Need a printer reccomendation..color laser

I work in a design firm which means we are often printing out color designs. I purchased the HP color laserjet 2550 6 months ago. This past week the printer stopped working, I found out it was because the yellow toner was out of ink, while the cyan and magenta were at 3%. I don't see how I could have used this much ink, so I have been trying to reach HP to no avail. Anyway, it is going to be almost $500 to replace all the cartridges and the drum(which is at 35%). It seems to me that I would be better off getting a new printer. I need the most economical color laser for under $1000 with extra cartridges. I'd like to keep the cost down as much as possible. Don't care about speed. Just need the most economical color laser, both short term, and long term.

Any reccomendations? am I right in buying a whole new printer?

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If you're happy with the printer, you're better off keeping it.

Most laser printers ship with cartridges that are only half full. You don't mention how many pages you have printed, nor what kind of pages you print. Cartridges are specified at 5% coverage. If you are printing full-page images you will use more like 15% coverage per colour (total 60%). However, the actual coverage depends on many factors. For example, a snow landscape uses significantly less ink than a photo of green grass. Other factors affect it too. For example, in CMYK images PhotoShop defaults to a maximum of 300% ink coverage (e.g. to get very deep black, it'll use 100% black plus lots of colour in the mix).

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that you are probably blaming the printer unfairly. Six months is a long time. The 2550's cartridges are rated at 4000 pages, so my guess is that the starter cartridges are only good for 2000 pages. That's only about 11 pages per day - at low coverage. Are you sure that's all you print???

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You also should shop around for the consumables. You might be able to find a better price. I definitely agree, though. If you buy another printer, it too will only last about 6 months before running out of toner.

Hi ejoech,

>>Anyway, it is going to be almost $500 to replace all the cartridges and the drum(which is at 35%)

Unless you are having problems associated with the drum (constant paper jams or blurred printing) then you're not going to need another drum for a while yet. You can carry on using it, either until you get a message "Order Drum kit" or until the % is alot lower (say 5%).
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As hdhondt says, stick with it.

The drum is rated at 5000 colour or 20000 black pages (this is because a colour image takes 4 developments), so if you are doing all colour, 35% or 1750 pages remaining, means 5000-1750 =3,250 colour pages printed.- not bad for starter kit toners.
If you get 5000 colour pages from $500 worth of new consumables, it works out at about 10 cents a colour page.

Often, the cheaper the printer, the higher the running costs. I have come across lasers with colour page costs as high as 70 cents.
the 2550n shipped with full-yield cartridges (yields: 5k black/4k color), the 2550L and 2550Ln shipped with full-yield black and 1/2 yield color cartridges (yield: 2k).  

> I work in a design firm which means we are often printing out color designs

graphics printing, especially color and full page graphics, will chew up toner real fast. toner yield is based on that hypothetical "5% average coverage".  that's a regular *text* document.  printing pages of graphics that are covering most the page can easily cut stated yields in half or more.  if your's came with full-yield cartridges, you print mainly full or near-full page color prints, and you went through at least a half-case of paper, you're ahead of the game.

when shopping around for cartridges, you will find both full-yield and 1/2 yield color cartridges available. the full-yield cartridges are q3960a (K), q3961a (C), q3962a (Y), q3963a (M); and the 1/2 yield color cartridges are q3971a (C), q3972a (Y), q3973a (M).  (CMYK = color and not part of the part number)

full-yield color cartridge specs:

1/2 yield color cartridge specs:

the full-yield color cartridges cost $100 direct from hp and the 1/2 yield ones for ~$75

pricewatch black ranges from ~$52 for recycled & ~$72 for retail:

pricewatch color (full) ranges from ~$60 for recycled & ~$87 for retail:

pricewatch color (half) ranges from $66-79:

you could go with recycled/refilled toner and save on toner but your print quality and printer reliability may suffer somewhat, depending upon the quality of the refilled cartridges. finding a reliable source for recycled toner can be a crap shoot. i use someone (somewhat) nearby who does their own work and guarantees them, even down to repairing any problems caused by their cartridges (which hasn't happened).

if you are looking at replacing it... dell's cheap color laser is fairly well regarded. it's only major draw back is you go back to them for the toner (at least it's fairly priced). with a deep discount because it is an older model (out about the same time as the LJ2550), you can get a new printer and 2 extra full-yield (4k yield ea) sets of toner (3 total, including what comes with the printer), for under $950. (plus tax, shipped free).  the full sets of toner are 310ea which the printer's effective price (less toner) is a measly 14 bucks. (cnet's review)
ejoechAuthor Commented:
Thanks.. i will stick with the HP.
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