Inexpensive printer that scans decently

Started Sep 8, 2012 | Discussions
vdubreeze Senior Member • Posts: 1,322
Inexpensive printer that scans decently

Well, now that school is started for the kids I can't put it off any longer. The Kodak ESP7, which was always a bother, is asking for its fourth printhead, which she obviously isn't going to get. I need a decent printer which will never be asked to print out better than school assignments BUT I would like it to be a decent scanner as well, which the Kodak was not. Watching my 15 year old print out a last minute report on my Epson was like opening my wallet and watching all the bills go flying out : )

So: good ink usage but no high print quality required, with a scanner that I could use for archiving assorted media without having to post process it to death to make it look like the original, though not for gallery use, just for decent archives. Budget for this printer is a consideration (I'm looking for my own new printer at the same time) and a lower price trumps a better scan (for now).

Mostly on OSX around here. Any sleepers in this category I should know of?

Thanks for any recommendations : )

v

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Michael Thomas Mitchell Forum Pro • Posts: 11,716
Re: Inexpensive printer that scans decently

Is it possible to buy a bad printer/scanner from any of the majors these days?

The Epson Workforce printers have been some of my favorite to work with, with a great combination of fast print and scan speeds and the ability to use refillable ink cartridges. (Note that refillable cartridges are NOT the same as refilling spent cartridges.) I saw a nice Workforce 610 model (or thereabouts) on sale at Sam's Club recently for under a hundred dollars. The Workforce line is made for office while the NX is made for home. But the cost difference is so small compared to the difference in performance and durability that it's a no-brainer when you want to get a printer/scanner that just goes and goes. Plus, the Workforce scanner includes auto sheet feed and automatic scanning to memory card. I've used inexpensive ebay inks/carts in my older Workforce 500 for almost three years, and that thing still just cranks out scans and prints without a hiccup.

vdubreeze wrote:

Well, now that school is started for the kids I can't put it off any longer. The Kodak ESP7, which was always a bother, is asking for its fourth printhead, which she obviously isn't going to get. I need a decent printer which will never be asked to print out better than school assignments BUT I would like it to be a decent scanner as well, which the Kodak was not. Watching my 15 year old print out a last minute report on my Epson was like opening my wallet and watching all the bills go flying out : )

So: good ink usage but no high print quality required, with a scanner that I could use for archiving assorted media without having to post process it to death to make it look like the original, though not for gallery use, just for decent archives. Budget for this printer is a consideration (I'm looking for my own new printer at the same time) and a lower price trumps a better scan (for now).

Mostly on OSX around here. Any sleepers in this category I should know of?

Thanks for any recommendations : )

v

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PCummins Regular Member • Posts: 174
Re: Inexpensive printer that scans decently

Mostly on OSX around here. Any sleepers in this category I should know of?

I've found the Canon MX870 to be pretty good (as well as the replacement MX895) as it handles duplex page scanning as well as flatbed scanning without too much of a problem. Software is actually decent on Mac OS X, you can scan to a computer from the multifunction printer itself so it will launch on your Mac and save the file automatically for you (or you can scan directly from the Mac, depends on your setup).

Only downside would be slow colour ADF scanning vs grayscale (ideally, you'd get a proper ADF scanner that can do both sides at a time). You can also get chip resetters for the CLI-521/CLI-526 cartridges + refill ink if you want.

RUcrAZ
RUcrAZ Veteran Member • Posts: 5,466
Re: Inexpensive printer that scans decently

Michael Thomas Mitchell wrote:

and the ability to use refillable ink cartridges. (Note that refillable cartridges are NOT the same as refilling spent cartridges.)

Can you please amplify/clarify your statement?

OP vdubreeze Senior Member • Posts: 1,322
Re: Inexpensive printer that scans decently

I was assuming it to mean 3rd party cartridges designed especially as refillable as opposed to ones such as original and original styled ones, which can be refilled but are not designed for user refill? ? : )

Anyway, no way I'm ever getting another printer that doesn't like using third party substitutes. The Kodak was extremely finicky with them, to the point where more money was wasted trying to save money.

So add that to my original criteria. : )

v

RUcrAZ wrote:
Michael Thomas Mitchell wrote:

and the ability to use refillable ink cartridges. (Note that refillable cartridges are NOT the same as refilling spent cartridges.)

Can you please amplify/clarify your statement?

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pcm81 Contributing Member • Posts: 835
Re: Inexpensive printer that scans decently

HP Officejets have built in scanner and cartridges are trivial to refill. I'd suggest having 4 sets of XL cartridges. You want XL, because they have bigger sponge, and can hold more ink. Unlike Epson the HP printheads are on cartridges, so if it breaks you just toss it. You need 4 sets of carts, because printer remembers last 3 sets used as "empty"... The painfull part is refilling tri-color cartridges, since you don't know how much ink is left in the 2 non-empty sponges...

My current HP officejet i bought in wallmart for $60 3 years ago; it still works with no issues.

EDIT:
Usually refillable cartridges are designed for printers which are:
1. expasive
2. can not have the OEM carts refilled easily...

For cheap officejet pinter, i think refilling OEMs is the only way...

Michael Thomas Mitchell Forum Pro • Posts: 11,716
Re: Inexpensive printer that scans decently

pcm81 wrote:

EDIT:
Usually refillable cartridges are designed for printers which are:
1. expasive
2. can not have the OEM carts refilled easily...

For cheap officejet pinter, i think refilling OEMs is the only way...

These remarks really puzzled me since third party refillable cartridges are available for virtually every printer in the Epson lineup, from the "expensive" ones all the way down to the cheapest home printer.

It hasn't really been practical to refill Epson OEM carts for quite some time now since the refillable carts have gotten so inexpensive and are made specifically for this purpose. Ten years ago, re-using an OEM cart was really the only choice. But for some time now, refillable third party carts have been available that only require a few minutes to pop out, refill, and pop back in. The chips even re-set themselves.

My wife uses an aging Epson Workforce 500 and an NX300, both purchased for under $5 in a thrift store because their owners probably because either didn't want to buy expensive replacement OEM carts, or they thought the print heads clogged. I cleaned them, popped in some cheap third party refillable carts, and they've been working great for several years now. Both are inexpensive all-in-ones, with the Workforce being a little bit heavier duty to the NX line's intended home use.

Re-using OEM carts also typically involves drilling holes, which can introduce plastic debris into the system. Plus, they are not designed to vent once opened up like refillable carts, and thus may be more prone to air bubbles and ink coagulation. And again, there's the chip re-setting issue.

I'm not advocating a particular brand, mind you. I just have particular experience with Epson all-in-ones and refillable carts. Regardless of brand, any printer I'd buy for a teenager today would need to be able to use re-fillable carts. Twenty bucks on ebay would keep a sophomore in high school printing like crazy until they go off to college.

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jeffsw6 New Member • Posts: 24
Re: Inexpensive printer that scans decently

I read your message and thought I would mention my experiences with the Epson WorkForce series. I own the WP-4540 and am very pleased with it. In fact, the only document printer I've used which I liked better was an HP Color LaserJet (which I broke, and it was entirely my fault.)

Anyway, the WP-4540 is a two-tray model all-in-one, but there is a less expensive model that only has one paper tray. I bought mine during one of Epson's promotions and saved nearly $100.

This is much more user-friendly than any other "all-in-one" printers I've owned. It seems they have got the software all worked out. The fax and copy work well. To scan, simply load a document, push the scan button on the printer, and it will ask if you want to scan the document to USB or PC (on your LAN) and if you would like a JPG or PDF. Then it just works. If you scan to the PC it even opens up the folder where it stored the file.

One thing, though, the scanner is not what I imagine you would want for scanning photographs or anything else where color/brightness accuracy is very important. I happen to have a drawing I made with pencil on graph paper, so I scanned it using the Epson and uploaded it.

You can see that there are places where the lines on the graph paper appear faded. While I have certainly used the eraser in some places on the original drawing, I didn't use it outside of where I drew anything. So the scanner on the WP-4540 is okay for documents, but I do not imagine it would be very good for photographs.

To continue, this printer has wired LAN, wireless LAN, and USB. I used the wired LAN and it was very easy to configure. Also the software installed easily on my PCs. The Epson software sometimes asks to update the firmware on the printer, and I have allowed it to do so several times without any trouble.

To say I am satisfied with this printer would be an understatement. For its use, as an all-in-one small / home office printer, I think it is a good value. To my surprise, it even seems to be okay on ink. It says I've printed 1840 B&W pages and 470 color, almost all documents. I have used up the initial black cartridge and it appears to indicate 75% remaining in the new black. The colors are still nearly full, but remember that my use is mostly documents. It gave me PLENTY of warning before the black "ran out" and it refused to print any longer, so I had already purchased another. In fact, I printed over 500 pages before it finally ran out -- so I feel no need to keep a spare set of inks on-hand. Also they are stocked at the local office supply store for the same price I could find them online.

This printer is not small. It takes up some desk space. I do a lot of printing on three-hole-punched paper, and if I print more than a few dozen pages at once, I will spend a while lining the pages up before putting them into a binder, because they get pushed around a little on the output holder. The generous paper trays are nice, though; and I would never go back to a printer that only had one input tray.

I've never really used the duplexer, so I can't comment on that.

I hope this helps you make your decision. I am about to do the opposite of you -- I believe I need a photo-quality printer now, in addition to my document printer. I would never expect one printer to do both jobs economically, but I think this 4540 does documents well and cheap.

Finally, this is my very first Epson printer. I've owned some HP and Lexmark and I have to say, I really feel like the Epson software is less hassle. The only printer I liked better from a software-perspective was one that had PostScript, so it did not need any software. And that is the only thing I wish this 4540 had, if it included PostScript, it would be really nice.

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