Our Top Rated Printers Picks for 2007

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Hi,

Welcome to the July edition of 'Computer & Printer Tips'

Has your summer been going well? Are you making the most of it?

Mine has been going by pretty fast, but it's been fun. There have been some home barbeques, a couple of days at the lake, and a camping trip thrown in. A pretty fun summer I must say.

On another fun note, we've released our first online video and published it onto YouTube. I think it turned out great. It really puts the ink industry into perspective.

Watch it here: Click Here to Play the Video

Please feel free to forward the link onto your friends. It's a good "eye-opener".

This month's article presents our top rated picks for choosing the best new printer.

Periodically around the office here, we'll get some people asking us for our opinions on the printers that are out there. It seems like there's always someone in the market for a new printer.

Since the fall is coming up and a new school year about to start for a lot of us, we thought it good timing to do some research and publish our findings on the various printers out there right now.

Bob did a lot of research on this one. At the end of the article are the specific printer models that came out on top. If you're a numbers person and want to see all of the data compiled for this report, we've also included a link to the comparison spreadsheet on our website. In case you're interested, you can find out how they compare with others that didn't make the list.

I hope you enjoy the article...

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FEATURE ARTICLE: Our Top Rated Printers Picks for 2007

With so many options, how do you decide which inkjet printer is best for you? You have to ask yourself what you are going to use it for, what you will be printing and how much you will be printing. Will it be a personal printer at the office or networked? Will it be used at home or for a grandparent? Do you need a scanner, copy capabilities or fax machine with it?

Many customers have come to me over the years asking for recommendations for a "good printer" and I have always tried to give the best advice based on their needs. That is a difficult task because some photo printers are also personal printers and some personal printers are also multifunction printers and some multifunction printers are not photo printers (etc). Then trying to match features like LCD screens, Wi- fi printing, photo negatives slides, cd printing and multiple paper trays and the like is enough to drive me nuts.

This 2007 printer review is not based on features or photo printing, but is more focused on cost and performance. You can see all of the data used to evaluate the printers here.

Here are the main parameters of the review. Inkjet printers must be available as "new" from Amazon.com from the main 5 producers (Brother, Canon, Epson, HP, and Lexmark).

Customer review scores from PCworld.com, Cnet.com, and Amazon.com were combined to form an aggregate customer perspective on each particular inkjet printer. A minimum of 10 ratings were needed for each model of printer to be included in the review.

Next we found the average customer printer review score for all of the printers evaluated and noted all that rated above 7. This may give you good insight as to the form and function of the printer but the reviews usually come within the first 2 months of ownership from the customer so we felt that it needed more depth.

The number of reviews per model would likely be indicative of the relative number of printers sold. We added the popularity category that required 500 total reviews to list the particular printer model. Because people usually refer friends and family to something good, we relate popularity to overall quality.

Cost of ink is one of the most important points overlooked when prospecting for a new printer. This was done using volume of ink per cartridge both black and color. We wanted to calculate ink cost based the hypothetical amount used per year. We chose 100 ml of black and 60 ml of color comparing OEM and after market (compatible or remanufactured) cartridges based on cost per year. All printers use paper so we left that cost out of the equation.

The total cost of owner ship was estimated based on the average ink usage from above (OEM and aftermarket ink) + the initial cost of the printer over the life of the printer, (we chose 4 years).

A customer rating score of 7 out of 10 or higher was needed to qualify a printer to be listed in each "cost of operation category", from "total cost of ownership", to "Best After market supplies for text".

The final category "Best all around printers", a customer rating score of 8 or higher was needed to qualify.

The results, Canon and Brother printers are among the most popular and most liked printers to own and operate.

Canon printer owners are renowned as being brand loyalists and I don't see this changing. These printers are usually a little more expensive than comparable models from other brands but have less than a 3% repair rate so you know they are built and supported well. Their OEM supplies are about average and produce quality prints. No aftermarket supplies are currently available for these printers so supplies can be expensive. Canon may become the gold standard for cost effective, quality printing when aftermarket cartridges become available

Brother printers have claimed a nice slice of the printer market in the last year. While their machines are not known as being as durable as Canon, you get a lot of printer and options for your dollar. Supplies for the printer are below average for OEM and very inexpensive for after market cartridges.

The Brother printers reviewed using the LC-51 cartridges scored very well. This model of cartridge has an advantage over other brands because there are no moving parts or electronics. This means that less can go wrong and costs less to produce- hence the lower market price for cartridges. Brother is our top pick if you are looking for value in a printer.

The newer models of Epson printers have lost significant support from their fans within the last year. Most Epson printers received dismal ratings in performance and quality. Error messages and glitches appear as common complaints along with printer life span. Supply costs for the Epson printers reviewed are the lowest on average for both OEM and after market cartridges. Epson also topped the list for least expensive printers to own and operate but longevity seams to be a concern.

HP has given up some ground in the printer market. The reviews seem to be up and down. We are speculating that it may be due to customer backlash over the small ink volumes in many of their new cartridges. Some of the hp printers reviewed can cost nearly double the market average for OEM supplies while others cost a 1/4 of the price.

HP printers continue to be built well and comprise a major portion of the printer market but most are very expensive to operate with OEM supplies. The 2 highest rated printers are not cost effective with OEM cartridges but are above average with after market supplies. Older HP printers used to be the "cats meow" but it appears more effort is now being spent on promoting rather than producing a great product. If you are a HP fan, choose carefully.

Lexmark is rated poorly for most inkjet models in price and customer rating. Both OEM and after market (remanufactured) cartridges are above average in cost per ml of ink. The printers appear to be rugged but are not performing up to customer expectations.

Here are our top picks for the best all around printers.

Brother

MFC-5460CN
MFC-5860CN

Canon

PIXMA iP4200
PIXMA iP4300
PIXMA MP500
PIXMA MP600

Epson

STYLUS C88+

*Currently, the Canon printers above only have OEM cartridges available which cost more than the supplies for the other printers listed. Operating costs for these will become even lower when compatible cartridges become available.

If you want the details, you can see all the raw data here:
http://www.asapinkjets.com/files/2007-printers.xls

We hope this cost analysis will help you make a better decision if you need to purchase a new printer this year.

About The Author

Bob Stephens writes for ASAP Inkjets. ASAP Inkjets offers ink cartridges & toner at up to 80% off


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Ok, that's it for this month's issue.

We hope you found it interesting.

Also, don't forget to check out our new video.

Click Here to Play the Video

That's all for now... See you next month!

Eli Fry
ASAP Inkjets

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