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Quick question: what kind of printer do you have at home?

Inkjet

Black and white laser

Color laser

If you answered anything but “color laser” then get ready, because Christmas shopping will be upon us in a few weeks and you should be ready to pounce on a deal when it comes. But I’m jumping ahead a little…

I made the switch to color laser in 2011 when Boxing Day sales were on. I had been biding my time, waiting for a consumer grade color laser that was affordable, decently fast, decently small and wireless. My waiting finally paid off that January and I happily retired both our black and white laser and color inkjet printers. Up until that point we needed to keep two printers around – I couldn’t ditch the inkjet printer because our children had schoolwork that they really wanted to print in color.

I have to admit the number of hubbie points that I earned that first day was small – but in over 3 years since then it has been a slow and steady stream. Once my wife and children discovered how great the new printer was they were on my side. My wife’s recipes look great and also no longer bleed when she spills milk on them while cooking. Our kids’ schoolwork looks nice and again doesn’t bleed when they happen to get it wet. The repair manuals that I print come out fast. And my whole family is happy that it doesn’t matter if they’re printing in black and white or color, it all goes to the same printer. Any time that we can make the technology in our houses easier to work with, life is better for everyone.

Which brings up my next point: wireless (Wi-Fi) printing. Buying a wireless printer has a few benefits:

  • the printer can be located almost anywhere
  • you can print from any computer in the house
  • you can print directly from your mobile phone

If you’re shopping for a new printer, consider getting a wireless printer. The small difference in cost these days is worth it.

As with any technology buying decision, I happily encourage you to research this and read reviews on your own, and watch for sales in your area. If, however, you’re like my Dad and just want to be given a decent recommendation I do have one for you: the Samsung SL-C410W. I have used the Samsung Mobile Print app, and it works perfectly on both iPhone and Android. Third party toner cartridges are available online. The printer is fairly small and won’t take up too much space. And of course it’s wireless. I have one of the previous models similar to this one and it’s been doing a fantastic job for over 3 years.

One final word of caution: when you are in need of toner for your new printer, I would not recommend trying the “toner refill bottles” that can be found online. I’ve tried them twice, and both times have proven to be messy and in the end the printing didn’t look good. I switched back to buying full toner cartridges. You don’t need to buy them from the manufacturer; I’ve had good results with third party toner cartridges, but stay away from the bottles.


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  • reply Captain Shazam ,

    Do you have any recos, and what features on models are must-have or superfluous? I’ll hang up and listen.

    • reply Todd Trann ,

      Hello Captain! The Samsung SL-C410W that I mentioned will do well for most people. The only performance complaints that I see – and they’re common with all home laser printers – is not handling card stock well.

      I don’t like the google results for “color laser buyers guide”, unfortunately too many of them appear to have sponsored placements in their supposedly unbiased reviews. So here are a few things that may help:

      – don’t bother with duplexing
      – don’t worry about resolution, they’re all good these days
      – I don’t like the “all in one” printers that try to be a scanner/photocopier/printer (use your phone! I’ll write a post on this in a couple of weeks)
      – do look on eBay to make sure that you can find third party toner cartridges
      – do compare your long term cost of buying toner between brands, it can vary a lot, and in the long run will cost more than the initial printer price
      – don’t bother with the extended warranty, if it’s going to fail it’s usually right out of the box and still under original warranty

      And finally, don’t expect a color laser printer to do a good job with 4×6 photos; stick to Costco or some other online printing lab.

    • reply Pocket Copiers » DUMB WHITE HUSBAND ,

      […] the last piece, Frickin’ Lasers, I wrote about ditching your inkjet printer and switching to a color laser printer. I’ve heard […]

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