Need Printer Recommendations

Jodi_SoCalMarch 17, 2013

I'm in the market for an all-in-one (print, scan, copy) printer that offers excellent photo printing and has a low ink cartridge price.

It would be nice to have wireless capabilities but it's not a deal breaker.

Tell me what you have, why you like it, why you don't, what you print with it, the cost of the cartridge(s).


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Brother 3 in 1 wireless...we bought one 4 years ago, and it works like a champ. Both manual and auto Paper feed is adjustable for any size paper - standard or photo,

Black cartridges $20 at Walmart, Three-color packs are #30. They do last long.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 8:28AM
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We do a fair amount of photo printing - color, mostly.
I do a lot of text printing because I am membership chairman for my swim club - and this time of year, I can go through a ream easily this time of year.
We use it to print out on-line purchase activity, recipes from on-line sites that I want to keep, and seem to use it at least once a day.

We keep the printer on a small table in the family room, where we sit the most, and the modem and router in another room.

When I read this, I went to see what they cost today....and I saw that Brother sells a compact 3 in 1 for suggested price of $, i'm thinking of getting a second one for the kitchen, which is at the other end of the house.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 8:45AM
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I'm a photographer, as well a writer so I use both B&W and color print features on a very regular basis. For the last several years, I've been using Canon ink jet printers from their PIXMA series and am currently very happy with the photo print quality of Canon's MG5220. It has the features you're looking for, Jodi, and although I don't use the wireless feature, it can be set up as a wireless. It uses five cartridges which purchased all together come in around $80 at Staples. It's been so long since I've purchased them all at the same time that the price may be lower now. That's the price range that I remember when the printer was new in 2011. You can probably do better price wise. Over all, for a medium price ranged ink jet does nice, crisp, accurately balanced color work on both 24 lb regular white stock and on any photo stock paper.

My best accolade...if I had to replace it, I'd replace it in kind. However, if I had scads of money, I'd invest in a laser printer. IMO you can't beat them for professional print quality but seeing as I'm never going to have those kind of coins to invest at this stage in my life...I'm more than content with my Canon...and those who have sought copies of my work seem to be as pleased as I am.

As I've noted here before, you have a wonderful artist's eye for composition and subject, Jodi. I hope my input is of some help in your decision making process.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 10:04AM
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I've never used an all-in-one, so I'm no help there. I've never heard of an all-in-one having good photo quality, but if Canon makes one in their Pixma line and Anne is happy with it, you might want to take a look. I print with a Canon Pixma that uses dye inks. Great results, but the ink is pricey. When I have a bunch of large prints to do I wait for a sale at and do them that way. Much more economical. I also like Mpix for greyscale work.

I mostly wanted to say you do not want a laser printer for photo printing. It is, however, the best choice for text printing: much faster than anything an ink-jet can produce. These days they're pretty cheap, too. I've seen Brother and Samsung duplex laser printers for under $50. Maybe I can convince you to think about getting two printers? :-)

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 10:26AM
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Not sure on photos, as I don't do them yet. I just bought a Epson thru Amazon. I bought the Epson XP600 as they had a real good deal, rated good thru Consumer's reports and also had a 50.00 gift from Amazon. So, for 49.00 ended up with a printer. It is wireless so that is good. Cheap enought to have another printer, if needed. Does seem to go thru ink alot. Has two black inks, one reg and one for photos. Not sure how the computer knows which one to use. Touch screen, and small. Getting use to it.
Had HP before and I did like that.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 12:43PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

I went laser a while back and am really happy I did, they have really come down in price so much. I got a Brother MFC9120CN
I got it on sale in the 300's the laser cartridges last so much longer than the ink, I have had it for a couple of years and still on the original cartridges which are not full capacity they are only a starter size. I am very happy with it. It is not wireless but I have it connected to my router so I can use it through my wifi on any of my wifi enabled devices so very much like it is wireless. It does come in a wireless model too.
Brother MFC-9120CN Digital Color All-in-One Printer

MFC-9120CN Digital Color All-in-One With Fax and Networking

I have saved a lot from not having to buy that ink all the time.
Pictures and print outs are very crisp and clear. I did a presentation of daffodils and printed out on regular paper some pictures of daffodils and everyone thought they were real photos.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 3:54PM
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I guess I should have specified that I am looking for an ink jet printer. I feel lasers are not up to my photo image printing standards. Plus, in the past, I've had health issues related to toner/laser printers. Long story, but I really want to avoid a laser printer in my home.

Also, I'm looking for a smaller model, something I can slide under my sofa end table when not in use. So it needs to be under 10" high. The Canon, Brother and Epson ink jet printers are all well under 10" but the laser printer is not.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 4:13PM
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I am using a "HP PhotoSmart Premium" printer. Black and white text pages print fairly fast at standard density and is fast in draft mode. Photo printing on photo papers is good to very good. The paper handling machinery is as good or better than the average printer. Printer height is under 8 inches. The printer prints, scans, and copies. A rear attachment is required should automatic printing on both sides is needed. One caveat: When printing double sided, there is an 'ink drying' delay between printing each side. The delay is adjustable; 5 seconds works for me. This delay increases print time noticeably.

My printer uses 5 cartridges. There are two blacks; one is regular black and the other one is photo black. The photo black ink is more gray than the pure black one.

Inks come in regular and extended. Both are the same physical size, but the extended cartridge has about 3 times the ink of a regular cartridge, and costs about twice the price of he regular cartridge. I do enough printing that I buy the extended cartridges for all colors. Ink cost is in the middle of average printers.

Introductory packages of inks and photo paper bundled together looks good on the store shelf, but I found that the HP ones are no bargains. These cartridges are not full, but contain only enough ink to print the sheets of photo paper in the pack. However, the cost per sheet of photo paper was very reasonable.

HP ink for the PhotoSmart series is fade resistant when printed on acid free paper, with the usual precaution of protecting from direct sunlight and UV.

HP ink jet printers excel in paper handling. I have run 9500 sheets through mine and the paper pickup and positioning still works fine.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 12:41AM
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Thanks for your review Jemdandy. Two-sided printing is something I'd like from my new printer. I didn't realize so many of them offer it. I wonder if other brands require an attachment to print two sided documents. Does the attachment come with the printer or have to be purchased separately?

I did read about the two black ink cartridges. The grayer one helps give better output for grayscale photos/images.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 1:46AM
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Funny that I'm seeing this now. Earlier tonight I ordered a Canon PIXMA mx892 (ink jet). It does double-sided printing without any attachments, and has a 5-cartridge ink system. MSRP is $199 and Amazon has it for $135.62. It's a printer, copier, fax, and scanner and is Wi-Fi. Supports a whole mess of different memory cards for direct printing, too.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 3:12AM
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You're right to factor in the price of cartridges. Companies don't make their money on the printers -- it's the ink cartridges. For the majority of printers out there, repair shops will tell you it's not worth the cost they'd charge to fix them and to just buy a new printer. (I tried 2 repair shops before giving in.)

I also have an HP Photosmart. I'd had an HP before, but I got this one either for free or for very little money several years ago when I bought my laptop. It has memory card slots, which I really like.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 10:08AM
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You all have given me some great ideas to base my choice on. I probably won't buy something until tomorrow or the next day so feel free to keep giving me suggestions. Thanks!


    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 12:26PM
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I believe pammyfay has it exactly right. The printers are so fancy (double sided etc) that they are essentially free. The ink is insanely expensive. I started using Canons a few years ago because of their very high rating on consumer reports. When my first one ran into trouble I attempted to learn how to repair it myself and it seemed like a real pain and seemed prohibitively expensive. I found a store model at COSTCO for essentially the cost of some ink, so it was almost free. I suspect that with competition, all printers are pretty good and you should consider the cost of ink to be the deciding factor. Perhaps there is a website giving a cost per page or something. Ink volumes in newer canons are smaller than older ones. I sspect the same could be true for other printers too. Check it out.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 10:56AM
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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

I had always had HP printers, but last year bought an Epson Workforce 645. While I really like the printer, I don't like the cost of the ink cartridges, plus I have to order them - my local stores don't stock them. Never thought about looking at the aspect of printer ownership when I was deciding on a new printer. So be sure and check into that. I will note that I never had trouble purchasing the HP ink cartridges - just about every store carried them and they were reasonably priced compared to the cost of the cartridges for this Epson.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 1:39PM
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Speaking of Epsons, I hang out a lot on the DPReview photography forums. On the Printers and Printing forum, it's often mentioned that the inks in Epson photo printers tend to clog if they're not used regularly--and often. It seems to be a big problem. I don't know if the issue is specific to Epson's photo printers, or if it exists in their other lines as well.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2013 at 1:48PM
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I have owned three Epsons and while they were superior to the print output of an HP I was able to try at home, I too noticed the ink dries quickly in them if you don't print often. I also found they were not very intuitive setting up for printing on 4"x6" photo paper. That may have changed/improved since I used my Epson (7+ years ago) but I still want to avoid one because of the ink issue.

I'm going to do some comparisons with Canon and HP printers today and make a decision soon I hope.

I am in the process of (re)starting my own home-based design business again. I had it for eight years before accepting an offer I couldn't refuse from a high tech company 7 years ago. I left them in September 2012 and wanted to get my travel to Southeast Asia out of the way before I got serious about going back to work.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2013 at 3:30PM
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If you have an Apple mobile device (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch), look for AirPrint capability, which lets you print photos directly and wirelessly from your iPhone without any setup on either device, or having to load an app. Google Cloud Print does sort of the same thing but requires loading an app on your device (or anyone else's you want a print from). Some printers also have an assignable email address (like HP's ePrint) that lets you print a document or photo to it from anywhere on the internet from any computer or mobile device by sending the print job as an email attachment. If you print photos alot as well as full-size paper docuents, look for dual paper trays so you don't have to frequenty change out the paper supply back and forth.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 9:06AM
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I have a Canon Pixma series too and I am pretty satisfied with the print quality. I don't think there is any printer out there though, that has reasonable priced ink. Of course, it all depends on how much you print. I do know that I could have my photos printed by someone else (Walmart for example) for less than it costs me to print my own. But I guess I just like the fact that I have control when I do the printing, so I continue to do it.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 10:26AM
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HP Officejet 8600 series has long-lasting, reasonably-priced ink. Too bad it's so big, and only the top-line Premium model has two paper trays. But it has all the key features and works great

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 10:43AM
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I just thought I'd mention that printers often come bundled with some kind of software. My Canon printer came with Photoshop Elements 8, which I already had.

Also, if you decide on a Canon, do check the Canon website for a possible rebate. They offer these frequently.

This post was edited by alisande on Thu, Mar 21, 13 at 15:43

    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 10:58AM
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I made my decision yesterday after comparing a number of things including the type and cost of ink cartridges. I purchased an HP Photosmart 6525 e-All-in-One Inkjet Printer for $109 from Costco online. It has already shipped. Hope it arrives by this weekend.

Thanks for all the input, it helped considerably.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 11:23AM
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I received my new printer 20 hours after ordering it. I unpacked, installed software and have printed and scanned with it already. I am one happy camper! Thanks again everyone.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2013 at 5:22PM
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