JS-Kit/Echo comments for article at http://smallestminority.blogspot.com/2006/06/bleg.html (25 comments)

  Tentative mapping of comments to original article, corrections solicited.

jsid-1151173025-510634  PhilB at Sat, 24 Jun 2006 18:17:05 +0000

I like (and have had good reliability) from Hewlett Packard.

Just bought a HP Photosmart 2575 all-in-one which scans/photocopies, prints and has ports to insert memory cards from cameras into to print the pictures directly without going via the computer.

BIG selling point (for me) is that it has separate ink cartridges for each colour (including black).

See if you can source it via the net ...

jsid-1151174045-510635  Dynomite at Sat, 24 Jun 2006 18:34:05 +0000

Definately go with HP. You can't go wrong with HP unless you lose the orriginal software. Then you have to call tech support, but they will send you a free replacement software. Really good printers though. My house is always really dusty, and my HP printers still last about 3-4 years of constant use.

jsid-1151176383-510636  Kevin Baker at Sat, 24 Jun 2006 19:13:03 +0000


You've had no paper feed problems with your 2575? I've read a lot about jams with that model.

jsid-1151182853-510643  Aaron at Sat, 24 Jun 2006 21:00:53 +0000

I always prefer HP over Espon, for general mechanical soundness.

Dynomite - I'm surprised you feel that HP must be contacted for replacement software.
Their site is usually quite good about archiving drivers...

jsid-1151186871-510648  Mike Lief at Sat, 24 Jun 2006 22:07:51 +0000

I've been using a Canon Pixma IP4000R inkjet for photos and text for more than 18 months, and it's superb.

I bought it after reading about Epson printheads clogging, and of Epsons' excessive ink consumption.

The Canon uses little ink, spits out text at a blinding pace, and the photos look great.

And it's wireless, too.

I ordered it from the UK so it would have the ability to print on CDs (the Canons for the North American market are percluded from having this feature) for our wedding, and we produced more than 100 CDs and matching inserts that looked professionally done.

All I had to do was order the U.S. power supply and plug, which snapped right in.

Couldn't be happier. While it's not an all-in-one unit, it does give some insight into the strengths of the Canon line.

jsid-1151190265-510654  P. Froward at Sat, 24 Jun 2006 23:04:25 +0000

The last two HPs I bought failed before I'd even used up the ink I bought with them. Worthless junk. The last one was a Deskjet 3845. I don't think I got more than fifty or sixty pages out of it. That one stopped printing color, but it still does black. I haven't bothered replacing it. I won't be buying any more HP products.

I'd check epinions.com, or the reviews on Amazon. There's usually enough reviews on those places that it's not just anecdote.

jsid-1151190288-510655  P. Froward at Sat, 24 Jun 2006 23:04:48 +0000

I suspect that you get what you pay for.

jsid-1151193341-510659  Mike at Sat, 24 Jun 2006 23:55:41 +0000

My Epson used to clog all the time, too.

Got a Canon - no clogs.

HP makes a nice printer (in many models, the ink cartridge has the head built right into it), but their drivers are the worst.

jsid-1151194654-510661  Jeremy Nimmo at Sun, 25 Jun 2006 00:17:34 +0000

I've always found HPs and Canons are the most reliable. Still got a Deskjet that's lasted ten years. They don't build them the same these days.

jsid-1151235516-510689  Nomen Nescio at Sun, 25 Jun 2006 11:38:36 +0000

i second the HP sentiments, and would add: pony up a bit more up-front, and get a HP *laser* printer.

granted that you won't be able to print photos (not cheaply, anyway), but i've never seen even cheap lasers conk out under home usage levels. the SOHO models do cost more than ink jets, but toner cartridges last *much* longer than ink ones, so the per-page cost is definitely lower.

save some one ink jet for photo printing alone, or use a copy shop for that purpose, and trust a laser for reliable, cheap text printing. this assumes that photos aren't the bulk of your printing, of course. if it is... well, save up and get a color laser?

jsid-1151248044-510699  tkdkerry at Sun, 25 Jun 2006 15:07:24 +0000

CX5400 here. I've had a couple of clog problems, but found advice on the web saying that most peoples' problems were due to leaving the printer powered on all the time. Once I got it cleaned up, I started turning it off about every other night, and the problem has disappeared.

Nothing you can do about the cleaning using a lot of ink, though.

jsid-1151279414-510725  Kevin at Sun, 25 Jun 2006 23:50:14 +0000

I've had a Cannon F80 for several years now and an HP 6210 for about 18 months. Both have been rock-solid. The Cannon has individual cartridges and they're cheaper than HP cartridges. The HP has a tri-color cartridge which I really don't like., but it is only a second printer.

jsid-1151288916-510737  George at Mon, 26 Jun 2006 02:28:36 +0000

I got a Cannon 4 years ago at Best Buys and I got the 3 year Plan. The first on e died after 1 1/2 years and I got a new one but a newer model. That one died, (I thought but when I got the new printer home I discovered that I had bought the wrong kind of blue ink and so nothing was really wrong with the printer,) about a week before the 3 year plan ended and I got a new one, an IP4000. It has been great but now it has been replaced by a newer model that I think only sells for $80 bucks or so. The Canon is great, it has 4 colors, B, Y, M, C, and an extra big Black for text use. It is also very fast. Buy a Canon printer and a seprate scanner. MY scanner is 5 or 6 years old and works fine. Good luck

jsid-1151294140-510746  Swen Swenson at Mon, 26 Jun 2006 03:55:40 +0000

I'll echo George's advice: Unless you have severe space restraints get a separate scanner and printer. Each one will be a simpler unit with less to foul up.

As for printers going south, you've noticed that a set of printer cartridges costs darn near as much as a new printer. But a new printer comes with a set of cartridges, right? I've been using Epson Stylus-series printers, most recently a C86. Beautiful print and photo quality for considerably less than $100, and when the print heads start clogging I pitch 'em and get a new one rather than waste a lot of ink trying to unclog the heads.

jsid-1151329345-510769  Sailorcurt at Mon, 26 Jun 2006 13:42:25 +0000

After my Epson CX5200 died for the third time, I did some research and read some reviews. The Canon PIXMA MP500 was advised as the best value for the money. At right around $100, it had the best print speeds, print quality and scanning speed of any other three in one in the price range.

I bought one and love it. The only complaint I have is that the software starts warning me that the ink cartridges are getting low about three weeks before they actually run out. I wait until they run out before replacing them so during that time, I have to keep acknowledging that I know the levels are low before it will let me print. That is annoying. Otherwise, it prints and scans blazing fast compared to the old Epson and both scan and print quality is downright amazing.

I don't know if they still make the MP500 but there are newer models out there that seem comparable. I'd read side by side comparisons and reviews before purchasing but I'm very happy with my Canon.(don't rely on single item reviews...it works the same way in computer mags (even online ones) as it does in gun mags, but side by sides give you a method of comparing relative quality, speed, cost etc.)

jsid-1151331472-510774  Unix-Jedi at Mon, 26 Jun 2006 14:17:52 +0000

A pox on all their houses.

Don't believe the HP Hype. HP will leave you high and damn dry and laugh at you.


I have a v40, it broke while under warrenty, and said warrenty expired while I was trying to get them to honor said warrenty.

They won't sell the part needed. Hell, go to their website, one of the top FAQ's for the v40s, and the 5110s is "Carriage Jam". Noteably, they won't tell you that it broke, because they put a plastic gear in a place, and then wear it out on purpose.

No, can't vouch for HP - they're just as big a bastards as the rest.

Lexmark, fie. Epson, I was hoping might be better, but obviously not. I've had very good luck with Brother recently, and I've seen other people saying similar things.

I'm back to my old Panasonic B&W LED page printer - 10 years old, and still running just fine.

I've actually wondered why they don't just make printers disposable, like the 35mm Cameras. It's essentially what they're doing now, save for the (which is why) rip-off on refills.

Kevin, sadly, the answer is None of the Above, probably.

jsid-1151333523-510777  Eric Wilner at Mon, 26 Jun 2006 14:52:03 +0000

Definitely separate scanner & printer. Inkjet printers are, for the most part, throwaway items, and there's no point throwing away a perfectly good scanner when the printer goes bad.
Personally, I've had good luck over the years with Epsons... at least when I didn't buy one of the bargain models. My current inkjet is a Stylus Photo 1280, which is pricey but reasonably solid. It does, alas, need its nozzles cleaned every couple of weeks, but then I don't use it all that much (mostly for 11x17 CAD drawings; general text goes to the cheap laser printer instead).
Many years ago, I had a cheap Canon inkjet that worked perfectly... somewhat more recently, my mother had a Canon that was forever having ink and/or nozzle problems. Then a Canon that worked fairly well. Now an Epson combo (model number escapes me; it was one of those "free with the new computer" deals) that's been OK so far.
If you want something that works, I'd suggest looking at the more officey printers - preferably a line that doesn't have a dozen new models a year. The low-end, looky-the-new-features, loss-leader printers are really trash, and it's unrealistic to expect reliability out of them. A $400 printer that lasts a few years is more economical than a $100 printer twice a year....

jsid-1151335126-510780  Rand. at Mon, 26 Jun 2006 15:18:46 +0000

My wife is a big proponent of HP. The photo printer we have has lasted 3+ years with zero problems. She just upgraded several printers at work, all with HP printers. Price was good, quality was acceptable.

I personally hate their drivers and software, as they build them for the common user, and take much of the decision process out of your hands.

Any and all products have thier problems, and depending on day, time, and just who you talk to and with, customer service can be the best, or worst, imagable. From the same company, on the same day, with the same problem.

I'd recommend Consumer Reports, or some other similar product testing company, to get information. If you get a good one, and purcahse appliances and such often enough, they're worth the money spent.

One note of caution- Cartidges are a major "hidden" cost that many people don't look at when buying a printer. If you're going to spend as much as the printer each time you purchase replacements, then it should be a major factor in the purchase consideration.

Swen- The problem with the cartridges that come with a printer is they are usually not "full." If you test, you'll find they're often 1/2 or 1/4 full, when compared to the replacement cartridges.


jsid-1151341344-510790  Rich Egan at Mon, 26 Jun 2006 17:02:24 +0000

The problem with all ink jet type of printers is the heads clog if you don't use them regularly. My wife had an HP in Denver that always clogged even though it was dry there and a friend had one by the shore that clogged even though it was damp there. The finer the print head the easier to clog.
What do you want it for?? If you do a lot of scanning get a separate scanner it will be cheaper in the long run and a decent one if pretty cheap now. If you need an all in one then I have had good success with Lexmark. Friends have had them for several years with no problems, mine (X1185) I have had for a year with none. It uses a black cartridge and a color cartridge which I like. A recently printed out 30 invitations at photo quality settings on heavy glossy paper and it was fantastic.
The printer originally was about $75 though the cartridges are almost the same price.
If you do a separate scanner you could almost throw-away the printer and just buy a new one each time. If the prices get down to about $50 it would be cheaper.

Best of luck

jsid-1151342046-510795  Kevin Baker at Mon, 26 Jun 2006 17:14:06 +0000


The reason I got an 3-in-1 is because of "severe space restraints," so I'm pretty much limited to the 3-in-1 option.


With the Epson CX5200 and 5400, I did leave them on most of the time. Perhaps that was the factor contributing to their early failure.

But the Canon options are looking good at the moment. Thanks for all the good info.

jsid-1151342111-510796  Kim du Toit at Mon, 26 Jun 2006 17:15:11 +0000

Two functions, two machines. Like most things in life, machines which try to do two things end up doing neither well.

Separate scanner: I use an Epson 3490 Photo (which can also do a good job on slides), and as for printers, we use an HP LaserJet 3500N for color stuff, and an HP LaserJet 1200 for B&W.

Yeah, it cost more: but we have a backup b&w printer in case the color one runs out of toner, at least.

NEVER get a Lexmark. Snooping bastards.

jsid-1151357640-510815  Strider at Mon, 26 Jun 2006 21:34:00 +0000

HP makes great hardware, but their drivers are crappy (even worse on Mac). Canon has never given me problems.


Laser printers are getting cheaper every day, including the color models. More $$$ up front, but you don't need to buy a new ink cartridge every couple months.

jsid-1151366214-510822  bud at Mon, 26 Jun 2006 23:56:54 +0000

This is hearsay from a few years ago, so take it for what it's worth (say, 2 tbsp salt), but the reason Epsons clog more and use an inordinate amount of ink is that Epson refused to license some basic HP patents on the inkjet process.

I picked up a Canon Pixma 3K a year or so ago, and it prints very well; 4 separate cartridges, and really nice photo prints. Hint- I tried some cheap photo paper, and found that there were *no* settings in the supplied software that would produce usable prints. Gen-u-wine Canon paper works great.

And for the comment about buying a new printer just for the ink? Problem is, the cartridges supplied with every printer I looked at were about 1/3 full. The manufacturers have thought about that- they give away just enough blades to show that the razor works, after that...

jsid-1151437387-510882  David at Tue, 27 Jun 2006 19:43:07 +0000

I have the HP PSC1315. $79 at Sam's. My granddaughter has beat the hell out of it printing everything she could find. It hasn't failed yet. And I only bought this one because my HP PSC1210 was still in Indy. Go HP and go cheap.

jsid-1151473942-510913  Sean at Wed, 28 Jun 2006 05:52:22 +0000

I've got an HP PSC 2175, it's never given me any problems and it's got great print quality.

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