Do Yourself a Favor and Buy a Laser Printer

As unlikely as it may seem, one of the best computer tips I ever got came from my mom—who is a wonderful woman, but not the most tech-savvy. After owning several inkjet printers and paying through the nose for years, my mom figured out she could save a ton of money and frustration by buying a laser printer instead.

The ink for inkjet printers is so expensive that they are now being sold like razor blades—manufacturers will sell you an under-priced printer just to get you hooked on ink. Sometimes you can even buy a whole new printer for less money than you can replace the ink cartridges for. Inkjets are also a hellacious pain to use, as this comic hilariously illustrates.

Enter the laser printer. For $100 you can pick up the Brother HL-2140. It's small, reliable, easy to setup and use, and it can churn out 23 pages per minute. Ink costs $30 for a cartridge that will print you 1,500 pages.

Compare that to a pain-in-the-ass, 16 page-per-minute HP Deskjet D1660: the printer is only $30, but the ink is $30 for 600 pages. You'll have made up the price difference after 2,000 pages on the Brother. Oh, and with the Deskjet you'll get 500Mb of HP software attached to the driver to slow down your computer and try to convince you to buy more HP stuff to make up for that $30 price tag.

Now what I haven't told you yet is that color laser printers and ink are pretty expensive. If you go the laser route, you're going to want one that just does black. But here's the thing—you don't need color! You really don't! Let's be real, the pictures you print out of an inkjet printer don't look that great, especially after you've printed a few. If you're like me, you started taking the stuff you really want to look good to a print shop or drugstore years ago. Most of the time you just use color to print everything in dark blue once your black cartridge runs out.

So cut yourself loose! Put your inkjet printer up on Craigslist and go get yourself a fast, money-saving laser printer. Or if you're like most young folks in this world of ubiquitous information access, dump your printer altogether and use your cell phone, email, and the internet to get information where it needs to go. You'll be happy you did.

Image: chaz6.com


  1. Or only use the inkjet when you need color. Thanks for the compliment but I defer to Clark Howard several years back. Love Mom

  2. After hearing my parents complain every time I go home of how ridiculous printers costs are for how long they last, I firmly put my foot down and told them they need to get a Brother b&w laser printer. I don't think they listened to me. :(

  3. BigDuffy(not littleduffy)March 5, 2010 at 4:45 AM

    Your link is to the 2140 not the 2410. Which do you mean? Thanks for the info.

  4. Sorry, I meant "2140." 2410 isn't a valid part number. Thanks for letting me know, it's fixed now!