Desktop printers

Hi everyone,
I’m kicking tires on printers, and I would like to know if you can recommend (or warn me to stay away from) a certain printer. For the last 9.5 years I have been running a Lexmark C543dn (noisy, but it’s been good, a true workhorse) but it’s time for something new. This one doesn’t owe me anything, consumables are reasonably priced and print quality has been good (up until recently). I’m actually considering replacing the imaging unit, but aside from a few minor visual problem everything’s still good, so I may just leave it as it is and run it into the ground printing invoices and statements.
Specs I’m looking at:
8.5"x 11" to 14"
Duplex capable
Run heavier socks & envelopes (14pt card? Could be a pipe dream there)
This is a print only - does not need to be multi function, but I will consider those opportunities as well.
Thanks for your help/suggestions.

What do you normally print? Design work? photos? documents?
As for as 14pt goes you might be out of luck. Many production digital presses still can’t accommodate GSM over 325.

Personally i’ve never had much luck with desktop Inkjet technology, but I also don’t print very much, and when the devices are left idle, the remaining ink in the print head with solidify.

I do love Canon devices, both big and small. The color quality is the best you buy. I know the Canon wide format inkjet have new print heads that self-drain and clean when not in use. Maybe the little guys have something similar. If you can swing the cost, laser printers are the way to go. plus the amount of impressions generated from a toner cartridge is profoundly more than an inkjet. Plus, You can also run coated media with ease.

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I used to have an Epson printer that could print up to 13" x 19". It was great when it worked, and a pain when it didn’t. The latter was more than the former at the end of its life. I replaced it with a small HP color laser printer. It’s the CP1518ni. It’s okay for what I need it to do. Fairly accurate color, and reasonably fast. There is a FedEx Office close to me that actually does a great job of keeping their printers calibrated and looking good. So I end up sending a bunch of work there.

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I’ve had a Cannon PRO 100 (up to 13x19) for a few years now and it’s probably been the best desktop inkjet experience I’ve ever had. The wireless setup is a pain, but its smooth sailing after that.

If you are looking to save serious money, check out all of the current Printer + DSLR camera rebate deals, then search for those exact printer models on eBay or similar. People typically buy those bundles specifically for the Camera and then sell off the printer once they obtain the rebate. Often their eBay listings will say something like “brand new - UPC code removed for rebate purposes.”

I got my pro 100 for under $100 this way.

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The lexmark you describe is a laser printer, not an inkjet. So most of the above answers involving inkjets probably aren’t going to work for you.
What, exactly, are you using it for? Certainly not as a production machine.
Is it just your office printer for letters, envelopes and such?
For office lasers, we’ve been through them all. Of the lot, the Panasonic wasn’t a bad unit but I don’t think it will handle the heavy stock. Your probably want something with a straight feed rather than a drum type unit for the heavier stock. I’ve yet to see any laser do photographic imagery that I’d term acceptable.

Look into leasing rather than purchase. You get more bang for your buck that way.

Mostly documents and proofs, but occasionally some actual small jobs. The Lexmark duplexed 200gsm well enough. As for 14pt, my comment “pipe dream” in the OP was justified, but I was somehow hoping there was a solution. Don’t we all want it all…

Occasional small job production. I’m not bent on laser if a good alternative presents itself. It’s more about capabilities, durability and operation costs. Does anyone have experience with this: HP PageWide Pro 452dw ?

The minute you mail an inkjet, it is subject to rain and wet fingers. Not often a good mix for “production.”

The Amazon reviews aren’t so hot, but a few of the low end reviews seemed more operator error. I have yet to meet a cheap desktop unit that doesn’t stop working on an empty ink cartridge. Even my low end 42" HP plotter stops when an ink cartridge runs dry. And if you don’t change it fast enough, it clears the print queu! If you’re 15’ into a 20’ print and went to answer the phone… yeah. annoying, even though it’s just bond paper. But that’s a different unit altogether.

If i were you, I’d search around to see if there is a local Staples or Best Buy that has one and go see if it does what you want it to do, and if the ink holds up to what you want it to do. For $300 you might take it on a flyer, but approaching $500 you might want to kick tires.
And $85 (low cap) to $140 (high cap) for ink cartridges, what’s your ROI? Still good?
I’d still recommend a lease…

Here’s an update. Looking at the Epson WorkForce Pro WF-C8190. Anyone have experience with this? Inks are alcohol base and will not run/bleed. (DURABrite Pro pigment ink) I was also told it will run card stock - how heavy is yet to be determined. I hope to test drive one of these later this week or in the near future.

Here’s an update: I was impressed with the Epson, but I saw some issues with the inks and and settings - also the fact of using special stocks so I passed on that. I would consider it as a proofing machine, however the colour adjustments were crude and clunky IMO, so it would need to be a great deal for me to commit. I did buy a colour laser for now, very similar to the one I had - the deal was too good to pass on. (Lexmark C510de - 249.99 cdn new, and it came with extra high yield cartridges) This should hold me over until I find “the one”. I do like the new software with this newer model, and lots of adjustments are available at the desktop level - so far so good and it’s considerably quieter than my C543dn. (I’m only a couple of days in, so we’ll see if this pans out to be the great buy that I thought it was) Still looking…

PageWide is awesome technology, but it was designed around an office environment. The print quality won’t get anywhere near where you’d like it to be.

My company recently started to carry the HP Pagewide walk-up MFP’s. It’s a full size office copier. and print documents extremely well. It’s fast, and cost effective. But has little to no media capability, and struggles with full coverage items.

The line’s primary selling points are cost per page, and security.

May we ask what your budget is? and a monthly volume?
I might even be able to help you if you’re looking for a printer to run these for you. If you can get me a shipping label, i’ll run the prints for well under retail.

You aren’t going to get too much color control on a machine under $500.
At that level, you pretty much have to rely on OEM materials and printer driver profiles. Though my little Epson Artisan doesn’t really care what you put in it, if you want somewhat of a Pantone approximation, you have to use OEM papers. All the lower end stuff is that way. Office use or home printing doesn’t require accurate color output. They don’t make money on the mechanism. It’s all about the ink and paper.

If you want to get serious about color you have to jump way up in price scale and possibly even invest in a RIP.

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I know - trying to avoid that.

Life is full of little trade-offs.

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