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Cartridges Before Buying Printers
It is helpful to know a few things about inkjet printers and cartridges. Before purchasing a printer, always check the availability and prices of cartridges. Some printers are very inexpensive but the color cartridges for them cost almost as much as the printer. Such printers are not a good investment because the cost per printed page will be high.
OEM Inkjet Cartridges Work The Best - As They Should
All printer manufacturers strongly encourage you to use OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) inkjet cartridges. This is how they make their profit after selling the printer at almost cost. In all honesty, I have had the best luck using OEM cartridges.
Some manufacturers imply that using a compatible or remanufactured inkjet cartridge will void your warranty. This is not true and federal law prohibits them from doing that. However, they can and will give you a hard time if you call them with a problem and you don't have one of their OEM cartridges.
Most of the time you will be calling the manufacturers support line for help. Never tell them you have anything other than OEM cartridges. While it is certainly not nice to lie, the support people will not check all other possible causes for your problem if you admit that you have other than OEM cartridges. At least they will check every possibility before blaming it on the cartridges.
Manufacturers would like to eliminate compatibles
Lexmark went to court to keep inkjet remanufacturers from making cartridges for their printers. They didn't succeed so they, and most other manufacturers are taking a different tact. They are designing their printers to use cartridges with complex microchips that can't be remanufacturered. Others manufacturers are using small separate color cartridges that are nearly impossible to remanufacture. All of this is aimed at forcing you to purchase their higher priced OEM cartridges. This might not be so bad if they would sell the OEM cartridges at reasonable prices instead of trying to gouge us.
Take care before purchasing a new printer unless you really need one. Older printers can use the cartridges that can be remanufactured or for which compatibles are available. The cost of a new printer could be much more than just the price of a printer. You could be purchasing a printer that will guzzle ink and increase your cost significantly.
Inkjet Printers are the best choice for most home users. Even for many small businesses they are quite adequate. It is important to realize that inkjet printers are advantageous only because their initial cost is so much less than a laser printer. However, you cost per printed sheet will be higher and it is false economy to purchase an inkjet printer to serve high volume needs.
Inkjets have the unique advantage of printing in color for a low initial cost. There are many brands of inkjet printers but the three most common are Epson, HP and Lexmark. My personal favorite is Epson for various reasons.
Epsons have a straight through path.
The most significant reason is the straight through paper path that resolves the problem of paper jams almost completely. An example of this difference became very clear to me recently while printing mailing labels for my wife. Her company furnished her with two HP printers. One is an HP deskjet 940c and the other is an HP OfficeJet v40. Although they are somewhat slow, both of these printers do a good job with normal paper.
The problems began when I tried to help her by printing some labels on these printers. These were just the standard labels used to apply to envelopes for mailing. I could easily print one page of labels at a time but every time I put a stack of labels in the input tray the sheets would begin to jam and print improperly.
Fortunately, my printer is an Epson 880 and is almost twice as fast as the HPs. More importantly, I was able to put a stack of about 30 sheets of labels and they were printed easily and without a single jam.
This is definitely an issue with the paper path. HP's input tray is flat on the bottom and the paper feeds into the printer and then curves sharply to come out printed and flat just above the input tray. On the other hand, Epson's path starts with the paper standing up at the rear of the printer and then moves almost straight forward and out the front of the printer. The path involves a very slight curve that seldom creates a problem. If you plan to do labels at any time, I suggest you purchase an Epson or some other printer with a relatively straight paper path.