Recommendation for a Multifunction Printer?

MasterOne

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I am looking for a multifunction printer that works flawlessly under FreeBSD, mainly for office use.

Desired features are:
  • LAN connectivity with embedded print server
  • Duplex printing with CUPS support
  • Duplex scanning with SANE support
  • Laser vs ink not decided yet
  • Color vs black & white not decided yet
This may be more about a general guideline concerning which manufacturer to look at, because as far as I could see,
  • HP seems to offer good support with print/hplip but likely is the biggest rip-off when it comes down to toner/ink.
  • Epson used to be good, and there is print/epson-inkjet-printer-escpr, but I could not find much more information.
  • Canon was always something to stay away from in the past, but I don't know how it's now with them.
  • Xerox, Kyocera and what else I don't know nothing about.
Any hints?
 

Menelkir

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I have an Epson L365 (not sure if it's still available, maybe there's compatible printers available). It's a multifunction printer with ecotank (the duration of those tanks are really amazing), works like a charm in all OS I've tried (macOS, linux, windows, freebsd, and probably more). It uses print/epson-inkjet-printer-escpr for printing and graphics/xsane (the last one I've only tested on linux, but it will probably work on freebsd too). It works via wifi or USB.
 

tuxador

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I am happy with my Canon isensys mf 635cx , connected by LAN and working with CUPS and the IPPEVERYWHERE generic driver.
It's really fast.
The only issue I am facing is that "Linux Libertine" my favourite font is not rendered correctly although it worked with the propietary driver UFIIRI , which I had to substitute with Adobe Garamond Pro.
 
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MasterOne

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After more research I'm ready to compromise concerning the desired features. Since I actually want to get away from laser printing, I have settled on the idea to get an Epson EcoTank, but the problem is which one of the following two:
  • Epson EcoTank ET-M1120: Cheapest option for a pure monochrome printer, supported by print/epson-inkjet-printer-escpr, but lacking duplex printing and only has a small open paper tray for just 150 sheets. I'm not averse to forego the "MFP" part because I still have my good old Epson Perfection 1200U scanner doing it's job for the few required tasks (though of course two separate units consume twice the space).
  • Epson EcoTank ET-M2170: 3-in1 unit with duplex printing, that does everything better than the ET-M1120 at only a slightly higher price (despite what the Epson website shows, it's much cheaper on Amazon), BUT requires the newer epson-inkjet-printer-escpr2 driver package containing the PPD and a filter binary, and although the source package is available, there is no FreeBSD port (yet).
Of course the ET-M2170 has an overall better value, and I would already have ordered it, if I knew that it just works and the epson-inkjet-printer-escpr2 gets ported anytime soon.

That matter is really giving me headaches right now, because my old printer has just died and I really need a replacement as soon as possible, so I'll have to order one of the two by tomorrow. If I only knew... :-/
 
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MasterOne

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Very well, I have been in touch with the maintainer of print/epson-inkjet-printer-escpr, and he wrote that he will port the escpr2 driver if no one else does it. :)

In that case a decision has been made and I will now place an order for the Epson EcoTank ET-M2170 as the value of that one really can't be beaten (considering the huge difference between the price in the Epson web store and on Amazon).

P.S. I have long thought about laser vs ink and color vs monochrome. Color has been out of the equation quite early on, because what do you really need it for if it's not a photo printer and only results in higher overall costs with likely only occasional use. The idea to get away from laser was coming from concerns about particulates, unnecessary waste and costs. For a short moment I was considering a HP Neverstop Laser, but even with that one the TCO are a lot higher then with such an Epson EcoTank. Monochrome ink printers may look like a niche market, but this is really something to consider and I'm going for it!
 
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MasterOne

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I using one Ink Jet HP Officejet Pro 8020 Series
I really was considering a new HP printer because of the quite well support by print/hplip, but after having done enough research I have come to the conclusion that HP must be the worst when it comes down to actual printing costs. Only their Neverstop Laser and Smart Tank ink printers would have made any sense to me, but even then they have no chance against Epson with their EcoTank series (and I really wanted to get away from Laser printing for several important reasons).
 

fjdlr

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I really was considering a new HP printer because of the quite well support by print/hplip, but after having done enough research I have come to the conclusion that HP must be the worst when it comes down to actual printing costs. Only their Neverstop Laser and Smart Tank ink printers would have made any sense to me, but even then they have no chance against Epson with their EcoTank series (and I really wanted to get away from Laser printing for several important reasons).
Yes, if you have a great need to print, ink jet is not a good choice.
for me, it is to print 5 or 10 pages per month and I do not take the HP contract trap for the supply of ink
 

Emrion

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I gave up inkjet printing since... Many years. You may think you make saving on the cost of inks, but, in fact, this isn't true if you consider the cleaning of the heads and breakdowns of an inkjet printer.

A black-and-white laser printer costs nearly nothing in ink.
 

scottro

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What I did for years was have a cheap HP inkjet for scanning and a cheap Brother B&W for printing. Eventually, my wife wanted to print something in color and as we hadn't printed on the inkjet in years, the heads were completely clogged. I gave it to a friend who likes playing with this stuff and he was able to fix it. (I let him keep it, as I decided to go color MFC laser).
I wound up with a Samsung C460. I didn't want HP because of their absurd toner prices. The week I bought my printer, HP bought Samsung's printing section. Sigh. However, I'm still able to get generic toner cartridges that work at great prices. I think we may have had to replace toner twice in 6 years. Scanning was also easy, found the solution on the ArchLinux wiki, you can edit one of the /usr/local/etc/sane.d files (for xerox_mpf) to get scanning working. I believe former forum member phoenix also uses this printer.

But I digress. One of the ultra cheap multifunction inkjets for scanning and a Brother B&W laser are a great combo. (You can, I have read, keep the inkjet's heads from clogging by running print test once a month).
 

meine

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I have a Canon Pixma MG5750, and although printing just works with print/gutenprint and scanning works good with graphics/xsane, I wouldn't recommend it.

Canon has multifunctional drivers for this printer for Linux (.deb and .rpm) and they work great. The lack of just one driver on FreeBSD to manage the AIO-printer isn't the problem, separate programs are just fine (and better UNIX).

On FreeBSD it is sometimes too much of a challenge to get things right with printing -- 'sometimes', because for no clear reason sometimes it works fine, other times it is a PITA. Colour, double sided work and sometimes not, especially no colour and not even plain black letters (and a full cartridge), which is rather basic. I suspect this is also due to changing firmware on the printer and a different pace of keeping your drivers up to that.

Such cases feel like Stevie Martin's experience...

[edited] _are_ like Stevies's vid.
 
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MasterOne

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Yes, if you have a great need to print, ink jet is not a good choice. for me, it is to print 5 or 10 pages per month and I do not take the HP contract trap for the supply of ink
I meant HP is not a good choice due to their ridiculous TCO, not that ink is not a good choice, as can be seen from the current Mono EcoTank Printer series from Epson.
I gave up inkjet printing since... Many years. You may think you make saving on the cost of inks, but, in fact, this isn't true if you consider the cleaning of the heads and breakdowns of an inkjet printer. A black-and-white laser printer costs nearly nothing in ink.
I guess you haven't seen Epson's Mono EcoTank Printer series yet:

THINKING LASER? THINK AGAIN - EcoTank mono: high quality, fast, economical

No ink cartridges and the original Epson refill bottle good for 6000 pages costs just 14.99 EUR (incl. VAT). No laser printer can beat that!
 

Emrion

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I meant HP is not a good choice due to their ridiculous TCO, not that ink is not a good choice, as can be seen from the current Mono EcoTank Printer series from Epson.

I guess you haven't seen Epson's Mono EcoTank Printer series yet:

THINKING LASER? THINK AGAIN - EcoTank mono: high quality, fast, economical

No ink cartridges and the original Epson refill bottle good for 6000 pages costs just 14.99 EUR (incl. VAT). No laser printer can beat that!

I think it's one of the last effort for inkjet to remain in the non-professional market. I have no doubt that you eventually realize you've been fooled.
 

astyle

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I'd recommend a desktop laser printer from HP - there's a couple models around $100-150 from Amazon. I personally have a LaserJet P1102w. yeah, laser cartridges are a ripoff, but for my model, there are cheap substitutes available on Amazon... On FreeBSD's CUPS, it takes foo2zjs driver, which works. My only complaint - After nearly a decade in service, it runs hot when it has a lot to print within an hour.

Stay away from ink and ink subscriptions, and go for laser.
 

ct85711

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I know for most people, I still would recommend a laser printer over an EcoTank; especially if you don't print too often. As with inkjets, EcoTanks still have the issue of the ink being a liquid; so will dry up just as much as an inkjet (though not as fast). It may be good if you print semi-regularly; so the printer can keep the heads clean otherwise if you only print a couple pages a year it isn't any different than being more expensive. Later on, I'll have to see about getting me a new printer; as my old Samsung ML2010 finally died. It's well over 20+ years when I bought that printer; so it last well past it's life span. I could have possibly replaced the rollers on it, and it would have lasted even longer.

The biggest thing laser has any other printer, is more of that you don't have to worry about the ink drying out (since it is already a powder to begin with); so you don't have an issue of leaving the printer sitting off to the side for a couple years without use and still work without any issues.
 

diizzy

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Pretty much anything that's not bottom of the barrel will do fine as PCL5/6 support is more or less always there.
I would look for Kyocera as their build quality is pretty good compared to many others and prices aren't that bad however due to COVID there's a general shortage of MFPs.
 

astyle

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I know for most people, I still would recommend a laser printer over an EcoTank; especially if you don't print too often. As with inkjets, EcoTanks still have the issue of the ink being a liquid; so will dry up just as much as an inkjet (though not as fast). It may be good if you print semi-regularly; so the printer can keep the heads clean otherwise if you only print a couple pages a year it isn't any different than being more expensive. Later on, I'll have to see about getting me a new printer; as my old Samsung ML2010 finally died. It's well over 20+ years when I bought that printer; so it last well past it's life span. I could have possibly replaced the rollers on it, and it would have lasted even longer.

The biggest thing laser has any other printer, is more of that you don't have to worry about the ink drying out (since it is already a powder to begin with); so you don't have an issue of leaving the printer sitting off to the side for a couple years without use and still work without any issues.
Samsung printers were never around that long - they only started appearing after 2005. I went through 2 of them in the span of 3 years before deciding to go with HP.
 

astyle

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Pretty much anything that's not bottom of the barrel will do fine as PCL5/6 support is more or less always there.
I would look for Kyocera as their build quality is pretty good compared to many others and prices aren't that bad however due to COVID there's a general shortage of MFPs.
Depends on where you live... most MFP's are easily available in online shops.
 

astyle

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I live in US, and Jeff Bezos is my personal online supplier for any MFP I would choose to buy. :p
 
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MasterOne

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Well, we'll see, but the Epson EcoTank ET-M2170 was a really good deal (with 173,03 EUR excl. VAT less than half of those 420,16 EUR excl. VAT that Epson wants in their own online shop) and it already comes with 2 ink bottles good for up to 11.000 pages and 3 years warranty.

I don't expect having been fooled, their "last effort for inkjet" with tank instead of cartridge, monochrome instead of color (less likelihood for anything drying out because you always print black) and Heat-Free Technology really caught my eye. It's going to be in use as a daily office printer replacing a defective Brother laser printer.

I wanted to get away from laser printing because of the particulates, which I am really worried about (and I recognized the pollution despite having used an external filter unit at the air outlet).

I really don't know what the downside of this is supposed to be, because overall TCO is indeed less compared to any laser printer in that price and printing demand range. Just compare Epson's refill bottle with HP's Neverstop refill toner or even any 3rd party toner offer.

After having done extensive research for several days, that approach seemed to be the only one which made any sense. A return to anything with an ink or toner cartridge is pretty much out of question for me.
 

diizzy

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EcoTanks are cheap ~40-50EUR printers with a larger tank and garbage to be honest. You'll need to actively use it for it not to dry up (like within 2-3 weeks) and the overall quality of both the printer itself and prints are poor at best. Given the platform I'd also expect it be more or less software (driver) driven so that's going to be "fun" if you're not using Windows.
 
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MasterOne

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EcoTanks are cheap ~40-50EUR printers with a larger tank and garbage to be honest. You'll need to actively use it for it not to dry up (like within 2-3 weeks) and the overall quality of both the printer itself and prints are poor at best. Given the platform I'd also expect it be more or less software (driver) driven so that's going to be "fun" if you're not using Windows.
They are certainly not cheap and garbage. Not sure about any previous generation, but the current one makes a really good impression. As said, I have done extensive research and only read goods things about them.

Sure thing, they are not of high end build quality, but also not inferior to any laser printer in the same price range. Their pigment ink prints by PrecisionCore print head with 400 nozzles are also supposed to be nearly as good if not equal to laser prints at pretty much the same speed with quicker start due to their heat-free technology (no heat-up time).

Of course any ink printer is destined to be used regularly, and that's what we are going to do as it will be put to good use as everyday office printer.

They are indeed software driven (GDI) but well supported by the escpr2 printer driver for CUPS, which just got ported to FreeBSD.

Overall I am confident that I made the right and economical decision, and I'm especially glad that I no longer will have a source of particulates in the vicinity of my office desk, which really was something of concern to me.
 
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