Getting a printer for the holidays?

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Recently I was asked, "Looking at the holiday ads, I ran across various ads for combination printer/scanner/copier/fax, and printer/scanner/copier, and so on - ranging up to $100.  I also found an ad for a printer/scanner copier for $29, and a fax for $10 (marked down from $60).

We don't need  a printer, but the other features would be handy.  Do you have any suggestions?"


Yep. I do.


epson 800.jpg
If you're buying a printer for under $100 just know this. You will spend many times that in ink cartridges. The manufacturers attempt to make their money selling ink rather than printers. It's sort of like the old give away the razor and make the money on the blades.
I look at printers from a different perspective. I want to know how I will be able to connect the printer to my computer(s). That "(s)" is important.
If you have only one computer (no laptops or additional desktop computers) then it doesn't matter but many homes and certainly small offices (my typical customer) do have a network of computers. The better equipment has multiple ports used for connecting the computers to the printers.
Take the Epson Artisan 800 as an example. Retailing at $299 you might see it as expensive. I see it perhaps as not cheap but at the very least at better deal than those $79 printers.
Here's why. The ink cartridge on the Epson cost from $10.50 to about $17 each and there are six of them. This means that if magenta is out you only replace that cartridge. The cheaper printers most often use one cartridge for color and if any color goes out you must replace the whole cartrige at a typical cost of $40 to $50.
Second, remember those ports? The cheaper printer has one usb port. The Epson has: usb, ethernet (network), and high-speed wireless capability. So when junior comes home from college and needs to print that term paper no problem he can wirelessly print from his laptop.
And then there are other issues like: do you want duplexing (being able to print on both sides of the paper)?; do you want convenience like a sheet feeder?; do you want to print high-quality photos?
So when considering a printer think about what you're paying for.
And what's your opinion?

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This page contains a single entry by Drew Bourrut published on December 9, 2008 5:55 PM.

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