The blogosphere strikes back – I’m hoping

http://www.citysoftware.com.au/Content/ProductImages/FXP1220_0.jpgI’m sick of paying $100 or more every time I crank through two or three thousand pages of printing.  Back in the old days, printer drums and toner cartridges were replaced separately.  Drums lasted 20,000 pages or more and could be persevered with even if they weren’t giving you great quality.  And toner cartridges often cost less than $50 and were just cylinders of PVC with yucky black powder in them.

Today they printer manufacturers have got onto the same lurk as drug dealers, which is to sell you stuff for next to nothing – like the fancy multi-function centre to my right for $150 odd  (less than you can buy the attached scanner with a page feeder) – and then milk you for money with cartridges.

So here’s my bleg.  Tell me of a decent printer that’s for small office use – ie, I don’t really care about its speed, its not for a bank of office workers in its own room – that may not be the cheapest around, but is good value to operate!

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Tel
Tel
13 years ago

Consider buying refurbished cartridges instead of new OEM, usually half price. The refurbishing industry targets popular brands (HP and Lexmark) and models that sit on the market for a long time.

Many printer models use the same engine. Hewlett Packard almost always uses Canon engines (and has since the first Laserjet), so try to find an engine used by many printers. My printer uses the Canon EP-22 engine (high resolution but low-volume). Pick a popular engine and you will find that the same cartridge is available from multiple suppliers (possibly under different names). There’s a cross reference database of printers and their engines here:

http://www.fixyourownprinter.com/reference/pcr

Check the page rating on the cartridges. For example the C7115A cartridge for the EP-22 engine rates 2500 pages and costs about $100 new (4c pp for OEM, 2c pp refurbished), Kyocera TK-144 (used by FS-1100 printer) rates 4000 pages, while the Kyocera TK-310 cartridge is rated to 12000 pages (used by Kyocera FS-2000D and others) and costs less than $150 per cartridge (1.25c pp for OEM)

Usually, the bigger cartridges will fit a faster (high volume) engine which will be on a more expensive model of printer and cost more per cartridge, but less per page. The break-even depends on how much you print. The bigger engines tend to be more reliable too. You can also buy refurbished printers, so you might that a refurbished 5 year old page-pounder costs the same as a dainty new SOHO printer and delivers more pages, faster and cheaper.

Tysen Woodlock
13 years ago

I have a Samsung SCX-4200 (the link goes to the CNET Review.) It’s reasonably cheap to buy and you apparently get about 3000 pages per $80-$100 toner cartridge. It has a toner-save mode which still gives a good quality image and extends the toner cartridge life even further.

Tel
Tel
13 years ago

Another possible suggestion:

http://www.lpt.com.au/Printer_specs/s1255/s1255.html

Refurbished 1998 lexmark with toner cartridge rated at 17,600 pages, $400 ex GST.

Alphonse
Alphonse
13 years ago

I bought an AUD300 Brother b&w laser (HL-1430) a few years ago. Flawless service, and incomparably cheaper consumables than a colour ink jet (one of which I also have, for colour printing only). Add to that a $100 flat bed scanner and you’re set.

fxh
fxh
13 years ago

nic – I’ve had a Kyocera FS 1000+ B&W laser since they first came out – would it be 10 years? It never stuffs up, rarely jams and seems cheap to run. I always have a spare cart but the never need replacing. The latest toner cartridge and roller cost $115 in April 2008. I think they used to cost $130 when I first got it.

Downside is that it isn’t colour, but I use another cheapo given to me for basic colour or go to a proper print place for high quality bound stuff. Biggest downside for me is that I would like to do A3 a bit and it only does A4 or less. Other downside is that so far I havent got it to work on network off a iMAC but that is possibly my lack of MAC knowledge.

I got it from what used to be called The Printer Place in Station Stret Box Hill. They used to specialize in printers and still give unbiased good advice. They still use a Kyocera Fs 1000+ as their everyday printer. They are now called Digital Imaging but are still great for unbiased advice and service:
http://www.scanners.com.au/

peter
peter
13 years ago

Ebay is good. (is god?)
I got an industrial strength Canon iR2200 that does cheap printing
for $1,500 from ebay.
It is A4 and A3, fax, copier and printer. Running costs are of the order of
$0.02/A4 page printed or copied.
The office I look after has 2 x iR2200 and 1x iR2020. Running costs are
less than 3 cents per A4 page printed (or copied)
You have to go a bit higher in the price range of laser printers
to get cheap running costs. Make sure you know the cost of toner and image drums
and how many copies you get from each.
We have a couple of HP 3030 laser printer/copier/faxes $0.18/A4 page printing costs stop being funny very quickly.

Kyocera are good, I use a FS 1000+ myself in my office. Practically zero costs to run.
$200 extra purchase price is easily less than 2 HP toner catridges for a cheap
HP printer. Pay $600 or more for something proper.

Paul Martin
13 years ago

I bought a Fuji Xerox Docuprint C3210 and love it. I paid a grand or more for it, but it prints double-sided fast, which is great. I costed it per sheet, including paper, toner and maintenance costs at 4.7c per single page B&W, and 8.1c per double-sided page. It also prints in colour, which is about 2-3 times the cost per sheet (as a rough guess, I haven’t printed enough to accurately cost it). It’s the best laser printer I’ve had.

At the time I bought it, I also wasn’t as concerned about the initial cost as the ongoing. This seemed the most economical for what I wanted.

2 tanners
2 tanners
13 years ago

APC recently put out a bonus issue “150 products reviewed”. In it they asked the question whether toner ink was the most expensive liquid on the planet at about $5000* per litre, and proceded to rate quite a few printers against a number of criteria, including consumable usage.

Worth a read, as your other selection criteria aren’t quite as clear.

*1960 Grange is more expensive, and once consumption starts does not last long at all. For all those inquiring minds out there.