If you are shopping around for a decent printer, here are some tips that might save you some money.
- PRINT-SCAN-COPY-FAX. Buy an all-in-one (print, copy, scan and fax) rather than a single function one. The price difference isn’t that significant
- PAPER JAMS. Biggest annoyance in a printer is paper jams. Read reviews to see if this is mentioned. Go to retail stores and check out a demo unit
- PAPER FEEDER. Second biggest annoyance is picking more than one sheet of paper per page while printing. I used to own a HP printer and it consistently did this. (Maybe HP’s improved now, but I stay away from HP)
- USB CABLE. Printers don’t come with USB cable. Don’t bundle this cable along with your printer purchase. Buy USB cables from eBay or meritline.com. You get them for less than 5 bucks. Retail stores charge upto $22 for this cable!
- LASER. Printers are real cheap; printer manufacturers make money off of cartridges. Price of a cartridge is actually more expensive than blood! To make things really difficult, inkjet printers from companies like Canon, refuse to even scan to your PC if the cartridge is out of ink. Talk about being evil! Pay slightly more and invest in a laser all-in-one. Toners last for a long time. Though I have a Canon all-in-one laser, I can still scan if I’m out of toner ink.
- MONOCHROME. If you are buying a laser printer, consider monochrome rather than color. Savings are significant
- ENERGY STAR. Look for energy saving feature in a printer. Printers use considerable power. While it is not in use, it should at least be in a power save mode. Brother printers are known for high power consumption
- NETWORK PRINTER. For ultimate convenience, you can have wireless all-in-ones. The printer need not be attached to your PC or router to print. Of course, these come at a cost. But for decent savings with convenience, you should consider a wired network printer instead. These printers connect to your router via a ethernet cable instead of your PC (via USB).
- DUPLEX PRINTING. Save on paper by buying a printer that is capable of printing on both sides of the paper
- PHOTO PRINTERS. With laser printers you lose the ability to print photos. But I find it a lot cheaper to use one of the online photo printing services instead of printing at home. The ink runs out very fast, I also have to buy photo paper in addition to the cartridges and the printing is quite slow!
tl;dr: Buy a wired, energy star compliant, network laser printer that can scan, fax, print and copy and is capable of printing on both sides of the paper!