Printer suggestions?

I don't currently have a printer. I'm looking to buy one in the next couple of weeks. I only need it for mystery shopping. I also only have a laptop computer. Any suggestions on brand, store, etc?. Trying to stay under $150 but would be thrilled to find a good quality printer under $75....thanks

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Here's my 2 cents: I like Epson and Canon. Keep in mind that if you pay less for the printer you can expect to pay MORE for print cartridges. They'll get you coming and/or going. I don't care for HP.
Thanks..I don't know a whole lot about printers..what's a decent price for a good quality one?
I had a fast one that had a fancy digital display and it went south on me a month or so ago. I had to replace it. I bought a very low end epson. Once I have adjusted to it not being as fast as I am used to, I have to say that for the price it's an excellent printer. It was only $50. I chose it based on the price of the ink. It had the most inexpensive ink of the 3 I was considering. The HP had the most expensive ink.
This epson has some nice features and I would recommend it to someone else based on my experience. One note about it though, the disc that came with it didn't work in my laptop. I had to go to the epson support site and download the correct drivers. However, that was all very easy.

I enjoy awkward questions and uncomfortable silences. This gas station pavement is $%^@*#& hot.
If you are going to just use the printer for mystery shopping I would recommend a laser printer over an ink jet. I have a low end Canon laser printer and they available on Amazon for well under $100. The laser only prints in black and white but I don’t miss having color prints at all. The biggest advantage to the laser is the cost of ink I’ve had it for over a year and have not had to replace the toner cartridge yet. With my old inkjet I was replacing the ink almost every couple of months. Also the laser is faster and quieter. Since you are going to use it with your laptop you will need one that has wifi capability. Laser printers are generally larger than inkjets. I would suggest you visit a Staples or Best Buy store to see if they are too large for you.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/13/2018 04:21PM by kenasch.
Mine is a cheap one from Walmart. It is an HP. I buy the XL cartridges (for about $65 with one for black and white and one for color, packaged together), and they last almost a year. I like that it was easy to set up with my laptop (cord included, LOL!) and my laptop doesn't even work with CDs, so I went to HP website and downloaded the driver. Since I am totally tech hapless/helpless, that has to tell you how easy it was to do (else I would not have been able to do it).

I do use it 99% for MSing. I print off the FIRST page of the assignment, and for detailed assignments that have 37 pages of guidelines, I print it off once a quarter/year, whatever the rotation is. Last month I printed over 100 pages for a route of gas stations, and it used about 10% of the cartridge. And I won't have to print off those guidelines again until next March or April.

I know everyone says laser is better. But I believe in getting the mostest for the leastest, and for my use, cheap works just fine. And remember, the full cost comes right off your gross MSing income as a deductible expense!

(Oh, and I bought a more expensive, wireless, laser printer -- and couldn't figure it out, how to make it work, so I returned it and got the HP.)
I have an HP Envy 4512. I use it wirelessly. I even downloaded the app and can print from my mobile phone. Also, I do a lot of reveal audits and have to print out tons of paperwork. I was being eaten alive with the ink cost and running out of ink on the last couple of pages and had to rush to go buy more. My next door neighbor told me about the HP Ink program. I now can print up to 300 pages, color or black, for only around $11 a month. My printer tells HP when I am running low on color and black ink and they automatically mail me more. I never have run out of ink since I started with the HP program. Now, that I don't have to pay the high cost of ink and printing all these audit papers, I can actually make a little money on the job. If I don't print 300 pages, it rolls over to the next month's allotment. They have different prices for different print needs. It has been a lifesaver.

Shopping Arkansas, Louisiana, & Mississippi.
@ArkLaMissshopping wrote:

I have an HP Envy 4512. I use it wirelessly. I even downloaded the app and can print from my mobile phone. Also, I do a lot of reveal audits and have to print out tons of paperwork. I was being eaten alive with the ink cost and running out of ink on the last couple of pages and had to rush to go buy more. My next door neighbor told me about the HP Ink program. I now can print up to 300 pages, color or black, for only around $11 a month. My printer tells HP when I am running low on color and black ink and they automatically mail me more. I never have run out of ink since I started with the HP program. Now, that I don't have to pay the high cost of ink and printing all these audit papers, I can actually make a little money on the job. If I don't print 300 pages, it rolls over to the next month's allotment. They have different prices for different print needs. It has been a lifesaver.

$132 a year for ink doesn’t seem to be an economical solution. Even with reveal audits, much of the printing can be reduced by printing to a file that can be viewed on a smart device. I’m glad the HP program works for you but I do think there are better solutions to the high cost of ink.
I have a Brother black and white printer only. TN 420 The toner Cartridge is about $52. only need to replace it every two years. Printer HL-2270DW Brother. Easy to install, wireless, laser. Purchased at Costco. Compatible with Windows,2000XP, Vista, Windows 7 (which I have), Windows server2003/2008 and Mac OS X.
Never had a problem, purchased in 2013. Check prices, worth not purchasing ink. I do not like HP printers for this much use.
kenasch, The ink was so high for both color and black that I could purchase a new printer that included the ink. So, for me, the program works very well. I go through a lot of ink. I have just one audit that prints out 26 pages each audit; including the authorizations and the verification forms. I also do a lot of merchandise work that has a lot of authorization forms, planograms, etc. So, $132 a year is wonderful for me.

Shopping Arkansas, Louisiana, & Mississippi.
Why do you need a printer?

I got rid of my printer in 2016 when the power supply went bad. The only shop that required me to print something was one for Informa. I went to Staples for that.

All other shops are done digitally, including audits.

The internet doesn't make you smart. It makes you good at regurgitation.
I can't remember the last time I printed something for a shop.

There are reasons that a body stays in motion
At the moment only demons come to mind
If I were in the market for a printer, I would base my decision in part upon the volume of printing. The more you print, the more you might prefer a more expensive laser printer. The less you print, the less you may have an issue with ink. There is one other possible consideration: what else do you do? Do you scan? Do you print photos, created documents on specific paper, etc.? If so, you might want a printer that does all those things well, as well.

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts. - Eleanor Roosevelt
I have an HP and I also have their instant ink program. I pay $4.99 a month for 100 printed pages and they roll over if you don't use them. They send you all the ink. So for about $60 a year, I get all the ink I need. This month I had a great deal of printing and upgraded to the next level. Only on very rare occasions have I needed to upgrade to get an additional 20 pages for $1 more per month.
Also Best buy had a really nice printer for under $100. They have printers all the time on sale.
@HonnyBrown wrote:

Why do you need a printer?

I got rid of my printer in 2016 when the power supply went bad. The only shop that required me to print something was one for Informa. I went to Staples for that.

All other shops are done digitally, including audits.

Wow, Honny, you are a MUCH more confident shopper than I!!!

Number one, I can't remember if I took a nap yesterday.

I print out the first page of every shop (the page with addresses, phone numbers, etc.). I want that written record!

If I'm ever audited by IRS for mileage or office expense, I want REAMS of paper to take to them!

ELECTRONICS FAIL. When my first cell phone died, I lost all my contacts and everything.

I go to a lot of rural areas where my Verizon plan just won't function. Just WON'T! So no digital access to guidelines, etc.

And the nearest place for me to run a copy of something is probably the Walmart 45 miles away.

My shop records usually are one sheet of paper plus a receipt (or business card, you know, whatever the POV is). Even if it's hundreds of shops, all the paper records for one year fit in a box that nicely fits on a shelf.. After I do my taxes for the year, my tax return goes in the same box. Neat and organized, not much space.

And as you know by now, my history with apps is positively negative.

smiling smiley

(I just spent 8 months at my daughter's without a printer; shopping was HELL, because I had to go to the library to print off stuff, at 25 cents a page!)

(Plus, remember, Dawn is fairly new to shopping. She may eventually reach your level of competence and confidence, but she ain't there yet. And I've been doing this for close to 10 years, and I'm not there yet, either! LOL!!!)

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/14/2018 04:48PM by ceasesmith.
One of the main reasons for getting a printer is without one I'm having a tough time staying organized with the mystery shopping. It was fine when I was shopping the same 3 to 5 shops each weekend. Now that I'm venturing out and trying new shops it takes such a long time to write down all the important guidelines etc. On the technical side, I'm pretty comfortable with technology but as pointed out already technogy can fail sometimes. Thankfully that hasn't happened to me yet, but it is always good to have a back up plan..The suggestions are appreciated...
cease, yes, electronics fail, but at the same time, paper fades, gets ripped or gets damaged. My first year as a shopper, I tried keeping paper files, but soon found out that digital ones were more reliable. I spilled a glass of red wine on my accordion folder. Nothing was salvaged. I've been digital ever since.

You have Verizon. Dial *228 to update your phone. Verizon is always putting up new towers.

The internet doesn't make you smart. It makes you good at regurgitation.
Dawn, it's very easy to stay organized electronically!

On your computer, creat an "MSC" folder. Open it.

In the MSC folder, create subfolders with the names of the MSCs.

Place all of the shops for that MSC in the appropriate folder.

I name my files in the following manner:

2018-10-14-Bank-Location-Card.

2018-10-14-Bank-Location-Guidelines

@dawnhu wrote:

One of the main reasons for getting a printer is without one I'm having a tough time staying organized with the mystery shopping. It was fine when I was shopping the same 3 to 5 shops each weekend. Now that I'm venturing out and trying new shops it takes such a long time to write down all the important guidelines etc. On the technical side, I'm pretty comfortable with technology but as pointed out already technogy can fail sometimes. Thankfully that hasn't happened to me yet, but it is always good to have a back up plan..The suggestions are appreciated...

The internet doesn't make you smart. It makes you good at regurgitation.
FedEx Office. Prints are only a few pennies a page in BW and just a little more for color. No printer to buy, no ink to buy. No worries. And it has been years since I needed a print for a shop. PDF to the cloud I can access on my phone works great for me.

proudly shopping in the D.
For you all comfortable with the tech, this is all terrific.

I lost all my files when my home PC died.

I lost everything AGAIN when my phone died.

I bought a new computer.

Reconstructed, over several months, stuff I needed. But it runs Win10, so it was a steep learning curve.

Guess what? Turned it on last week, got this message "Critical Process Died."

So, all that stuff is somewhere in the "cloud", I guess. But if you don't have a clue as to what the file names or tags were -- and you don't, because it is all GONE -- you can't retrieve it.

Yep. Brand new, dead as a doornail. And yes, they will take it back -- I just have to bundle it into the car and DRIVE 100 miles to where I got it.

Maybe they'll be able to retrieve stuff, maybe they won't.

And I regret all the time I wasted "learning" Win10.

Give me a paper trail, every time. Even Judge Judy gets tired of asking to "see" the conversation (texts, I suppose) on people's phones and hearing them say, sorry, judge, I don't have that phone any more.

And yes, paper can be damaged, too.

I'm not arguing. I am NOT tech oriented, and I wish I were as comfortable with it as you all are.

Maybe it's my accounting background, but give me paper.
I have used a Brothers laser printer for 12 years and print the occasional shopping needs, e-Bay labels and coupons. The unit has functioned well on 2000, XP and 7 and when either I shift to 10 or it dies, I will replace with the current Brothers model.
Here’s a hint on how I can quickly avoid printing instructions or even saving them to a file. If there is some info I need on a shop I simply take a picture with my iPhone of the instructions and/or sample picture from the guidelines showing on my PC monitor screen. I now have the pertinent info in my smart phone’s photo library. It’s amazing how clear the photo of my monitor screen can be. It’s a lot faster than doing a print screen and then transferring it to my iPhone and of course no printing involved.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/15/2018 01:34AM by kenasch.
Get a laser printer.... You will pay no more than $150, easily:

Brother, black and white, not wireless is $80 right now, but is $50 on a sale: [www.officedepot.com]

Brother, black and white, wireless is $130 right now, but is $80 on a sale: [www.officedepot.com]

Generic toner is typically $10 and will last 1000's of pages....

An equivalent competitor which is what I recommend to buy if you're looking to buy NOW is this for $85 (Dell, black and white, wireless): [www.adorama.com]

Again, generic toner is typically $10 and will last 1000's of pages.

@HonnyBrown wrote:

Why do you need a printer?

I got rid of my printer in 2016 when the power supply went bad. The only shop that required me to print something was one for Informa. I went to Staples for that.

All other shops are done digitally, including audits.

Because printers and toners are cheap ($10 toner that'll last 1000's of pages and the printers themselves cost no more than $150 at most) and can be written off as a business expense.... When you need, it's useful. When you go laser, you don't have to worry about using it periodically unlike my inkjet printers to maintain the ink. Toner doesn't need that kind of maintenance.

@PaulinMI wrote:

FedEx Office. Prints are only a few pennies a page in BW and just a little more for color. No printer to buy, no ink to buy. No worries. And it has been years since I needed a print for a shop. PDF to the cloud I can access on my phone works great for me.

A printer at home saves me a trip to the FedEx Office. Having a printer at home offsets the gas, time and inconvenience of driving over to a FedEx Office.

Shopping the Greater Denver Area, Colorado Springs and in-between in Colorado. 28 year old male and willing to travel! Badged for Denver International Airport.


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/15/2018 05:19AM by Tarantado.
I print when I am required to, so it is an unneeded expense to buy a printer. I'm required to print a worksheet for one MSC. I shop for them once or twice a year.

The internet doesn't make you smart. It makes you good at regurgitation.
In my world, there is one printer/scanner/whatever for everyone. We use the thing in different ways. It is multi-purpose. The largest cost is for different papers, etc. for different projects. But this is not so much.

With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts. - Eleanor Roosevelt
I agree with Tarantado, laser printers have come down in price especially black and white ones. Toner can be expensive so choose one that has easy to find generic refills but even the starter cartridge will last a very long time. The toner doesn't dry out like inkjet cartridges so if you go a while without printing you haven't ruined a cartridge. The price per sheet to print, as far as I've seen, is cheaper than inkjet. As a bonus, you get better quality printing as well. Watch for deals.

Staples has on sale the Samsung Xpress M2020W Wireless Monochrome Laser Printer with NFC + WiFi Mobile Printing - Supported by HP (1) (SS272H) for $52 (reg $99). I bought it for my father last year and it has been a good printer. I haven't looked at replacement toner since it was so cheap and will probably take him years to go through the toner that came with it.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/15/2018 04:55PM by wwin.
I have a Brother laser printer and it is wonderful! The toner cartridges last a long long time and we use this printer a great deal for my mystery shopping, our two home businesses and my husband's private music teaching. The cartridges actually cost less than the ones for our old ink jet printer did. I will never go back to ink jet.
@Tarantado wrote:


A printer at home saves me a trip to the FedEx Office. Having a printer at home offsets the gas, time and inconvenience of driving over to a FedEx Office.


I suppose if you have to have a printer in house, @Tarantado and others are correct. Laser is the way to go. I guess I am lucky as my FedEx office is about 2 miles from my house. But honestly, I may have printed 20 pages in the last year? And most of that was for my kids school reports. And BTW, if you are printing there for your MS business, that is also tax deductible. I print everything I need to pdf, and save it somewhere I can get to it anywhere I need it. Last printer I bought was an Epson all-in-one about 13 years ago and got tired of the fees for the constantly drying up ink cartridges. Finally wised up about 6 years ago. Now I just use it as a scanner.

proudly shopping in the D.
Brother makes great products. I am a real estate agent and I use mine daily. Buy your toner cartidriges on e-bay for 10% of what Staples & Office Max charge. Same quality. The mark up on ink and toner are why the manufacturers sell their printers at a loss. They make it up on the ink & toner cartridges + 100%.
@crcorrigan wrote:

Brother makes great products. I am a real estate agent and I use mine daily. Buy your toner cartidriges on e-bay for 10% of what Staples & Office Max charge. Same quality. The mark up on ink and toner are why the manufacturers sell their printers at a loss. They make it up on the ink & toner cartridges + 100%.

I am using a Brother All-In-One. I know I paid less than $75 for it. My cartridges are less than $5 each. I definitely spend less than $50 a year in ink.
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