I see some talk every once in awhile about printers. We all need printers for one reason or another so I’d say this is a viable discussion and hopefully this will be helpful. This article will focus on laser printers. This includes LED printers (like Okidata) because they share many of the characteristics of laser printers, and are considered “laser-class” devices.
We will not cover inkjet technologies in this because that is another article in itself. I will tell you that inkjet printing costs are astronomical, they are slow, and if you don’t use them frequently they will die.
Here is a good article on laser vs. inkjet:
I was in the printer/copier industry for 20 years. They use the razor blade model and there are lots of pitfalls. The cost of the machine is a factor but the TCO (total cost of ownership) is the big deal that doesn’t get talked about.
I have a Samsung color copier and it costs $400 for a full set of toners, plus you have a transfer belt, drums, DV units, fuser, etc… (some toner cartridges have the toner, DV, and drum in one modular unit). But I get 20,000 color prints at 5% coverage. That’s 2 cents per page. Once you overcome the sticker shock and do the math color laser is not expensive.
As with anything, most popular brands have great models and crappy ones. And some brands are better across the board. Brother and Canon are decent but check out Samsung (now HP). I am factory trained on many of them and I have seen them at their best (and worst).
Most printers come with “starter” toners but some come with full toners so that may be something to consider (companies that offer full toners in the new machines tend to be the better ones). Also, remanufactured toner was one of our biggest revenue streams, not the toner but fixing and cleaning up the printers after they had been run with crappy reman toner.
You may think paying $50 for a toner is better than paying $150 for an OEM toner but in most cases this is wrong. The cheap toners not only fall short on page yield, but they can actually damage the machine over time so you really aren’t saving that much in the long run.
There are some good reman toners out there but picking the right one is super tricky, especially if you have no insight on this subject. Below are some resources and recommendations that may help you navigate through the myriad of information (and misinformation) that is out there.
The top brands I would consider are Kyocera, Samsung (now HP), & Brother in that order. Then maybe true HP, Lexmark, & Canon. NOTE: It’s almost impossible to tell the Samsung units from the HP units now so just look at the features.
There are many considerations when looking for the right printer. Initial cost should be toward the bottom of that list and not be your main deciding factor because you will pay it now or pay it later either way. Do you need scan, fax, email, options? How about double sided printing (some MFP’s will print full duplex but not scan full duplex so pay attention to that)? Is speed a big deal? What about energy efficiency and noise?
Here is a Total Cost of Ownership calculator (This is on Kyocera’s site but the calculator is from an unbiased 3rd party printer data company):
And here is a great site that has their finger firmly on the pulse of digital office equipment:
And finally my personal top choices in the desktop home/small office A3 printer segment:
- Monochrome Printer: https://www.brother-usa.com/products/hll5100dn
- Color Printer: https://store.hp.com/us/en/pdp/hp-color-laserjet-pro-m454dw
- Mono MFP: https://store.hp.com/us/en/pdp/hp-laserjet-pro-m404dw
- Color MFP: https://www.brother-usa.com/products/mfcl8900cdw
So the bottom line is to do your research but don’t get tunnel vision on the initial costs. Focus on TCO and the device that best suits your needs.