Personal Black and White Printers

Personal PrinterAs a managed print provider we’d prefer that our clients didn’t have personal printers.  Ditto the IT staff of our clients.  But the reality is that end-users frequently request/demand that they have their own personal printer.

So, the question we frequently get is which one to buy.  Here’s our list of criteria to consider:

  • What personal printer models are you already using in your fleet?  If you can, try to standardize on something you already have, assuming that it fits the bill with respect to the other criteria below.  Remember, an additional model means another toner cartridge you have to stock.  Even if your model is discontinued you can usually buy a refurb – more on that below.
  • How much does it cost to supply on a cost per page basis.  Before even looking at the price of the printer you should be determining the cost of the cartridge and its page yield.  Divide the former by the latter and determine your cost per page.   Typically, the cheaper the printer price the more expensive the cost per page.
  • How reliable/fixable is the printer.  This is not so easy to determine.  The best source of information regarding this is to pick the brain of a laser printer technician.   We share our opinions below.
  • Speed, size, options – network card, duplexor, color.   Even though it may be a “personal” printer we recommend that it be on the network, thus get a network card.  If it’s not on the network, the device is difficult if not impossible to manage.   Regarding color:  I would emphatically recommend against allowing personal color machines.  They are extremely expensive to operate and not very reliable.  Make it your organization’s policy that issuance of a personal color printer will require written authorization from the CFO.   That should put a stop to it.    We’ll discuss color options in other blog posts.

So specifically what should you buy.  Shown below is a list of HP Laserjets that could be used as a personal laser printer.  Note the huge variance in cost per page.  Also note that the higher the cartridge yield the lower the per page cost.   What about other brands – Lexmark, Okidata, Samsung etc?  In general the personal printers offered by these manufacturers are either impossible to repair (throw away) or insanely expensive to operate – 4 cents per page (for BW, color 20-25 cents – again, don’t even go there) or more on toner alone.  HP also has some very expensive printers on a cost per page basis, and we would tell you to avoid those, the Laserjet 2035 and the Laserjet 1022W for example.

* Indicates a printer we would recommend.   Note the Toner CPP is just that, the cost per page for toner only assuming you’re buying compatibles.     Add 50% or so if you plan to buy OEM.   Add another 30-40% for parts, repairs, and maintenance.

Printer Cart Yld Speed Est CPP Printer Price Source
Laserjet P1505           2,000 24PPM 2.5 cents $125 Refurb
Tech Verdict:  Good printer for low volume use.  Reliable but cheaper to replace than to fix – usually.
Laserjet 1320*           6,000 22PPM 1 cent $165 Refurb
Tech Verdict:  Great printer, highly recommended
Laserjet 2035           2,300 30PPM 3-4 cents $200 New
Tech Verdict: So far, ok.  Expensive to operate
Laserjet 2055           6,500 35PPM 1.25-1.75 cents $325 New
Tech Verdict: So far, ok.  Expensive to operate
Laserjet 1022W           1,600 19PPM 4 cents $149 New
Tech Verdict: Throw away printer, expensive to run.
Laserjet 4200N*         10,000 35PPM 0.6 cents $225 Refurb
Tech Verdict:  Great machine, runs forever.  Reliable, Servicable.
Laserjet P3005         13,000 35PPM 0.6 cents $150-200 Refurb
Tech Verdict:  Junk, formatter board goes out 60% of the time.  Display freezes
Laserjet 2420*         12,000 30PPM 0.6 cents $150-200 Refurb
Tech Verdict:  Good printer, but sometimes has gearing issues around fuser.
Laserjet 2015           7,000 27PPM 1.2 CENTS $150 Refurb
Tech Verdict: Junk, lots of formatter board failures

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