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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