Looking for Printer Advice

Hoosgot advice on selecting a compact laser printer for occasional home use? I’m looking for something that can handle going for weeks of inactivity without requiring excessive maintenance. Black & white is okay, since I’d rather take photos to Costco anyway.

It seems like every time we use our current inkjet, either the ink has dried out or it’s clogged the nozzles, and no matter how many cleaning cycles we run, the output always seems to have broken lines. I’m thinking a laser printer might work better, but I have no idea how much maintenance is involved.

What I’m looking for:

  • Small.
  • Can be turned on after a month or two (or more) and actually work.
  • Black & white is fine.
  • A built-in network interface (Cat5 or wireless) would be nice.

So how often does toner need to be replaced? Is it strictly on how much gets printed, or does it “go bad” in some way (like ink drying out) over time? Does the printer need to be cleaned if it’s not used? Would I actually be worse off than before?

Thanks in advance!

This is a bit of an experiment. I’d seen something about Hoosgot a few months ago: basically it’s a way to pose a question to the Internet.

6 thoughts on “Looking for Printer Advice

  1. kirabug

    We had an HP LaserJet 1012 for the last two years and it was all the things you’re looking for except for the network connection… compact, fast, black & white, never had to worry about cleaning or anything. We used an AirPort Express to make it wireless, which worked fine with my Macs and worked ok (needed some tweaking) on my husband’s PCs. You can pick one up on eBay for waaaay under $100, probably under $50 these days.

    We just upgraded to a color laserjet 2605DN (double-sided printing and networking built-in) and it’s absolutely awesome.

    I’d go with either again if I needed to.

  2. Brion

    I’ve had an HP LaserJet 1022 for a couple years; not _tiny_ but it’s reasonably compact, runs great, only changed the toner once so far, no troubles. I think there’s a similar model with networking, or you can get little print servers (or a wifi base station with a print server built-in, like the Apple ones).

    We’re planning to get some sort of color printer too, though… color lasers aren’t at the cheap point that the little B&Ws are, but some aren’t too bad from what I’ve seen.

  3. Kelson Post author

    Thanks! I’ll start looking more seriously, esp. at the small HPs.

    Re: the network interface, I’d like to avoid buying two new pieces of hardware if I can, but I’d also really like to put the printer directly on the network instead of sharing it. We’ve got it on the desktop Mac right now, since it’s trivial to share to the Linux box and the Mac laptop (since Apple and Fedora both use CUPS), and Bonjour for Windows gives the PC access…but it also means firing up that computer when printing, and doing any printer management on that computer. And it likes stopping the queue for no apparent reason. 😡

    So yeah, we could keep sharing it, or get a print server (because you can never have too many AC adapters!), or replace the wifi/hub/gateway with a wifi/hub/gateway/print server, but assuming the price is reasonable, I’d rather get a printer with the capability built-in.

  4. Brion

    Well, at the office we have a Brother HL-2170W which has a native wifi interface. Seems reasonably cheap, around the $150 price range, and have used it on Macs and I believe Linux boxen.

    It’s whining about toner at the moment, but I think that’s mainly because the office folks abused it while we were waiting for the big printer to ship out from Florida. 😛

    I used a similar ethernet-connected model at our old office, where it was under lighter usage and seemed pretty ok

  5. Guy Ames - Cheap Computers Guide

    I have a Brother HL series too – and love it. It did sit for a few months unused – and still printed like a champ. I have the HL 5140 – which I don’t think they make anymore. I think this one replaces it:
    Brother HL series Electrophotographic laser Personal Monochrome High-Speed Office Laser Printer

    And yes, I’d buy a Brother laser again. Doesn’t take up a lot of room on the desk. It’s affordable to run. Does all of the printing I need to do – and pretty fast too.

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