It's fairly difficult to buy a computer these days without a printer being "thrown in," like a used car dealer of old "throwing in" a set of tires. But free printers can end up impacting the bottom line. That's because they often use smaller ink cartridges that require more frequent, expensive replacement purchases.
A good rule of thumb is that the cheaper the unit, the smaller the ink capacity -- and the more expensive (and proprietary) ink that needs to be purchased more often. There are some cheaper online resources for ink, but check the replacement cartridges for price and capacity before you buy. Here are 10 inkjet and photo printers that are backed by reputable manufacturers with good track records:
HP Photo Smart 7960 Inkjet Printer - $249
Prints photo, plain paper, envelopes, and CDs. Ink-jet, 21 pages per minute, 1200 x 1200 dpi resolution - color 4800 x 1200 dpi. What's cool: 21 pages per minute is fast for its price.
Canon Pixma iP5200R Inkjet Printer - $249
Photo printer. Ink-jet, 30 ppm, color pint speed 24 ppm. Quality low-nd photo printer. What's cool: Strong resolution with 600 x 600 dpi for back & white, and color resolution at 9600 dpi x 2400 dpi.
HP LaserJet 1320 - $299
Compact monochrome printer, built-in duplexer, a high resolution for grayscale graphics, option to buy wireless networking pre-installed. What's cool: An inexpensive laser printer.
Canon N1000 Inkjet Printer - $349
Three cassettes hold 750 sheets of paper. 10/100 Ethernet network card as option. Midsized fast printer. What's cool: Features high-speed printing 20 ppm, 18 ppm color.
Epson Stylus Photo R800 Inkjet Printer - $399
5760 x 1440 optimized dpi, eight individual cartridges, including matte black ink and a unique gloss optimizer. It also prints borderless photos in frame-ready sizes. Good photo printer for midsized office. What's cool: Epson's "UltraChrome" Hi-Gloss pigment inks on virtually any media, including ink jet printable CD/DVDs and 4" and 8.3" roll paper.
Epson Stylus Photo R1800 Inkjet printer - $499
Photo printer. Inkjet, resolution 5760 x 1440 dpi. Another good midsize office option. What's cool: Also prints CDs, Watercolor paper, Heavy-weight matte paper, Luster photo paper.
HP OfficeJet 7410 All-in-One - $499
Print, copy, and scan from digital-media cards and PictBridge slots, faxes through your PC's software. What's cool: Prints on both sides of a page, makes legal-size scans and copies, connects to a wired or wireless network, and accepts a stack of pages to copy through its automatic document feeder (ADF).
Lexmark Optra Color 45n Inkjet Printer - $599
Prints at a resolution of 600X600dpi with 1200 dpi image quality. A bit slow for the price. What's cool: Expandable memory, eight ppm, four pages per minute in color.
Lexmark T430dn Printer - Duplex Laser - $799
Two-sided prints, compact, weighs 31.5 pounds. 250-sheet main tray, 100-sheet multipurpose tray for manual feeds, envelopes, and special media. What's cool: 150 pages of output on the top tray.
Sony UP 895 Inkjet Printer - $899
High resolution black and white video graphic printer. It accepts both NTSC and PAL signals. 508 lines x 1280 dots (NTSC) high quality prints. Professional graphics printer. What's cool: Print time of 3.9 seconds (standard print mode).