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Old 03-11-2010, 12:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Laser printer for home office use

I have a general idea of what I need in a new printer, but I though I'd pose this to the TFP computer community for some filtration of all the options out there.

I now work at home, and my current multifunction inkjet printer has been bricked by both of my OSes. The printer is old, so it's about time I guess.

My needs at home have changed, and so an inkjet printer won't do. As an editor and a budding writer (in addition to being a big geek in general), my printing demands will be fairly high. It won't be consistently high. That is, I won't be printing high volumes every day. However, there will be times when I'll need to print 200- to 300-page manuscripts, and some days I'll need to print several pages of research or maybe series of letters.

Generally speaking, I'll probably need either a low-end or mid-range laser printer. I'm not that concerned about resolution, print speed, or paper capacity, and I don't need colour capability.

What I'm most concerned about is consumable costs. I'd like to find a unit that has a separate toner and drum setup. It is my understanding that the drum can often outlast the toner. If it it more economical in the long run to have this setup, I want it, even if the unit cost of the printer itself is a bit higher.

I'd like to have a multifunctional printer too. I'd ideally like a scanner, but I have no real need for a fax machine. The scanner isn't essential, and I could even deal with a separate machine for that if need be. I'm not sure if multifunctional in general is a good idea or not.

My concern is that choosing a printer appears to be a bit of a crapshoot. There is so much out there I don't even know how to judge these things. For example, I jumped on BestBuy.ca and immediately saw a multifunctional laser printer for $100. Yeeeah....that sounds like a winner, right? It's the Brother All-In-One Laser Printer (DCP-7030). It looks fine, but why is it so cheap?

So, help me! What should I look out for and what would you recommend? I don't need to spend a fortune. I more more or less just need a basic but quality unit.
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Old 03-11-2010, 03:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I had to do the same sort of research on laser printers about 2 years ago or so. We were tired of using so much bloody ink, the refilling and the print head cleaning, I convinced my mom to invest in a laser printer. We dont have an exceedingly high printing volume, but sometimes, it can be quite a bit at a time.

First off, stay away from multifunctional printers. When I did my research, there were more problems, more hassle, and a lot of complaints over the multifunctional systems. Even the sellers at the local stores said to avoid them...hah.

Next, you want to decide now whether to invest in a black laser printer (cheaper) or a more expensive colour laser printer.

Then, everyone has their preferred brands. I like Canon. I like their warranties, their customer service, and their electronics.


This
is my printer. It was on sale at the time, so I was lucky. I love it, never had a single problem. Lots of people complained on the site it was slow at printing colour. I dont find it any slower than my old printer. In fact, it might be faster. So I'm satisfied. There were alot of other stupid complaints on that link, like no lcd screen (big whoop). Its a good home-use printer. I've had to buy one cartridge since its initial purchase, just a black cartridge. I've got hundreds of pages left in the current cartridges. So I'm very satisfied with my purchase. Im sure businesses would want a faster printer, but those get a lot more expensive.

ADDON:
Oh, you said you use a mac computer, right?
Well, then that printer isn't for you, there's no mac driver for it. But, the site I linked has a comparable and slightly better DELL printer around the same price range. That could be the one for you.

Last edited by settie; 03-11-2010 at 03:33 PM.. Reason: Mac - input
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Old 03-11-2010, 03:37 PM   #3 (permalink)
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If you don't go multi-function, this is a fabulous black and white laser printer. I used it on the last campaign I worked on and never had any problems at all. It is, by far, the best rated laser printer on newegg, and with good reason from my experience. Unfortunately, I don't remember if the drum and toner are sold separately.
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Old 03-11-2010, 03:55 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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7030 is nice but there is a drum to replace after a while. The drum will be more expensive than the machine. That means the toner will be WAY cheaper than other machines(HP, canon, samsung).

I know that for this machine: the toner is about 55$ for 1500 page yield. or 85$ for 2600pages. The drum will last you 12000 pages at about 150$. That means you will buy 8 toners before replacing the Drum. toner cost at Staples

Even adding the cost of drum per toner: ~18$+55=73$, you're still cheaper than most other printers(Canon, hp, etc...)

So what you found is a good printer. Go for it!

---------- Post added at 07:55 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:54 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by SecretMethod70 View Post
... Unfortunately, I don't remember if the drum and toner are sold separately.
They are sold separately. Same price as the 7030 I just gave prices on.

And to add to Settie's post: The brother warranty is the same: usually 1 year but it offers a LIFETIME TECH PHONE SUPPORT. like canon.
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Old 03-11-2010, 06:20 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't recall where (it might have been on macintouch.com), but I recall a lot of people showing great appreciation for the support they received from Brother, as well as the promptness and quality of their printer drivers.
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Old 03-11-2010, 06:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'd seriously consider a Brother. It's the only brand of laser printer I've used, and it was used for a lot of printing in a publisher's/editor's office.

Thanks for the feedback so far, guys. This is a big help. I'll soon start looking around more specifically.

Newegg just opened a warehouse in Canada recently.
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Old 03-11-2010, 08:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I use an MFC-7220 in my current professional capacity. It's a workhorse, but aging. Just today I printed off a 57 page document without any issues -- granted, it's not a 300 page manuscript, but I think once you surpass a certain threshold it's all good.

Having said that, the DCP-7040 is newer/faster/better. A flatbed-style scanner is mounds easier to use than the feed-type on the 7220, the resolution is better, and if you don't need the fax machine you're not missing out on anything.

Granted, the 7040 is $50 more, but I would honestly pay that premium just to have a 'real' scanner.

Regardless, I'm firmly on the Brother bandwagon.
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Old 03-15-2010, 05:48 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I had a look at the HL-2170W ($173.99) and the DCP-7030 ($213.99) at Best Buy on the weekend.

I wouldn't mind either unit. One concern, however: the all-in-one DCP-7030 isn't "(wireless) network ready." I'm assuming that means I can't use it with my Time Capsule (wireless router). Is this correct? I'd have to have it plugged directly into the computer to print from it?

I'm leaning toward the HL-2170W, as it is wireless network ready. From what I've seen on the Brother website, wireless ready all-in-ones start at around $400.
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Knowing that death is certain and that the time of death is uncertain, what's the most important thing?
—Bhikkhuni Pema Chödrön

Humankind cannot bear very much reality.
—From "Burnt Norton," Four Quartets (1936), T. S. Eliot
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Old 03-15-2010, 08:49 AM   #9 (permalink)
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You are correct, sir -- the DCP-7030 is not network-capable. In order to share it across your network you'd need to plug it into one of your computers and share it via SMB.

The HL-2170W is wireless capable, meaning it has a built in 802.11b/g adapter. You could probably get by on an ethernet-capable device here, though. I've seen your office, it's not so big that you can't run a cable.

If you're still set on network capability but want that multi-function device (and don't mind paying a premium for all that functionality), there's the MFC-7440N as well. At an MSRP of $319.99, it's probably the cheapest you're going to find that will do everything you want.
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Old 03-15-2010, 09:26 AM   #10 (permalink)
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No, a scanner capability isn't worth that premium.

Also bear in mind that I'm going to be using this printer with a desktop PC and two Macbooks, so having network capability is good. As is wireless capability.
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—Bhikkhuni Pema Chödrön

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—From "Burnt Norton," Four Quartets (1936), T. S. Eliot
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Old 03-15-2010, 11:57 AM   #11 (permalink)
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We have a lot of users at work using brother 2040, 2140, and 2170w printers. We have only had a couple people unhappy with them. One user it wasn't really the printers fault, she just printed too much for that class of printer and was going through consumables too fast. The others all had the same issue, there is no tray on the manual feed which can make it a pain to use. They are a great little printer though. We have been buying them for several years now.
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Old 03-15-2010, 04:27 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Old 03-15-2010, 06:29 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I bought a 50 dollar brother laserjet (black and white) and its worked great, probably printed 300 pages so far, with no problems at all.

The toner I got with it is supposed to last for 1500 pages, and the normal toners last for 2500 and cost 50 bucks.

Not a bad deal really.

I think the cheap route is the way to go if space isn't an issue.
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Old 03-16-2010, 03:28 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baraka_Guru View Post
I had a look at the HL-2170W ($173.99) and the DCP-7030 ($213.99) at Best Buy on the weekend.

I wouldn't mind either unit. One concern, however: the all-in-one DCP-7030 isn't "(wireless) network ready." I'm assuming that means I can't use it with my Time Capsule (wireless router). Is this correct? I'd have to have it plugged directly into the computer to print from it?
Using Time Machine as a router, you should be able to connect your PC to an ethernet port and connect any printer to the one of the USB or ethernet ports on Time Machine and access them wirelessly from your MacBooks that way. The printer doesn't need to plug into a computer.

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Old 04-23-2010, 07:07 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martian View Post
You are correct, sir -- the DCP-7030 is not network-capable. In order to share it across your network you'd need to plug it into one of your computers and share it via SMB.

The HL-2170W is wireless capable, meaning it has a built in 802.11b/g adapter. You could probably get by on an ethernet-capable device here, though. I've seen your office, it's not so big that you can't run a cable.
But you use a USB cable to connect the printer to the Time Capsule. It's the Time Capsule that has the wireless adapter.

But I'm getting hung up on the "network ready." Does "network ready" mean "this printer can print without cables"? I don't need it to print without cables. I just need it to be plugged into the Time Capsule with a USB cable and to print when a computer tells it to. It just so happens that it's the computer that's wireless; not the printer. The Time Capsule has one ethernet WAN port (for your modem) and three ethernet LAN ports, plus one USB port that's meant for the printer or an external hard drive. You can use a USB hub if necessary.

What, exactly, does "network ready" mean? My old printer worked with the same setup. Is this printer "network ready"? Lexmark P3150 -- Lexmark Canada

The reason why it doesn't work now is because my current OSX version doesn't support the driver.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindy View Post
Using Time Machine as a router, you should be able to connect your PC to an ethernet port and connect any printer to the one of the USB or ethernet ports on Time Machine and access them wirelessly from your MacBooks that way. The printer doesn't need to plug into a computer.
Like she said.
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Knowing that death is certain and that the time of death is uncertain, what's the most important thing?
—Bhikkhuni Pema Chödrön

Humankind cannot bear very much reality.
—From "Burnt Norton," Four Quartets (1936), T. S. Eliot

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Old 04-23-2010, 07:41 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Look, this isn't complicated.

Something on your network needs to act as a print server. It would be this hypothetical device's job to queue up documents for printing, spool them and so on. This device can be a router (like your time capsule), a computer, or a printer could have one built in.

Calling a printer network-capable or network-ready is kind of bogus -- it turns out that any printer can be shared across a network and thus they're all network capable. The ones with that branding, though, have their own adapter and print server built in. This is useful for people who don't have a time capsule or router to provide the service, or who want to locate the printer in a spot where it would be inconvenient to have other devices set up.

So, short answer: you do not need a printer that's network capable. If the time capsule supports USB printers, a network capable printer will offer you no benefit.

That clear enough?
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Old 04-23-2010, 07:44 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Yes, thanks.
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Knowing that death is certain and that the time of death is uncertain, what's the most important thing?
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Humankind cannot bear very much reality.
—From "Burnt Norton," Four Quartets (1936), T. S. Eliot
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Old 04-30-2010, 06:09 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I bought a refurbed Brother MFC-7840W for $200 a year or so ago. It's really more than I need; but will likely last forever.
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Old 05-17-2010, 08:22 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Avoid the MFPs

I'd advise you to avoid the multifunction machines. I know they seem like a good idea — "hey, it's a printer! and a scanner! and a fax machine!" — but you end up with a device that does a lot of things and, in my experience, none of them very well. They're kind of like those old can openers that used to have the really awful knife sharpeners included on the back of them, that would just eat up your knives. There's nothing related about those two functions; why try to do them with the same machine? I have no idea.

Anyway, most MFPs I've had the misfortune to use have either: 1) had really shitty drivers that weren't stable, crashed the host computer, or generally made me curse every time I brought the print dialog up; 2) used really expensive ink cartridges, such that I never really wanted to use them as photocopiers or whatever; 3) both 1 and 2. Now maybe there are some MFPs out there that don't suck royally, but I kinda doubt it. I've given up on them.

There are a lot of really good, inexpensive, monochrome black and white laser printers out there. These are printers designed to do one thing and they do it really well. The Brother HL-2170W that got linked above is similar to one that I've used and would recommend (but is no longer sold so I can't). But Brother as a brand seems good. It's worth the few extra bucks to get a "workgroup" or network-enabled printer ... this is one that you just plug in directly to your network, either over Ethernet or wireless in some cases, rather than into a computer via USB. You don't need an external print server as it's all integrated into the printer itself. You'll never want to go back to a directly-attached printer again. (To say nothing of Windows print sharing..uggh.) Also the Brother printers, at least the ones I've used, speak a pretty standard dialect of PostScript so there's no trouble with drivers regardless of what platform you use.

Also you can get cheap refilled toner carts online ... be aware that if the drum goes, it's probably time to just replace the printer though. But for $99 what do you want, really? A few years ago you could barely get a crummy inkjet for that. For what a good printer cost a few years ago you can now get a great laser and still have enough left over for a decent scanner or photo inkjet if you want it.
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Old 05-22-2010, 09:19 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SecretMethod70 View Post
If you don't go multi-function, this is a fabulous black and white laser printer. I used it on the last campaign I worked on and never had any problems at all. It is, by far, the best rated laser printer on newegg, and with good reason from my experience. Unfortunately, I don't remember if the drum and toner are sold separately.
We have this printer. Got it for $99.99 from Amazon about 6 months ago. Someone above said it was $180 - please don't buy it at $180, it goes on sale all the time all over the place

We've printed for 6 months with literally ZERO issues. Toner is still good, and it's the one that came with it - the "starter" toner. We bought a replacement toner for like $20 a couple of months back (yes, a LASER PRINTER TONER for the same price as a damn inkjet cartridge!!!!!). Haven't even had to install it yet.

I was skeptical, but it works like a charm. Some of the reviews say the wi-fi is hard to set up, but only if you choose to skip the directions. If you follow the directions, it works 100% perfectly and you can print from anywhere!
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Old 07-02-2010, 07:26 AM   #21 (permalink)
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We're going with the Brother HL-2170W. The price is right and scanning isn't that high of a priority.

It will be nice to have this output capacity at home. It's no fun killing an inkjet cartridge like I have in the past.
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—Bhikkhuni Pema Chödrön

Humankind cannot bear very much reality.
—From "Burnt Norton," Four Quartets (1936), T. S. Eliot
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Old 07-03-2010, 12:55 AM   #22 (permalink)
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There's a surprisingly informative and reasonable discussion of laser printers, especially ones where you can refill the toner cartridge inexpensively (like this), on Slashdot. The general consensus is that Brother is both reliable and inexpensive.
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Old 07-03-2010, 05:54 AM   #23 (permalink)
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It took several attempts (I think the set up process kept dropping its wireless signal), but we finally got the thing set up. Our printer network is as follows:
  • Desktop Windows Vista: USB
  • Macbook OS X Snow Leopard: Wireless
  • Macbook OS X Leopard: Wireless

It's all set up and good to go. All machines print to it flawlessly. I went...wow....the better part of a year without being able to print at home. My SO could print from her Macbook, but the old Lexmark pretty much bricked on my other two machines. It was getting old.

This is my first laser printer at home. It's actually like a mini version of the one I had at the old office. The main difference is output speed and capacity. This Brother HL-2170W was $169 and is actually more than enough for what I'll use it for.
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Knowing that death is certain and that the time of death is uncertain, what's the most important thing?
—Bhikkhuni Pema Chödrön

Humankind cannot bear very much reality.
—From "Burnt Norton," Four Quartets (1936), T. S. Eliot

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