back to article Buyer's Guide: Budget Mono Laser Printers

If you can have a printer which can print black text on plain paper, as well as full colour on plain and glossy photo paper, why would you want to buy one which can only print black and only on photocopy paper? What does a laser printer offer over an inkjet? Group Test Budget Mono Laser Printers The first feature is speed. …

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El Reg - the article is broken - 404 going into first product page.

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Slightly lawed review

You quote the coast per page for Inkjets vs Laser.

one HUGE factor that will multiply the cost of Inkjets exponentialy, that most reviews miss out.

The "I use every now and agian factor"

I've an ancient HP LJ6L, which could go a month or two without use, the fire out 20 pages.

From a lot of experience, if you don't use inkjets on a regualar basis, you have to scrap a 90% full cartridge and replace.

Suddenly that 2p per pages become £2 / page.

Not an issue with toners.

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Cost per page?

Don't forget that for occasional users the ink jet types tend to dry up, so you can waste a lot of expensive ink cartridges just cleaning the printer's nozzles. Laser printers just sit there and fire up months later as if nothing has happened.

Also for some applications the lack of smudging with damp fingers is a key advantage (e.g. forms and maps used out doors or in a garage, etc).

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Toner Prices

All very well quoting manufacturer original prices, but with laserjets you can buy compat cartridges without risking your print heads.

If you want to bring your prices down, rescue an old HP laserjet before it hits landfill (Laserjet 6, Laserjet 4000). They run forever and the toner is silly cheap

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It's not the initial buy cost that matters - it's the running costs (and refillability)

People tend to get trapped into buying products only to find their running costs outweigh the perceived savings of the purchase.

An important feature is after-market supplies, i.e. the ability to refill.

This is why you will no HP products in my house or my employers offices but you will find a predomination of Brother products - built like the proverbial sh*t house, refillable and great after-market resources.

On the other hand, HP notoriously is continually engineering upgrades to make it impossible/very difficult to do this which makes them very wealthy in supplying refills, etc. This is not an honest policy, but the 'new' HP has long abandoned the scruples of it's founders, so anything goes. They are even suing some after market refillers who dare to refill HP cartridges.

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Ink Vs Toner

Your statement that inkjets cost no more per page assumes you get the full output from the cartridge. When printer use is very occasional, the lasers have no problems at all, but inkjets clog up and need cleaning cycles that chew up ink. Restart a disused laser after a year - no problem. Leave an inkjet alone for a month and you're better off chucking it and buying a new one.

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Another inkjet cost

My Epson Stylus inkjet suddenly decided it needed service and quit working. I did a lot of research and found out after a dozen ink cartridges, a counter hits zero and it decides the "park pad" is full of ink and needs replacing. What actually happens is the service guy runs an app to reset the counter and charges you $100.

So I serviced it by replacing it with a Brother HL-5240, which prints Postscript, and no longer needs fancy CUPS crap & drivers.

Win. Not anonymous because, well, fuck you Epson. I'd had Epsons since my MX-80 on my TRS-80, but never again.

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Old Lasers

I'm another in the 'use it infrequently' camp so inkjet is just not worthwhile; it's almost cheaper to buy a new printer than a new ink set. I only use a printer for letter writing so don't need colour.

I'm running an old HP LJ5 bought at a car boot sale with a couple of the same for backup and they've got half-used toner cartridges which can go in the used one. All sub-£10. All work well and as good as new - YMMV but they are pretty solidly engineered.

The only things to watch for is that old HP can be 'centronics parallel' only (easy enough to buy a USB to parallel cable I should imagine) and toner is not always cheap but does last 'forever'.

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@Old Lasers

I have a 12 year old LaserJet 6MP that just keeps going. Expensive when new (£600 I think) but I can't complain about the value for money over its life! Getting one cheap and adding a parallel port card (as needed) to your PC is a worthwhile thing to consider.

Also I got an OKI C3600 colour laser for my sister as it is networked and supports postscript and that "just works" with Linux, so quite happy with that.

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+1 for the old laser...

My £40 off fleabay LJ5M of about 1996 vintage still fires out perfect pages whenever I ask it to. The part-used cartridge it came with lasted me over 4 years, and the 9,000 page replacement cost me £27 delivered.

The HP inkjet I bought last year for the same price as the LJ cost me is knackered, and now only performs scanning duties.

It's cheaper and better to get your digital snaps printed at one of the many online processors, or take them to Asda for 20p a pop...

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Another advantage

Laser pronters can print 100% of the page. Inkjets have to leave a bottom margin of around 2cm because the paper is propelled by rollers. I'm surprised the cost per page is so high but I guess that's because the manufacturers are making their profit on supplies. If you get a popular printer at least you have the option of using recycled cartridges.

I'm still using my 1992 Calligraph direct drive printer based on a Dataproducts LZ885 engine, which is compatible with Sharp JX-96 supplies as long as you remove the silly bit of plastic on the side of the toner that's meant to stop you mixing the brands. The cost per page is about 1p plus the paper.

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Power consumption

Although costs are discussed, electricity consumption is not, and it can be very significant as shown below. Consumption is very dependent on how much the printer is used. The annual TEC (typical energy consumption) figures below are based on printing for 1 hour per day, five days per week for 52 weeks per year on a typical UK electricity tariff. Where possible, figures come directly from http://www.sust-it.net/ .

Brother HL-2035: £37.05

Canon i-Sensys LBP3010: £11.85

Dell 1130: £6.31 - £9.44? (No Dell devices listed on SUST-IT; first figure from Dell literature, 0.78kWh per week; second from US ENERGY STAR, 1.3kWh per week at 230V)

Epson Aculaser M1200: ?? (No figure in Epsom literature and no Epsom devices listed on SUST-IT, ENERGY STAR sites)

HP LaserJet P1102w: ?? (No figure in HP literature though ENERGY STAR compliance claimed; this device not listed on SUST-IT; US ENERGY STAR consumption figures blank)

Samsung ML-1665: £7.26 (No figure in Samsung literature; not listed on SUST-IT; this from US ENERGY STAR, 1.0kWh per week at 230V)

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