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Need A New Printer: Which To Buy?

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.