Business Card Laser Printer Recommendations?

Started Mar 15, 2007 | Discussions
inaka
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Business Card Laser Printer Recommendations?
Mar 15, 2007

I currently have a Xante Accel-a-Writer 8300 which is an excellent black ink only laser printer for my Mac DTP setup. Recently, I’ve been getting quite a few jobs printing dual-sided business cards and I’d like to expand this in-house. I only plan on printing small jobs, maybe 500 sheets a month or so, so volume is low.

My problem is that the Xante doesn’t offer a straight paper path, duplex options with card stock must be manually fed one at a time, and it has trouble with some thicker business card stocks.

So I’m looking for some recommendations.
Here are my top concerns:

• Must be a laser printer, no inkjets.
• Black only is OK
• Color laser is great, only if the quality is top notch
• Needs to be able to print on card stock up to 110lb.
• Must have a straight paper path option.
• Can hopefully do duplex printing automatically with heavy card stock.
• Print speed isn’t important.
• Print quality must be top notch, hopefully 1200 dpi
• Wireless is a bonus, but not required
• Doesn’t have to be the latest/new model, used or previous models OK
• Looking at a price range from $500 - $2000

Any recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks.

Rick Colson
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Re: Business Card Laser Printer Recommendations?
In reply to inaka, Mar 15, 2007

I believe you are making a big mistake printing your business cards with a laser printer. The toner will abraid or flake off in very short order. While inkjets ink can bleed, this can be minimised by using a pigmented ink or by selecting the right coated paper. YMMV!

Rick

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inaka
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Re: Business Card Laser Printer Recommendations?
In reply to Rick Colson, Mar 15, 2007

I understand your concerns, and they are valid.

Is there an inkjet alternative you could recommend for 110lb card stock printing with a straight paper path?

Any info is appreciated, thank you.

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Rick Colson
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Re: Business Card Laser Printer Recommendations?
In reply to inaka, Mar 15, 2007

Epson R1800, 2400 or HP9180 though I haven't had any experience personally with the HP. People like it though the early ones could be problematic according to the forums. I think any of the cheaper Epson pigment priners would do as long as the have a rear slot. Can't tell you which ones do or don't. Maybe someone else?

Rick

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inaka
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Re: Business Card Laser Printer Recommendations?
In reply to Rick Colson, Mar 15, 2007

Thanks, Rick.

I'd still like to get some laser recommendations as well just to do my own testing and research by those who may already have a laser printer for this type of setup. It's hard finding info on laser printers in general that can handle 110lb card stock, etc.

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BrandonB
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Re: Business Card Laser Printer Recommendations?
In reply to inaka, Mar 16, 2007

I have looked into color lasers for a similar purpose. I suggest looking at an OKI5800ldn, which has all the qualities you are looking for, however, I don't know of any printer that can (officially) duplex paper that thick.

You can try it, but don't be surprised if it doesn't work well.

Avoid the HP x600 series (1600, 2600, 2605, 3600), as they have a flaw that causes marbling on thicker paper.

I cannot comment on the OKI for wear-and-tear...they use toner like most lasers that is fused to the paper and can potentially flake or rub off. You might look at the Xerox solid ink printers...they might be better suited for this (guessing here).

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inaka
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Re: Business Card Laser Printer Recommendations?
In reply to BrandonB, Mar 16, 2007

Brandon, thanks for your reply.
Do you have experience with the OKI5800ldn?

See, I don't mind a non-duplexing printer really, if I can easily manually feed the sheets flipped over in a bunch. My issue is that with my current Xante Accel-a-Writer 8330, I have to sort of "push" each sheet manually via the manual feed tray to get it going. It's a pain to sit there and baby the machine. Thus, if the printer doesn't have an auto duplexer, that's ok as long as it can take the individual sheets of card stock on its own from the manual tray.

I'd love to know if the OKI5800ldn could grab sheets of thick stock (110lb card stock) for example, on its own from the manual feed tray, or if it needed a "push" etc.

Thanks.

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inaka
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Re: Business Card Laser Printer Recommendations?
In reply to inaka, Mar 16, 2007

Also, does the OKI5800ldn have a straight paper path print option?

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stevephoto
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Re: Business Card Laser Printer Recommendations?
In reply to Rick Colson, Mar 16, 2007

can you print business cards on inkjet printers such as the 9180,2400 - i had always assumed that they cannot print the small fonts sharply enough for business cards not to look homemade?

if they do print well enough, does that mean that they work well with B&W or color?

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BrandonB
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Re: Business Card Laser Printer Recommendations?
In reply to inaka, Mar 16, 2007

Yes, it is a straight paper path...probably the best design IMO because the paper lays flat as it feeds versus the HPs which use a vertical design (the disadvantage to this is that the printer is huge and needs a lot of desk space).

I owned and used the c5800ldn for a couple of weeks. It had the best color quality IMO and combination of options...it will even do banners up to 47" long. Also, the toner has a gloss component to it, which makes prints from HPs look completely dull.

And yes, you can put several card stock sheets in the manual tray and it will feed them.

The one bad thing about this printer is that the black toner is not very black, and text is a bit lighter. This is one area where my HP2200 (mono) laser completely kills the OKI...if you take prints from each and hold them up to a light, the OKI black is see-thru gray whereas the HP is very black and vivid.

The main reason I took it back was because I could not justify the money spent on it (for now) but I can tell you I miss having it (or at least SOME color laser). If it hadn't been for the black issue I probably would have kept it anyway.

You simply cannot beat a color laser for day-to-day color. (But don't kid yourself and think you can use these for photos though).

Anyway, the OKI is a popular color laser at the office stores. Go to an Office Depot and get a sample. Take some of your card stock and get a print on it, then cut out a business card size and put it in your wallet for a week and see if it flakes off. Heck do that for an inkjet print too and see what happens. (I'd kind of be interested to know the results of this too).

If you choose to buy the oki check around for rebates as someone usually seems to have 150-200 off.

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DotCom Editor
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1200 x 1200 color laser
In reply to inaka, Mar 16, 2007

Try this from Lexmark. Yeah, we all know they have no presence in the inkjet market, but their laser printers are excellent.

http://www.lexmark.com/lexmark/product/home/578/0,6970,204816596_653293763_877011522_en,00.html?tabId=1#top

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inaka
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Re: Business Card Laser Printer Recommendations?
In reply to inaka, Mar 17, 2007

Well, I just checked out the OKI C5800Ldn and unfortunately, it wouldn't work well for my needs. I totally agree that the black just isn't black enough. The color is nice, but for me, the black level is a top priority over color, and I view the color more as a bonus than a necessity. For me, I would rather send out the full color jobs, and try to do just the "economy" black ink only projects in-house.

I was able to bring some 80lb-110lb card stock and print some test pages. Since it's a bit hard to configure without being attached to a computer, the auto duplexing worked on some stock, but choked on another.

For me, really it boils down to the sharpest black level possible. My current Xante Accel-a-writer 8300 is the perfect print quality, but the lack of a straight paper path and the difficulty printing flawlessly on thicker 110lb card stock is a problem.

Thus, if anyone has a recommendation on a black ink only Laser printer option for heavier stock and has a straight paper path, I'm all ears. Thanks.

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BrandonB
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Re: Business Card Laser Printer Recommendations?
In reply to inaka, Mar 17, 2007

Thus, if anyone has a recommendation on a black ink only Laser
printer option for heavier stock and has a straight paper path, I'm
all ears. Thanks.

Well, if that's what you need then many new and old lasers have this. The HP 2200 that I mentioned handles card stock with auto feed in the manual paper tray, is 1200dpi and has a straight thru path to a tray in the back so there is no curl at all.

I used this printer for our wedding invitations (plus many other things like this) printed on thin vellum with Bickham Script (a very delicate font) and it worked like a champ. I've also printed to heavy card stock. Oh, and I've printed entire books with the duplexing option and it has never jammed.

This particular printer is no longer made but hey, you could probably get it or something similar very cheaply.

Go to Amazon and read reviews of current models.

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inaka
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Re: Business Card Laser Printer Recommendations?
In reply to BrandonB, Mar 18, 2007

Thanks for the info on the HP 2200.

I'll check into this and others, and if anyone has any recommendations the info is appreciated, thanks.

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cprd86
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Re: Business Card Laser Printer Recommendations?
In reply to BrandonB, Mar 18, 2007

BrandonB wrote:
You might look at the Xerox solid ink printers...they

might be better suited for this (guessing here).

NO!!! Don't get a Xerox solid ink printer. I had one and it and sent it back to Xerox after a month. It was the biggest piece of junk ever and here's the main three reasons why:

1) Constant cleaining cycles. I wasted over $500 in ink in constant cleaning cycles in the one month I had it. Mind you I printed only about 1,000 sheets. The $500 in ink wasted was in addition to the ink used for the prints themselves. It would clog up randomly and since it outputs face down, you can print hundreds of sheets (like I did) without realizing you have a 1/2 inch white streak running down the center of the last half of the prints that are rendered useless. Lots of $$$ wasted.

2) Very grainy output. Sure, it may claim to print at 1200 or 2400 dpi, but the size of the dots were huge and made for very grainy prints. Looked like something from inkjet printers from over 10 years ago, but worse.

3) The biggest problem is that the ink rubs/scratches off extremely easily. You can rub your finger across the ink and smear it around and you can scratch it off with light pressure of your finger nail. This is due the nature of solid ink.

OP: If going the laser route, take a look at the Oki C5x00 series. Most retailers generally carry them for around $400 after rebate. A nice thing is that the toner is glossy and reasonably priced. Good luck!

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psandham
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HP4500.......n/t
In reply to inaka, Mar 18, 2007
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BrandonB
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Re: Business Card Laser Printer Recommendations?
In reply to cprd86, Mar 18, 2007

NO!!! Don't get a Xerox solid ink printer. I had one and it and
sent it back to Xerox after a month. It was the biggest piece of
junk ever and here's the main three reasons why:

Like I said I was guessing, so this is good to know. I had heard also that the solid inks printers have to stay on to keep the solid ink from solidifying and clogging things up...otherwise there is the cleaning cycle you mentioned.

I also heard there were perhaps some fumes in a small office/room environment from the melting ink...did you notice that at all?

The only reason I mentioned them is because it uses a different bonding mechanism than toner so I thought it might be more resilient, but I guess no.

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cprd86
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Re: Business Card Laser Printer Recommendations?
In reply to BrandonB, Mar 19, 2007

BrandonB wrote:

NO!!! Don't get a Xerox solid ink printer. I had one and it and
sent it back to Xerox after a month. It was the biggest piece of
junk ever and here's the main three reasons why:

Like I said I was guessing, so this is good to know. I had heard
also that the solid inks printers have to stay on to keep the solid
ink from solidifying and clogging things up...otherwise there is
the cleaning cycle you mentioned.

I also heard there were perhaps some fumes in a small office/room
environment from the melting ink...did you notice that at all?

The only reason I mentioned them is because it uses a different
bonding mechanism than toner so I thought it might be more
resilient, but I guess no.

Yep, you have to leave it on 24 hours a day or you waste like $30 worth of ink in a cleaning cycle to re-prime the printheads. You know, I did notice the smell of ink the first day I had it. After I installed it and it went through the 15 minute warm up, I noticed the smell right away, but then I left for dinner and when I got home a few hours later that night, it was 10x stronger and my entire apartment stunk of molten wax...LOL! Needless to say, I can't think of one positive atribute to solid ink technology...but Xerox won't let this 10-15 year old technology die.

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BrandonB
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Thanks again for the warning!
In reply to cprd86, Mar 19, 2007

Needless to say, I
can't think of one positive atribute to solid ink technology...but
Xerox won't let this 10-15 year old technology die.

I'm glad I participated in this thread to hear this info...now I know to avoid it completely.

Now if OKI would just make their toner blacker...it would be just about perfect (I really like the gloss look in their toner).

But, I haven't looked at Konica-Minolta or Lexmark. I hear the Lexmarks get good reviews. Of course I'm just talking about me here... the OP might decide to go inkjet for this purpose.

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inaka
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Re: Thanks again for the warning!
In reply to BrandonB, Mar 19, 2007

BrandonB wrote:

Now if OKI would just make their toner blacker...it would be just
about perfect (I really like the gloss look in their toner).

But, I haven't looked at Konica-Minolta or Lexmark. I hear the
Lexmarks get good reviews. Of course I'm just talking about me
here... the OP might decide to go inkjet for this purpose.

You were dead-on accurate for your concerns over the OKI's black level. That's a shame that it looks more like an 80% black as opposed to 100% black. However, I wonder if using a rich black approach of C: 50% M: 40% Y: 40% B: 100% would be a treu rich black on that device. You'd use a ton more toner, and since I don't won the printer, I can't manipulate the test print file, but it would be interesting to know if anyone has this exact printer.

That said, for business cards to my clients, I send out my full-color jobs to a third party company on the web. I get great results. The only problem is that most web-based companies that print business cards, don't do dual-sided 1 ink for each side. It's usually a digital print, and they shoot for color, so for my black ink only jobs I would be paying for color at (at least on the front side) for which I don't need.

Unless someone knows of a business card vendor on the web that does true black ink only, possibly even offset at a low price.

That's why I'm focused on just getting a high rez 1200dpi or up black-only laser printer that can do heavy card stock (110lb). I don't mind a manual duplex, (provided the printer doesn't need each sheet fed one at a time) and can handle distinguishing between each sheet of the heavy stuff.

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