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By ColeyS1
Can anyone recommend a decent printer for my niece to use for school please ? Recently I've downloaded an app on my phone which shows what homework my niece has to do. Quite a lot of it requires printing pages. I'm after something a4, only has to be decentish quality at printing (so hopefully she won't drain the ink printing loads of photos/pictures) but most importantly needs to be as low maintenance as possible. I'm led to believe a laser printer is best for this as it can be left for months without needing to go through countless head cleans etc.
I want to make her homework tasks as easy as possible and think this might help a lot.

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By dzj
Yes, a laser colour printer from a reputable maker.
They all run out of toner/ ink sooner or later and new cartridges can be pricey.
Usually people at a toner refill shop know which models are the most hassle-free.
Can't hurt to ask.
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By Pete Maddex
We use lots of HP printers at work from massive multi function printers to small desktop ones, they are very reliable.

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By MrTeroo
If you buy a laser printer make sure you check the cost of replacement toners first.

Laser toners are expensive to buy but work out cheaper over time than inkjet cartridges.

Oki printers are good IMO, not least because their UK support line is based in Egham and you can easily connect to an English native speaking technician.

Here is an example Oki, with three years on-site warranty. (You need to fill out a form and claim that.)

You should get 2000 pages out of it before the toner needs replacing.
It also has USB and network connections, so if she connects it to her home broadband router via cable she could print to it wirelessly from around the home.
Last edited by MrTeroo on 11 Jan 2018, 09:09, edited 2 times in total.
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By bugbear
My company had an ink jet printer for our rare colour needs (most of our printing is done on a fast BW laser printer).

This turned out not to be a good plan. I left unused, ink dries in the print head, so you need to do a wash/flush which uses up more expensive ink than you've saved my not printing.

If you use is regular, but not many pages, an ink jet may well be fine, and they're CHEAP.

But a page a day will be more successful than 30 pages at the start of each month (if you see what I mean).

By Dibs-h

Is it for printing from a desktop, laptop, tablet? Or all of them? Is space an issue? And is cost (initial & running) an issue?

LOL - I'm not suggesting a photocopier size beast.

Oki are a good brand with low pence/page cost. Purchase price is slightly higher than most "domestic" brands. Toner cartridges - generics should be available. You might find the toner is separate to the fuser, which means another consumable part. Which may or may not result in the total costs for consumables over time being higher.

Even the small lasers are getting bigger and bigger over time.

Another option would be to buy used from somewhere like eBay. Older HP's are almost bombproof.

Another option - I've got an old HP 6L laser, bloody small and fits on a bookshelf.


It doesn't have any connectivity other than a parallel port but I have a small 2 port print server, you plug the printer into that and that plugs into the network\router meaning anyone connected to the network (wired or wifi) can access the printer. The printer was bloody cheap and the toners are even cheaper. Not really fast but 4-6 pages a minute and given it's size, it's perfectly fine on a bookshelf in the living room.


By Duncan A
If you buy a laser check what toner sizes are fitted. The cartridges supplied with a new printer often contain less toner than a standard cartridge so you might need to start buying toner sooner than you thought.
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By Droogs
As an ex IT break/fix technician and having been on certification courses for Sharp, Brother, OKI, HP. Xerox and Lexmark and from experience from repairing the MOD's IT kit, the most cost effective is in deed laser printers. Inkjets are very cheap on the inital outlay but the manufacturers recoup their costs from the cartridges. An inkjet costs roughly 12 times more per printed page as a laser printer over a 5 year period.
Where most laser printers excell is in text printing you are talking about 0.002p a page for monotone printers. Colour laser printers are now a fairly reasonable option in terms of cost. They do require a higher initial outlay but will far outlast any inkjet. Yes replacement toner cartridges are pricey but you do not have to replace the cartridge every time it runs out of toner, you can refill most with new toner from a supplies shop and re-use them at elast twice. The main cost for the toner cartridge come from the pact that they have whats called an OPC drum this is a film covered drum that makes the thing work but they do "wear out". Not as fast as the toner though. Some models come with a seperate OPC unit. It is cheaper over the long term to use printers with the combined toner/OPC unit as you just refile these. To give an example my Sharp JX9660 is over 20 years old has been serviced for gearing twice at a cost of £18 per service kit and is still going strong. It has had several toner units but lasts for 3 refills before I really need to replace the opc. Overall has cost me about 700 quid over the twenty years. my colour printer is this one and is perfectly fine: ... 35322.aspx
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By thetyreman
just don't be fooled into buying the cheap ink or cartridge replacements, it might look attractive at first, but they last about 1/4 of the time, so in the end you end up paying more longterm that's been my experience, it can also destroy the printer.
By HappyHacker
I have a Samsung CLP 365W colour laser printer which has been a problem ever since I bought it a few years ago. I was to busy after buying it to take it back and the support reply to my problems involved me stripping the new printer to pieces to fix it. If it were not for my wife being prepared to put up with the problems in order to finish the toners I had bought it would be in the bin.

Epsom appear to be the worst for inkjet blockages if not used regularly as they have a permanent printer head. Others have the head incorporated into the cartridge which is replaced
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By ColeyS1
Thanks for all the help guys. My niece is in quite a complicated predicament and lives with my elderly mum who has absolutely no need whatsoever for a printer.

I've only just been added to the school computer system no now have access to her school reports/ homework etc. A big frustration with the school apparantly was not being able to contact anyone when necessary. Now they have all my details- mobile, work number and email address, I thought there would be a bit more interaction. An example of how this isnt the case was my mum received a letter from the school asking her to submit proof my niece was still eligible for free school meals. I filled out the necessary online form then emailed the outcome to the school. All I asked at the bottom of the email was to confirm everything was o.k so I had one less thing to worry about. I didn't hear anything after a week so gave them a phonecall to ask if they'd received the email or had it been put in the spam folder. Still nothing after a few more days. I found out yesterday my niece had started taking pack lunches to school which gave me even more concern that something wasn't right. I went in with a printed copy today and started causing a scene in reception. The receptionist looked on the system and confirmed everything was ok. WTF did it take 10 days and me having to go in there in person to sort it out though !

One thing good did come from the school visit. The receptionist said that students could print their homework at school, so providing she doesn't leave it till the last minute I can't see why this wouldn't work.

Space really is a major issue, so having a massive printer, tower and monitor would take quite a bit of juggling around. The easiest way to describe my mum is a hoarder, so moving anything around or trying to change things is a big task. My niece currently uses a laptop which she can use anywhere, I think probably a quick lesson on using a USB stick might help things a bit. I guess the school don't give out paper and ink any more to save costs. She's currently got some maths homework that tells her to complete document 2 from the list of 3- None of it makes sense. It's been scanned in upside down and skewed with loads of text missing, pages are muddled up and I think all 3 folders are mixed up with wrong pages in each. It'll take more time and effort trying to unscramble the mess instead of her concentrating on just doing the math. Just print a fkin page out and give to each student, or buck your ideas up and set the homework properly. There's a message facilties on the 'show my homework' app where the student can message the teacher asking for help if necessary. I looked back through months of records to find she's been ignored about 90% of the time.

I want her to do well and will help when I can but jeez, this so called technology hasn't made things easy. It'd be so much easier if the teacher just handed out a piece of paper like the old days.

I've managed to remove an uneeded tumble dryer and a freezer from my mum's today, so we are making progress but it's deathly slow. I'd like to think there could be room for a desk a monitor and a printer, instead of working on a cluttered kitchen table, but that really will take some persuading.

Thanks chaps,

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By bugbear
ColeyS1 wrote:I want her to do well and will help when I can but jeez, this so called technology hasn't made things easy. It'd be so much easier if the teacher just handed out a piece of paper like the old days.

The old days are gone - teachers sometimes go to the local copy shop to print out handouts using their own money, because the school hasn't got any.

Work sheets are copies-of-copies-of-copies because there's no resource to create "fair" new ones.

And so on.

Yes, there's a reason for all this. :(

By Dibs-h

My suggestion would be to get a used laptop rather than have a desktop, monitor & keyboard. That's assuming she doesn't have those things already.

As long as it's got a 15" or bigger screen, she'll be alright. Plus it can be put it away at the end of the day.

Something like a Lenovo T420\430 would be ideal.


Coley, that sounds awful all round. I had no idea any UK schools are like that today

I've got a quite old inkjet portable printer (Hewlett Packard 460). 5+ years I think. It's NOT the cheapest to run but it's been all over the world with me and printed out getting on for "millions" of pages, dead reliable. You can carry it with one hand, it's light, small and is multi colour, (1 B&W cartridge, 1 3 colour cartridge). It even does double sided printing (manually). The ink cartridges cost about 20 quid each here, and are still available (no separate print head, they're built into the cartridges). It runs on both 240 Volts and a built in battery (batt charges all the time it's plugged in but not actually printing - NiMh I THINK).

I was just about to break it for bits, but if we can work out a way to get it to you, it's yours - now I'm fully retired I don't need a portable any more and am going to get a B&W laser soon anyway (I still have a separate colour inkjet for photos).

PM me if interested and we'll see if we can work something out.