*NEWS*IS LASER PRINTING THE WAY TO GO ?
*NEWS*IS LASER PRINTING THE WAY TO GO ?
2005-08-24 at 11:09:00 am #12607
For some,laser printing is the way to go
I’m just back from a
shopping spree at a giant computer store. I spent much more than $100.
What did I buy? Cartridges for inkjet printers. Nothing else.
We go through a lot of cartridges at home. My wife does most of her
work from there. I often print photographs and drafts of stories.
We make that same expensive trip to the store every two months or so.
Over a year, we spend more than $600 on printer cartridges. That amount
seems really ridiculous because our two printers could be replaced at
retail (complete with cartridges) for less than $300.
Selling the blades
Years ago, the marketing people called this “giving away the razor and
selling the blades.” Back before disposable razors were the norm, you
could buy a razor dirt cheap, then pay dearly for blades.
Razors are disposable now. Maybe printers should be, too.
You can buy a nice one for less than $100, but most people will spend more than that over a year replacing the ink cartridges.
There are options, of course. One is to use refillable ink cartridges.
You can buy them at almost any big computer store. By filling them
yourself, you do save money. I tried it once and ended up with an ink
splash on my shirt that, from the right angle, looked liked a bad
painting of a pine tree. There also are off-brand ink cartridges
available over the Web. But reliability is a problem and, unless you
stock up in advance, you often don’t have time to wait for a mail-order
delivery when the ink runs dry.
Another solution is to add a laser printer. There’s no doubt that the
cost per printed page is lower. I don’t trust the cost comparisons I
see, they’re all over the ballpark – other than to believe that the
cost per page is at least two to three times lower when you use a laser
for black-and-white prints.
I did some quick price shopping on the Web and found black-and-white
laser printers for not much more than $100, and there were lots of good
ones clustered in the $180 price range. Color laser printers cost more,
especially the good ones. The cost advantage of the laser lessens when
you make color prints.
And you will be making color prints. The availability of high-quality
color inkjet printers has changed how most of us print. The photographs
I print at home look at least as good as the ones from a commercial
processor. Even for business uses, color has become common. When my
real-estate agent wife prints out a market analysis showing what homes
sell for in a neighborhood, she’s likely to include color photographs
of the homes.
I have taken the long way around as far as offering advice today.
That’s because I wanted to show you there’s no one solution for
Assess printing needs
If you don’t often print out information – a lot of you are in that
category, especially those who use a PC to keep records, send e-mail
and browse the Web – the best and easiest thing to do is to stick with
an inkjet printer. Hold your nose and pay the price when you need new
cartridges. You’ll get beautiful prints, and the cost won’t be a big
For people like me, who spend a big part of our yearly computing budget
on ink cartridges, an affordable black-and-white laser printer makes
sense as a second or even third printer.
When you are printing large quantities of black-and-white documents,
use the laser. The inkjet can be used for times when you need color, or
when you’re printing out a photograph.
My final suggestion will sound like a joke. I sort of wish it was
because it’s an almost offensive example of how we’ve become a
I see color printers for as little as $50. For instance, I’ve used the
Canon Pixma ip1500 and had fairly good results. It retails for $49.99
and comes with the ink cartridges.
As wacky as this sounds, it would make sense for some people to buy a
printer like this and use it until the ink cartridges run out. Then
donate the printer to charity, or give it to a friend who doesn’t mind
replacing the cartridges.