Maybe its just the alignment of the stars but many of our customers keep asking “What kind of printers would you recommend other than HP?” Is there a good HP Printer Alternative? Glossing over the various reasons why Hewlett Packard’s reputation has taken a nose dive over the past few years, I will move on to some alternatives. With so many competitors scrambling for your business it is helpful to know what brands to avoid and what brands to consider. The following is my opinions and thoughts on what brands to consider and what brands to ignore on your journey to find an HP alternative.
What to avoid:
I am not a big fan of what I call the ”Off Brands”. Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Samsung, Dell, and Brother would all fall in to this category. Individually they all have their place; Brother makes a good entry level fax machine and Konica Minolta makes a decent little copier. The problem with the “Off Brands” is that there is very little support to keep them running. Finding parts, supplies, or service for these machines will all but guarantee a shortened useful life. The manufactures are aware of their lack of support and have turned to a lower price point to catch the consumers attention. What you will find is most of these units are inexpensive to purchase but cost far above average to use. One example is a Samsung Laser printer that costs around $120 to purchase but the replacement toner cartridge is around $100. Another would be a $350 Brother Fax that takes a $70 toner to print 3000 pages but also takes a $100 drum every 2-3 cartridges. The lesson that needs to be conveyed here is the cost to operate a printer is far more important than the initial purchase price.
What to consider:
Xerox, Lexmark, and Canon can be considered as alternatives to the HP name but there are some things to keep in mind when you make the switch. Every major brand has a few issues to contend with but so does HP or you wouldn’t be reading this article. First, what all these brands have on their side is widely available parts, supplies, and service. The fact that you can pick up a cartridge so easily creates competition among vendors and drives your operating costs down. Competition also opens the door to remanufactured products and value added services, further increasing your savings. When considering a printer or fax it is always a good practice to analyze the cost of use.
These brands share a lot in common with HP as far as availability of parts and supplies but they all bring a little something to the table that needs to be considered. The following is a few thoughts on each of the alternative brands to consider:
Pro-Great color output, particularly in the color cube line. Lower cost per page than HP.
Con-higher repair costs due to alternative technology. Recommend a warranty as the cost of the parts can be shocking.
Pro-Good printers and reasonable parts costs. Speeds and quality at or above HP. Large toner cartridges.
Cons- A few design issues but not a deal breaker. Lexmark fights remanufacturing, raising the cost of cartridges.
Pro-Familiar print engines. Our favorite for fax machines. Parts and toners are cross compatible with the HP line. Lower pricing for unit and consumables.
Con- Canon makes a lot of HP print engines so if you don’t like the way HP’s are made.. they are the same. User interface not as polished. Some models only carry 90 day warranty.
Final thoughts: HP has done a lot the past few years to alienate some previously loyal customers. Pulling the plug on their warranty program was just the start but couple that with popular products failing before year 2 and we have a problem. With all the bad news and stories I receive about HP they are still my go to printer. For sure you need to know what models to avoid but your provider should help with that. Hewlett Packard, in my opinion, is still the best printer for your money.
If you have any questions regarding what printers you should be using feel free to contact our team. Vanzebo Laser services the Greater San Francisco Bay Area and the entire Sacramento Valley. We service and supply all of the brands referenced in this post and know them well.