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Need suggestions for color laser printer


jonsie
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Funny you should ask. I just did a lot of research on this and bought one.

Now, my usage is bound to be different from yours. I needed affordable high speed for the office that has quality color capability and is fast enough that we can use it as a workhorse.

We bought the Brother 9970 CDW for $650

I looked at the quality of the color print from Samsung. No go.

I didn't want to pay for the higher end Xerox, etc, that start at $2500 and go up to the tens of thousands. We didn't need that.

Pages per minute were important to me. Going too fast is not good for a color printer, it results in lower quality, so balancing PPM with quality was worth looking at, hence Samsung failed.

HP and Brother had the best quality on the market for low end color lasers so I checked those out.

Both have some lower end models that have lower PPM's, like 9 to 12 PPM. That's fine if you print labels and decals, etc, and have time to run a print job overnight. I have an office to keep going so we needed to up that speed hence the higher priced models.

It came down to Brother and HP. The HP had higher cost toners but boasted higher page counts per toner. HP is starting to not publish this info because there is no industry standard to compare to. Brand Z tests at double space lines, brand W tests at single spaced typed lines so Brand Z yields more pages on the stats but brand W is really more economical type thing.

So I looked at refills and there are refills for Brother. I have two older Brother MFC 8670 machines and they are work horses and they take refills just fine.

The HP didn't have the tray features I wanted. I could load an envelope but not a single check. Brother allowed this. The HP had a better touch screen FAX pad than Brother but who cares? My staff can use a button pad for FAXes.

Both HP and Brother had scanners and the Brothers I owned had occasional problems picking up two pages at a time on the scanner, but I'm told HP also has this issue and I know Xerox and IBM and quite frankly, everyone has this issue.

Both machines need to get hot to print. The Brother tends to curl paper. I don't know if the HP does. That is not a big issue with me because after I mail a letter, it doesn't matter and if I print letterhead, it flattens out over time. That might be an issue for you with special paper so take some to the store and run a few test prints to find out.

I think there is a lower end Brother with the same print engineering that just doesn't have the bells and whistles which will do the job for you for around $300.

Our MFC Brother models have lasted well and been great workhorses. One that I bought which has a 100,000 print capacity is now at 95000 prints. I did not replace the drum as often as they said, nor the cartridges. Never had it serviced. I paid $350 at Costco and after 3 years, I'm laughing at all the other offices that paid $14,000 for Sharpe copiers on a lease with a $100/month service contract.

Oh, we looked at Canon, the machine didn't have the ability to handle small checks either and it had low PPM counts so we didn't even bother to look at quality. Might be good quality for you to look at though.

Edited by EricofAZ
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Jonsie,

If you don't have access to a good store that has lots of models to choose from, tell me what paper you want to use (or send me a few sheets) and send me a sample print you want on it and I'll go to one of our Office Depot stores that has a bunch of these set up for prints and run them for you. I'm pretty good with graphics so maybe even tell me what you do and I'll fake it. I won't share your private graphics with anyone.

Most of the laser prints will "run" when sprayed with Krylon. I'm looking at other sprays like fixitif, etc.

Edited by EricofAZ
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Eric, this is all such wonderful information! Thank you for taking the time to share it!

You are correct in that our needs are different because PPM isn't as important to me or needing to feed things like individual checks. I'm amazed at how well you did your research. It's putting me to shame!

We will use it at home but I want it for clear color labels that won't run, and have high resolution. I've gone the route of spraying sheets of labels to keep them from running I don't want to do that anymore... ugh. Currently my Brother HL-2140 Monochromatic Laser has done a good job of printing on Labels By The Sheet's Clear Glossy labels and not running or smearing when wet. They are dry instantly and ready to use. So I've been very happy with the Brother brand. We have an HP Photosmart C7200 series that has been fab for my colored labels on white gloss, but I haven't had much luck with it on clear.

And thanks for your offer to troubleshoot some of my prints, that is so kind of you. Fortunately we have a good selection of stores here and printers aren't outrageously expensive. I may need some help improving the clarity of my output in Photoshop but I'm hoping to learn that on my own.

So I'll think more about what I expect the printer to do, but for now I mainly want high resolution color printing on clear labels that doesn't need to be sprayed, easy to use, handle thick media (like brochures and business cards). Chances are I want other things I can't think of yet.

Thanks again!

Susan

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One suggestion I have is to keep an eye on your local office products store. I got a higher end OKI color laser on clearance for what I would have spent for the low end HP color laser. It is a workhorse and keeps up with my business printing as well as all the paperwork I create doing the books for hubby's growing business and any household printing I may need. Don't forget to check how much replacement toner cartridges are (look for the high yield ones!). They can vary and can make the printer that is a little more expensive to purchase in the beginning a much better deal in the long run. Just as a point of reference, I print alot and only need to change mine 1-2x a year so it is much more cost effective than my old ink jet too, even at $60-70 per cartridge.

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mparadise, yup, the toner price is very important. Definitely worth spending a little more for the printer to get a good toner refill price.

Jonsie, I may have mentioned elsewhere, but when I use krylon to spray over the Brother black laser, it runs. I haven't tried it on this new color laser, but I'll bet it does the same thing. The inkjet does not run when I use krylon.

We didn't have an Oki to look at, I have heard good things about them though.

Edited by EricofAZ
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Don't forget to check how much replacement toner cartridges are (look for the high yield ones!).
The cartridges for my HP Photosmart are pricey. But the output is incredible. If I can get the same quality from a laser then I'm sold.
mparadise, yup, the toner price is very important. Definitely worth spending a little more for the printer to get a good toner refill price.

Jonsie, I may have mentioned elsewhere, but when I use krylon to spray over the Brother black laser, it runs. I haven't tried it on this new color laser, but I'll bet it does the same thing. The inkjet does not run when I use krylon.

Thanks for the heads up, Eric, much appreciated. Now I'm curious... on what are you spraying the Krylon from the Brother laser? Are they label sheets that smear when wet, or another situation? And what supplier are the sheets from?
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Just another thought on the subject. I know this is counter intuitive BUT I picked up another OKI like mine on Craigslist and had our printer repair guy go over it for hubby to take to his actual office. I got the machine for $40 and spent another $60 having it cleaned but it was $ well spent because it is a $500 printer and now I have a backup if/when mine dies because he prints next to nothing at the office since all of the invoicing, statements and business reports are done here.

With all of the businesses closing because of the economy it might be worth keeping an eye out once you know what you want to see if you can get a deal.

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Jonsie, I have only thing to add as everything has been covered nicely already. Find out who services the printers in your area. My company once had to junk a very expensive printer that was out of warranty, because it cost too much to get service for that brand. A lot of printer repair people are not certified to fix color printers.

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Thanks again everyone, your information is soooo helpful! I'm going to load up some graphic and text pages and some label sheets and make a few stops around town.

Eric, thanks for explaining how there is no industry standard for specifying yield in a toner cartridge. Do you mind revealing who might be Brand W and Brand Z?

mparadise, that is an excellent suggestion about checking places like craigslist.

crazzie, is that a Xerox? I'm unfamiliar with Phaser.

coconut, that is great suggestion, thanks for mentioning it.

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Jonsie, well, there really is no correlation of brand z or w.

Here's what I learned the first time through and it was contradicted the second time. The first time I researched, HP had a yield of 3500 pages per their standards per cartridge and they wanted $120/cartridge. Brother claimed a yield of 2500 pages per cartridge and they were $70/cartridge. That sounds like Brother was cheaper.

However, the price was so close that I was more attentive to quality. Quality turned out to be about the same.

I found refills for Brother on Ebay for like $15. Been doing that with the older B/W Brothers here and they work fine. I've refilled HP lasers and its a bit more involved to add toner to an existing cartridge.

I don't have an exact paper count, but my 4 year experience with the Brother B/W laser MFC 8870 is that 3500 pages for a toner cartridge is probably pretty close. I get a bit more than that actually, though it is double spaced text. Seems I'm changing toner about every 5 or 6 thousand pages (just over a case of paper).

Then I thought about the yield from my HP inkjet. Granted this is apples and oranges, but my 7200 inkjet claims 400 pages and I get about 100 at most.

So call it a personal trust issue, I believe Brother and I don't believe HP.

At my recent purchase on the Brother laser, I noticed that Brother printed on the box the yield of the cartridges and HP did not. I asked about this and was told that HP and others were pulling their 'print yield' stats due to unreliability. I asked who the 'others' were and there was no coherent reply.

So who knows. I'm sure the HP will be just as efficient as Brother on the usage and both have decent sized cartridges. I would imagine there is a refill option for the HP. I did give very serious thought to the HP and if Brother was not an option, then HP would be the choice for me for the color laser.

Again, I didn't get to compare the Oki and I kept all the lookie loo stuff to under $700 range. I want to write it off on the taxes as a purchase rather than a 5 year amortization.

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Jonsie - All of the advice you have received is top quality and from highly experienced individuals. Can't say anything bad about the printers they have reccomended. However, I would encourage you to look at the Lexmark Pinnacle Pro901. In addition to being a printer, it is also a fax and scanner. Prints excellent labels and card stock. The ink cartridges are advertised as the least expensive on the market. Paper tray holds a full package and I believe it comes with a five year warranty. This is my second Lexmark and have had nothing but excellent results. Purchased mine from the Sam's Club.com website for $175.00 (round numbers).

Best wishes - J.Snow

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Well, I made a decision, and only time will tell if it is the right one. But so far I am very happy with the resolution I am getting.

I decided on the Fuji Xerox DocuPrint CP205 Colour/Color Laser Printer, and I picked it up from the local office supply store here in Australia for less than $250. I looked for it on Amazon but I don't know if it is available in the U.S. yet, or if under a different name.

I had my eye on the Brother HL4150CDN Color Laser, but none of the retailers would offer to let me test any of the printers so I had to go on pure specs and reviews.

The DPI on the Brother HL4150CDN was 2400 x 600, and the DPI on the FX was 2400 x 1200. The cost per page for toner cartridges is less for the Brother if you get the high yield (no high yield cartridges on the FX) BUT no drums to replace on the FX (due to its new S-LED technology).

The trays on the FX are clunky, and you have to leave the front hatch open while paper is loaded, making it look less stream-lined. Printing was quiet, but very slow. I didn't need a fast printer, so I wasn't worried about its low PPM.

I mainly needed to improve my black laser prints on clear gloss labels and I feel I have succeeded with that.

I had been using a Brother HL-2140 Monochromatic Laser Printer and it prints at a maximum of 1200 x 1200, which looks really good on plain paper and white labels. But it just couldn't handle the fine details on the clear gloss labels I was using from OnlineLabels.com ( OL713CL ). So I've included below a comparison of the results from my Brother HL-2140 and my new Fuji Xerox CP205.

post-11807-139458486152_thumb.jpg

The ink on the Brother would scratch off if I tried, but it does not scratch off (that I can tell) from the FX. The ink doesn't smear from either of them. I am really pleased.

I haven't checked to see how well it lines up with precut/dye-cut label sheets. If and when I get to that, I'll report back.

I didn't have any color labels to print yet but if anyone wants me to try one on the clear label sheets I have, I'd be happy to.

Overall, it appears to be a very basic printer with high-quality results for a low price. Not meant to handle huge jobs, or anything in a hurry, but seems like a perfect fit for my needs. And I reserve the right to complain about it here in the future :P

Thanks everyone!

Edited by jonsie
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  • 2 months later...

Hi! Hoping Eric sees this thread. I think we will be investing in a new printer to start off 2012. If you have any advice, would appreciate it. The printer will be used 90% of the time for printing labels on kraft paper labels. Color and black and white. Speed is not an issue, replacement cost of cartridges is a consideration as well as crispness of color/photos. You mentioned a lower priced Brother without bells and whistles. Can you let me know what that is? Also, I don't need an "all in one" but if the deal is good, I don't mind although I'll never use the other functions. I think I don't care if it is inkjet or laser, do I? The brown kraft labels from onlinelabels.com print on both. Thanks!

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Hi. The brother is working pretty well for us. MFC9970 I think is the model. I don't recall the lower priced one but the copy tray on mine is legal size which you probably don't need.

I just refilled the black with brother toner replacement bought on ebay. It works great. I'm going to change the color ones this week because the small toner starter kit is running out.

I know they make a printer only but its hard to find a store that carries anything other than the all in one multifunction ones.

You might care if it is inkjet or laser. The inkjet is way more expensive than laser and its very hard to find good refill ink for the inkjets. Ou pretty much have to buy the replacement cartridges and they are spendy. Buying toner in a bottle for the laser is way cheaper and easier. But that's not the only decision.

The ink will do photos better than the laser, better quality. I'm happy with the laser quality on photos for letters and letterhead and print lettering but when I need fine art I turn to the inkjets in the office. The more complex and vibrant the image is, the more it tends to be an inkjet thing.

Also, the laser is a plastic toner and if you spray over your labels with a gloss like krylon, etc, it will melt and run. The ink doesn't do that but the ink is not so good with water and moisture unlike the laser. So keep in mind what kind of coating you might be using on the labels. The ink doesn't rub off when touched by hand and fingerprints. The laser can do that. If you are going to laminate, then either is fine.

Laser tends to print on just about any paper. Inkjets will also print on regular paper (badly and they bleed a bit) but when you go with glossy, you need to buy the paper that is compatible with that kind of ink (dye inks and pigment inks use different paper - chrome inks are a blend of both and need very special paper). Laser won't print well on glossy paper.

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I wanted to follow-up and comment on my Fuji Xerox DocuPrint CP205 w. I am still very, very pleased with the quality of the prints, but the actual operation is quite clunky. The paper jams often, it errors out on paper size problems, and the interface through the computer isn't very helpful. But for my low-volume needs and for the price it has been fabulous. I don't know if they offer a version of this in the U.S. yet as I think the Fuji Xerox product line is only available in the Australia Asia region.

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