In about one month from this post, the colleges across the United States will be filling up with students looking to expand their knowledge while hoping to do it without a lot of debt ( I am still paying mine off). New students are spending money right now to have all of their supplies and needs met.
- New sheets
- New cloths
- pens, paper, etc
- technology (tv, computer, etc)
- and more
While some things are needed, not all of them are. Take printers for example. Most college students do not need them. Most of the ones that they do get come with the new computer they just purchased (Thanks Dell and HP). But the question remains, what is the best printer for college students? I am going to narrow the list down a little bit.
First thing first, what not to buy.
Stay away from Lexmark and Dell printers. While they may seem cheap to buy or in Dell’s case you get them for free with a computer purchase, the cost of the printer cartridges is extremely high. Plus, it can be hard to find the printer cartridges for certain Lexmark printers (see our post about Circuit City), and Dell cartridges are limited to Dell and Staples (although Staples only sells the low yield cartridges). Their quality is subpar as well.
Epson isn’t bad, but I still recommend staying away from them. They make great photo printers, like the R800, R1800, R1900, R2400, however, their lower end printers (under $200) have a high cost of ownership, meaning low ink volumes for high dollars.
All of the printers we recommend are based off from economic value of the printer cartridges and overall quality.
Price Ranges $100-$300
Offering’s from Canon – College students do not need a fax, so I am staying away from those. The Canon Pixma MP520, MP610, MP600 or for those wanting great photo quality MP970. You can find them from about $150 to $300 depending on the model you want. They all have individual cartridges (ranging from 4 to 7) along with duplex printing. Cartridges can be found on our site for $10 for the black and $9.25 for the colors.
Offerings from HP – Photosmart C4385, C5280, C6280. All of them offer good quality print outs and low cost of ownership as long as you stick with the XL cartridges.
Canon – Canon Pixma iP3500 or iP4500 $80 and $130 for each. The iP4500 gives you duplex printing and a dye based black for photo printing.
HP – This one is wide open so instead of printers, I will just list some rules of thumb.
- Keep the printer more than $80
- Stay away from printers that use the 21 or 92 black and the 22 and 93 color cartridges. They are the most costly cartridges that HP makes.
- Check to see if your printer will take an XL cartridge, if they do, buy the XL instead of the standard as it is more economical.
- If you get a printer that uses the HP 02 cartridges, do not buy the photo pack of cartridges. They are only half full versions of those cartridges so they cost more to run than the standard cartridges. Side note – The HP 02 cartridges that O-ink has are filled to double the capacity of the standard HP 02’s.
Well if you are off to college, good luck, study hard. I hope this helps you in finding a printer that will work for you.
While I did not cover laser printers, if you are looking for a low end laser printer, look at Brother’s HL-2140. It is more economical to keep than any of HP’s low end printers.
Once you get your printer, make sure to keep it loaded with cartridges. Check out our site to get the lowest prices as well as great quality