This is one reason why laser printers are better than inkjets - supercheap cartridges

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color laser printers are pretty cheap now, and bargain toner cartridges are available for them too.


Previously on Boing Boing some related discussion on a very similar topic for those who are new and want more on this topic.

Cheap carts in Brother printers are a hell of a bargain. Print quality is good, but there are a few little tricks you will want to write down on a sheet of paper and keep near your printer for those times when you need them. (And that’s when, not if. You will need them.)

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The main thing about lasers is that they don’t spend half their toner cleaning Jets like inkjets do. I have a 10 year old HP monotone laser and the family has a tiny HP color. Only issues ever is occasional weird connectivity with the color. I can buy a full set of aftermarket carts for the color for what it would cost for 1 oem.


Yeah, and with any refill cartridge you are going to get duds. Some of the places I buy from will replace them. But when an OEM cartridge costs $80 and you can get a refill for $10, I just accept that every now and then you get a dud.

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Even the big laser printers with the pricier toner carts are a better deal than ink jet. Sure that cart can be $200 but it does like 100k pages.

Anyone have a recommendation for a portable laser printer for use with a phone (particularly iPhone cause my work hates us). Working out of a car these days and thinking a portable printer would spare me some trips to the copy shop/library.

Laser printers have LASERS! What more reason do you need to prefer it to an inkjet?


This. Unless you need to print high quality glossy colour photos, a colour laser printer will work perfectly for all your printing needs. If you don’t print often, it will serve you far better, because it won’t ever use up fifty dollars worth of ink just to clean the print heads.

Printers are definitely a case where paying more up front is worth it in the long run.

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Laser printers are big and use a lot of power. I don’t think there has ever been a portable one. But if you don’t want inkjet, you could get a portable thermal printer.

There have been portable inkjet printers, but they were uniformly crap; tiny things, expensive, poor battery life, and the ink carts were even tinier than the ‘half a shot glass’ of the alledged ‘xl’ filled carts common now.

portable laser? not really. I think the closest one could get would have been something like a laserjet 6l on a super beefy inverter directly connected to a car battery. Maybe. (The fuser drinks a TON of power coming up to temp; that’s not likely to have changed in the past 20 years or so.

As others have said, there isn’t really such a thing as a portable laser printer. Compact/luggable, yes, but usable on a car battery, no. Sadly. For printing off a car battery, you are kind of stuck with inkjet on plain paper or thermal printers on thermal paper.

As for the other half of your needs, the spec sheet line item you’re looking for, for a printer that works with an iphone, is “airprint.” IOS devices can print to any airprint capable printer.

If it’s wireless, it’s got shit security.

Do you have a recommendation for a reliable color laser? I currently support a HP LaserJet 4000 (~15 years old) and a HP 5p (~20 years old) but the finance committee is requesting color.

I used to have an HP 400 series - it was pretty huge, and it printed well, but as it aged it suffered from a lot of print quality issues. And the 3rd party refill cartridges seemed to leak a lot.

So when we replaced it I got a Canon multi-function. I was really happy with that so I got another that was not a multi-function, just a straight printer, but used the same cartridges. This has also been very reliable. And the refill cartridges have had a very low dud rate. The cartridges these printers take are Canon 131. Oddly enough this cartridge was developed with HP and HP uses the same in some of their recent models. Only downsides - cartridge capacity is smaller than old HP, and paper tray does not hold as many sheets.

So following that - when my Epson photo printer clogged up for good - replaced it with a Canon. When my large format HP engineering printer died replaced it with a Canon. When my wife Epson multi-function inkjet died I got her a small Canon inkjet. I’ve got all Canon printers now and I feel they are the best I’ve ever owned. Even for the inkjets, the OEM cartridges cost less than the other brands.

Ah thought I had seen a few out there but wasn’t sure if they were any good/practical. Suppose I have more complicated research to do figuring out which is worth a damn and which one print costs are worth the cost.

I’ve got a Brother scanner/printer/copier , paid $75 at Staples, OEM toner is $10 each, runs like a champ (just LAN, no WiFi, only bugger about it). Yeah, they use power, so does the microwave you heat up the coffee with.

If you want the opposite of cheap, there’s always the classic Okidata Okimate 10. This page cost about $1 to print back in the day. Craptastic quality too.

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Unless that’s you business, that’s usually not cost effective at all. Even before I started working for a photo products company, I simply had them print it. Far less hassle.

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Oh, absolutely, what with photo printing kiosks popping up in grocery stores and drug stores and so on, there’s absolutely no reason for most people to be printing photos on their own printer nowadays. So, basically, everyone should just go and buy a cheap colour laser printer unless they really must have something compact/portable.

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18 years ago I completely geeked out on filling carts with archival pigments, now I can get a 16x20 printed at Costco for $7.

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