The Word on Printers – Tamahere Forum
By Matt Bentley
Printer. I have to have her, I have to hate her. The price of ink alone is something that turns the corner of your mouth down the earth.
In addition, they tend to break down after a while due to the failure of one or the other mechanical component. So think of it as an ongoing issue.
How do you reduce these costs? Well, estimates vary as to whether inkjet or laser are more expensive, but there is no comparison when it comes to print quality: laser wins, without a doubt. Laser is also much faster when you are printing a lot of material. However, ink cartridges can often be refilled by hand or with the help of a local printer ink company can be cheaper.
Brother and Ricoh are the two biggest names in laser printers, but most printer manufacturers now offer both laser and inkjet variants. But for the ‘big two’, Brother is fine. Unfortunately, Ricoh’s customer service leaves a lot to be desired. Most people will choose an inkjet printer because the upfront cost tends to be lower. So which brands are the best? As with all things technical, these change over time, and a company that was once good can underperform, so take this with caution.
In my experience, Canon has been the most reliable. As far as I know, they were the first to introduce separate ink cartridges for each ink color, which greatly reduces waste and printing costs. Their print quality tends to be very good, especially with the Pixma variants. Incidentally, I always recommend systems with the full 5 or 6 cartridges (black, photo black, cyan, magenta, yellow), even if they cost a little more – they have better print quality and cost less in the long run.
Epson comes second on the list, usually reliable, though many of the cheaper models fail early (and most of the time this is true of any cheap printer model). They also have some models with very large cartridges / tanks that are much less wasteful and expensive to run. HP is generally an “avoidance”, although their larger models tend to be significantly more rugged. I tend not to recommend anything to HP – they have an uncomfortable habit of skimping on the quality of their components and that’s why they make things so cheap.
Hopefully that will give you a little head start. Nowadays it is almost an anachronism to print something out instead of reading it on a screen, but there can be times when it is useful.
Finally, cheap paper? Unless you’re printing anything essential, copy paper is perfectly fine (it’s just a little thinner than most printer papers) and tends to be a lot cheaper. There is even a fully recycled variety which is again cheap (google “reflex copy paper recycling a4 nz” to find New Zealand sellers).