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Printer review

Find the best printers with our multi-function printer review (member content), including the cost of ink, printing speed and printing quality. Or see our printer buying guide for an explanation on types of printers and the features you need.

Have a printer experience to share? Let us know in the comments below.

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Hi @BrendanMays, this comment is not limited to the printers review and applies to all of the reviews but it just hit my button while having a look-see. At the bottom of each product score entry there is a line of the form

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but going to the link shows 4 reviews for the particular product where 2 would not recommend it, with reasons. It might be a more informative presentation if that line in each product review always read of the form

‘2 of the 4 members of the Choice community who reviewed this product would recommend it. Read what they say.’

If there were no community reviews that line should be hidden.

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Appreciate your feedback and I can see what you mean. The comments system on the website preceeded the CHOICE Community forum and we know it could be improved. I’ll be sure to raise the issue with our tech team and see what we can do to improve the situation.

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Maybe a future test for Choice is the non-genuine toner/ink cartridges.

As the genuine ones are usually very expensive and possibly how the make money, looking at the quality, longevity and ability to use non-genuine alternatives might have merit.

If testing indicates theyvare a suitable alternative, it may place downward pressue on the genuine articles.

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I once considered making that suggestion until I realised that the generics are mostly non-brands so how to identify them? A few of the chains have their ‘own brand’ labels on them, but their products may or may not be consistent or from the same suppliers over time. My understanding is there are quite a few smaller operations, but a small number of major ones in the business that supply many, many outlets with the only identifying feature being the labels they apply.

Perhaps supplies from particular generic vendors could be selected rather than ‘free market’ cartridges?

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I’m sure it would be of interest if we could find a way to cover it. Thanks for the suggestions, I’ll be sure to pass them on to our product testing team.

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The small printer industry obviously operates on the basis of selling the printers at around cost price in the hope of locking you in as a customer who will buy their genuine cartridges at inflated prices.

Some years ago, when the manufacturers were threatening aftermarket cartridge manufactures with legal action for copying the software needed in the chip in the cartridge for the printer to accept it, I was buying Canon cartridges from the US for around half the Australian price.

Then Canon started using different cartridges in the US models and the Australian models, so for some years I have been buying my aftermarket cartridges from The Ink Station in Sydney. Great prices and service and I have never had a problem with a cartridge yet.

Our current Canon Pixma MG7160 has been displaying a low ink message for the Cyan cartridge for the past 3 months but still keeps on printing.

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There are some of the major non-genuine retailers which are a starting point and agree that there are scores of options within Australia and from overseas…

I suppose there is no need to test every one, but say a handful on a printer(s) by different manufacturers. This would give an idea of the pros and cons of both genuine and non-genuine toners/ink cartridges.

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Printers are designed to do that so the the owner has ample time to order a replacement and thus will not be caught out unable to print when the cart is really empty (often on a Sunday evening). :wink:

It could be 3+ months for a lightly used printer, but in a home office that might be only a week.

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My comment was just to note how long the existing Cyan cartridge has lasted since the first message.

I have regularly had the printer stop within a week or so of the first message.

I have also had occasions when, after having changed the cartridge and waited for the printer to finish pussyfooting around for minutes, it has then demanded other cartridges before it would print.

The last time this happened, it came up with a third demand for cartridges, even though the lights on those cartridges were only flashing slowly.

Perhaps this time it is trying to avoid pushing its luck.

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We now treat or consider all printers as a throw away item. One or two sets of ink perhaps.
I know that is wasteful. We have tried numerous ways to minimise this outcome.

The real test of any printer reviewed should be reliability over time and usage. Which is unlikely to be practical. Even the history of a particular manufacturerer is not foolproof.

Since our first home PC in 1989 there has been a continual procession of printers including several for our business needs.

There is also a technology obsolescence issue.

Currently the reviews on Choice, several Aussie computer mags and online sites have all helped with short listing for performance, features and usability.

After that the following golden rules have all failed.

  • buy on best price from the short list
  • buy local just in case it fails within warranty
  • buy only brands that have a positive recent reliability history

The only positive outcome is we have never in all the time since 1989 had a printer fail in the warranty period!

The two longest lasting products have been

  1. a low cost brother laser printer still in use after 7 years and on third full capacity toner.
  2. An HP office jet multifunction that worked it’s way through 7 sets of XL capacity inks, which are now only available on line after market or as refills if you reuse your old cartridges. The auto doc feeder has long since developed a terminal fault. (The Epson that replaced it lasted less than 24 months upon which it developed a print head fault.)

Previous purchases have included products from Canon, Epson, Fujitsu, HP, Brother.
Epson despite great print and picture quality has been the worst for cost and reliability.
HP has been ok, if expensive for inks in the past.

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I have used my Colour Laser for about 7 years. It gets moderate usage and the toners last about 6 months and we use high capacity (HC) after market ones. The genuine ones run to about $125 per colour so $500 (close enough when including postage) and are non HC ones, capacity is per colour 2,000 pages at 5%. The after market cost $52 complete set including postage and are 5,000 pages at 5%.

We only use our inkjet when we want “archival quality” colour photos as the ink we use is designed for that purpose (genuine brand) but is expensive as it is a pigment based ink (as opposed to the usual dye based inks in most inkjet usage). It is run often enough not to dry out but is a much rarer usage pattern than our laser.

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My husband deals with printers, inks and cartridges. I have a business which generates on average 300-400 printed pages a week. I have had a HP Laserjet for about 12 years, it is still going strong, even though it passed its expected life of 100,000 pages long ago. He considers HP to be the most reliable brand. We have updated to an updated multifunction HP Laserjet in the last year, but use the old machine when the wireless system breaks down, and its better with printing envelopes. It seems to me at home that the only reason for changing our home printer has been to get a model with extra functions. We always use what he calls “after market” cartridges.

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Imagine buying a brand new car that required you to buy petrol from only BP outlets and wouldn’t run on Shell.

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If the business plan was like printers, eg give cars away or sell them at or below cost to make the money on the fuel, it would probably be a go’er in our modern world. We would expect a full tank of fuel with the car, but might only get a starter amount :laughing:

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I have a Brother HL-2140 black and white printer that is still going strong, and have used brother toners and generic toners in the printer without noticing any difference.

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Snap - I’d suggest out Brother HL-2270DW has been our best purchase. It too works great with after market toner and refills.

It’s sole companion is a newish Brother Inkjet with scanner, doc feeder and as needed up to A3 used mainly for the occassional colour, large size or scanning work.

Brother’s software support has been the equal of HP’s solutions and perhaps a little more reliable to install. Brother unlike Epson or HP does not try to take over your picture library or editing software.

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May I suggest that the availability of reasonably priced replacement print heads be included as part of the inkjet evaluations? These seem to be a frequent point of failure (as discussed a while back Premature inkjet failures).

I have have had a number of printers’ heads fail, and if they are available, the replacement heads cost near as much as a new printer!

As a consequence of these print head failures, we still possess multiple new and unopened ink cartridges that cost a fortune to buy, but can’t be used for anything because the newer printers (even from the same manufacturer) always have different cartridges.

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Thanks @meltam, with flag this product testing :+1:

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Some 6 weeks later and I still have not replaced the cartridge.
No point in changing them until the printer stops working or the print quality is unacceptable.

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