Cheap plastic printers, consumables and razor blades

Rick Schummer, over at Shedding Some Light warns: Epson – you are on your last strike… “I really hate hardware. Yes, I have said this a million times, and I mean it. I hate recommending it, I hate buying it, I hate shopping for it, and I hate the fact that I need it to so the thing I love doing every day, which is creating software. OK, a million and four times.”

“So what the heck is the deal with “disposable printers”? I hate it. At least the US$300 HP InkJet printer I purchased years ago lasted several years. Maybe this is better though as I get the same life out of my US$300 bucks and get newer and better features each time.”

Well, that and a lot of aggravation. Like leasing cars at ridiculously low rates only to screw the consumer at turn-in time, print manufacturers have figured out they can sell flimsy printers at next-to-nothing costs, wear down the consumer with overpriced (and proprietary and DRMed) consumables (why is it printers always die when you have a new cartridge?) and then let the cheap plastic chassis die a quick death. Who loses? The consumer, who’s computer always dies at the worst possible minute, whose new software is likely 91% compatible, and whose toxic waste dump is filling up with this junk.

“A strange game. The only winning move is not to play.” My time and energy is worth a heck of a lot more. I’d look for a medium-duty office printer rather than the bargain-of-the-week, and check some comparative reviews to ensure the complete cost, including consumables over the life of the printer, are reasonable. However, it’s been a couple of years since I’ve shopped for a printer. Are there any good bargains left out there? Not the $49 give-away-the-razor and gouge-em-on-blades bargains, but real bargains?

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.