PRINTERS

A few email queries from readers have raised questions about laser versus inkjet printers. So, we have a few comments: Costs per page for color printing are comparable. Color laser toner also has the advantage of not clogging up if it’s not used for a while; inkjet nozzles, on the other hand, will clog if the printer isn’t used for a couple months.

If you want to make color prints on glossy photo paper you should use an inkjet printer. They’re cheap and they’re good. You should not use glossy photo paper in laser printers. Laser printers use a hot steel roller to fuse the powdered ink onto the paper and the heat can melt the coating on photo paper. We’ve had it happen and it can be a real mess. In the worst cases it requires replacing the heating unit, which will cost as much as getting a new printer.

Our favorite inkjet printer these days is the Canon Pixma iP3500, which we bought for less than $100 last year. They sell a more expensive version of this printer, but there’s no difference in the output quality. Our laser printer is an Okidata C5800, which was not the cheapest when we got it but we were seduced by the magazine quality of the printouts. We’ve noticed that Okidata printers cost about 10 percent more than other brands, but on the other hand, the toner cartridges are cheaper; so you win some and you lose some.

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