How Printers Can Rob You Blind

Is your printer stealing from you? Yes--if it's making you replace ink or toner constantly, or if you need to buy pricey special paper to get the best output. Maybe it's stealing your time or sanity by being a lot slower than it said it'd be, or having cheapo components that break or are just plain hard to use. PC World reveals some sinners-and saints-based on our recent printer reviews.

Our Top 10 charts keep tabs on this and more. We test speed and print quality; we try all the features; and we price ink and toner to see if you're going to get reamed. For instance, while you'd think any monochrome laser would be cheap, think again: Some models have surprisingly pricey toner, like the HP LaserJet P2055x chart.

Multifunction printers (MFPs) are especially popular in small offices that need to do more in less space. The HP OfficeJet 6500 is a standout for being good at everything and offering cheap inks. Wish we could say the same for the Epson Workforce 600, whose ink costs are ridiculous even for its high-yield cartridges. One of the most balanced among color-laser MFPs is the Brother MFC-9450CDN. And then there's the Lexmark X543dn, whose toner is some of the most expensive we've ever priced.

The cost of a printer goes far beyond its purchase price. Make sure it's not stealing from you by checking ink or toner costs before you buy; and check PC World's reviews for other hidden costs or gotchas.

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