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Ask HN: What printer do you recommend for rare printing?
65 points by joshstrange 25 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 123 comments
I need to print something once a month at best. I can use FedEx or other to print but it can be a PITA. I was hoping there are others here on HN that are in a similar situation. I'm looking for a printer that will do fine with infrequent use and the ink will still work when I go to use it.

I'm looking to print way less that 100 sheets/yr, we are talking shipping labels here, nothing serious.




Any base model brother laser printer, preferably any that support wifi printing.

i’ve had one for 7 years, and replaced the toner exactly once.


I followed "any Brother" advice years ago and had the bad luck of picking a Brother model (HL-3170CDW) plagued with a roller failure problem. Brother refused to fix it under warranty which turned me off the brand. This is not my review, but I had an identical experience, except this reviewer eventually got his replaced, whereas Brother refused to do so for me.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/RKX2S5U90HT01?ref...

edit: then again, it was only a $200 color laser printer.


Yep! I have similar personal experience with that particular beastie and can confirm that it is to-be-avoided.

I think "base model _monochrome_ Brother printer" is a safer guideline


Brother mono laser printer which explicitly has an ethernet port, duplex, and PostScript (BRScript).

Right now, Newegg is selling a new HL-L5100DN for $180 with free shipping. It should last for five to ten years of low-volume printing.


Good call, I forgot they don't all have ethernet -- the L5xxx is in fact the most recent one I've purchased [L5200DW to be exact] -- stone reliable so far with low volume


Interesting to know. To be fair, I have had one of these for the better part of a decade and it's still going strong. Perhaps they fixed the issue at one point?


Many Brother printers are poorly-supported or simply not supported on Linux.

For example, I have an MFC-L2710DW (not what you would get for rare printing I suppose), and the official driver is always acting up: Delays of minutes (!) before starting to print, or simply not printing at all for some odd reason, but then obliging me if I power-cycle the printer. Maybe.

So, these printers may be fine, but check driver availability and user feedback about it first, if you're not on Windows.


Maybe it's your printer and/or computer?

I've used three different Brother laser printers with two different computers, over a couple of years on Ubuntu, and haven't had any delays like that.


I own a Brother HL-L2350DW and can highly recommend it. It has wireless and does AirPrint. Works great from iOS and macOS.


My roommate and I have had a Brother printer for years. It was damaged while moving and a bunch of parts fell out and it still worked great.

After that, we damaged it again when moving it around the house and even more parts fell out. Quality fell after that but its still kicking.

I bought another Brother this week to finally replace it. Like others in this thread, we never ran out of toner.


Sounds like an old '79 Ford Bronco I used to own. Or the Jeep TJ I own today...

/something fell off? Welp, still moving forward, so we're all good!


Another general vote for a Brother laser printer, though I differ on some details here.

In 2014 (if I'm remembering right...) I bought a DCP-7065DN (B/W all-in-one with wired Ethernet).

I don't print much (sometimes go months without). By volume, the lion's share of my printing is documents I need to copyedit/proof, followed by random receipts, tickets, shipping labels, etc--so I was hoping to optimize for cost and reliability. I make the same tradeoff wrt to using a local or online print service for anything that needs to be high-quality or color.

I didn't have to replace the undersized starter toner cartridge included until earlier this year. I haven't had any trouble with it so far (aside from having to occasionally prod it to keep printing until quality actually fell off a cliff at the end of the first toner cartridge.)


I'm just going to throw another recommendation for a brother printer. We've got a few at my work, we do a lot of printing and copying. In the 5 years i've been there, i've changed the toner in the one in our office once.


Exactly the same here, I had my for many years and I forced my dad to buy one instead of a inkjet and some other friends, everyone is after many years still extremely happy with their choices. Some got one with a scanner, others color, I only have a plain black and white one and it always works from phone from Linux, etc. No problems at all. I connected it by network cable.


Same, but I'm on my first toner cartridge after 3 years or so. My biggest complaint is that it only supports Wireless-G, so I have to keep a separate network for it so it doesn't slow everything else down. I'm running cable to solve that problem instead of buying another printer just to fix a stupid WiFi issue.


I'll second this. I had a Brother for years. I ran out of toner once (I did a lot of printing) and I think the second time I donated it or gave it to a friend.

I think the only pain point was the toner was almost as expensive as the original printer + toner. Go figure.

But they're good, reliable machines for sure. And affordable.



No doubt. It's just a bit of a mental tumble when you see the cartridge as more expensive than the original purchase. Toner never really changed in price. The printing unit itself has come way down. I think I originally paid around $65 CAD for my Brother laser printer, new.


Yes they’re great for low volume printing and the Linux support is great too.

Newer models track the number of printed pages and nag to replace the toner. You can instead reset the page counter and continue printing. Exact steps vary by model but easily found online.


I'm sorry, but that's just not true, at least not in general. For many models, the Linux support is mediocre-to-none.


I've had three different models of Brother laser printers, Linux support has been good with each one.

If some reads this and is worried about it, just search reviews for the model number and Linux.


My luck must be better than. I’ve had no issues with the L2700 series.


Re: wifi: Maybe network accessible printers are super cheap and good these days, but I have always gone the lpd + samba route to get the same functionality from cheap/old/crappy printers.


Yep, I think mine was maybe $70 when I bought it six years ago. It works without fail when I boot it up once or twice a month, well worth the money for the lack of hassle.


I’ve had the same brother printer since my first day in undergrad which was in 2008. Only changed the toner twice. It’s been super reliable.


I’ve had a Brother HL-1030 since I believe around ~2000, still works great.


+1

I have a DCP-L2540DW that is awesome (and has a flatbed scanner with feeder).


You want a laser printer. Inkjets will clog up with infrequent use, but lasers won't.

HP makes some interesting compact laser printers these days that could easily be stored away while you're not using them -- something like the HP LaserJet Pro M15w might be nice for infrequent use.


That sure is a compact laser printer! And it only draws 210 watts while printing! Unfortunately, I was disappointed by this part of the description:

> Dynamic security enabled printer. Only intended to be used with cartridges using an HP original chip. Cartridges using a non-HP chip may not work, and those that work today may not work in the future.

DRMed toner cartridges with OTA "security" improvements? That sounds like a major anti-feature.


Yeah FYI if you don't hunt down the minimal base driver, the default software that comes with the printer, and available on the HP site, has a phone home auto updating DRM database.

We have 25 printers just decide that they would no longer work with the toner they had been using for 3 months.


I'm glad my LaserJet 1020 just keeps working and working. For infrequent printing it's just perfect. I always get the cheapest refill from Amazon and it's doing just fine. One refill lasts about two years and is 15€. The last two times I ordered the seller even included a note that if I'd give them a positive rating I'd get another one for free. Didn't do it cause I'm lazy.


What a great printer! My 1020 finally died after my kids knocked it off its stand too many times. I replaced it with a "HP LaserJet Pro M15w Wireless Laser Printer" and am very happy with it. The included toner ran out quickly, but a 3rd party replacement cartridge from SwiftInk works just fine.


Actually they don't clog that isn't true. What inkjets do is pull ink and clean their heads on a semi-regular basis. This is actually one of the bigger costs associated with Inkjets that aren't used frequently as it wastes ink. Some models waste dramatically more ink than others and there are economical for long term inkjets available. At some point the laser will end up cheap on low use as the catridge doesn't get wasted but that pay back period is quite long verses a low ink usage inkjet.


Sure, all modern inkjets perform cleaning cycles.... most of them do it between prints, and some can even do it on a regular basis even when in standby.

But, most of them don’t clean while in standby, and none of them clean themselves when unpowered. That’s the problem with infrequent use.

Lasers aren’t >$1,000 anymore, where it only makes economical sense for those who print in high volumes. There are a TON of laser printers under $100.

No lie, the last laser printer I purchased was actually $24.99, brand new.


> You want a laser printer.

I agree. I bought a Epson ET-2750 EcoTank InkJet to replace a really old Brother laser printer and regret it. Text and even graphics (to look at UI designs, etc.) from a laser printer are so much better.


I bought a HP small b&w office printer in 2005. I still am using the original toner I got with it then and it's still doing a fine job. I loved it so much I bought a few more to use in the office I was IT'ing for at the time, and saw them die glorious deaths after printing 10's of thousands of pages. Meanwhile I haven't seen or used a consumer inkjet printer that has lasted more than a few months.


Only thing I can add to the laser printer choir: I used to try to go with inkjets because they were so cheap, and the price of a laser really put me off (wanted a color one). The inkjets jammed and clogged every time I tried to use them, which was very infrequently. I finally bit the bullet and went with a Brother color laser (MFC-9340CDW) and it is one of the best purchases I have ever made. You can print stuff directly from your phone, and I don’t have to spend all night trying to unclog the print head (wasting valuable ink) the night before I have an early flight (back when you still printed boarding passes). The reduction in stress by knowing it will “just work” when I need it is priceless.

Only issues I have had with this model are the auto feed on the scanner stopped working, and when it did work the scans came out a little skewed.


Brother printers are great. I have a B&W Brother laser printer (HL-2280DW) that I bought used in 2015 for $50. It still works perfectly, can print/scan directly from Android and iPhone apps. We would only print a few times a year but now that the kids are older is gets used once or twice a week. It supports IPP so I can even print to it from a Chromebook.


Plus one on the color laser. It hurt having to buy all of that expensive toner, but the robustness, the long interval between toner change, and the quality and speed of printing has made inkjets a false economy. Inkjets produce better photos, but I decided that I would just pay a photo printer when I need prints made (and they are better prints than I could ever make at home anyway).


>> I'm looking to print way less that 100 sheets/yr, we are talking shipping labels here, nothing serious.

If you're only doing shipping labels, you might want to consider a label printer. I got a Brother thermal label printer (QL-700) for well under $100, and there are third party label makers that sell spools of labels. The great thing about it is that the output looks great and the only consumables are the labels. No ink or toner to worry about.

There's also a slightly more expensive model that can do black and red (labels cost more too).


I recommend checking Wirecutter [0] when making a purchase like this. It’s a site that publishes detailed, well-organized, and well-researched reviews of consumer products. I check anytime I buy anything durable, though I don’t always go with their recommendations.

Their “Affordable and reliable” printer pick is the Brother HL-L2350DW for ~$100 on Amazon [1]. I have a similar model, the HL-L2340DW, for the same reason you’re looking for.

[0] https://thewirecutter.com/

[1] https://thewirecutter.com/reviews/best-home-printers/


Wirecutter makes their money from affiliate links, so the potential for conflict is high.

They also mostly just meta-analysis rather than doing their own. Their biggest source is Consumer Reports, who don't make their money from advertisers. Much better to go straight to the source: https://www.consumerreports.org/printers/best-laser-printers...

Subscription required, but that's the point -- no conflict of interest.

For those who don't want to subscribe, here are the Consumer Reports recommendations:

Best for work: Brother MFC-L2710DW

Best for price: Brother HL-L5200DW

Best for presentations: Canon imageCLASS MF642Cdw


You’re not wrong that there’s the potential for conflict of interest. Many commenters on Wirecutter articles note that the options they choose are more expensive.

But the articles are well-written and have saved me considerable time. They’ve done much of the work of comprising shopping for the reader. I have no qualms buying through their links when the linked product is the right balance of reliable and economical.


The best Wirecutter recommendations come from the comments, not the articles.


You’re definitely on to something here. The comments are half the value. There’s usually someone wanting to know why a given option was excluded or why a conclusion was reached by Wirecutter staff.


Any similar recommendations for color laser printer?


the recommended Canon imageCLASS MF642Cdw is a color laser printer


Thank you. Looks great, but simplex scanning is a show stopper.


Thank you for the suggestion! I love wirecutter but I've learned to take their suggestions with a large grain of salt. I have no less than 10 products bought from wirecutter suggestions but there are lots of other examples where I diverged from their suggestions.

In fact I looked at that post on printers and specifically their budget Brother laser printer pick [0] but the 1-star reviews were concerning which actually led me to ask here on HN.

[0] https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B0763WDSYZ/


I have that printer and use it to print music sheets about one a week. I'm two years in and still have plenty of toner.


I have an HP Laserjet 6P - I bought it (used) years ago because I rarely print things, and every inkjet I owned would "clog up" and be useless when I needed it. The 6P (as well as its predecessor, the 5) was/is a "business workhorse". Mine had less than 25k pages on it - a complete "baby" when I got it; I'm still well under 50k.

When I need it, it works (assuming paper is loaded). A toner cartridge lasts forever. I've maybe changed cartridges a couple of times in the past 20 years.

The only upgrades I did to the printer was maxing out it's memory (to 8 meg) and putting in the Postscript SIMM. I also have it hooked up via a USB to parallel port cable. There are ways to get it connected to the network, but I've never done it since it gets used so rarely and only by myself usually.

It isn't fast - it won't win no prizes there. But when I need it, it works. That is all that matters to me.


I've given up on owning my own printer. They seem to last all of two seconds. I spend too much time to figure out why they aren't working, eventually giving up.

I have used the Lob.com API to print something, have it mailed to me, and then used. Inefficient and slow, but it is my reality.

If I'm desperate, I go to the public library.


I live near a library and print there when I need to. They're a little cheaper than FedEx and usually less busy. I suppose for large volume or something more complicated I'd still go to FedEx, though.


Find a used HP Laserjet 1020. Used ones are all over the place and you can probably get a decent one for $50.

Drivers are easy, works on good ol' USB, and a single $20 toner cartridge will last you a decade.


Seconding this. I have an HP 4250, with three trays and a duplexer. Cost me $40 on craigslist from a bank closing. I've been running it for ~7 yrs, and only replaced the toner cart once. If all you need is black text/graphics, these things are workhorses.


By decade you mean 1000pages (OP mentions 100/yr)?


Yes. Shipping labels use minimal toner. I believe the 1020 cartridges are typically loaded for 2000 pages.


a ~$100 black and white laser printer.

I got a HP 1102w for this about 6 or 7 years ago and it's never failed. By getting laser, you can avoid the clogged print heads issues and other issues inkjets have with infrequent use.


I would make sure to use Google Cloud Print, and restrict all local access to your printer (e.g. can only print via Chrome via Google Cloud Print).

Typically printers will expose more security settings via SNMPv3 and you should take advantage of these (absolutely amazing learning opportunity for up and coming sysadmins/cloud engineers too).

I think HP is highly underrated for their printer security currently. Yes, it’s probably hackable in 5 mins like everything else in that space, but it has signed firmware! And they are the first printer company to be participating in a big bounty saas platform! Good things all around.

Also go with a monochrome black and white printer laser toner to really get costs down. You don’t need color as much as is thought...


I bought a Dell multifunction colour laser printer / scanner / fax (C1765NF) around 8 years ago. It is perfect for occasional usage, and a full set of toners is only £25. Unfortunately they sold their printer branch and no longer make them.

I believe there's only two companies making laser printers now (HP and Brother?), so there isn't really much choice. As others say you might be better off getting something on eBay.

Whatever you get check the prices of new toners (third party are fine; refilling yourself isn't worth the effort/mess) first as some are going to be the same price as the printer.


> I believe there's only two companies making laser printers now

Oh no, not at all: Samsung, OKI, Epson, Canon, Xerox, Kyocera and maybe others all have multiple models of B&W laser printers.


> Xerox

Which may become HP soon.


I was at Staples to get some supplies & they recommended https://printme.com/

1. Send your print, 2. Get a code, 3. Go to a partner like Staples, 4. Pick up your print

The Staples rep said the document is encrypted & no human ever sees it. I don’t know if that’s true. Haven’t tried it yet, but plan to. Maybe someone else on HN already has?

Edit: This sounds cool because it’s not tied to any one store. So you always print to the same “place” and pickup anywhere. We have a “roaming print” setup like this where I work and it’s super convenient.


If by "we are talking shipping labels here" you literally mean "I'm going to be using this to print shipping labels", it's hard to go wrong with a thermal printer:

https://www.amazon.com/Zebra-Receipts-Barcodes-Parallel-Conn...

It checks your boxes:

- It'll do great with infrequent use

- There's no ink involved, so you don't have to worry about that

1000 4×6 labels (i.e. the kind you'd want to use for shipping) would net you less than $40: https://www.amazon.com/OfficeSmartLabels-ZE1400600-Thermal-S...

Direct thermal printers like the GK420d linked above do have a limited lifetime on the thermal head, but with infrequent use you're highly unlikely to hit that limit (it's more a problem for full-time shipping operations printing labels all day every day).

On that note, I would also recommend you not use a laser printer to print shipping labels unless that printer is specifically designed to handle labels. Nothing sucks more than having to clean up after a printer that bent the label sheet too tightly and ended up peeling the labels off into all sorts of crevices.


Any recommendations for one for rare printing that is also as small as it gets? I want to be able to put it away easily instead of give it space to live due to its size.


Samsung M2026W is a super compact laser. I bought one to bring with me to events.


I got pissed off supporting my parents' non-stop issues with inkjet printers, and bought them a nice Brother laser printer with duplex printing about 15 years ago.

This year I replaced it with another Brother Laser, and in between then and now, I've only had to buy a toner cartridge about once every 3 years or so.

Zero other issues. Worth every penny.

At home I have a cheap Samsung M2820DW (duplex as well).

Both Brother and Samsung seem to have good Linux support.


> I need to print something once a month at best. I can use FedEx or other to print but it can be a PITA. I was hoping there are others here on HN that are in a similar situation. I'm looking for a printer that will do fine with infrequent use and the ink will still work when I go to use it.

> I'm looking to print way less that 100 sheets/yr, we are talking shipping labels here, nothing serious.

Contrary to most of the posts on here you can buy an inkjet, just make sure you meet three criteria:

1. Make sure print heads are on the cartridge not in the printer. So if they clog and cannot be unclogged through cleaning you just replace the print head.

2. Leave it plugged in and switched on. It will do a mini clean every so often to keep the print heads clear.

3. Make sure you can buy cheap compatible cartridges, that can be recycled. Then it doesn't matter that you waste some ink through cleaning cycles, or the occasional clogged cartridge.

I have an A3 Brother multifunctional inkjet and whilst it is far from the best print quality or usability compared to others I have owned, it has lasted years.


>> Make sure you can buy cheap compatible cartridges

This is not always an option.

Some companies have DRM on their cartridges. My dad's Epson printer's DRM wasn't strictly enforced until a recent firmware update rendered third party cartridges useless. I had to find a way to downgrade the firmware (which wasn't easy, because Epson took down all their old downloads) before compatible cartridges would be recognized again.


I have an old LaserJet 1320 sitting in the garage and like you, I use it very infrequently.

Unfortunately, it's not wireless and I didn't want to run a network cable just for that. So I bought a Raspberry Pi Zero W, connected it to the printer via a USB cable, installed cups and some other packages and now I can print wirelessly from either desktop or mobile.

The printer has been very reliable.


I agree. I have a very simple base model Laserjet that supports postscript. Regular black and white, the simplest possible model and no extra paper tray or anything that can go wrong. I've had mine for 15 years (replaced the toner cartridge once in that time), we bought roughly the same model at work 8 years ago (on my insistence). Both of them have worked flawlessly.

(Meanwhile at work, the other teams bought huge, complex beasts with lots of features and they are regularly down, offline, broken etc. I think they are on the fourth or fifth iteration of fancy printers).

Laserjet, simple, postscript, low price.


I have two LaserJet 1320s.¹ Got 'em as e-waste from a hospital I worked at. They're handy.

¹: ...well, had. My grandpa's using them now (one in use, and the other for spare parts), since he needed a reliable printer for his book sales.


I just take a bike and go printing at a railway station. I am better off, the planet is better off and I save some space at home.


I'm just waiting for a laser printer to show up at a local Goodwill, but so far it's just dozens of inkjet printers.

The Goodwill stores in my area offer a 7 day return period for electronics. I imagine I'll get this for $10-30 and support the community when I make the purchase.

If this doesn't work out for me, I might break down and buy something new.


I just scored a monochrome laser printer at Goodwill on my lunch break for $2.50. Of course I rounded up to help the community, so it was really $3.00. Still has a toner cartridge in it. I have 10 days to return it, not 7. It doesn't have a network port on it, but I have an old ethernet-to-parallel-port adapter to put to use for that. Now the question will be, how will I justify ever buying toner for this when the toner will be much greater in cost than the printer, but that's a problem for another day.


+ Impact printers are the most reliable. That's why they are still available new. They last for decades. They don't run out of ink, the print output just become progressively lighter. eBay often has used impact printers stupidly cheap. Ribbons are still around. Ribbons can be reinked if you really want, but at 100 pages per year, you'll probably never have the chance. They are eminently hackable at the low level. The downsides: slow for graphics, centronics or rs232 interfaces typical, They're obnoxiously noisy. Don't play well with CUPS for graphics.

* Laser printers are reasonably reliable for occasional printing. But my more recent experience is that they are getting "ink-jet" like planned obsolescence/built-in failure modes because otherwise they're not very profitable. Other's have mentioned Brother, and I had great experience with cheap Brother printers back in the early 00's. Even their inkjets. The last $80 Brother I bought started producing crap after about a year of light use (I had a Brother laser-fax that went five years of moderate use).

+ Inkjets are reliable if you use them all the time. They have amazing color. They're cheap to run if you're willing to refill cartridges. The two go hand in hand, the low cost from refilling cartridges ends aversion to printing. The commitment to printing all the time justifies the overhead of learning to refill cartridges efficiently. Refilling cartridges efficiently makes printing all the time no big deal. Refilling all eight cartridges of my photo printer takes about twenty minutes now. Less time than going to the store and buying a replacement.

+ If you can live with only printing 4"x6" a Canon Selphy 1300 is an option for ~$100. It uses dye-sublimation and 108 sheets of media can be bought for ~$30. Not exactly cheap, but the process is reliable because the rate of consumption is fixed. Each print uses the same amount of "ink", the "ink" is stable, and the whole process is predictable. 4x6 will work for a shipping label if that's all you do.


Any entry level Laser printer will do the work. You have to avoid inkjets because with so low printing jobs the ink will become thicker and it could clog the heads. Shelf life for toner is higher. As long as you keep the printer in a low-humidity area one toner could last you a decade.


And they're often faster, which is useful even if it's used rarely. We bought our laser printer because of the shelf life thing, and then we needed to do a ton of immigration stuff and the fast printing was nice. I wouldn't buy a printer just because of speed, but it was a nice value add.

We got ours at Costco for <$200 IIRC (base model monochrome Brother with WiFi), and it has worked well and we're still on the toner it came with. That's about the cost of an ink printer with one or two cartridge refills, so I feel like it's already paid for itself.


I'm still on a Lexmark E232 I bought back in 2006. I've printed like 80k pages and the thing keeps working fine. I bought it for less than $150.


I am very happy with my Brother printer. It is not even wireless but it has Ethernet and I connected it with some wireless access thingy from Zyxel and it has worked without hickups for 10+ years. Sometimes it needs to be restarted. I even have not changed toner once!


Your neighbor's


I still have a Canon Mx925, with all the bells and whistles (photo/CD/card printing, high resolution scanner, ADF, etc). Great machine. 150 Euros.

Also bought a HP Envy 5020 for £40 for scanning and label printing, printed over a hundred pages (just text) on the starter cartridges, worked a charm. Gifted it to a friend when I moved as I had no space. Quality wise, same as the Canon.

But really, any machine will do. HP/Epson/Canon always have everything from cheap to expensive. Check driver compatibility, they're weird nowadays.


I'm in the same situation, and have given up. There's a shop around the corner that will print PDFs at a nominal cost.

Inkjets are especially bad. they print heads used to be in the cartridge, so thay got changed regularly; now they're fixed and the cartridge is only ink, and little-used printers get clogged printheads. I've enquired repeatedly about old-school inkjets with whole-assembly cartridges, no luck.

If you really want your own printer, your only option is Laser.


If you're printing documents, you want a laser printer. If you're printing photos, use a printing service and save yourself the headache/expense of inkjets.


> If you're printing photos, use a printing service and save yourself the headache/expense of inkjets.

This holds up to a certain point - and that point is when you want large, gallery quality prints on decent paper. I compared the cost of these types of prints from a print shop with the cost of doing it myself and there's very little in it, such that the convenience and control offered by owning your own printer can swing it.

It's worth pointing out that what tipped the balance for me is the quality that it's possible to get from a home inkjet these days. I have an Epson XP-960 (other printers are available!) and the results when printing a good image are truly staggering - colour, detail etc. blow me away. And I'm not even a particularly good photographer! Although it seems surprising, it's not significantly cheaper to get this quality of print from a print shop.


There are new breed of printers that are convenient to refill.

HP Ink Tank. What does HN crowd think about these printers and what feedback can provide? Is it cheaper than regular Ink printers?

https://store.hp.com/in-en/default/hp-ink-tank-wireless-415-...

(If someone knows how to switch HP store location to show USD, welcome to paste link/price here)


With infrequent use, the issue is not refills or refill cost, but clogged printheads.


I bought the hp p1102w 8 years ago and it's been great. I get generic toner off amazon for about $9, which works in it just fine. It can hook up to Google for printing via the internet so you can print from ChromeOS / Android. It feels a little sturdier than the Brother laser printers in the same price point. It supports Bonjour for MacOS printing. It connects over wifi or ethernet.


I used a Brother HL-L2340DW.

I goes to sleep a bit too often and doesn't wake up but otherwise it is low maintenance and the cartridges last forever.


Looks like other people are saying it but inkjets are a scam, not only the ink is useless but the printers themselves just break, I used to go through them like paper towels. Brother MFC 9560 CDW here, I'm sure there are newer models now but definitely the color laser thing is vastly cheaper to just buy it once rather than buying new ink/printers every few months.


Apologies if this is off topic, but I'm interested in this same question, but with an emphasis on printing quality - one of the main things I want to use it for is proofing fonts. Right now I'm doing most of that on a 4k monitor, but print is the only way to reach really high resolution. I have an inkjet, but it doesn't come close to the quality needed.


Inkjet is fine, I paid for mine 70 or so and about 40 for a 5 year warranty extension. I think the biggest problem is dust though, so when not using it, consider removing the paper and closing all the lids. My Canon with built-in scanner now survived 2 years without any problems. And the drivers work well, at least on macOS. Also I can print labels with it.


One caution: I don’t know if it is still a thing, but inkjets used to dry out pretty badly if you left them idle for too long. Sometimes a thorough cleaning would work, but sometimes not. I push non-technical family members to get cheap laser printers.


I know somehow who had an inkjet that he used maybe twice a year. It just worked for years, he never even had to replace the ink I think. But when we didn't use it, he closed all the lids and put it back into the shelf :D

So now I try something similar but not that strict. Also I like about inkjet that it can print photos etc.


Get a laser printer. The toner won't dry out.


Don't forget to buy some premium printer paper. If you only print a hundred sheets a year, it's well worth the cost.


Absolutely. I bought a ream of high quality paper 10+ years ago and am still going through it. I really don't print much.


I agree with others who say get an older HP laserjet, from before the DRM shenanigans. Likely it will still have enough life left in it to manage occasional use (back when I was doing more dtp work I'd run through reams at a time, but now it's only a few times a year. I don't expect to ever need to buy a new printer.)


I've got an Epson ink bottle printer. The bottles last for thousands of sheets, don't cost much, and don't dry out. I only print a couple of times a month and moved from a Brother printer because a set of four cartridges cost €120 and you couldn't use the scanner when any of the ink cartridges were empty.


I bought a DCP-8085DN years ago and it's been zero maintenance. What you really want to consider is getting a business class printer laser printer. They're expected to handle a real load, so they last. Look at the software connectivity. I can print and scan straight from my iPhone/iPad.


I have an Epson multi-function ink jet which sits for months at a time unused, and because of the cartridge design (I think the print head is part of the cartridge itself?), it prints just fine regardless.

The MFDs are cheap, the carts are expensive, but it fits your usage requirements (which were similar to mine, at the time).


HP Envy 5055 w/ HP Instant Ink

Just works. We print a couple of times a month and the Instant Ink is fee < 10 pages per month.


A friend of mine had two Envy’s failing less than 6 months after purchase with light usage. They are disposable printers, and the ink scam is ridiculous. We could never get the supposed override to work, and it would never print b&w if any color cartridge was low.


Whilst there's not really much more left to add to the laser printer argument, in my own experience the absolute peace of mind a laser printer brings in knowing your report/flight ticket/etc. will print without issue is well worth the greater initial cost.


Not to hijack the thread -- but any recommendations for 100-200 pages a month, coming in sporadically?


Brother HL23xx series (ex: HLL2370DW). $100, wifi, ethernet, laser printing. Built like a tank.


I'll second this. I have one of these. The drum lasts forever, it's built like a tank, it just works with basically every OS you have.

Not what you want if you're printing photos, but if you just need to print a few sheets of black and white every now and then, this is the printer to go for. Zero maintenance, low costs, lasts a long time.


Any cheap Brother branded laser printer. Don't worry about buying any extra toner cartridges.

I still have an HL-5250dn bought new with the original "sample-sized" toner cartridge installed.

It's about 13 years old, at this point. I paid something like $75 for it.


I just wanted to point out that HP printers had official, open source drivers for years and are probably the most gnu/linux-compatible printers you could fine.

Many others named Brother, but afaik their gnu/linux support is not on-par with HP.


I've had a HP LaserJet 1012 for about 20 years, I've probably replaced the toner 3 or 4 times. I think it was about $200 new, so that's like $10/year, and it doesn't show any signs of giving up soon.


I have similar situation. Epson WF-1000. Also has a battery so it can work without a power cord for awhile which is nice to have. Does a fine job for what it is. Also wireless and has print from iPhone capability.


A recommendation to stay away from Samsung laser printers, their division was sold off to HP a few years ago and the Samsung wireless setup and connection has been maddening and completely unreliable.


I have a Samsung ML-3710 or similar that I've had for about 10 years now. Only ever used with USB. It's always been fantastic and I love it, because as a former dot matrix owner the idea of printing out pristine documents in seconds at home is still a bit magical. It's only ever had light use, but for my needs it's perfect. I can switch it on for the first time in months and it's up and printing in seconds.


Yeah, I wouldn't doubt that wired printing would be mostly bulletproof but getting our SL-M2020W's wireless/airprint functionality (under Windows) has been painful after multiple attempts at configuring.


I bought one probably about 3 years ago that is largely still good, albeit it has started eating paper when you try to print double-sided. It's pretty much solely a sheet-music printer for me so I suspect that aspect has failed due to lack of use. Other than that it has been very solid though, in fairness.


I would gladly pay for a service that my “printer driver” really uploads it securely and a few days later I get the printout in a cardboard envelope through the post.


Any reason why you can’t print at work? Unless you’re printing dozens per day nobody will care about the occasional Amazon return label.


I have had a HP laserjet 1010 since it came out. Still works.


Brother laser printer. Then an HP Selphy for photo print.


Libraries usually have printers. Ours is $0.10 per sheet.


I'm reccomended FedEx,HP or Cannon :)


Any brother


A free one.




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