Best Buys: Budget Mono Laser Printers
The fine print
Group Test All six of these printers do a more than passable job of printing a page of text and in most cases you won't notice the difference between these machines and mono lasers costing three times the price. They are also pretty similar on speed, offering between 12 and 16ppm.
The factors that split them are running costs and extra features like single-sheet feed and screen print. The Dell and Samsung machines do well here, with the Samsung edging the Recommended award, partly on its useful print screen function. The overall winner, and the best all-rounder, is Brother’s HL-2035.
Bear in mind that value assessments are based here on SRPs. Both printers and consumables are available at a range of discounts, which may change their comparative values. ®
Laser vs. Inkjet
I have to disagree that laser costs more than inkjet. Over the years I've owned several inkjet printers. A set of cartridges for my HP inkjet printer at our local discount megamart cost $69 US (for one color and one black). We live in a very dry climate. The cartridges "dry out" in about 60-90 days, and are useless.
Considering I don't print very many total pages per month, a laser printer works out much cheaper in the long run for me. For example, a while back I purchased a Dell color laser printer with ethernet connectivity new for $209 US, shipped free. A year later, I'm still showing over 80% left in each toner cartridge. I would have invested well over $250 in ink cartridges by now, and would still have dead cartridges today. I can replace the entire printer every year and be ahead. And color laser is SO much faster than my old inkjet!
Its a shame that it costs more to replace the toner than it does to buy a new printer.
What a waste of resources. Why is toner so expensive? It seems like a scam to me.
I've been through countless inkjets, and am now running a colour laser, and would never go back. With only occasional need to print things, I used to find myself using more ink cleaning nozzles than we did actually printing things! The laser just powers up and prints, no fuss, no mess, no problems. Yes, laser carts are an expensive hit, but shop about and you can get them for a reasonable price..
watch out for the "intro" toner cartridges
These cheap printers may have the "intro" toner carts, to further the "razor and blades" business model. Although you can get the aftermarket refill kits for CHEEEEP.
My first laser was an NEC job that ran faithfully for nearly 10 years. In that amount of time I spent maybe $100 on toner - the first time was for a name-brand toner cart at about $80. The next time I found a refill kit for less than $20 that completely filled the cartridge to the top. You're talking 10-15 dollars PER YEAR for printing. Seems like I've spent more than that on paper.
Oh yeah, and toner doesn't have the propensity to run out at 11pm on a Sunday when you're trying to print out your final copy of that important paper.
Cheap printers all use the Gillette model - sell the printer at or below cost, make the profit on the consumables. Also be warned that some manufacturers deliberately "churn" their models, so that as soon as there's a new model on the market that takes a different design of toner, the price of toner for the old model can be increased without upsetting any product reviewers.
Be very sure how many pages you are going to print. In general it's better to spend more on a printer with a lower running cost. Unless you *really* want a tiny increase in B&W print quality, I wouldn't buy any of these. I'd buy an HP Officejet Pro 8000 for about the same after cashback, with colour printing, duplex ability, and a lower cost per page from XL ink cartridges.