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Need a New Printer

My Canon S900 has, increasingly so over the past few months, printed like shit. I've cleaned the print heads and yet it simply refuses to dispense ink or thread paper properly. You can't even read 14-point text as whole letters and streaks of lines are missing.

I almost never, ever print color. Is it time to get a laser printer? The endless supply of $99 inkjets with $30 black ink cartridges gets old.

I have very few requirements:

  1. Need to be able to share it via AirPort
  2. Needs to print black and white only. No color required.
  3. Needs to work with 10.3.8 relatively smoothly.
  4. Needs to cost, hopefully, $300 or less (maybe $400 if it's a good low-end laser printer).

What printer do you recommend?

18 Responses to "Need a New Printer"

  1. We have a Dell Laser 1700n at the office. It works GREAT. It's a networked laser printer and for only $239, it's a great price.

  2. I'm not buying a Dell. It's $299 and I doubt it meets the requirements.

  3. I've always enjoyed hp's printers, but lately they've just been cheap (in terms of construction and capabilities).

    Of their current printers, I'd recommend the 1012, it's BYO USB cable though.

    NB: I'm basing my recommendation off the 1010, of which I have no end of gripes.

  4. Take a look at HP's 1012 or 1320 depending on your load. I have the 1012 and it work's great if you don't have a heavy load on it. I'd probably get the 1320 if I as buying now though. it wasn't out when I bought and it's predecessor sucked. It add a few nice things like more memory, duplexing, more printing languages, etc.

    The 1012 you can get for $150 or so, the 1320 runs between $300-400, someone usually has them on sale, check the usual suspects. They also have no problem with airport sharing. I have mine plugged into my Express and have had no problems printing from any of my machines.

  5. Quick follow since Philip posted while I was typing. I agree that HP's printers went cheap. They're starting to get better though. Like I said, I'm happy with the 1012 he mentioned. The 1320 is a new model (last 4 months or so) and its construction is similar to the 1012's. They're still not the tanks that the old laserjets were, but they're a ton better then HP's offerings from the last few years.

  6. We were looking at the HP 1160 LaserJet ($329.99 at, with a $50 mail-in rebate), before a good friend gave us an older-model Brother laser. It has both USB and parallel interfaces, so you should be good to go on using it with the AirPort. Operating system compatibility for Macintosh ranges from 10.3 to 10.2, 10.1, and even Mac OS 9.x.

  7. Erik,

    Think twice about that Dell 1700n. It's actually a Lexmark 332n with a Dell logo on it. I bought the Dell version since it was about $100 cheaper than Lexmark's. You need to download the Lexmark drivers yourself, though.

    It got the best score in Macworld's test as well.

    A great printer, really great, in my opinion. But go for the Lexmark-branded one if the ugly Dell logo disturbs you. 😉

  8. I recently picked up a Lexmark e232 and it has been working great shared with a G5 and a couple of laptops via Airport Extreme.

    I was a little apprehensive choosing the Lexmark over the HP but with a rebate it worked out to about $200 CDN so it wasn't much of a risk.

    So far it's been printing great and I haven't found any incompatibilities with 10.3.8. The print speed is fantastic and the quality of the print is quite good.

    The only negative is that the tray seems to be built of rather fragile plastic but I don't change paper too often so it shouldn't be a problem.

  9. My wife took a Brother HL-1440 with her to college in 2002. Now its home and we're still satisfied with it. I like that it has a proper paper drawer. It's a bit slow and noisy but it was cheap and the output looks pretty good. It had an empty 30pin SIMM slot so I maxed out the RAM with a 16MB card that was laying around from who-knows-what (a IIsi, perhaps?) At some point it decided to print pages in reverse order by default but I think it's a driver thing that could be resolved if I bothered to do so.

    Last year at work we bought a few HP LaserJet 1012s for individuals. Usually we really try to get people on workgroup printers but faculty in individual offices really need something on their desk. I haven't heard any complaints.

  10. I brought a Brother HL-1440 a few months ago and I love it. It was $129 (plus a $30 rebate). I have it connected to my Linux box and shared via CUPS, but it also has Mac drivers.

  11. I have a Brother HL 1240. It has a ridiculous ink capacity that I'm still using as the first cartridge from 6 years ago. The cartridges are still way above the price of an individual purchase of an ink cartridge, but then the amount that I've already printed on one cartridge alone has pretty much paid itself back and then some. I'm still using drivers from like 10.1, which are still working fine even in 10.3. The worst thing is that you have to manually clean the roller if it gets too dusty, which means taking out the cartridge and moving this plastic thing back and forth a few times, but I had to do that last year for the first time ever. All in all I've printed maybe something over 3,000 pages and it's still going strong. Brother printers are the ultimate no hassle and geek-friendly printers I've found.

    I've had to spend a load of time supporting Lexmark printers when I was at school. Some actually require you to have them networked and with online access just to set up. They're a total pain and too much hassle for plain old printing.

  12. Check out Lexmark's E232T - it's available for under 200 EUR over here and offers two separate paper trays, which is also quite nice if you don't print that much because you might want to use one tray for paper with letter head or draft paper or whatever. With HP, I'd also opt for the 1015 or the 1320 but I don't know too much about US prices so I can just guess - in Germany, you can pick up the 1320 for under 300 EUR with some luck, check for US prices, I don't know them.

    However, HP tends to be more expensive than Lexmark's offerings. I tend to avoid Brother printers because I have seen some not-so-nice things with them (considerable ozone emission under high load, prepare to open a window when you print a lot, it smells awfully), relatively lousy case material etc. Many people will disagree with me, and all this happened some years ago but I won't ever touch a Brother printer again.

  13. Keep in mind that 10.3.8 has been causing some trouble with Airport-connected printers: (Though you're probably already aware of this since you mention 10.3.8 compatibility.)

  14. I really like my Kyocera laser printer. They're not really known for printers, but the cool thing is that they are a lot more environmentally friendly in the way that you refill the toner. I have no idea what their lineup costs these days, so shopping is good. Full Mac OS X Support, of course, though I originaly heard about it becuase a lot of Linux-heads liked its support for Linux!

  15. I picked up an HP 1320 today. At first I was going to say "how could you not tell me the fan is so loud and always on!?!?" but then, after ten minutes, it finally shut off.

    Printed three pages. Looks good so far!

  16. I'll put in another vote for the Brother well, shares well. Very nice.

  17. I've used a Samsung ML-1750 for about a year. It's speedy and 1200 DPI, and I like the simple design of the thing. Very decent price too. The only thing I hate is the 10 second "warm-up" time when you first use it. But I think that's something most laser printers do?

  18. I'm trying to decide between the HP 1320 and HP 1012. How's the 1320 been treating you?