After a couple of my clients had problems with their inkjet printers, I realized that I probably need to take time to fully outline my printer philosophy and strategy. The overarching goal of my printer philosophy is when you are ready to print, it will print and to reduce costs. Printing should be like starting a car…it just happens; you don’t have to think about it.
The cheapest printing costs per page are accomplished with a black and white laser printer. I have found the Brother 2270 DW to be the best laser printer available. It is generally available for around $100 (shop amazon, office max, office depot, staples). The high capacity refill toner cartridges are available for $45 from amazon and most of my clients find they last around a year. The printer has internal wireless networking capability which allows the printer to be placed anywhere in the house where network access is available.
The only downside is that the printer is black and white only. Color printing (either laser or inkjet) is expensive because of the cost of ink cartridges. For me, I do not print any extensive color (ie pictures) at home. It is so much cheaper to print at Sams, WalMart or your drugstore. My color printer is primarily used as a copier or for printing a document with color highlighting.
Laser color printers are expensive or unreliable (ie cheap means not as reliable and cartridges are much more expensive for cheaper laser printers). That leaves you with an inkjet printer. Inkjet printers generally work very well, but the cartridges are very expensive. My recommended inkjet printer (Epson WF 3520) is about $119+tax (at Sams Club) and a set of high capacity cartridges is about $70. The WF 3520 is an all in one printer (print, copy, fax) device with wireless networking capability also. The epson printer will also allow printing directly from iOS devices (iphone, ipad, etc).
The way I recommend managing your printer costs effectively is to purchase both the laser printer and the inkjet printer. This has worked well for my clients and I. The one thing that you have to do with this setup is to remember to use the inkjet printer at least once every couple of weeks. If you don’t then the ink will dry up and clog the printhead. This will happen regardless which model inkjet printer purchased. I have had a couple of clients with my recommended setup and printed mostly with the laser (expected) to the point where the inkject had sat dormant too long. While it is possible to sometimes clear a clogged printhead, the usual cure is a new printer.
A couple of other points on printer recommendations. I now steer clear of all HP printers (and computers for that matter, except of $300+ laserjet printers), not because they don’t work well hardware wise, but their software is at the least problematic and often unworkable and violates the prime directive of my printer philosophy to “just work.” I am not so negative about any other printer manufacturer, but I find no compelling advantage to moving beyond my recommendations (Brother 2270DW, Epson Workforce 3520). Also, these printers I know which means less “figuring out the problem” time for me.
Also, I always set up printers on the network. Most all of my clients have multiple devices in their house and a networked printer is by far the easiest way to set things up for multiple devices. It has the additional advantage that no computer has to be on for other devices on the network to print.
I welcome any thoughts, comments or feedback.