Death of an HP Printer

After more years of service than I can recall, my beloved HP LaserJet 4si printer has finally given up the ghost.

The machine printed 19 black and white pages per second and had two paper trays that, combined, held 1,000 sheets. I loved this feature because it eliminated frequent reloading of paper.

Even though it was ultra-reliable, HP discontinued the LaserJet 4si because of its massive size. So though mine is in principle repairable, you can’t get parts in a timely fashion any more.

So I have to buy a new printer for my Dell PC. I don’t need or want color. I need high speed black and white, lots of paper capacity, reliability, and ruggedness, since I print a LOT.

Any suggestions?


42 thoughts on “Death of an HP Printer

  • The big issue for you is the paper capacity, which is typically only available with more expensive printers. The HP LaserJet P3005x Printer has two 500-sheet input trays and costs $999.99 MSRP.

    Regardless of what you purchase (and I see no reason not to use HP), a network-ready printer with automatic duplexing (2-sided print) are must-haves.

  • Question for you, Mike:

    I don’t ever print on both sides. So why do I need 2-sided printing?

    Networked I get. I’d like everyone here to be able to print from their desktopo or laptop.

  • It’s the environmentally conscious thing to do — printing on 2 sides, at least for internal drafts, or for things you print for reference such as emails and web pages.

    Not preaching. Just repeating something I write over and over for a client of mine who provides print management solutions.

  • Bob, I am not familiar with bigger machines, but the more recent HP small office machines have a nuisance piece of software included which interferes with the shutdown of Windows. I have been putting up with this for almost 18 months now, and it may seem a small thing, but its a downright nuisance, and HP have done nothing to address it. There are lots of users online complaining about it, so you might want to consider another brand this time round.

  • I just went through the same thing. My ancient HP LaserJet 4 died recently. I went to Amazon and bought a new printer in 5 minutes. It arrived the next day.

    My choice? Brother HL-2170W 23ppm Laser Printer with Wireless and Wired Network Interfaces. About $90. These days, printers are so good, there’s no need to get anything expensive. All I need is black and white, one side. No need for duplex, color, multiple trays, etc.

    If I need more, I’ll let my design guys print it on their bazillion-dollar printers.

  • Hi again, Bob.

    For my own use (e.g. printing a large PDF to read offline, or a book-style document intended for binding), I find duplex is a plus, but I appreciate it may not be something you need. Generally, a machine with the paper capacity you require is going to have it as standard equipment anyway.

    I recently bought a high-end Brother all-in-one, and my impression is that even though they have lots of features and are less expensive, I don’t know how well they will hold up under truly high usage. They certainly seem less sturdy than my old HPs.

    Most printers come with a load of extra software, which is why I try to avoid doing more than just installing the necessary drivers (i.e. by NOT using their standard installation CD, and opting for “Add Printer” instead). Once installed, most (network-ready) printers can be managed using your browser, so the need for annoying desktop and system tray software is reduced/eliminated.

    Start with your paper capacity requirement, followed by print speed (pages per minute), look at the number of pages per month the machine is intended to handle (duty cycle), and make your choice. You pay something for the HP name, but I also think you get somewhat sturdier hardware (at least at the mid-to-upper range).

    Besides, you make so much money copywriting, you can afford to buy two of whatever you end up selecting, just to have a spare. 🙂

  • @Dean – the Brother you mentioned doesn’t meet Bob’s paper capacity requirements (and probably isn’t intended for the heavy workout Bob might give it).

    Bob, as a final note, top print speeds are now well above 50 pages per minute (highest HP offering is 62 pages per minute, although you pay for that speed). If you have multiple heavy users, you don’t want people waiting for their output. Alternatively, two (less-expensive) printers (perhaps of differing speed) might alleviate backups.

  • Bob,

    You say you “never” used two-sided printing–could this be because you lacked a duplexer?

    There are several advantages you may not have thought of. For example, most of us old-timers like to keep paper copies of past work of all kinds. Obviously, duplexed prints take up half the file space and make things easier to find. They take up half the briefcase space, too, when away from the office. When getting a duplexed print is as simple as a check box in the print dialog, you may find it is something you will use far more often than you may not think.

    In today’s world, when more and more software is coming without printed manuals, too, being able to print out an instruction manual for occasional reference that is half the size is another boon.

    Your 4si was a “workgroup” printer originally–and all the true workgroup class laser printers I have seen are pretty good today. There are even a few copying machines that also act as computer printers that may be worth exploring, depending upon your particular needs.

    I look forward to hearing what you settle upon…

  • I have an HP printer 2600 series but I now have a Windows Vista computer. I can use the printer to print but do not have software compatible with Vista to use the other printer functions (scanner etc…)Where can I find the software for the printer for Vista?

  • Bob,

    I was a long time HP user. Had 1 I severely messed up and continued to use a long time because I loved it so much.

    I am a graphic designer and found Lexmark to have terrible color output.

    My business needed a new printer. I compared several things including paper size and capacity, speed of print, dpi or dots per inch (the higher the dpi the better quality print), duplexer as well as the approximate cost per page for ink.

    I wanted a Dell as it was the least expensive per page, best print quality, and highest speed but it was expensive so I bought the slightly less expensive HP. I hated it with a passion, as it wrinkled almost every page of a 500 ream package of paper. I called HP and got no response from them to actually solve the problem.

    Less than 1 week later I returned it and bought the more expensive Dell. It looks almost exactly like the HP but doesn’t wrinkle my paper (except for envelopes run through the manual feed). When it paper jams the paper almost always runs completely through the machine or doesn’t enter it at all making it super easy to clear jams. Paper jams RARELY happen with my Dell.

    Guess what is also has the lowest cost of ink per page something that will save your company money in the long run if you are printing large quantities.

    I would highly recommend going with Dell.


  • Bob- I recently bought the HP Officejet Pro 8500 wireless All-in-One injet Printer (fax/copier/printer/scanner/color/B&W) as a back up to my LaserJet 6MP. Great machine with longest lasting inks that are reasonable.
    Max media capacity is 500 sheets. Worth checking out.

  • Bob —
    My old faithful HP B&w bit the dust this weekend. I bought the HP Officejet 6500 wireless. It’s an all-in-one with fax, scan, copy and print. It does color and will duplex (I too doubted that I’d use it, but for printing lengthy downloads, it’s not bad.) Best Buy has a great deal on them this week in our area — plus turn in your old printer (no matter the condition) and you’ll get $50 off the sale price.

  • Hello everyone!

    Excellent article and thanks for sharing your thoughts and i have an hp all in one printer c4180, i have inserted the cd and followed the instructions but for some reason it allways stops and freezes my computer

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