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Which color laser printer is best for home business use?

by AFMomXs2 / May 31, 2012 4:56 PM PDT

I am a wedding planner, when I have a upcoming wedding I print off a lot of things from time lines, to invitations, Reserved cards, post cards , labels , stickers. ect..
I currently have a HP C4180 and it is my LAST HP printer !!!

My problem is I can go for weeks without printing something and then have to print a lot of things. I am constantly buying ink because it won't work after being in the machine for a couple months. No matter how much ink was used. Tonight I kept getting the "Remove and check color cartridge" I must have removed that cartridge 20 times. I even put more ink in it. I just bought this cartridge a month ago!!

I know HP has done many things to keep folks from saving a buck (which is why they are in court) so I am guessing it has something to do with that.

I have been told that a laser printer will never clog up because it is powder not goopy ink. It can sit for months without printing.

I am looking for a laser printer that does the following

1. Must be able to re-fill ink cartridges myself or at least be able to purchase after market cartridges and have them work !!! I know HP has done something to their laser printers so you can't refill them yourself and they have a chip to keep you from using after market ink.
2. Must be able to print heavy card stock and velum.
3. Must have great reviews from consumers.
4. Can't cost more than my next car

Can someone on here please help me figure this out. My husband used to be my IT guy but he passed away several years ago so now I am on my own.

Thanks much

AFMomXs2 has chosen the best answer to their question. View answer
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All Answers

Best Answer chosen by AFMomXs2

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Only additional advice but nothing to recommend

I can't help you select a specific printer but can maybe narrow your criteria. You're going to want a laser printer and not inkjet for your production work. If you work with specialty papers and heavy stock, you want one that offers the option of a straight paper path as well. I happen to like HP and have an HP color laserjet that my wife and I are very satisfied with but I won't steer you to their products since you've ruled them out. You said you want a printer that won't cost more than your next car but you didn't indicate whether you wanted to buy a Chevy or Ferrari next but either car will be far more than any consumer printer out there. You could consider a compromise price if you're willing and trusting of professional printing services. By that I mean you buy a printer that can do the great majority of your work but farm out the work with specialty papers...some of which are said to kill small business quality printers.

I will strongly suggest that you don't try to refill color laser cartridges or use non OEM brands, refills, etc. If you want quality, reliability and warranty support, you stick with what the manufacturer designs and bite the bullet on the price. Personally, I would never contract with anyone who cut corners on quality this way. I hope you can see to change your mind about this. If your business means that much to you, don't cheapen your product. Good luck.

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HA well in this day no one is buying the Ferrari !
by AFMomXs2 / May 31, 2012 11:46 PM PDT

I don't get into really fancy stuff. I leave that to the pros.

I need this for general printing and printing up table menu's , reserved table cards , stickers ect...

I am not doing engraved invitations. I also need it to do general printing off a regular copy paper.

My friend has a big HP Lazer and they love it. Perhaps the lazers are better than the ink jet ??

But I was told it is over $100 for a refill. I have a black and white laser from Okidata that has never given us a monments trouble. I just don't know if their color ones are also good.

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Additional, if I might
by Steven Haninger / June 1, 2012 8:24 PM PDT

Some further research suggests that vellum papers don't do well with laser printers and can have mixed results with standard inkjets. I've not experience with that paper. As for cost of laser cartridges, you are correct. To replace a full set of color cartridges in my laser printer is about 400 bucks...OUCH!...but I'll get thousands of pages of print from a set. I have an inkjet that sees limited use and 70 bucks worth of ink might get me 150 pages due to the number of cleaning cycles required to keep things from clogging. The math tells me I'm still far ahead with the laser printer. I have a third old B&W laser printer that costs me $75 per cartridge. It tracks pages printed and I've gotten about 2500 or more per cartridge over 10 or more years of use. This means about 3c per page versus over 40c for the inkjet.

Downsides of color laser printers are as follows. Paper is important and the best quality comes with the higher priced paper...but the same goes for inkjet. Laser printers don't do that well with photos. They are fine for other graphics artwork but inkjets can produce better photographs.

The bottom line I think is that you won't find one printer that will fit all your needs. You will need one with a straight line paper path for heavy card stock. That's very important. You might even need more than one printer if you want to do it all locally. As for vellum, if you do a lot of that I'd do a google search for advice on the best type of printer...maybe some dye sublimation type...but it might be a good choice to farm that out. Again, good luck.

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Until you buy that laserprinter ...
by Kees_B Forum moderator / May 31, 2012 5:36 PM PDT

let me give you the advice to print something with colors (a picture, a test page you make in MS Word) each week, if there's no business print that week. That should be enough to keep your cartridge alive.

But, indeed, a laserprinter might be better, if it turns out it's cheaper than having it printed by your local copy shop (which could be a viable alternative).

I don't have any personal experience with color laser printers, so I can't help with the choice. All I can do: point you to the CNET printer reviews on
It lets you select color laser printers. If I do that, it finds 285 different ones, so it seems you have enough choice.


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