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Help Me Choose a Decent Budget Printer

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by Viper16, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. Viper16


    Apr 2, 2007
    To all you Printer enthusiasts...

    Budget Price: I am currently looking for a nice printer that won't break the bank. (preferably in the $100-150 but I can go as high as $250)

    Style of Printer: I would like an Ink-jet, that is cheap on replacement ink and carries multiple cartridges ( B/C/M/Y or more ) I want one that doesn't drain the cartridges after a few prints, but still doesn't cost an arm and a leg to purchase for. ( HP is notorious for giving away the printer since the ink costs so much to replace ) I also would like the ink to be readily available in B&M stores for emergency purchases.

    Functionality: I possibly want a all-in-one printer that can scan. Duplex and faxing could be a plus, but not required. If I can get a better deal with just a printer than so be it. Memory card readers would be cool, but not required. LCD would be beneficial to programming and printing, but once again not required.

    Photos: I will need one that can occasionally print a few 4x6 or 8x10 on the fly, with photo paper. I will do most of my printing with online or B&M photo labs. I would still like to print out an occasional photo on the fly. I do get the tendency to become a quality whore when it comes to photos, but I understand with the budget it will not be the best.

    Usage: I will use this for casual printing of MS documents, excels, pdf's, manuals, etc. ranging from 1-25 pages. My wife, a teacher, will use it occasionally for work, but if they are over 25 pages I will use my laser printer at work.

    Capacity: I do not really care about the tray size too much, although I would like for it to be greater than 100 sheets. I just do not want to have to replace paper every time I use the thing. Possible tray feed for card stock, not required, but useful.

    Networking: Would love it if it were wireless (802.XXb/g) , but I will take Ethernet. The printer does not have to have a network interface, but it would really benefit, as I have wireless computers.

    Operating Systems: This printer will be used on both Vista and XP Machines, compatible drivers are a must. Nothing irritates me more than a crappy printer driver that hiccups every time I print something.

    I am not brand specific although I rate the brands as following ( 1 being the highest sought after ):

    1. Canon
    2. Epson
    3. Brother ( I have heard this brand is getting better in quality )
    4. Lexmark ( cheap and usually do a good job IMHO )
    5. HP ( too many driver error and ink head failures )

    Thanks! :phew:
  2. KERK


    Mar 13, 2000
    My current printer is the HP Photosmart C7280 All-in-One. It is probably near the upper limit of your price range, but it is absolutely the best printer I have ever owned. I recommend it highly!!
    I just read your post more carefully, and thought I should add the following: When I was shopping for this printer, I was seriously looking at either an Epson or a Canon instead of the HP. The store I went to used to be managed by someone I currently work with, and I was told they were reliable and honest. Anyway, when I asked about the different brand reputations, etc., I was told that they saw the fewest problems with HP and they sold more of them than any other brand. Based on that info, I bought the C7280 and have happily not looked back. Just fyi.
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2009

  3. Viper16


    Apr 2, 2007
    Thanks KERK, I will look into that. It may be between that HP C7280 and the Canon MP620
  4. thejellster05


    Sep 13, 2007
  5. Sgt. Schultz

    Sgt. Schultz Annoying Member

    I setup one of these for a customer last week and they are very happy (so far) however you can get it cheaper at Newegg or even from HP ... $239 with free shipping.
  6. Dell has some very decent used Laserprinters for $145. I purchased 1 to set up as my network printer and it's working GREAT. It's an all in one, printer/fax/copy/scan with a 250 page paper tray and comes with a 2000 page toner cartridge. Found in the outlet store.
  7. auburn4


    Mar 24, 2006
    Upstate S.C.
    Look into the Kodak ESP series. Excellent quality and ink refills are very inexpensive.
  8. I just purchased a Canon MP620 after a lot of research. Don't buy the Kodaks. From what I read, they are junk. I got heck of a deal on mine from Amazon. $134.95 delivered
  9. Viper16


    Apr 2, 2007
    My MP620 is coming to my door today. I did a lot of research and think that I will be most happy with this. My dad has a MX850 which is a littler pricier but the same technology. His photos look great! almost better than most of the cheaper photo labs out there. You just have to use the OEM Ink and Paper...which isn't too costly, compared to the results.
  10. Look at the new KODAK printers, the ink is a pigment based so it doesn't fade and the cartridges are $9.00 and #14.00 each for Black and Color!

    :cool: :supergrin:
  11. Viper16


    Apr 2, 2007
    The only problem i have with this is the (1) cartridge for the color inks. yeah it is 5 different colors, but in one cartridge. IMHO that is wasting ink. When printing photos, you will never use all of the colors evenly, thus wasting the inks that were still usable. With multiple cartridges with separate ink tanks, you can change the tanks that need changed, and go on about your business. I will admit the $14 for the color tank isn't bad, but what is the photo yield on one tank?

    I believe my next real photo printer will be of the dye sublimation technology.
  12. Please read the link I posted, and the facts page there. ;) :dunno:
  13. Viper16


    Apr 2, 2007
    I looked at the link and all that I saw were price comparisons on ink from all the competitors. The prices looked accurate to a degree. Deep down though, what it looked to me was a sales pitch. There is no depth to the survey. There was no controlled experiments, no printing the same photos in multiple printers to show ink consumption. Nowhere on the website does it state the size of the ink tanks of Kodak as well as the competitors. There is no talk of quality vs. ink consumption, compatibility of paper, or even paper yields per ink cartridge.

    I will admit, never judge a book by its cover. I have never owned a Kodak printer, so I am unsure of the quality. Every review that I have seen on the ESP series leads me to think that they need some help in the quality department. I pick and choose with my best judgment on the reviews for validity and not out of the customers stupidity (inability to setup networks properly, load ink/paper into the machine, etc.). But, when there are multiple negative reviews concerning "Mystery paper jams, Washed out Images, Wifi issues, etc.", it leads me to believe there is a problem. :faint:

    A lot of reviews stated that if you do not use the Kodak brand paper, that the images look terrible. While that isn't too terrible of a thing, but I want a printer that is more universal. I want decent pictures out of it, regardless of the brand of paper. I just recently purchased some Kodak paper from Office Depot. I loaded it into my Canon MP620, and it printed a very decent photo. I would expect the same results out of HP, Epson, Brother, Canon, Sony, and No-Brand name photo paper. :whistling:

    As I did more and more research on finding the best budget printer for myself, like many others, I found things that I never would have factored into my searching, such as ink quality, compatibility, is the print head built in to the ink cartridge or not, paper tray size, resolutions, etc. I also wanted to make sure that whichever printer I did go with, that the mandatory software wasn't bloatware and worked efficiently with multiple OS's.

    I will not say that Kodak is junk. As i have said above, I have never used/seen one work. Just judging from the reviews that I have seen on ESP series, I would say that I would be hesitant to jump on board. While they do look mighty tempting price-wise, I wouldn't mind paying a bit more for quality.

    Please all you Kodak users, tell me I am wrong! :wavey:
  14. Bababooey

    Bababooey We're doomed

    Dec 29, 2008
  15. Wulfenite

    Wulfenite The King

    I have a brother 6490 all in one. Its at the top of your price range, but its a nice machine. It's wifi, it prints/scans up to 11x17. Has 2 paper cartridges. Seems pretty miserly with the ink. Its not a great feeder with the photo paper stock, but that's not what I use it for.