Buyer's Guide: 11 Color Inkjet Printers

Lexmark Z1420

This one is for budget-oriented aspiring print media artists. Lexmark's Z1420 color inkjet printer accepts an impressive array of media types that include: card stock, coated and glossy paper, transparencies, banners, iron-on transfers, photo paper, labels and envelopes in a wide variety of standards and sizes. It's as close to a handle-it-all printer as we found in the field of candidates for this buyer's guide.

The Z1420 is a little bigger and heavier than the Z1300.

The Z1420 is a great value printer capable of producing color print quality up 4800 x 1200 dpi at a rated speed of 18 pages per minute. It also has a rated maximum duty cycle of 3,000 pages per month, which means it might work best as a light-duty, limited-circulation newsletter or flyer printer.

Unlike other units in this line-up, the Z1420 is one of two that come equipped with an 802.11g wireless option in addition to a USB port. We'll let you decide how useful that feature might be in your situation (we think it makes an interesting inclusion; in a unit with a market price under $100, it might be a one-of-a-kind bargain feature). The Z1420's dimensions are 4.75" x 18.07" x 7.82" (12.06cm x 45.90cm x 19.85cm), and it tips the scales at 5.75 pounds (2.61 kg).

The Z1420 is compatible with Microsoft Windows XP including Professional X64, Windows Vista, Windows 2000 (version 5.00.2195 or later) and Apple Mac OS X 10.4.x in both Intel and PowerPC varieties. For more information on the Z1420, please visit the vendor product page.

Summary And Conclusions

Though we trimmed the field of candidates from well over 200 to just over 11 for this buyer's guide, there's something for nearly everybody to like in what's left at prices that range from $30 to $260. Given the amazing amounts of functionality and the respectable output speeds that even the least expensive of these printers offer, we are impressed by the state of inkjet printer art and science.

We give special marks to the Lexmark Z1300 for offering decent print and photo quality at a very low price, and also to the Canon Pixma iP6310D and Epson Stylus Photo R380 for delivering outstanding photo-handling features at very reasonable costs. Any of the printers in this guide is likely to satisfy your needs for low-volume output, but only the HP Business Inkjet is likely to be able to satisfy needs somewhat beyond such modest levels. That printer and the Lexmark Z1420 also earn bonus points for offering a wireless 802.11b/g interface, in addition to more typical interfaces (USB for both and parallel for the HP) Compare Prices on Color Inkjet Printers.

Attentive readers may wonder why a few big printer vendor names - perhaps Brother or Dell Computer - didn't make the list for this buyer's guide. Much to our surprise, we learned that they (and several other printer vendors) no longer make plain old inkjet printers any more, with or without photo capabilities. We also learned that the real action in the consumer printer market is in the area of MFC printers; multi-function printers that also copy and fax, and sometimes scan. That's where Brother and Dell appear to have put their focus, and where these other vendors also make some extremely interesting offerings as well. Look for these printers in our next buyer's guide.

Join our discussion on this topic

  • lucyrssll
    Stinkyink now offer ink cartridges for the HP Deskjet 9800 ink. Oh and it's free delivery too!
  • Hi Tom,

    Do you think you will do an updated review for printer of 2011?

    Thanks, Pete @ Canon Ink Cartridges