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Need A New Printer: Which To Buy?

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013 by | Filed Under: Hardware & Peripherals, Printing Help

Kay from Dallas, Texas writes:

I have a Dell desktop computer. I recently, like a fool, had Windows 7 installed on this computer. I originally had Windows XP. To make a long story short, my printer, a Dell, is not compatible with Windows 7 and I have been told that I need to get a new one. What do you recommend? I have been advised NOT to purchase a Dell. Your help will certainly be appreciated. I do so enjoy reading all of your advice on helping those of us who are a little behind on today’s technology.


A new printer is one of those things where one size doesn’t fit all, so I’ll go over a few options for printers currently on the market and what they do best. Keep in mind that this is only my personal viewpoint, and competing products with similar features may be just as good for you. I am also not going to recommend a low-cost photo printer, as any local photo lab, grocery store or online printer can print photos that are much higher quality at much lower prices than printing at home.

Home User: HP Officejet 6700 (Printer, Copier, Scanner & Fax – Inkjet) $149+

This printer offers a very solid feature set with the ability to connect to multiple computers via built-in wireless or wired networking. It features an integrated scanner with document feeder, diplexer for two-sided printing and a monthly duty cycle of up to 12,000 prints. It will cover almost all of a home user’s possible needs. This printer has four ink cartridges; black ($19.99) and color – cyan / magenta / yellow ($10.99/each) which print ~ 400 b&w pages or 825 color pages at 5% coverage.


Small Office: HP LaserJet Pro 400 M475dw (Printer, Copier, Scanner & Fax – Laser) $599+

This printer offers a very solid feature set for the small office and the ability to connect to multiple computers over built-in wireless or wired networking.  It also features  an integrated fax and scanner with document feeder, duplexer for two-sided printing and a monthly duty cycle of up to 40,000 prints that should cover almost all of a small office’s needs. This printer has 4 laser toner cartridges: black ($83.99) and color – cyan / magenta / yellow ($119.99/each) which print ~ 2200 b&w pages or 2600 color pages at 5% coverage.

Professional Photo PrinterEpson Stylus R2880 (Photo Printer – Inkjet) $499+

This dedicated photo printer uses pigment-based UltraChrome ink which creates over 200-year-archival quality prints. It prints up to 13″ wide and 44″ in length. The printer will produce vivid and accurate colors correctly profiled. Three black-level cartridges offer the ability to produce ideal black and white prints. Each of the nine ink cartridges (Photo Black, Matte Black, Light Black, Cyan, Light Cyan, Vivid Magenta, Vivid Light Magenta, Light Magenta, Yellow)  cost $13.49 and print quantities will vary based on colors used.

Prices are based on major retailer current pricing, and could be higher or lower when you purchase. Wholesale clubs (like Costco or Sam’s Club) are a great place to check for printer deals. Make sure to pick up at least one set of ink or toner refills, as many printers now come with a starter set good for a limited number of prints. If you intend to hook up the printer by USB, verify the printer comes with a cable.


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5 Responses to “Need A New Printer: Which To Buy?”

  1. josil says:

    I have an older Brother laser HL 5340 that prints from any of the 2 XP and 2 Win7 computers on my network. One of the LTs is a Dell but is an XP…so I guess that doesn’t prove that a Dell Win7 is incompatiable with anything but a Dell printer. That doesn’t seem right.

  2. Ron says:

    Another option is to try using some older versions of the printer driver and drivers for printers in the same general printer product family.

    Also try some generic printer drivers.

    The older drivers and non model specific drivers will not support all functions, but they will allow you to do basic printing.

    If your printer supports both HP PCL and Postscript try printer drivers for both.

    At least in Win7 the printing subsystem is an evolution from XP and Vista.

    Watch out for Windows 8, it has a new print subsystem that requires new printer drivers for the most part. Most manufacturers have not created new drivers for older devices. My $1000 (original price) HP2420DN does not have a native windows 8 printer driver that supports duplex printing. Yes, it sucks. But I was lucky to find that an older driver that does allow me to duplex.

  3. Daniel says:

    I’m still using an old HP PSC750xi (purchased in 2003), with an H-P PC and a Toshiba laptop), both of which came installed with Windows 7. I had absolutely no problem getting either machine to recognize this older printer and to update the drivers as needed. What the heck is wrong with DELL in this day and age, that they are not providing drivers to keep a perfectly good printer useable with the new OS? Not so sure I would want to go back to using A DELL myself, under these circumstances.

  4. Keith Monson says:

    I was given an all-in-one printer that was found in a dumpster dive. It was very clean so I checked it out. It was abandoned because someone didn’t know how to update the drivers (and it had a bad ink cartridge). I went to the HP website and got the Win7 driver for it and (pending the new color cartridge working) it works fine, if the color ink is broken I can still use the scanner.

  5. Genise says:

    I am using an old Samsung Laser printer as well as an Epson and a new Lexmark which I like the least and they all work on my Dell Windows 7. I have used them all on Microsoft 98 and Microsoft XP which I loved both except the Lexmark which is new as I stated and they are Dell computers, but not printers. I never buy a printer that does not use separate cartridges because no matter what they tell you they do run out of ink at different times. You do not have to purchase matched sets probably not a good idea; I just try to purchase the best out there at the time for my needs.

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