PCWorld.com – Top 10 Monochrome Laser Printers. Printers have been most worst purchases over the last five years. I usually use reviews like PC World to buy a printer. The print quality has been great, but the reliablity has been awesomely bad. Of the 4 printers I’ve been part of buying, only one is still standing. I think the problem is that the cost of printers has dropped so far that they are just falling apart all over the place. It is never the electronics, but always the mechanicals stuff. Net, net, I’d recommend an HP Laser Printer if you really care about reliability, the update to our 4100n at work is the 4250n. Print quality is mediocre, but reliability isn’t.
Here’s my sorry history:
# 1998. Bought a Brother multifunction printer/copier/scanner. The thing actually always had horrible print quality, but it finally failed the sheet feeding and was history. Learned a lesson that multifunction really doesn’t work well at least back then.
# 1999. Bought a HP Deskjet 970Cse. This was an OK printer, but pretty slow. Cheap and it wouldn’t network at all. Despite buying lots of networking boxes. We just left it attached. The printer mechanism feed broke when trying to push some greeting cards through. The manual said that this was OK, but it surely wasn’t.
# 2000. Okidata. This was a tiny little laser printer I got for my dad. It was fast, but then gave up the ghost with feed mechanism dying (sound familiar). Like most of my printers, we used it rarely and it never even got through one set of toner.
# 2000. HP 4100. Got a big departmental printer for work. It didn’t have any high ratings, but I must say the pair that we got are still ticking. Big and ugly and loud, but reliable. The same printer is used at our kids school for hours at a time and it doesn’t seem to break.
# 2002. Got a Brother 5170DN. This was an incredibly cheap network, duplex laser printer. With this one the network really did work. But it died with the duplexer and feeder dying. You can hear a stripped gear. We did go through one set of toner, but it didn’t last more than 3 years.
# 2004. Canon 9900i. I treat this one with kid gloves. Only use it for photos and never feed anything through it. It has printed about 100 photos now and I don’t plan to use it for anything general given all the mortality above.
The basic conclusion is that for our family, it makes way more sense to spent $1,000 for a heavy duty departmental printer that might last than four sets of $300 printers that don’t. It is agony to get them working and most importantly I feel terrible when they break.
So here are some choices with a bias towards HP and their business line based on reviews at PC World and PC Magazine. Interestingly, this is one of the few categories where there isn’t some online mavin who is better than the printer guys:
“HP LaserJet 2430tn”:http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,121586,00.asp. This is the mid level networked printer. It is networked too and for $100 more, you can get a duplexer, although I think these things really do break a lot.
I actually like the PC Magazine reviews better:
“Xerox Phaser 6300DN”:http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1856657,00.asp. This 77 pound monster is full coler and amazingly costs just $1400. It is $1200 without the duplexer as the 6300N. Got good print quality, but I don’t know about reliability so it would be depressing to buy it and have it disintegrate.
PC Magazine seems to have the most comprehensive review of “HP Printers”:http://www.pcmag.com/products/?query=sectionhierarchylist%3A26643+productmanufacturerid%3A1851+&sortby=%2Deditorrating+%2Darticledate+%2Bshorttitle&filter=meta%2Ecollection%3Apcmag+and+%28articletypeid%3A6+or+articletypeid%3A12%29+and+published%3A1+and+cloned%3A0+andnot+excludedfromsearch%3AY&filtertype=adv&offset=0&type=all&hits=10&spell=suggest&language=en&resubmitflag=2&ispostback=true&cid=26643&sid=26643&gridtitle=Recent%20Product%20Reviews&categorysearch=&action=newadvancedquery&vs=0%3A%5E1%3A4%5E2%3A0%5E3%3A0%5E4%3A0&advpgttl=#productgrid
“HP LaserJet 4350dtn”:http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1741959,00.asp. Another Editors Choice. It is a cool $2K though but its quality for graphics is very high. Not that you’d need it though since it is black and white.
“HP LaserJet 4250dn”:http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1738882,00.asp which has poorer quality graphics, but probably the same reliability as the 4100tn that has been running in our office for 4 years. It is $1200 street at “pricegrabber”;http://www.pricegrabber.com/search_getprod.php/masterid=4214165.
Finally, check “HP Overstocks”:http://h71016.www7.hp.com/dstore/ctoBases.asp?oi=E9CED&BEID=19701&SBLID=&ProductLineId=435&FamilyId=2000&LowBaseId=&LowPrice=&jumpid=re_R295_store/buspurchase-refurbished/printing/bw-laserjet-printers-closeouts, they have some amazing deals. For instance an older HP 4300dntsl (wow is that a mouthful. It was originally $2200 and has a duplexer, multiple trays and networking is just $1500 from the outlet. It is new and just overstocked. Main disadvantage is that it is 35ppm vs 50ppm for the new 4200tn. There is also a 4200dntsl that is a little less heavy duty, but just $1200.