Switching to a Laser Printer

Epson Artisan 1430 – Out of Ink I Didn’t Use

I’m tired of putting up with ink-jet printers. Shortly after moving to Oregon I was taking lots of pictures and printing some of them to put up around the house. I purchased an Epson Stylus Photo 1400, a very nice printer. Large format with DVD printing. I used it to print some very nice large format photos, as large as 13 x 19, and many DVDs. After about 5 years it developed a problem where the black ink was bleeding into the yellow so the output was smeared with black. But it would print black fine. I still have it, but I haven’t used it in years. I then purchased an Epson Artisan 1430, which is the replacement for the SP 1400, and again it produced very high quality photos, many large format and DVDs.

Very low usage

But I don’t use printers very often, and when I tried to print a simple black and white item today, the printer needed Ink. Not because I’ve used it up surely. But I keep cartridges around, so I replaced all but one, the Magenta, for which I did not have a replacement. But in addition, the Light Magenta cartridge also reported Failed or Empty.

The problem with these printers is that if one cartridge is bad, or low or whatever, the printer will not print, even if you don’t need that ink color. For example there is no Black and White fall back.

So I was looking at buying over $100 in ink – A full set to have one on hand, plus the bad cartridges – Light Magenta and Magenta. The 6 carts for this printer are over $100. And I know that the Epson printers do check for “off brands”. Actually the off brands aren’t that much cheaper on the places I looked anyway.

I considered going with Epson Eco Tank printers which you fill from bottles not cartridges. I’ll let you look into those, but my bottom line was that they are more expensive, and I couldn’t get one that would print large format and DVDs anyway. They don’t make a $300 large format / DVD printer in ECO tank.

But then I got online and looked at laser printer costs and toner cartridge costs.

HP LaserJet P1102w

The HP LaserJet P1102w printer is widely available for about $129, prints black only at 15 pages / min – faster than an ink jet, and does not have the problem of running out of toner if you don’t use it often. Toner cartridges are widely available for about $75 or as low as $55. It has WiFi and ePrint capability if you care about those things.


I did a test. Printed a screenshot from a game.

Here’s the original cropped screenshot:

Screenshot from GW2 871 x 1247

Then I printed the image out on the LaserJet and scanned it in at 600 dpi which is the stated resolution of the laser printer. Here’s the scan. Click for Full Size 31MB of image. You may notice that I picked an image with a light colored background. Not white, but light.

600 dpi scan of printout

I’m not doing a complete analysis of this printer for rendering images. Just doing a simple test of something I’m likely to do. Print an image, either from a game or a shopping site.

Looks pretty good to me. In spite of the fact that the image was much lower dpi than the printer, the printer did a very good job of rendering to a gray scale and the printout occurred as quickly as any other page. Laser printers print at constant rate regardless of content, unlike inkjet printers. I didn’t mess with the image or adjust the printer settings. Just printed the image using FireFox so that I could easily adjust how big the image would be on the paper.

I’m sick of running out of ink just because I don’t use the printer. Talking with the fellow at the store where I bought this printer, who says I has a similar printer, the toner cartridges don’t expire, after a year of not printing, you might need to shake them gently to loosen up the toner.

Ink Expires? Printers Refuse to Print Using Expired Cartridges?

I did some research. It looks like this is a myth.

From Epson Support Site

Note the phrase about Printers do not disable cartridges after the suggested “Use Before” date. Perhaps my old cartridge just dried up?

Back in 2005 HP was sued over expiring cartridges.

2005 HP Suit

But that was a long time ago. I don’t know how the suit came out.

Here’s something else I found from a forum post about Epson cartridge dates:


I don’t know. Whatever the reason: Using up all the ink cleaning the cartridge each time I use the printer – It does a cleaning cycle after not being used for a while. Or because the cartridges dry up. Or because the printer refuses to use them. Whatever the reason, I’ve spent too much on wasted cartridges and printers that fail.

This HP printer is obsessive with data collection. It hosts a local website on the printer with a ton of information.



I’m going to give a laser printer a try. If I want to print photos, I’ll take them to Walmart or Staples which both have nice print shops and if I don’t like the quality or want something fancy then I’ll take them to a local print shop and get a canvas print. I’ve even ordered canvas prints online and that works too.

For printing envelopes – well address labels anyway, and package labels, and maps and other things, the black and white printer will be fine. I don’t think I can put an envelope through the printer like I did with the inkjet. But I can print the address on a piece of paper, cut it out and then glue it to the envelope with a glue stick. That’s what I did with package labels anyway. I don’t need to run special labels through my laser printer, just use a glue stick. And I am going to stop wasting money on printers that fail after not being used and print cartridges that fail, again, after not being used. We’ll see.