Printer advice needed - Inkjet v Laser

  Kitchen Foyle 14:34 15 Aug 2014

After owning several inkjet printers from different manufacturers, I became fed up of the high cost of replacement inks and the even more expensive outlay for print heads due to them drying out and blocking up.

This was due, I know, to the fact that I don't use a printer very often. But even firing it up each day simply to waste a couple of pages just to keep the thing from seizing up never seemed to prevent it from doing so.

I've been tolerating visits to the library but the inconvenience of not having a printer to hand is a nuisance. So, what I'm looking for is the best option for my needs.

I can live without colour ink. In fact, a particular annoyance has been the need to replace the more expensive colour ink cartridges because the printers I've had wouldn't work without them and were mainly being used up simply during start up and the wasted pages just to keep the head from drying out.

I've been looking at the mono Laser printer option and am reading conflicting reports about their print costs. Reviewers tend to suggest they're among the most expensive per page, yet many users say they wish they'd bought one sooner as they are way cheaper than any inkjet they've had.

I'd be interested to hear the views and experiences of both laser and inkjet users, especially those light printer users who've found a satisfactory solution to the problem of wasting more ink keeping the print head from drying out than on productive use and whether they find lasers more economical than inkjets.

Thanks, everyone!


  spuds 15:18 15 Aug 2014

There are various ways of keeping costs down, either by using compatibles, CISS devices or self-fill.

But as you already mention, not using the printer can bring problems, and with some makes of printer's it is advisable, not to switch the printer off, unless you are concerned about a fire hazard.

With laser's, you can self-fill the toner box or buy compatibles. Sometimes, if the laser stops printer or makes a poor printout, then a shake of the toner cartridge might resolve the problem.

I have a number of inkjet printer's, plus a Samsung ML-4500 B/W Laser, which is a basic cheap unit. Hardly use the Samsung

  wee eddie 16:12 15 Aug 2014

I have a similar use profile to you.

I got a Samsung CLP 325 Laser. It's colour but not really for photos, never the less useful for tarting up a handbill or colourful Letterheads.

Although the cost per page is theoretically higher than an inkjet, there is no clean-up cost so, in my opinion, it is cheaper than my previous inkjets. Toner tank costs are horrendous but they last, almost, forever

  Menzie 17:02 15 Aug 2014

I have an Epson all in one and a Brother Mono laser printer. The Epson has been sturdy but the ink required replacing too often so I purchased a mono laser instead.

I had to do some research as I was coming across cheap lasers where the toner were more expensive than the actual printer. What I learnt is that some laser printers have a separate drum while others don't. The ones without, have the drum built into the toners pushing the cost up. The ones without a drum are cheaper and you have to replace the drum separately every so often.

Look for printers that possess a separate drum and toner as these are cheaper to run when toners come into play.

  Woolwell 17:13 15 Aug 2014

I have run a mono laser and a colour inkjet for years. A lot depends on how much printing you actually do per month. Laser printers have a duty cycle of so many pages per month. If you do little printing then the separate drum, etc isn't a great issue as it is probably cheaper to buy a replacement printer in due course. Mono laser running costs are usually lower than inkjet but some inkjets have made great strides in the last few years where their running costs are comparable eg Epson Workforce series. Lasers tend to print quicker.

I currently run a Samsung ML-3710ND and an Epson SX535WD. The Samsung with auto duplex and networked is more than you need.

I suggest that you read the reviews carefully many will give an indication of print costs per page.

  Woolwell 17:25 15 Aug 2014

I have had my Epson for about 2 and a half years now and have not had a blocked print head and have rarely used the print head clean. It is switched off every night and is not used for printing every day. It has gone longer than a fortnight without a print. But I do not use compatibles instead I use Epson High Yield. The print quality is good and doesn't fade quickly.

  Kitchen Foyle 16:17 16 Aug 2014

Thanks for all the responses. Spuds, I take it by 'no clean up costs' with the lasers you mean they don't require the initial head cleaning procedure every time you fire them up, is that right? I'd say that would result in a big saving over time and must be quite an advantage for low usage types like me.

Thanks, Wee Eddie, for confirming the popular view of many laser users that the trade off for the higher toner cost is a higher print page count if you choose the right printer.

Menzie, I was thrown by the drum option for a while so thanks for confirming my assumption that having to purchase a drum with every refill must add to the cost - although there seems to be so much difference between all the various ink configurations across the board that it seems a real minefield that needs careful research.

Thanks, too, to Woolwell - just wondering what is meant by the 'duty cycle per month'. I've been checking out the spec of your Samsung ML-3710NDHas and it states it has a duty cycle of 80k pages per month. What is that and how does it relate to low usage? I also note the relatively high cost of the Samsung and wondered what the collective opinion here is of this unit:

click here owner reviewer points out that it doesn't have the built in drum and boasts that it churns out 1400 pages for colour and 2000 pages for monotone.

Just one more question: I know the Dell is a colour unit and I'd be happy with mono, but just out of interest, is it possible to simply use mono toner and dispense with colour? Or is it the case as with inkjets, some allow you to that and others don't?

Thanks, everyone!



  wee eddie 16:35 16 Aug 2014

Almost all Printers come with a set of Ink/Toner Tanks. Usually slightly less ful than the ones one normally buys.

So, your Laser will come with a set of Colour Tanks as well as the Black, and, if you don't use them they will remain there, available, forever. If you have not used a Colour tank for a year, or so, it makes sense to take it out and give it a wee tap, just to make sure that the Toner hasn't settled too much.

It's well worth having the ability to add the occasional flash/highlight of colour to ones document.

Cost per page: If you are basically printing Text Documents, the difference between one Printer, and another, may amount to a Cappuccino every couple of months. In other words, almost irrelevant in the scheme of ones other costs

However: If you are printing Full Page, Colour Illustrations/Photos it could be of considerable relevance.

  Woolwell 16:49 16 Aug 2014

My printer isn't low usage and is probably OTT for your purpose. The printer is rated for 80,000 pages per month. I don't get anywhere near that. 10,000 pages per month or less is typical for home use. You can get much cheaper ones. I run a home office.

You have to have all toners in. You have a mono laser or a colour laser. Mono lasers tend to have lower running costs. I had a look at the running costs and the amount of printing I do and decided that the cost effective option for me (and I stress it will be different for others) is to have a mono laser and a colour inkjet.

The Dell is getting on a bit and is ok see bit IMO B&W print costs are higher that I would like This Review.

What is your budget?

  Woolwell 16:54 16 Aug 2014

The toner that is supplied with a printer can be as low as half the the standard cartridge.

  Woolwell 16:56 16 Aug 2014

The Brother HL-2250DN or Kyocera FS-1061DN could meet your needs but this depends on whether you want colour, etc.

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