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Affordable printer for home office

November 8th, 2015

Choose printer for home

To be or not be – to buy or not buy Samsung color printer toner

At the moment, I am still using my Samsung color laser printer CPL-320N, which works pretty well and has the network interface, however the toner is a bit costly. The genuine set of the toners costs ~120 Eur. The printer produces pretty OK b&w prints,  while the color prints are not that good … 🙂

The time came to replace the toner in this printer again 😀 That is one of the tricks with current printers vendors. It is an affordable printer for home office for a reasonable small amount of money. At the same time, such vendor trick creates the army of new potential customers until you start to ask yourself – do I really want to pay for that ? 🙂 In my case, the price for the toner is pretty close to the price of another new printer.

Let’s try one more time …

From first look, everything looks pretty straight forward. You have an XYZ amount of money and you can choose the printers which are less <XYZ 🙂

I want to spend no more than 200 Eur on acceptable quality printer. In my case, that means that the printing speed is not so important. Based on my experience with Samsung color printer, I do not need color prints (nice to have it) but I would prefer: get better quality b&w prints, reasonable price per print and possibility connect it to Linux (Raspberry Pi?) based print server using the USB port.

Another quite important point – the reliability. Normally, it is nohow declared by the vendors in their specs. E.g. the hard drive vendors provide the meantime between failure (MBTF) value, which gives quite clear understanding about the reliability. Luckily, there are such websites like Amazon and similar, where you can get some kind impression (after reading negative feedback) on how the gadget matches your needs & expectations. I am going to do so.

Returning back to my printer requirements. aI would prefer that the printer (except the toners) would last longer than one year 😉 In this respect, my own Samsung CLP-320N passed this requirement. At the end, there are no other extra requirements like printing the envelopes etc. If to sum up, I have pretty basic needs for printing as probably millions of other home users 🙂

Few first shots of the most popular products in budget range

The first one is Brother HL-1110 A4 Mono Laser Printer. The specs say it can print as fast as 20 pages per minute (ppm) at 600 dpi resolution. It weights only 4.5 kg. A bit light, from my perspective 🙂

Few one star comments from Amazon on this printer: “Absolute junk. It lasted three months. Brother blamed the cartridge even though I tried two”, “I have had 5 break down on me all within a month.”, “the quality of the characters actually printed is simply not good (character not well defined, slightly blurred or with a “saw” effect) and makes the printer barely usable”. It sounds as the quality and the reliability was not the primary goals when the printer was designed. It does not sound as good enough neither for you or me 😉

Let’s move on. Next option – Samsung Xpress M2022 (£60). From its spec: 20 ppm, 1200 dpi (wow, if that is true).  The toner cartridges size is designed for 1,000 pages. It weights a bit less than first one – 4kg. The price was less than 80 pounds. I have not found any (reasonable) bad feedback on Amazon except few related that Samsung violates their privacy by downloading their data. By the way, there was no complains about the printing quality as in first case 😉 The genuine toner costs  ~1/2 of the printer. Only the USB cable is not included together with the printer.

Few a bit more expansive options

Choose home printer

Brother HL-L2300D 6.9 kg Yes 600 dpi 27 ppm 49dB £60
Samsung Xpress M2625D 7.4 kg Yes 600 dpi 26 ppm 50 dB £70
HP LaserJet P2035 10 kg No 600 dpi 30 ppm 54dB £103

Using US Amazon website to find reviews is a bit better because there are a lot more sales & feedback.

Here are the feedback distribution for Brother, Samsung and HP:

Choose printer for homeChoose printer for homeChoose printer for home

All these printers support two-sided printing (that’s nice feature). For Brother printer the support for Macs starts from OS X 10.7.5. according to some users, it is not easiest to setup this printer under Linux. The users also reported that the USB cable is not included. The toner cartridges for this printer can be in two sizes – 1200p and 2600p with the price. It looks that this printer can be also used in small office. A good sign 🙂 The printer can be found for something like 100 pounds on Amazon.

The Samsung printer is slightly heavier and less expensive compared to Brother. However some of 1-star feedback users complained about jamming paper. Not good sign. The toner cartridges come also in two sizes – 1200 pages and 3000 pages. This printer is cheaper compared to Brother. In Samsung case, the price per print is cheaper ~1/3 compared to Brother (if to trust the provided figures of the toner consumption).

The last one is from HP – LaserJet P2035 and the heaviest from all reviewed. It is a bit weird but this printer is also the nosiest from three. According to the users, this printer is not compatible with Windows 7 🙁  The toner is quite expensive for this model. In some cases, the printer broke down.

At least in first two cases, be ready to get separately an USB cable but that is not big deal 😉

The conclusions

I was expecting that I will find at least one printer, which would do a great b&w job and prints in this price range. At least in my case, Brother HL-L2300D looks pretty reasonable and I have not came across serious issues in the Amazon feedback 🙂