Back To School: Printers

Your goal in school is to use your own printer as little as possible. Most schools have their own black and white printers on call 24/7 but sometimes you may need to print out a few snapshots for friends or a nice color cover for your last-minute essay on fish farming in ancient Mesopotamia as it relates to Shakespeare’s plays. My goal with creating this guide is to offer you a few fairly inexpensive options. I’ve also selected mostly all-in-one printers that will enable you to also scan documents and images.

Bottom line: printers are “loss leaders” for most companies. They make most of their money on the toner and ink which, in the end, can sometimes cost more than the printer is worth. Your goal, then is, to find a printer with inexpensive ink. Kodak has made great strides in this and Espson is a close second. You don’t really need to worry about pages per minute – most of these printers are fast enough to pump out a few pages between classes.


Kodak ESP 5250 All-in-one – $129 – Although it got bad reviews on the Kodak website, this cheap all-in-one got a fairly high score from Computer Shopper which is why I added it. I’m a fan of Kodak generally and it’s a good investment, especially if you’re not printing evey day. [Product Page]

Canon Pixma MP560 – $79 – Trying to find a sub-$99 printer worth considering is hard, but the Pixma MP560 seems to fit the bill. This all-in-one printer got good ratings and is now selling for $79 on Amazon. I chose this one over other models because Canon printers offer a bit more quality, even on the low-end. [Product Page]


Kodak 7250 All-in-One – $199 – This all-in-one features wireless printing and the ink is cheap. My review noted that the UI was a little bit weird and the LCD screen was slightly fuzzy, but, on the whole, it was a good printer. [Product Page]

Epson WorkForce 520 – $129 – This Epson workhorse has a full scanner and a number of cool features like scan-to-memory card. Ink is fairly inexpensive and you can run a long time before changing the cartridges. [Product Page]

High End:
Samsung CLP-315 – $199 – Laser printer prices have fallen so far that it’s almost silly not to consider something like the CLP-315. I’ve used this model for two years now after writing a review and I think the real value comes in the speed and print quality. One caveat: toner for these babies can cost almost as much as the printer, which is why I’ve placed this in the high-end category. [Product Page]

See the rest of our Back To School 2010 coverage right here!