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Subject: Suggestions for new printer? rss

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Chris Grindstaff
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Hey there - it's time to retire my 6 year old HP AiO Inkjet printer, and considering I'm now getting into PnP games aswell as making my own card games (and custom tuckboxes/chipboard boxes for games) I was curious what anyone here would suggest for a new printer. I'd like to stick in the under $200 area - scan/fax isn't needed but I understand most laser jet printers always have those features. I'm really debating on if I will notice that much of a difference with a Laser Printer over an Inkjet printer considering most print will just be for a card game for the wife and I. Thanks in advance!
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Jonas Thyssen
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While I can't give you any suggestions for current models I can clarify the differences between a laser and an inkjet printer.

Inkjet:
Cheap to buy
Expensive if you are printing a lot
The Ink can dry on the nozzle if used too infrequently.
fast to start printing. But slower than laser in general.

Laser:
Expensive to buy
Cheap to run if you are printing a lot (The toner looks really expensive but will last much longer than an ink cartridge)
Slow(ish) to start printing, but once they start they run faster than inkjet

I own an Epson inkjet myself, and use Epson at my day job as a Graphic Designer. So I can vouch for their quality of inkjet printers, I haven't tried their laser models.

We do print a lot. But they're 8-color systems for colourproofing. That's why we use inkjet.

For PnP I'd suggest getting a standard 4-color inkjet model. Get one where every cartridge is one color. Not one where cyan yellow and magenta is in the same cartridge! Or get a laserprinter if you can stomach the entry cost. It's up to you get a feel for how often you print.

You aren't printing photos as much as graphics I would presumes so stick to four colors. The 6 and 8 colours systems are more expensive and only look better on glossy photopaper.
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Walt
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Paphoved wrote:
Inkjet:
Cheap to buy
Expensive if you are printing a lot
The Ink can dry on the nozzle if used too infrequently.
fast to start printing. But slower than laser in general.

Laser:
Expensive to buy
Cheap to run if you are printing a lot (The toner looks really expensive but will last much longer than an ink cartridge)
Slow(ish) to start printing, but once they start they run faster than inkjet

Good summary, though I would say lasers are much faster (after a little warmup time). Laser printers are a lot larger.

I sometimes don't print for a while, especially in color, so inkjet cartridges were drying up and clogging. I got a Brother HL-3140CW, four color laser printer from Costco for $200; it may be a just-discontinued model, I'm not sure. I've had it for quite a while, and it's much more reliable than my HP inkjets have been. You can return to Costco in 30 or 90 days if you're dissatisfied for any reason, so if you're unsure about switching to a laser, there you go.

But, I don't do super-high quality color on glossy paper. I just don't know what the different in quality is between inkjet and laser these days.

A friend who does a lot of purchasing for his company claims you should never get more ink, just a new printer. I think that's an exaggeration for lasers, but it's darn close on inkjets. Check the prices on ink before you decide on a printer.
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Cool User
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I, too, was losing a huge amount of money on dried up or clogged cartridges and it had to stop. When I bought what I thought was a laser printer, it turned out it was actually LED technology but advertised as a laser printer. I'm not sure if there's any difference in quality, but true laser printers are still costly. I've been happy with the LED type so far and it was the only way I could afford to ditch the inkjet. The only drawback is that it's not color, but I don't do enough PnP to care.

If you're going to compare buying a new printer versus buying more ink, be aware that a new printer comes with a starter cartridge that is usually less volume than a replacement cartridge, so you might only have the illusion of saving money.

It would probably also be useful to research if a specific printer can accept generic cartridges. I used to use them all the time, but newer printers are designed to refuse to operate without the expensive brand-name cartridge.
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Jonas Thyssen
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Tall_Walt wrote:

But, I don't do super-high quality color on glossy paper. I just don't know what the different in quality is between inkjet and laser these days.


The quality difference is not a huge issue anymore AFAIK, at least not for text and graphics. Laser is also much cheaper to get than they have been. So I wouldn't talk anyone out of getting a laser printer, I'm torn myself between the two

And checking the ink prices of the printer is a really good advice. I know there once was a site that did cost comparisons for printers, but I can't find it anymore.

Tall_Walt wrote:

A friend who does a lot of purchasing for his company claims you should never get more ink, just a new printer. I think that's an exaggeration for lasers, but it's darn close on inkjets. Check the prices on ink before you decide on a printer.


While I'd definitely agree in an office setting. It's not always the case if you only use your printer 1-2 times a month as I do at home.

That said I once owned a cheap Epson that was the worst purchase I've ever done. a full set of cartridges coast as much as the printer and it would run 30 sheets of A4 before running dry. You can always get something too cheap!

Also about the clogging of inkjet. Some Inkjet printer use Piezoelectric technology (like a quartz watch) to push the ink out of the nozzle. This means that they don't have to use the water-based ink that is the biggest source of the clogging problems. (Other inkjets use heat to make the water in the ink expand)
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Antonie van der Tweel
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One other difference between inkjet and laserprinters is that inkjets cannot print on most transparants and some labels.

BTW, if you're not running Windows (like I do, using Linux) stay away from Canon printers.
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Jake Staines
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Tall_Walt wrote:

I sometimes don't print for a while, especially in color, so inkjet cartridges were drying up and clogging.


There were two things that made me upset enough to never buy an inkjet ever again, and this was one of them - I would routinely have to buy more ink every three or four print jobs because my usage profile would be a week or two of printing a lot, followed by a month or two of not printing at all.

The other was that I once went to a shop, bought new ink cartridges, put them in my printer and the printer told me that they were out of date and it wasn't even going to try and print with them. The print heads were on the cartridges themselves so there was no chance at all that an old cart would damage the printer - but the manufacturer had decided that I wasn't allowed to use the official, first-party ink I'd legally bought!
(I presume that what they're trying to do here is defeat the "continuous ink system" people who sometimes drill into an official cartridge to supply ink through a pipe to an official print head. No matter how much cheap third-party ink the user buys if they're going to have to buy a new cartridge every so many months anyway the printer manufacturer still gets their pound of flesh.)


Personally, I bought a laser about eight years ago - a Xerox Phaser 6125 - which has been the single most reliable, least messy, and cheapest printer to run that I've ever owned. It prints amazingly well, does a pretty good job of colour, can print on a variety of materials so long as I'm careful to buy laser versions of labels and things, and I've been running it on cheap third-party toner every since I got it with no incident.

(The colour reproduction is better than the cheaper colour inkjets I've owned; still a bit less good than expensive photo inkjets I've seen. Colours have a little bit too much S in the HSV sense.)


Tall_Walt wrote:

A friend who does a lot of purchasing for his company claims you should never get more ink, just a new printer. I think that's an exaggeration for lasers, but it's darn close on inkjets. Check the prices on ink before you decide on a printer.


That may be the case for inkjets, but I'm pretty sure it's not the case for lasers! The printer itself is pretty expensive in the first place. Where I work they've discovered that if you do a lot of printing with a laser you can get a cost-effective rental arrangement (IIRC ours is with Ricoh) where you pay a flat fee and they continuously refill your toner and other consumables whenever they're needed.
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Jake Staines
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avdtweel wrote:
One other difference between inkjet and laserprinters is that inkjets cannot print on most transparants and some labels.


Neither printer can print on every substrate. If you buy a laser you have to buy laser-specific paper/labels/transparencies because otherwise the fuser may melt the plastic/glue/coating/whatever inside the printer. If you buy an inkjet you have to buy inkjet-specific paper/labels/transparencies because otherwise the ink may not permeate the surface enough and just slide around making a horrible mess.

I've yet to find a type of substrate that I just can't print on with a laser or with an inkjet, but that is one point against the laser - because more people have inkjets for home use, inkjet supplies are generally easier to find in high-street shops.
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Ghislain LEVEQUE
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I bought a Laser printer recently and stuff I did not think about before buying is the weight of paper it could handle and it appears that above 120gsm it is pretty bad. My Inkjet printer could handle >200gsm without problem.

I suggest you be careful about that.
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Chris Grindstaff
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courtjus wrote:
I bought a Laser printer recently and stuff I did not think about before buying is the weight of paper it could handle and it appears that above 120gsm it is pretty bad. My Inkjet printer could handle >200gsm without problem.

I suggest you be careful about that.


Oh, thank you so much for that bit of info!

Mulling about six different printers right now, should I even bother with wide format - I mean it's nice, but realistically I would have no use for it outside of DIY game variants.
 
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Jake Staines
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courtjus wrote:
I bought a Laser printer recently and stuff I did not think about before buying is the weight of paper it could handle and it appears that above 120gsm it is pretty bad.


This is definitely a concern with lasers, and some handle it better than others. I can print on around 250gsm or less on mine, but lasers tend to have more problems feeding heavier stock because the printing pipeline is longer - more steps are involved in printing so the paper gets bent around more rollers.

Between that and the fuser getting the paper quite hot on one side as it's going around, laser printers also tend to curl heavier papers more than inkjets do - if you print on 200gsm cardstock you're going to have to leave it under some heavy books for a day or two if you want it to be perfectly flat again.

(I've more or less forgotten about these issues 'cause I've got so used to printing on lighter stock and gluing down to stuff like thick 2-3mm boards. I don't think my PnP process would be any different if I could print on thicker stock without curling.)
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Peter Schott
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Something else to consider might be whether the printer can handle rear feeds. A lot of the "all in ones" use cassettes to hold the paper and that feeds in a winding path through the printer. Not so bad for paper, but not great for heavier card-stock. I use a Canon and we do have the wide format because my wife does enough printing on US 11x17" paper that it's worth it. I miss the automatic duplexing, though. (I also miss the Canon printers that could do either cassette or rear feed. Those seem in short supply now.)

As for ink, we've been using Sofia Global ink lately - pretty good color matching and _way_ cheaper than the official stuff. We can get a full set of 2 Black, 1 each Red, Blue, Yellow for the cost of _one_ name-brand cart. No gummed up heads yet, either. However, it's fair to note that this printer rarely goes 2 days without something printed.

I like the idea of a laser, but not sure if a color laser would meet our need for the occasional photo we just want to print. Xerox had some sort of thermal wax printers a while ago - not sure if they're still around at the consumer level.
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maf man
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last year I got a super cheap HP printer and I have been so happy with it. I originally bought it thinking it would hold me over till those epson tank printers became a little more market tested but this thing has been trucking along so nicely its all I need.
Firstly HP printers are the easiest to set up. As far I have experienced this is kinda new so you may not have had it with yours but HP is now very user-friendly. I was a epson fanboy in the past but I always had trouble connecting and whatnot, and the cannons I liked were basic plug and play where I got no printing choices and asked for none.
I got my HP set up wirelessly and eprint active in what felt like no time. This really won me over.
The other major point HP now has is HP instant ink which charges you per page printed and not by the amount of ink you use. So I've been printing out full dark color sheets that I'm sure would have costed me hundreds by now.

As previously mentioned is easier to get transfer stuff for inkjet, this was one of my main reasons for going with inkjet so my SO wouldnt have to worry when she jumps on a printing project of her own

Laserjets are commonly a good choice I hear from people here but they just take too much upfront cost/work for me. I don't think you can get a good one for cheap, as lest when I was shopping around price just wasn't comparable. As far as I gather laserjets are liked because you don't have to worry about smearing over the course of playing with your pnp. I have yet to test how my ink jobs hold up, I havent noticed anything with the limited time I've handled them but thats due to most of the time I'm sleeveing or using some type of coating.

Quality of laser vs ink is nil, so don't fret about that, its an outdated argument as nether is better in general terms and is just up to if the printer itself is good (commonly related to price, moreso for laser as a super cheap laser tends to be word docs but your needs kinda dictate you look for more anyways).

My printer is slow and thats due to it being cheap and being ink, it needs to dry, not a problem for me but I can understand this being annoying to those who care. I have yet to have a clogging problem.
 
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I bought one of the first inexpensive black and white laser printer HP made. It's great, only every few years have to buy toner. If I want color, I just print at copy shops. Much cheaper overall since laser so cheap and I only occasionally need color. You can just put the files on a usb stick. The mass market home inkjet printers just didn't last very long and the ink always dried up in a few months whether or not I did much color printing
 
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It's the ink jets that come with scan/fax, multifunction features. I think you'll have a hard time finding new low-end ink jet printer that does only printing anymore.

You can easily get a monochrome laser jet for under $200, but my guess is you probably want color and laser toner cartridges are expensive.

Other things to consider especially for color printers is that the more economical ones have all the colors all in a single cartridge. That means if one color runs out, you have to replace the whole cartridge. That's fine if what you're printing mostly uses all colors fairly evenly, but if you know that you'll be favoring one color a lot more than others, consider a printer that uses separate color cartridges although that can get more expensive.

The paper tray is also another consideration. The lower-end models could come with a try that fits only letter size or don't even have an open paper feeder where you stick in any paper size. Most except the much higher end models comes with a fixed width size though.

As for dried ink cartridge nozzles due to infrequent use, usually you can revive it by soaking the nozzle in warm water for a few minutes and then running test prints to unclog. For really stubborn ones, try a little rubbing alcohol diluted in the water. But be sure to check your ink cartridges first. I've only done it with HP ink cartridges.
 
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Austin Andersen
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You might want to consider going printerless and using a printing service if you don't print that regularly. Sure you will pay more per print, but if you weight the cost of buying and maintaining a printer and supplies, you might actually save money in the long term.
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Darren
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Bichatse wrote:
Tall_Walt wrote:

A friend who does a lot of purchasing for his company claims you should never get more ink, just a new printer. I think that's an exaggeration for lasers, but it's darn close on inkjets. Check the prices on ink before you decide on a printer.


That may be the case for inkjets, but I'm pretty sure it's not the case for lasers! The printer itself is pretty expensive in the first place. Where I work they've discovered that if you do a lot of printing with a laser you can get a cost-effective rental arrangement (IIRC ours is with Ricoh) where you pay a flat fee and they continuously refill your toner and other consumables whenever they're needed.
In my case, my laser printer has both low yield and high yield toners that can be bought.

From my understanding, when you buy a laser printer they give you a half filled low yield toner cartridge that is less than the amount found in the retail low yield toner you can purchase.

So after using the laser printer for a while, its toner runs out and you go to look at getting a new toner and have a heart attack at the cost of the toners. The catch is that if you buy the new toners you will get way more life out of the printer especially if you buy high yield toners. If instead you buy a new printer, you will once again only get a half full toner, but a new printer with no wear.

With my current color printer when its original toner ran out, I bought the high yield toners (on sale) which cost me more than what the printer cost. I should be good for 4 to 5 times the amount of printing now before I need to revisit this issue - or so I've read. So far so good!

This may also apply to ink jets but I wouldn't know as I have not owned an inkjet for over 10 years now. I got tired of the clogged nozzles a long time ago.
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Jake Staines
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mafman6 wrote:

Laserjets are commonly a good choice I hear from people here but they just take too much upfront cost/work for me. I don't think you can get a good one for cheap, as lest when I was shopping around price just wasn't comparable.


I'm not sure what the upfront work is! I guess you have to install four cartridges instead of the two that most consumer inkjets have?

The cost isn't comparable at least partly because laser printers and inkjets are sold on completely different pricing models. Inkjets are commonly sold at a loss - or at least with slim profit margins - because the manufacturer does all they can to tie you into buying ink from them, and they have a huge profit margin on the ink. So the printer itself is dirt cheap, but the ink is expensive. Laser printers are more commonly sold like normal appliances, they're not loss-leaders. Probably because they sell more commonly to businesses than individuals.

Even HP's Instant Ink thing, while it looks like an attractive price, will be calculated to bleed money out of people. It's probably a good deal for people who print a lot of heavy colours, since they don't charge for the actual ink used, but the pricing looks awful for your average family who just prints text documents for school or work - since you have to estimate how much you need in advance and you keep paying for it regardless of whether you use it or not. It's the mobile phone talk-minutes pricing model.


secoAce wrote:
laser toner cartridges are expensive.


First-party laser toner cartridges have a high ticket cost, true. But they also last a hell of a lot longer than inkjet cartridges, and you can still buy cheap third-party ones which work just as well. Right now I could buy a full set of 4 carts for my printer on Amazon for £17.95 (probably about $5 US these days, thanks Brexit). They last me for months of PnP printing.

The printer costs more up-front, sure. But once you have the machine itself, laser printer economy generally blows inkjets completely out of the water.
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maf man
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Bichatse wrote:

I'm not sure what the upfront work is!
...

Even HP's Instant Ink thing, while it looks like an attractive price, will be calculated to bleed money out of people. It's probably a good deal for people who print a lot of heavy colours, since they don't charge for the actual ink used, but the pricing looks awful for your average family who just prints text documents for school or work

well the cost was my big thing (I had to spend $250 or more to get a laser printer I would be happy with) but the work that erked me was trying to find transfer paper and such that would work with laserjets. No store carry such things and even then from what I read some laserjets are too hot still.

Yes HP instant ink is priced to get you hooked and paying long term but I have yet to feel like I lossed on the deal, and I'm a cheapo. Price per page is 6 cents or under (3cents at their top level) and it is very easy to add more or stop your service. I'm not sure how long laser color lasts so idk how to compare but I signed up for it just over 4 months ago and i've lost track of the number of ink cartridges I've used. I've been printing games and wedding stuff and defiantly gotten my moneys worth. But I don't rly see 50 pages for $3 being that bad for anyone using their printer not that much. I will have three years of printing 300 pages a month before I catch up to the price of the laser printer that I was looking at.

Obviously I'm a fan and I can only tell you for a fact it was the right choice for me but I gambled and bought what I thought would be my back up printer and I'm freaking loving it.

edit: my example when I say full color, not a white spot left:
 
 
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Antonie van der Tweel
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Well, on the European continent most transparants are laser printer only.
 
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Chris Grindstaff
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So for an entry level color laserjst any specific models you guys would suggest?
 
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Chris Grindstaff
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I'm actually leaning towards this guy.

https://www.amazon.com/iX6820-Wireless-Business-AirPrint-Com...

Up to 13"x19"
 
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I've had my Brother HL-3140CW laser (LED) for about 2½ years. I see prices for it about $200. I have yet to replace any toner cartridge. They seem to run about $20. (CW=Color, Wireless.)

My feeling about big format printers is, I'll use it so infrequently that sending an image for someone to print as a poster will be higher quality and cheaper. I certainly like Canon cameras, though.
 
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Tall_Walt wrote:
I've had my Brother HL-3140CW laser (LED) for about 2½ years. I see prices for it about $200. I have yet to replace any toner cartridge. They seem to run about $20. (CW=Color, Wireless.)


I have the predecessor to that printer (the 3070-CW) and it's almost 7 years old. I've bought about 3 complete toner sets (I'm just starting on the 3rd set.)) I do a lot of print and plays and stuff where it is full page color. I really like the printer.

Printer still works great. It does curl heavier paper (it does have rear exit to reduce that, however, with where I have the printer, the rear exit won't work for me).

Toner is expensive, but it's not a common purchase. And I feel like printing an entire color page is much cheaper and sturdier (I feel like an entire page of ink from an inkjet takes a while to dry and makes the paper feel a bit weaker (it doesn't rip as cleanly).)

Brother printers are also high on my list because of their Linux support in addition to Windows.
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Krypticklown wrote:
I'm actually leaning towards this guy.

https://www.amazon.com/iX6820-Wireless-Business-AirPrint-Com...

Up to 13"x19"


The large format is nice, but I don't see a lot of print and plays that need it. Do you do large formatting printing elsewhere?
 
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