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Is an inkjet a good choice for me?
Old 11-20-2007, 04:00 PM   #1
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Is an inkjet a good choice for me?

We are looking for a new printer/all-in-one and are thinking about this:

Costco - $89.99 After Rebates Brother MFC-5460cn Color Multi-Function Inkjet Printer

We don't print much at all, maybe a few times a month. I really would like an all-in-one since I had this grandiose vision of scanning it a lot of the paper documents and making an electronic off-site backup. I also would like to make the occasional copy of something, so a flat-bed copier would be nice. We would never need to print photos on this since we just take it to Costco, so no urgent need for color. And, I love that this can be networked directly without a print-server.

So, the only thing that makes me nervous is since we print so infrequently, I'm worried about the cartridges drying out. Is this still a common occurrence? I know that some inkjets refuse to work if one of the colors run out (or dryout) and this would piss me off. I guess a black and white laser all-in-one is probably the best choice, but they all seem to be several times the cost of this printer.

Any advice? Thanks.
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Old 11-20-2007, 05:37 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderALot View Post
We are looking for a new printer/all-in-one and are thinking about this:

Costco - $89.99 After Rebates Brother MFC-5460cn Color Multi-Function Inkjet Printer

We don't print much at all, maybe a few times a month. I really would like an all-in-one since I had this grandiose vision of scanning it a lot of the paper documents and making an electronic off-site backup. I also would like to make the occasional copy of something, so a flat-bed copier would be nice. We would never need to print photos on this since we just take it to Costco, so no urgent need for color. And, I love that this can be networked directly without a print-server.

So, the only thing that makes me nervous is since we print so infrequently, I'm worried about the cartridges drying out. Is this still a common occurrence? I know that some inkjets refuse to work if one of the colors run out (or dryout) and this would piss me off. I guess a black and white laser all-in-one is probably the best choice, but they all seem to be several times the cost of this printer.

Any advice? Thanks.
You talk like you will have relatively low volume of prints or copies, so yes, inkjet is a very good way for you to go. I would not worry about the ink cartridges drying up. I also do relatively low volume and may go weeks or even months not printing. Never had a problem with "dried up" ink.

I have heard some opinions that a dedicated printer, and a dedicated scanner, and a dedicated copier are more effective and reliable than an all in one tyring to be all things to all people. Never had an all in one myself though, so just hearsay.

I think one of the consumer magazines rated Hewlitt Packard printers with good reliabiltiy. Don't think the Brother brand fared as well. Canon I think also got scored fairly good for reliability. Check the consumer magazine reliability ratings for printers at your library.
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Old 11-20-2007, 05:56 PM   #3
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Is this still a common occurrence? I know that some inkjets refuse to work if one of the colors run out (or dryout) and this would piss me off.
Yes, this will piss you off.

Epson uses a chip that determines the user's urgency level, especially if it's Sunday night and a kid's school project is due the next morning, and chooses exactly that worst time to clog up.

Printer math

Quote:
Originally Posted by WanderALot View Post
I guess a black and white laser all-in-one is probably the best choice, but they all seem to be several times the cost of this printer.
Gotta price it out. We spent over $400 for a low-end color laser but it's never even burped, let alone had a problem requiring half an inkjet cartridge or high-priced special solvents to clear, so per page it's been cheaper than the inkjet. FWIW we've gotten nearly 3000 black-ink pages out of a 2000-page toner cartridge, and the other three cartridges are still a quarter-third full. YMMV, but the peace of mind has been priceless.

Another option would be to buy two of the Canons and throw one away when it stops working. Let me know if you want a couple Epson CX4800s to practice on!
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Old 11-20-2007, 06:00 PM   #4
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I have had about a dozen HP inkjets. One of the main things about HPs is that the print head is in the cartridge. I like that. Presently we have a canon and an HP 4100. The HP was free with the computer. Works well and is an all in one. They told me they would have to charge me $70 more if I did not take the printer. Also HP ships with light loaded cartridges. So the first cartridge will last about 1/2 as long as the replacement.

A while back someone pointed out the advantage of going with one of the better known brands..... "The most popular printers will have supplies available for a long time". At the time you could not get laser cartridges for some printers that had not been out a year.
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Old 11-20-2007, 08:04 PM   #5
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i reccommend, highly, a brother 2040 laser b+w...they can be had for $100 easily, start @ newegg.

Their test toner will last a good 3500 pages, it prints quickly and flawlessly

I use my old all-in-one lexmark for scannign and copying purposes, but really dont copy much..so i dont know if there;s even any ink in there


one advantage to separate machines is that if theres an issue requiring replacement, you arent doing all 3 or 4 units at once.

$100 gets you a NICE laser printer, and geez....I'm sure a $49 Walmart specail Lexmark scanner/printer will do the ticket if you dont plan on doign a LOT of actual copying. I usually just scan, then print it on the laser anyhow



good luck, let us know what you decide
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Old 11-21-2007, 08:53 AM   #6
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Screw the color. DW brought home a couple of excessed B&W HP Lazerjet 5Ns from work a few years ago. She prints out huge briefs and decisions and these printers just keep on going. We will keep them as long as they work. I will send the few color photos I need to print to online services.
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Old 11-21-2007, 10:57 AM   #7
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I'd be tempted to go color laser on my next purchase - but they are so HUGE!!! 30-40 pounds, won't fit on my printer shelf.

B&W laser would not cut it for me. Good for 90% of stuff, but sometimes you need color - kid's homework with charts, graphics, etc. I'm with donheff - for pictures, send them out to costco or wherever. But I still need basic color, just not photo-quality color.

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Old 11-21-2007, 11:54 AM   #8
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I've printed 16,205 pages with my HP Officejet G85 all-in-one (had it since 1992?). I use the fax and scanning features regularly.

I had a brother laser before that and was happy with it.

I've finally given up on third party inkjet cartridges, taking even the unused ones in to be recycled ($3 credit at staples). Nothing but problems with printing -- the last straw was when one leaked out onto the desk.
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Old 11-21-2007, 01:36 PM   #9
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I've printed 16,205 pages with my HP Officejet G85 all-in-one (had it since 1992?). I use the fax and scanning features regularly.

I had a brother laser before that and was happy with it.

I've finally given up on third party inkjet cartridges, taking even the unused ones in to be recycled ($3 credit at staples). Nothing but problems with printing -- the last straw was when one leaked out onto the desk.
How many cartridges have you gone through to print 16,205 pages? What do they cost you for HP originals?

I used nothing but the cheapest 3rd party carts in my old canons (and the kids and my moms). Less than $2 each for a lot of them. Seem to be OK. I've seen print heads clog when people used nothing but Canon brand - so it's hard to say if there is a difference in quality or not. Since my moms had the print head clog with the canon original, I've been getting these el cheapo ones for her and she has not had a head clog with them.

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Old 11-21-2007, 01:45 PM   #10
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I've finally given up on third party inkjet cartridges, taking even the unused ones in to be recycled ($3 credit at staples). Nothing but problems with printing -- the last straw was when one leaked out onto the desk.
I have used Office Depot house brand inkjet cartridges for 4 or 5 years now. Worthwhile price break over HP brand (even better if bought on occasional OD sales) and work good. Only one Depot cartridge ever clogged, it was right at the start. I took it back to Depot and they replaced it no questions asked. The replacement worked fine. So that was one problem out of dozens of cartridges.
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Old 11-21-2007, 01:46 PM   #11
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Thanks for the help everyone. I think I'm going to look and see if I can find a cheap all-in-one BW laser. I don't use the color and I'm pretty sure the inkjets are going to aggravate me eventually. I could use separate devices for scan/fax and print, but I just don't have the space for it.

The frustrating part is that I have a hand-me-down HP (PSC 1350) all-in-one that refuses to scan/fax just because the ink cartridges are dry!
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Old 11-21-2007, 02:17 PM   #12
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The frustrating part is that I have a hand-me-down HP (PSC 1350) all-in-one that refuses to scan/fax just because the ink cartridges are dry!
try:

Do-It-Yourself InkJet and Laser Printer Repair (HP, Apple, Epson, and More) - fixyourownprinter.com

-ERD50
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Old 11-21-2007, 02:38 PM   #13
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I've only had a problem with inkjets drying up if I didn't print anything for 2-3 months. Print something once a month and you should be fine, if you want to go the cheaper inkjet route.
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Old 11-22-2007, 11:58 AM   #14
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How many cartridges have you gone through to print 16,205 pages? What do they cost you for HP originals?
I don't know how many cartridges I've used.

The place I'd gotten my cartridges, abacus24-7.com, sells a remanufactured BW + Color pack for $29.20. I bought the equivalent HP pack for $52 at Staples.

Other cheap inkjet tricks.

If you save electricity (about $10/year for me) by putting your printer on a power strip and shutting it off when not in use, be sure to turn it off at the printer first. This lets it park the heads before turning off. If you don't do that, they'll dry out.

Use Draft mode as the default printing mode (saves ink).

Avoid printing to paper. Print to PDF with Cutepdf.com and save reconcile reports, etc to a file.

Staples will give you $3 for used HP cartridges. If you peel the label off a reman cartridge, there's often an HP label underneath.

--------------

Here's a comparison of the self-test reports from the printer for the reman (left) and HP cartridges. P0001458.JPG
Even when the remans are working OK, the HPs seem to give more saturated colors with less streaking.
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Old 11-23-2007, 04:20 PM   #15
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Other cheap inkjet tricks.

If you save electricity (about $10/year for me) by putting your printer on a power strip and shutting it off when not in use, be sure to turn it off at the printer first. This lets it park the heads before turning off. If you don't do that, they'll dry out.

Use Draft mode as the default printing mode (saves ink).

Avoid printing to paper. Print to PDF with Cutepdf.com and save reconcile reports, etc to a file.
Those are good points T-Al.

A friend mentioned how much slower his new printer was than his old, even though it was an 'upgrade'. I pointed out that sometimes the new printer's default may be much higher than the old, so it takes longer to print all those extra dots, even though the rate it is printing dots is faster. I have some diff quality modes saved as settings and almost always use a 'medium' setting (probably a step up from 'draft'). It is good enough for 99% of what I print. Saves a lot of ink, and prints maybe 4x faster.

OSX has a 'Save as pdf' built right into the standard print dialog box. I use it a lot.

-ERD50
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Old 11-23-2007, 04:44 PM   #16
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I've found b&w all-in-ones for under $100 on sale. Inkjets dried out on me all the time and I got sick of getting 10 pages of output from a set of cartridges. Nice to blow the cat hair off of the laser that hasnt been turned on in six months and fire out a dozen pages.

I bought a color laser more than 3 years ago for $499 and i've still got half the toner left in it. Price per page is pretty good so far.

Newegg has a couple of mono multifunctions for under $150. Dell is selling a mid range business model for $339 (in the outlet) that'd probably last you 6-8 years. Check your office supply stores and local electronics outfits like Staples and Fry's.

I've had no trouble with the flatbed MFC's. Every one of the page fed MFC's I've bought developed feed problems with the input for fax/copy in a very short time. Probably all that cat hair.
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Old 11-23-2007, 04:46 PM   #17
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We have a Canon MP730 (our second one) multi-function colour ink jet. We are very happy with it. It has a very good scanner and we do a LOT of colour printing and copying with it.

In my office away from home I have a little cheapie Canon colour ink jet (very happy with) and a little Brother multifunction printer. I needed a fax and wanted a flat-plate scanner and got both. I don't use the Brother for printing. It looks flimsy but for the price and how little I use it, it is great. Experimenting with scanning my technical references into PDF files so I can burn them onto CDs. (Anyone have good success with this? What software are you using?)

We buy our replacement cartridges from Carrot Ink ("Save a bunch!") over the internet. Very fast service.

The printer manufacturers are getting tougher on replacement cartridge companies. There are now chips in the cartridges for the newer printers so that you can ONLY use the manufacturer's ink cartridges.

Cheers,

Gypsy
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