexmark, because you can re-ink them. However the last 2 that I bought started playing up, so instead I plumped for a HP Deskjet D1460. I bought this at the end of January this year and am still re-inking. Cost, with 2 cartriges £20 (bargain). I always print on economical print and it’s the dogs!

  24. One of the main problems due to printing is that all printers use ink to clean themselves with, you turn them on yu turn them off you leave them on etc. when you hear the printhead zipping about when your not using it or when you about to print, the machine is priming itself, therefore using ink to clean. If you look at teh bottom of the machine under or along the run of teh print head you’ll see a diaper sponge, theat where the ink that is used for cleaning gets depoisited.
    So you could go out and get a printer that maybe cheap to run that may have cheaper inks but how much of that ink gets wasted on cleaning?
    Thats why i would say if your worried about that go for a HP machine with 6 individual inks as any ink that is used in the process of maintenace set up and cleaning goes back into the cartridges. 6 inks 150 shets of photo paper roughtly around £20 online, or get what i have a continous ink system.

  25. Trying to find free update programs for a Epson Stylus 640 inkjet printer. It came with windows 98 package. I know use Vista and XP OS, but the photo programs and drivers are not compatible. Can anyone tell me where I can get the proper drivers and software for this printer?

    Thank you in advance.

  26. It’s true it’s almost as cheap to buy a new printer as to buy cartridges but sales people say that the cartridges in a new, ‘out-of-the-box’ printer do not contain near as much ink as the cartridges in a box. I wish someone could confirm this as well as the actual difference in the amount of ink.

    Love Canon, btw.

  27. I have used a HP Jaserjet 4100DTN for the last 5 years and it has never let me down. I print about 250 pages a month for my home business selling items online.

    With the duplex feature, i not only am able to easily duble-print a page which saves paper, but this feature is so fast and so easy to use (the printer turns the paper automatically) that i rarely notice it in speed degraditon. The company i use in the Uk is cartridge world. I also have a epson inkjet printer I print my favorite didg-snaps on and print around 12 photo’s per month. I got the cartridges for bith refilled by cartridge world for £45 with a money back warrantee if they didn’t work or if the prints were degraded afterwards. At the moment, the prints come out comparitivly better on the HP due to better toner manufaturing procedures meaning the toner can be produced with much smaller particles which makes the quality slightly better.

    I would sugest cartridge world to anyone living in the UK.

    Tony Wares

  28. Shogan, Will you please research these new CIS (Continuous Ink Supply, ) products that appear to save a significant amount of ink money. I have fear and trepidation about an early innovator. They seem to have products for all the major brands of printers. Thank you.

  29. Push comes to shove…

    “You’re still getting screwed”.

    I used to work at Best Buy (and I was a competent employee for those laughing right now) so I had a good opportunity to notice the invisible changes in the industry.

    My printer is an old HP and it uses an individual black and color cartridge, and they’ll last me a good long time, bearing in mind, I don’t actually print a lot. Replacing these cartridges? Break out the checkbook. They clock in at about $60 for a pair.

    So what am I talking about? I haven’t said anything useful. You’re just rambling on!

    Well, here’s the key. My printer cartridges each clock in at some 50mL of ink. At $30 a cartridge, I’m paying nearly a dollar for 2mL of precious ink (and gas is expensive…?).

    Check your printer. Is it newer? Notice anything? If you ever go to the store, look at the cartridge lineup. Does something seem strange?

    As cartridges get cheaper on the shelf, they equally drop in the amount of ink they hold, sometimes even more so.

    A lot of new print cartridges are maybe $10 a pop, which sounds good, costing a third what mine do individually, but they may hold 10mL or even less ink. Some HP’s ship cartridges with as little as 7.2mL.

    Just keep it in mind. Razor and blades marketing. Sell the printer for nothing, then keep the junkie addicted.

    Printers are by far the biggest alligator of the computer industry. Well, that and selling the USB cables separately for the low-low price of $29.95.

  30. I have 10 printers and the one i like best is the Kodak 5500. I only paid $139.00 for it and the ink is only $14.99 for color & $9.98 for black. It also will print both sides of the paper. Check it out and tell me what you think.

  31. Thanks for the tips on the pntrs and cartridge prices, as well as the cost per page.

    I am quite happy with my HP 2600n color laser pntr purchased about 18 months ago. Free shipping for that unit.

    I purchased it from the HP Outlet at the right price, and it was supposed to be a refurb unit, but it looked new to me. Perhaps it was an overstock.

    I was not pleased with the four $74 refill cartridges from Sam’s Club. I soon found the toner override procedure, and that works fine until one gets flecks of blue or yellow on a sheet.

    The techies tell me that HP designed the cartridges with an inadequate toner overflow reservoir.

    Were I to buy another printer, I’d get the HP CM1015MFP color laser multi-function pntr at a sale price of $350. Big unit, but what the hey. That Canon PIXMA MX7600 you reviewed also looks good.

  32. I’ve used HP Deskjets for years (845c, two 990cxis, and I’m rebuilding a Photosmart P1100) and every one of them has print preview, page and print quality settings that stick, adjustable ink density, and photo settings that produce excellent quality prints. Seems as though you just got a bum printer – sling it and update!

  33. Has anyone ever developed a program that could take a digital page and arrive at a percentage of coverage. You always see “4500 pages @ 5%” or such like. How do you know?

  34. Hon. Robert Lynch

    I am still using my HP LaserJet II that I bought in Dec 1986. I originally also purchased the QMS Jetscript add-on. This gave me 20+ fonts at various point sizes.
    Yes, it is relatively slow. No, it does not break down. My tech said, “Never get rid of it as it has the bet internals of any printer ever made.” I took his advice; and, have never regretted it. Prior to the HP I had a daisy wheel.

  35. Surprised you didn’t look at Kodak printers. Five colour (color) photolab qualiity printing.

    Colour is 1 x £9.99, Black is 1 x £9.99. So it cost just $36 to fill these printers with ink.

  36. Bryan, not sure how your missing it. Just click download and it’s right there.

    Shereen, I wasn’t implying that any of the printers don’t have print preview or that browsers don’t also have a preview included. I was only suggesting a program that has one available that is extremely easy and convenient to use. There are many printers and programs with print preview. This is just one that I found exceptionally easy to use.

  37. I have a Brother HL-2040 the mistake I made is I didn’t find out until too late that the drum unit cost approx $100, went to my local walmart got a cheap lexmark and buy bulk ink 8oz @$19.98 shipped,I do monthly B-12 shots and find that the 3cc 25ga needle fits easy with wiggling in the vent hole and 3cc will do approx 75pages a whack

  38. I have a color laser Okidata C5200 and I have saved $100’s dollars by simply reseting the counts on all my consumables. It makes the toner cartridges last much longer.
    I found the fix on this web site
    You might find your printer will allow you to reset the consumables on your printer which will save you a bundle over the long haul.
    Plus I buy all my consumables online at Much, much cheaper than buying from any of the retail stores. I have not had a bad toner cartridge in the two years I have used them.
    Hope some of this helps!!

  39. I’ve owned Epson’s for the last three printers and being one that prints a lot of 8.5×11 color prints (about 50-75 per month) the Epson Stylus Photo R1800 is without peer. Epson ink refills are inexpensive by comparison with others and the print quality either photo or best photo are without comparison. Somewhat pricey at $699, it has the capablity to print up to 13×19 prints and does so fast with excellent color control.

  40. Hip, Hip Hurrah for the Samsung ML2510–this is a great printer, with builtin toner savemode. I wore one out, on the second one–check for good prices if you have no stores near you. I just wish I could find the refill cartridges at the price quoted!

  41. I have always used Canon Printers, they only print the number of pages I tell them too and many modles have indiviual tanks for each color, no three colors in one tank. I purchase refills on line for an average of $3.00 each,it depends on the make and model of your printer.

  42. I was gob-smacked to read that according to shogan, some printers do not seem to have the print preview facility that both my Epson printers have had? My latest Epson R220 even goes one step further and has a web-to-page facility that automatically fits the text and graphics on webpages to the paper size! With these features, I have never had to print out more pages than I wanted.

    Neither have either of my Epsons ever changed themselves from draft to Best mode once I have set them up as the default mode! Furthermore, Epsons also feature other modes like plain text, text and graphics, photo and best photo, which allows you to better control over how much ink you use.

    Plus good quality compatibles are always available for Epson printers, at a fraction of the cost of Epson (or most other manufacturers)orginals.

    So all-in-all, I’d recommend getting an Epson printer rather than having to mess about installing separate programs to achieve ink and paper savings!

  43. Own a Brothers 240c for over 2 years, print 30/40 solid pages each day. Never knew each time it self-cleaned part of the color cartidges ink was used until one day it stopped printing, out of ink for all 4 cartridges. Went to Office Depot and paid over $38.00 for 3 color cartridges as I was in the middle of something. Came home called my supplier ( bought 6 color and 4 black for the same $38.00

  44. My Epson 785EPX quit on me about 2 months ago. We only have Staples and Walmart. I bought a Canon Pixma iP2600 for $39 at Walmart and am very pleased with it. It’s 83 miles to Costco so I shop there about every six weeks; I found a cartridge bundle of 2 black and 1 color there for $43.

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