Consumables Continue To Count
Like inkjet printers, consumables for MFCs do contribute substantially to the cost of their lifetime operation. But these printers are more expensive in general, and thus less subject to replacement when ink cartridges expire. Nevertheless, the cost of consumables still counts, and that's something to which you should attend when choosing an inkjet MFC, along with overall features, functions and costs.
Most printer vendors advertise maximum-duty cycles as a way to rate how hard you should ask a printer to work over the course of a month. Interestingly, this same number also provides a pretty good measure of how many pages of output you can expect to get from a single cartridge refill. That said, this is a very fuzzy number because the density of ink and color on any one printed page is likely to be different from that on another page. You'll learn how many of the pages that you print you can get from a single refill over time ;this is a cost consideration that you should keep a careful eye on.
Different print applications also call for different paper. You can expect a color inkjet printer to run much more slowly and require much more expensive paper when printing digital photographs, or complex color documents, than when printing monochrome text documents, or even medium-resolution documents with color content. It's also important to keep an eye on your consumption and outlays to cover paper, and to make sure the paper you've chosen provides the kind of print or image quality you're looking for (this explains why we recommend buying printer paper by the ream until you find what you like, and doing likewise with small packages of photo print paper, before buying anything in too much bulk).
Keep Things Tidy And Clean
One optional purchase that at least some printer users find helpful is a printer stand. These office furniture items offer a handy place to park your printer (generally on top) and include drawers and/or shelves where you can keep paper, envelopes, cartridges and so forth. You can spend as little as $20-$30 on a plastic tabletop model, or over $150 for free-standing cabinets or racks. Either way, they provide a great way to keep your printer and its supplies organized and available (the casters or wheels on freestanding models also make the whole thing easy to move around when rear access or outright relocation is called for).
By design, inkjets use a heating element to melt solid ink into liquid form and spray it onto the paper to lay down text, color and images. These little droplets tend to go astray from time to time and inkjet printers can get a little messy. You can purchase special cleaning kits for these printers that include supplies and information to help you keep your printer clean and working properly. We strongly urge purchase and use of such things, because they will keep your print output looking good over time, and will reduce wear and tear on your printer.
Meet The MFC Inkjets In This Buyer's Guide
In this section, we introduce the 16 printers we chose for coverage in this guide, and include a handy features matrix to help you compare and contrast these units across a wide range of capabilities. We begin with a brief listing of the chosen printers, and follow it up with the features matrix. After that, you'll find a brief section devoted to each of these units that describes its capabilities in more detail, along with a product photo and links to more information. In the conclusion, we point out some particularly compelling items, and award one or more units an Editor's Choice based on especially outstanding price/performance characteristics.
- Brother 440cn
- Brother 5460cn
- Brother 845cw
- Canon Pixma MP 180
- Canon Pixma MP 510
- Canon Pixma MP 830
- Dell All-in-One Printer 946
- Dell All-in-One Printer 966
- Dell Wireless All-in-One Printer 966
- Epson Stylus CX3810
- Epson Stylus CX7000F
- Epson Stylus Photo RX620
- HP OfficeJet 5610
- HP OfficeJet 7410
- Lexmark X7350
- Lexmark X9350
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