Buying an Inkjet Printer

I’m thinking about buying a new printer. Right now, I have a desktop laser printer. I’ve been very happy with laser printers. They work fine with recycled papers, whereas inkjets waste a lot of ink on them. The recycled paper is kind of sponge like and absorbs the ink. The ink also scatters a little, which makes the image look fuzzy. Laser is always sharp. Best of all, the laser’s cost per copy is dirt cheap compared to the $350/gallon cost of ink jet ink.

My laser printer is damaged, however, and will likely cost $250 or so to replace. The toner cartridge is also empty. I think I damaged it by running half-used sticker sheets through it. I got the Stamps.Com system about two years ago and started having problems shortly after I started using it. I think maybe some of the label wax rubbed or melted onto the printer parts.

I had an inkjet back in 1996 when they were first getting popular. I needed a cheap printer as a student, and it did okay, but it was pretty crappy. The heads jammed all the time. It was probably because I don’t print a lot. After sending it back to have it fixed twice, the warrantee expired and it jammed again. I sent it back to Epson with a note that said, “I’m donating this printer to science. Maybe you can take it apart and find out why these suck.”

Well, it looks like they have come a long way in the last 9 years. Inks are waterproof, so maybe they also don’t evaporate. Complaints seem to have tapered off. I did enjoy printing stuff in color and would like to do that some more. My two concerns right now are that they are kind of slow and the ink is incredibly expensive. In fact, the ink is so bad that often you are better off buying a new printer.

To counter the ink cost, I’ve been looking at Continuous Ink Systems, which look like a neat idea for those of us, like myself, who don’t mind a little do-it-yourself tinkering to save decent money.

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