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Last post Author Topic: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?  (Read 14063 times)

superboyac

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Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« on: September 24, 2010, 08:50:22 PM »
I'm going to google and newegg, and as usual, it's hard to judge based on that.  So once again, I'm turning to my favorite forum.  OK, here are my requirements:

Price:  I don't know.  Not too expensive.  Let's keep it under $400.  I know that's a lot for a black/white laser printer.  I'm just trying to emphasize that I don't mind paying for a truly better machine.

Duplex: I NEED automatic duplex.  I don't want any manual feeding or anything.  I read some reviews, and even the ones that could do auto-duplex seemed to have some issues, like paper getting jammed a lot, etc.  So if any of you have had a really positive experience with an auto-duplex printer, please let me know.

11x17 support:  It doesn't have to have an inner tray for it, but I'd like to be able to print to 11x17 once in a while.  Even if it is a manual feed.

Toner:  I'd like as much toner life as possible.  I don't want something that only lasts 200 pages or so.

I can't think of anything else right now.  Please advise.  Thank you.  (I said "Thanks you" the other day on the phone at work.  So embarrasing.  I was caught between "Thanks" and "Thank you"...ugh)

mouser

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2010, 08:58:32 PM »
The 11x17 think is likely to be the major feature that excludes most common printers.

For standard sized printing, i love my years-old dirt cheap Brother HL-5250DN (discontinued);  more brother lasers here: http://www.brother-u...rome_Laser_Printers/

As always, look for reviews, and ratings on amazon and newegg.

Shades

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2010, 09:06:29 PM »
Then the question becomes:
In what quantities are you expecting to print?

If that is low, take a Samsung or HP laser printer that supports the dual page printing.

But if it is high then I can recommend from personal experience Panasonic (5.000+ euro).

My experience with them was excellent although a little short-lived. In the company I worked for we leased a set of 4 from these printers. 3 of them had to be replaced after 3 months, because their innards were completely done (according to their counter), while the outside was still brand new. These babies were litterally printing continuously day and night in that period. And they did practically without any hiccup.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2010, 10:14:41 PM »
11x17 is the one requirement that will drive the price up (way up). But if you can find a HP LaserJet 5000 (eBay) that would be a good printer with a solid reputation.

Note: most of the duplex jamming issues are caused by sub-standard media and/or moisture (I see this constantly) ... So read any reviews with a bit of skepticism.

superboyac

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2010, 10:18:12 PM »
The 11x17 think is likely to be the major feature that excludes most common printers.

For standard sized printing, i love my years-old dirt cheap Brother HL-5250DN (discontinued);  more brother lasers here: http://www.brother-u...rome_Laser_Printers/

As always, look for reviews, and ratings on amazon and newegg.
Maybe I'll just let go of the 11x17 thing.  I don't really need it.  Maybe I'll go down to Costco and browse what they have.  They usually have good stuff and I love that I can just return it, no problems.

mouser

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2010, 10:18:55 PM »
i think letting go of 11x17 is a great idea.
not only will it jack up the price significantly, but the desktop footprint as well.

superboyac

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2010, 10:20:04 PM »
11x17 is the one requirement that will drive the price up (way up). But if you can find a HP LaserJet 5000 (eBay) that would be a good printer with a solid reputation.

Note: most of the duplex jamming issues are caused by sub-standard media and/or moisture (I see this constantly) ... So read any reviews with a bit of skepticism.
Yeah, I am always skeptic.  Especially lately since the internet is just pretty much garbage.  I'm sure a lot of you have noticed that I'm asking a lot more questions here in recent months.  The internet has become pretty unreliable for me as far as answering questions.  I go here because I trust you guys and the forum design is excellent.  Thanks for the duplex tip, I'll remember that.

superboyac

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2010, 10:30:51 PM »
I don't understand the deal with resolutions.  I mean, I know what AxB means, but how does it affect print quality in simple language?  For example, I see 1200x1200, and 2400x600.  What is the difference?  They both total 1440000 dpi.  And then there are more expensive printers that only have 600x600.  That doesn't really make sense.  Man, I am really getting tired of the whole PC world.  Too much nonsense jargon, too many useless and confusing specs.  Apple is going to take over.  So simple, so nice.  But don't respond to that last bit, I have enough threads about that.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2010, 08:22:50 AM »
DPI isn't really relevant for a laser printer as it doesn't print dots (ala inkjets). If you're getting/looking at an MFP/AIO (something with a scanner) then it would apply to the scanning resolution...but that's about it.

Bottom line is what do you want to print Text, Graphics, or Photos? For truly photo quality prints you're stuck with an inkjet ($$) for low volume prints, or a solid ink ($$$$$) machine for high volume prints.

If you just want a good solid basic text (forms/letters/etc.) with some graphics (logo on top of form) type of printer that's not hard to do. Key points are (does it need to be a network printer) how many people Will print to it, and what is the expected print volume (rough estimates are fine) in pages per month.

Note: HP Network printers run between $100 - $200 more than the non-networked models. But! If the model you get has an EIO slot you can get JetDirect cards on eBay for $20 - $50 and end up with the same thing for less.

Note2: I tend to lean toward HP because I (work for an ASP) am the most familiar with them. But we do service/support all brands. Dell makes has some nice printers also.
Low end models are made by Canon
Midrange models are made by Lexmark
High-end models are made by Xerox

cmpm

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2010, 10:11:51 AM »
some printers
take into considering a printer by the price of the toner
for color, that's 4 toner cartridges-$200 worth of toner for one of these

http://www.tigerdire...76001&CatId=2713
http://www.tigerdire...er-Printers&Nav=|c:244|&Sort=0&Recs=10
not sure if that link works, but it does from searching tigerdirect, just not in this post

further reading

http://desktoppub.ab...te/a/measure_dpi.htm
wikipedia -printer dpi- is more detailed but not simply explained, if it can be

11 x 17 gets into some expense

http://www.pcrush.com/11x17printers

Of course now you have me considering one.
One thing I like is the style of the laser printer.
The paper is in an enclosed slot, reducing dust build up on the paper.

Those Samsungs look nice, the first one on tigerdirect's page.
I like the scan function, I have no land line, but I can fax to my own computer,
for some unknown reasoning to me yet.

I look at how many thousands a month, the higher or better is good I guess.
Not sure why it's measured like that, perhaps it's about business production.
I don't know if it stops after the output of 50,000 or 20,000 a month or what it means.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2010, 10:21:25 AM by cmpm »

Stoic Joker

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2010, 11:17:50 AM »
One thing I like is the style of the laser printer.
The paper is in an enclosed slot, reducing dust build up on the paper.

100% excellent point - Not sure why I didn't think of it actually - Many of the top feed/open bin printers do have major issues with reliability and moisture/sensitivity/jamming issues do to the exposed media. Not to mention that most of the devices designed in this manner are also designed to be disposable ... Hence they're impossible/(way) uneconomical to repair.

I look at how many thousands a month, the higher or better is good I guess.
Not sure why it's measured like that, perhaps it's about business production.
I don't know if it stops after the output of 50,000 or 20,000 a month or what it means.

This is one of the most popular topics (and point of derisions) at our office, Printer specs that look like this:
Monthly duty cycle 50,000 - 1000,000 pages
Recommended usage 2,000 - 5,000 pages.

In a nut shell "proper"/reasonably expected usage is between these two numbers, but approaching or exceeding the higher number will most likely void your warranty... and some models take abuse better than others.

On a side note, there are no "cheap" color laser printers. A low purchase price leaves you with a high TCO because the cartridges are expensive and contain very little toner. 2,000 pages may sound like a lot, but with the 5% coverage qualifier... reality puts it closer to less than 1,000. Not to mention that printing something that is just black & white does not guarantee that you won't actually be using a combination of all the color toners to get all the various shades of gray.

Many of the seemingly "cheap" mono printers suffer from the tiny toner cost issue also.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2010, 12:37:01 PM »
Low end models are made by Canon
Midrange models are made by Lexmark
High-end models are made by Xerox

I know it isn't relevant to this thread but ... don't know about lasers but this is definitely the wrong order for inkjets. For me the order (for inkjets) is:

Lexmark - cheap to buy but crap quality and extremely expensive to run (lousy software) (and most of 'Dell' printers seem to be Lexmark rebranded - which is why they can give them away for almost nothing). Their drivers have little to recommend them either.

Canon - very good quality and inks reasonably priced (esp. if you by a higher spec printer). Software minimalist but works well and is easy to install.

HP - pretty good print quality (not as good as Canon's for the same price) but built quality is nowhere near as good as it used to be and their software is a nightmare. Upgrades are commonly over 400Mb (I have seen a couple that won't even fit on a CD when compressed) and the cause of endless problems. I suppose I shouldn't really complain because they have made me a fair amount of money sorting out driver issues which kill computers and drive users nuts.

Xerox - don't know - haven't used one in 20 years (and that one cost £12,000 then for a 300dpi colour printer - so yes they are expensive!)

My personal prejudices (and experience) means that I would never EVER buy a Lexmark printer again and if someone gave me one for free it would go straight on to eBay without being opened. I have pretty much the same feeling for HP printers these days but I'd guess their laser printers are less hassle than inkjets and cheaper to run.

I have seen loads of B&W Brother lasers around and I am not that impressed with the quality of output on any that I have seen. If you want a cheap wireless laser printer I would suggest Brother but if you want quality you'll probably have to spend a bit to get it.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2010, 12:38:50 PM by Carol Haynes »

Stoic Joker

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2010, 03:29:46 PM »
Low end models are made by Canon
Midrange models are made by Lexmark
High-end models are made by Xerox

I know it isn't relevant to this thread but ... don't know about lasers but this is definitely the wrong order for inkjets.
This isn't an order of preference...It's where the Dell re-branded laser printers are sourced from.

Note: I had typed a much longer (took a bloody hour) detailed post but IE9 decided to shoot it down the sink and I'm just too aggravated right now to retype the whole thing.  >:(

superboyac

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2010, 10:40:32 PM »
Carol, you gave some helpful information.  Mostly, you show why certain brands suck (for you), but you didn't actually recommend a brand!  It seems as though you prefer the Canon.  Is that correct?  Is there a particular model you like?  I think you were the one who recommended the BenQ monitors to me last year, and i got them and have been very happy with them.  So I kind of trust your judgment in a proven way!

As usual, I'm not afraid to spend a little extra.  Most people usually assume an extra $100 is a deal breaker for me, but it's not.

People:
I need specific model recommendations here.  More importantly, if you've purchased a laser printer recently (as in, it's still on the market and not too old) and you've been happy with, PLEASE let me know.  Mouser is the only one who has recommend a specific printer so far, and it's discontinued.  General brand recommendations do nothing for me, because A) I already know all the main brands B) each model is different from each other, we all know that, right?  Also, remember, I'm not just asking for fun.  I actually buy things based on the recommendations here.  I actually spent $3000 last year based on everyone's help here.  And I've been very happy with that setup, my best one yet.  So don't be afraid to state strong opinions and specific models, please.  If you don't have any hands-on experience with current laser printers, you probably are not going to help much with your responses.  This is why the Amazon and Newegg reviews are so helpful, because they are real users nitpicking the things that they have touched and care about.  Way more helpful than all those online reviews where they open a box, write a review, and never use the thing again.  This is largely why I find the internet so useless nowadays.

So...in summary, please tell me about specific laser printers that you have touched.  Thank you!

(when did I become such a curmudgeon??)

superboyac

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2010, 11:01:12 PM »
OK, for some reason, I've settled around this printer:
Brother HL-5370DW

It seems to be pretty popular (usually a good sign).  I've read good comments about the automatic duplex printing, which I like.  It seems to have slightly better specs than comparable HP printers (CE749A#BGJ) although I can't be exactly sure on that point.  Good reviews on both Amazon and Newegg.

Can anyone offer any alternatives, or if you know about this printer, any thoughts?  So far, i'm ok with this one.

mouser

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2010, 11:04:13 PM »
that's basically the upgraded version of the printer i have; like i said i couldn't be happier with it and i duplex all the time.  for that price it's hard to go wrong.

superboyac

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2010, 11:30:43 PM »
that's basically the upgraded version of the printer i have; like i said i couldn't be happier with it and i duplex all the time.  for that price it's hard to go wrong.
Well, I'm sold then.  I'm going to go to the local fry's and best buy tomorrow.  if they have it for around the same price, i'll buy it.  If not, I'll get it online.  Thanks man.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2010, 04:40:24 AM »
I'd go with Mouser's recommendation - as I said I don't really use lasers myself (though I should) - maybe I will look too.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2010, 08:14:54 AM »
I need specific model recommendations here.  More importantly, if you've purchased a laser printer recently (as in, it's still on the market and not too old) and you've been happy with, PLEASE let me know.  Mouser is the only one who has recommend a specific printer so far, and it's discontinued.
Specific model recommendations are (quite frankly) impossible without knowing two pieces of information.
What is the expected print volume?
What (text/graphics/photos) will you be printing?

This is part of what our company does, and every customer has to answer these two questions first, before a recommendation can be made... If it to be even the slightest bit acurate.

Customer: I'm looking for a car that is popular.
Salesman: Okay, how about a Toyota Prius?
Customer: But I need something that is fast...

...See what I mean?

Brother is primarily a sewing machine company. But if you only want/need fax quality prints, it's probably fine.

Both Mouser & I recommended a discontinued model. Mine was the LaserJet 5000 which was based on your 11x17 requirement because that is the only viable option this side of $1,000. They are quite easy to find on eBay, and will easily last well past a million pages. They are work horses with descent speed, and built to last (which doesn't really happen anymore). Duplexer attachment can be purchased seperately.


« Last Edit: September 26, 2010, 08:19:26 AM by Stoic Joker »

cmpm

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2010, 08:56:32 AM »
Do color graphics come out ok with a laser? I don't know.
I don't do much printing, but when I do it's usually text or a receipt.
So a mono laser would be fine for me.

The convenience of an inkjet color printer for graphics like a Canon, for quality,
and a mono laser is a good combo for my needs.

Doing a lot of color graphics is worth the trouble to go to a store and use their printing setup, like a lot of drug stores or Walmart have in the photo department. Just to save ink at home.

And having a scanner on either a laser or inkjet is cool, or even a separate scanner is nice.

The school I work for uses Brothers similar to what superboyac posted.
And the toner has more pages per cartridge then the Samsung I posted.
Per cartridge is cheaper too. A plus for sure.
I don't know the model we have at work but we have 100's of them.
One for each classroom, and a few super duty monster printers that can do everything.

WiFi is a nice addition.
Just rambling on here....
As I consider spending money...

AndyM

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2010, 10:03:13 AM »
(when did I become such a curmudgeon??)
This was not a curmudgeonly comment!  It was well put, concise and to the point.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2010, 10:19:15 AM »
Do color graphics come out ok with a laser? I don't know.
Graphics? Yes (but I'll come back to this). But if you want photo quality prints, no. Paper used is also critical for a "photo quality" print.

(Color) LaserJet graphics quility is fine (perfect even) 90% of the time. Unless you ask someone that is in a production print shop...Then fine details like exacting color control can (and do) become a problem. If you want truly slick professional quality output...You will not beat a printing press with a laser printer.


Quote
I don't do much printing, but when I do it's usually text or a receipt.
So a mono laser would be fine for me.

The convenience of an inkjet color printer for graphics like a Canon, for quality,
and a mono laser is a good combo for my needs.

You, me, and a large segment of the populace are quite happy with this configuration.

Quote
Doing a lot of color graphics is worth the trouble to go to a store and use their printing setup, like a lot of drug stores or Walmart have in the photo department. Just to save ink at home.

That depends on timing and volume. I know of an engineering firm that used to do that with drawings because there was a Staples right down the street. Problem ended up being that of timing - They frequently had to close the office to go get the prints done. And if the stor was busy, or the machine was down... They finally purchased a plotter which they are much happier with now.

Quote
And having a scanner on either a laser or inkjet is cool, or even a separate scanner is nice.

The price of multi-function devices have come down alot, the thing to keep in mind is that mono multi-function machines do scan in color. The "low cost" color MFP however generally have a horible TCO to to tiny toner cartridges. Okay if you have a low print volume, but wise to keep in mind.


Quote
The school I work for uses Brothers similar to what superboyac posted.
And the toner has more pages per cartridge then the Samsung I posted.
Per cartridge is cheaper too. A plus for sure.
I don't know the model we have at work but we have 100's of them.
One for each classroom, and a few super duty monster printers that can do everything.

Many people are quite happy with Brothers. However, they are a disposable printers. Servicing them is a total PITA. I'll use the fuser (a.k.a fixing unit) as an example. The fuser (in all makes and models of laser printers) is listed as a "Consumable Item" that must be periodically replaced. In most business class HPs the fuser is a simple tool-less user replace-able part. In most Brothers, it requires disassembling the entire machine to get to the thing. Which is a ton of labor in top of the part cost which runs in the $200 - $300 range. 70% of the people that bring a Brother laser in for service scrap the printer when they see the repair cost estimate.


Quote
WiFi is a nice addition.
Just rambling on here....
As I consider spending money...

Sorry if I sound harsh here, but WiFi on a printer is really more of a gimmick. People are lead to believe that they need to spend the extra $100+ to get a WiFi printer if the want/need to print wirelessly ... And this simply is not true. All you actually need is a wireless network with a printer on it. The printer can be shared, connected via ethernet, or attached to a (cheap) wired "printer server" device.

I have seen some situations where a truly wireless connection was actually required for access to a printer...But we're talking about 1 or 2 out of 1,000.

mouser

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2010, 10:36:52 AM »
Quote
Many people are quite happy with Brothers. However, they are a disposable printers.

this is an important point, and i view many tech purchases through this lens.

i ask myself -- given the price point of the kind of item i am buying, is this something where i need to really worry about how much money and hassle it would cost to get it repaired? if so, i buy one kind of product -- perhaps something on the expensive high end because of its reliability.  or is this the kind of thing that if it breaks after a month/year (or if i don't like it, or something better comes along, or technology improves), it's not a huge deal to throw it out and buy something new.

a standard laser or inkjet printer, at this price point, is essentially (for many of us at least), a "disposable" item.  better to buy a reasonable low cost one and not worry too much about it (not spend 100 hours researching to find the "best" one, or planning for if it's going to hold up for 10 years and how to repair it).  if it lasts a few years and breaks, you don't get it repaired, you trash it and buy a new one.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2010, 10:39:45 AM by mouser »

cmpm

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #23 on: September 26, 2010, 10:39:24 AM »
Thanks Stoic, yes user serviceable is a consideration for sure.
Also the price of the drum and how long it will last.
I saw some packages that included an extra toner cartridge and drum.
So I had to find out what the drum is and it's life expectancy.

And the heads up on the WiFi is appreciated.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Would someone mind recommending a good laser printer?
« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2010, 02:00:11 PM »
Quote
Many people are quite happy with Brothers. However, they are a disposable printers.

this is an important point, and i view many tech purchases through this lens.

i ask myself -- given the price point of the kind of item i am buying, is this something where i need to really worry about how much money and hassle it would cost to get it repaired? if so, i buy one kind of product -- perhaps something on the expensive high end because of its reliability.  or is this the kind of thing that if it breaks after a month/year (or if i don't like it, or something better comes along, or technology improves), it's not a huge deal to throw it out and buy something new.

Quite true, but rationally, when was the last time something really revolutionary was added to a printer?!? Out side of the speed increase - which you may or may not actually need - not much has really changed. They have gotten cheaper in both cost and quality, and that's about it.

Years ago I had an inkjet that I printed to once every 6 months or so. My printing cost was insanely close to $30 a page at that point because the damn cartridge would dry out by the time I decided to print something. But I'm not really a normal user ... come to think of it I'm not really normal period. *shrug* :)

I now have (in my home office) an easily 10+ year old LaserJet 2100 that (I got used) I've been using with the original used cartridge for the last 5 years. While laser toner cartridges do have a shelf life (seals dry out in roughly a year - according to the warranty...) This one has done fine for me so far. It will be interesting to see how well the wife's (Christmas present) inkjet holds up by comparison.


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a standard laser or inkjet printer, at this price point, is essentially (for many of us at least), a "disposable" item.  better to buy a reasonable low cost one and not worry too much about it (not spend 100 hours researching to find the "best" one, or planning for if it's going to hold up for 10 years and how to repair it).  if it lasts a few years and breaks, you don't get it repaired, you trash it and buy a new one.

True again, but expected usage is a huge factor. If you really need a high volume/speed device then serviceability becomes critical. Example: A local mortgage company had a fleet of hundreds of HP LaserJet 4200/4250s. They poured paper through these things at a rate approaching 50,000 pages per month per printer. Fortunately for them they had chosen wisely because the printers they had will happily take tons of abuse, and are extremely easy to service & maintain (something I've personally  done several times when scheduling required).

Here's another example: 2 years ago eBay was flooded with brand new Color LaserJet 2600s. They were all brand new, still in the box, but didn't have any toner, and were selling for between $50 & $100 dollars. Why? Because the printer brand new was $100 less that a set of replacement cartridge. But it was a "cheap" printer...Sold under the same marketing model as the Pezz Dispencers... Actually they were a complete POS using a host based driver that strangely hasn't been updated for Win7 or server 2008. Hint: My 10 year old LaserJet 2100 works perfectly on Server 2008, Win7, Slackware Linux, and any other damn thing I connected it to. HP just wanted/needed to bury that little (failed) experiment... ;)