I have a friend looking to buy an all in one printer. Problem is that she goes away for three months at a time. This clearly will cause problems with blocked heads. Does anyone have experience of a make where this will not be a major problems.
I have three all-in-one printers, HP C3180 (2+years old), HP OfficeJet 590 (12+ years old) and a Lexmark X5150 (5+years old). Never had any real problems, except with the Lexmark, and this was easily remedied by placing a dodgy cartridge in a bowl containing a small amount of warm water for about 10 minutes.
Some people suggest removal of the cartridges and store in a sealed plastic bag.Make sure the cartridges do not leak. I have never tried this, but perhaps worth a thought!.
Avoid Epson and similar printers which have the print head built into the printer body. If this gets clogged with dried ink it's usually a throw away the printer job. HP is probably the best bet here as the print head is built into the cartridge, so if it does get clogged it's just a matter of replacing the cartridge. As setecio says, a laser printer is worth considering as it would completely overcome the dried ink problem, and laser printer prices have dropped significantly in recent years. However in my experience Laser printers don't get anywhere near inkjets for photo quality.
Laser printers can be an alternative, providing that you are not looking for a all-in-one system and colour. Anything above something like (say) a basic Samsung for B/W can get rather expensive, and may not compete against a cheap all-in-one for occasional use.
Basic black powder Toner cartridges for my Samsung ML-4500 cost about £35.00+ unless you self refill, then it works out about a fiver.A little shake, if they are left standing for long periods, usually doe's the job. But it still doesn't do the same job as my all-in-ones though.
I'm an Epson user and really like them but because of the lack of use Epson is the one brand I really would avoid, as I'm sure you realise if you leave an Epson for this length of time the heads might well block up. In fact I can almost guarantee they will.
Canon used to have seperate heads that you replaced with the cartridge but I am unsure if this is any longer the case.
I appreciate what you are saying, you want an inkjet that has heads that are replaced with the cartridge but am unsure as to which manufacturers do this anymore.
A laser is a possability as long as photos are not the main requirement.