[sf-lug] Looking for a cheap printer

Michael Paoli Michael.Paoli at cal.berkeley.edu
Sat May 8 00:21:46 PDT 2021

> From: "Rick Moen" <rick at linuxmafia.com>
> Subject: Re: [sf-lug] Looking for a cheap printer
> Date: Fri, 7 May 2021 19:36:50 -0700

> Of course, if you absolutely need to do substantial printing in colour,
> that de-facto means having an inkjet printer (at least as a second
> printer for rare needs), but that also implies you're probably not
> desperately close to being unable to pay rent, either.

Or ... might want to consider doing what I did.  I got a color laser
printer.  Bit more up front, but still those ROI numbers I give
apply.  I'd mentioned some of the details before ... some list
posting somewhere ... ah yes this list:
I also happen to print very little ... so - ink ends up a huge
cost in my case, especially per-page, for inkjet,
as those darn ink cartridges are generally only good for about a year
max. even if you print nothing or almost nothing.  So, my case, it was
about $30.00 to $100.00 USD or so (also thinking the "Mom" case) any time
some printing needed to be done, as the cartridge(s) would no longer do it,
and needed to be replaced ... again.  Eventually I just gave up on
that, did the math - at least for my case ... and ... laser printer,
color in my case.  Anyway, details on those earlier posts.
And, yes, sometimes I print color ... but rarely.  But when I factor in
how much my time is worth to me, and, e.g. running to Kinkos or the like
to print color, vs. do it at home, and the modest (especially over the
longer term) cost of color, and the relatively low volume of printing I do
(I think I printed about 10 pages this year - 0 to 50 is pretty typical
volume for me per year) ... not only good ROI on laser over 3+ years,
but B&W vs. laser - and including what my time is worth to me and cost of
inconvenience ... good ROI on the incremental to bump from B&W to laser.
Maybe average of about 15% of my printing includes color ... I also
intentionally go pretty light on the color - e.g. for any and all non-color
printing (likewise copy etc.), I explicitly "force" the printer(copier/...)
to B&W - so it should consume zero color toner on all of those prints.  In
any case the color toner I have - even at the "starter" cartridge levels -
likely will last me 2 decades or more ... and low volume on the printer,
fair chance it'll last that long or longer too ... but in any case at ROI
way under 10 years, and already past break-even on ROI years ago (somewhere
in the range of 3 to 5 years or so), I'm not too worried about it - I've come
out well ahead, and will continue to do so - even if I replaced the printer
outright once a decade, would still be better economics than inkjet.

> (Obvious solution if you might need to print colour once in a blue moon:
> Either know a few friends who own inkjet printers, or visit FedEx Office
> when Blue Moon Day comes.)
> But, let's face it, the main reason this particular bad and delusional
> idea ("I'm going to buy an inkjet printer because it's cheaper") is just
> that most folks habitually stubbornly cling to bad decisions that are
> what they know and have lived, especially when it's what their friends
> do, too.

Egads, and the "Mom" printer ... she needed a new printer, I tried oh so hard
to convince her to go with laser - heck, I was getting it for her as gift.
But no, she insisted upon inkjet.  And darn that - for years after, much
of her "gifts" would be around $30.00 to $100.00 USD/year in 1 to 3 ink
cartridges so she could continue printing.  Ugh.  Well, mom's no longer
doing her own printing, so at least that printing cost is gone.

Anyway, run the numbers/calculations for yourself - your results may vary.
What do you need, what can you get at what price/costs, what are your time
costs worth to you (how much would and could you pay to get rid trips to
Kinkos or the like and do it at home (or wherever more convenient) vs.  
some additional Kinkos or the like costs), realistically what does it  
how regularly for what supplies you'll need for the amount of printing
you'll likely be doing on average etc.  Definitely not all cases are
the same.  Mine is probably somewhat of an edge case with the very
low volume (under 50 pages per year), not having issues with printer
sitting around being not used most of the time - but handy when needed,
how I do/don't value my time (especially if it takes time from other things),
value of convenience, etc.  Your numbers will probably look different,
at least somewhat.  But likely at least many of the same themes apply.

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