When I started grad school this fall, all us students were talking about how much we had to print out for class… so many journal articles and class readers! Some folks complained at how expensive their inkjet printers were to run and I went into my laser printer rant. Here is the latest incarnation of that rant.
laser printers = fast, inexpensive ($0.05/sheet), reliable, high quality
inkjet printers = cheap to buy but expensive to operate ($0.20/sheet), almost as high quality as laser, almost
print shop = expensive ($0.20/sheet), inconvenient
First I have to admit that I killed my awesome HP Laserjet P1606dn by running cheap sticky labels through it the wrong way. I’ll tell you exactly how at the end, suffice to say that a normal person wouldn’t make such mistakes.
So I needed a new printer. I’ve now had the Brother HL-2270DW for about 3 months.
- prints double sided
- prints fast
- inexpensive (about $0.05/page fully amortized with paper and everything)
- consistently excellent quality
- It can’t print on 3-holed paper, it jams, so I bought a 3-hole punch
Throw away your ink jet printer. It’s the old “give away the razor sell the blades” scam all over again. Buy a laser printer instead.
Here’s the one I bought on Amazon
Brother HL-2270DW Compact Laser Printer with Wireless Networking and Duplex
Be sure to buy the TN450 High Yield Black Toner for $50 as well. The toner cartridge that comes with the printer is only a “demo” with like 500 pages worth of toner in it
printer $100 amortized over 5000 pages (a conservative guess) $0.02 per page
toner: $45/ 2600 pages = $0.017 per page
paper: $0.016 per page
final cost $0.05 per page
Now the dumb story of how I killed my printer with sticky labels. I bought these cheap sticky labels that used wax paper to hold the sticky sheets in place (better ones use some wonderfully slippery plastic. The sticky label has 2 giant 5″x8″ labels on it. I printed 1 of the labels and then put the sheet through the printer again. I told the printer to print on the wax paper. Oops! After that moment, the ink refused to be fixed to the paper. I assume I wrecked the drum on the printer, gumming it up with wax. Maybe I could have fixed it but who has time for such things? I just bought a new printer.
Update: I see Amazon now has a Brother printer that looks very similar to the one I recommended, but a little faster and less expensive, the Brother HL-L2340DW. I don’t know anything about it but you might want to consider it.
Another Update: Spring 2015 semester I got a Samsung Galaxy Note Pro 12.2. The main purpose was to view PDFs and write on them (annotate) with a stylus. That worked out pretty well. I printed WAY less paper the spring semester and had all my documents in one place.
Pro: when I needed to, I could download a powerpoint, convert it to PDF and then start taking notes on it in a hurry.
Con: It was way easier to download and convert powerpoints on my computer and then copy them over to the tablet.
If I had lots of money, I might get a Microsoft Surface. I hear that it runs Windows (ie powerpoint) AND stylus-enabled apps, but I haven’t tried it yet.