HP 940XL Black(131926)

I chose the HP Officejet 8500 as my first product review because I believe that its qualities make it competitive as one of the best consumer printers on the market. When I researched it, though, I saw many poor reviews. This is due to a combination of factors; It IS somewhat pricey (you do get what you pay for, and I think it to be one of the better printers, so that makes sense), people are impatient and don't know how to use printers (hence my blogging efforts), and printers are maddening devices in general sometimes.

The merits: The printer cartridges, one of the biggest points of contention among reviewers for their price, hold substantially more ink than most other inkjet printers. They are expensive. But if you purchase the high-yield cartridges, you're probably saving money per print. The high-yield cartridges are rated at well over 1,000 pages, the black one being rated over 2,000 (remember, that is always at the industry standard of 5% page coverage, which is likely below the page coverage of your typical prints) and are some of the most economical for color ink there are. The print quality is one thing that actually wasn't attacked about this printer, so you can feel good about that.

The pitfalls: This printer doesn't have many drawbacks that virtually all of the other new printers from any brand have. The cost of ink, yea, yea, yea. I know. Seriously, this printer becomes amazing if you find good refilled cartridges (Cartridge World offers working refills, internet does to, but be careful) because you can reduce the cost to print drastically. It makes the cartridges almost the cheapest on the market if you find affordable refills. Now, there is a unanimously awful aspect of this printer: when one cartridge of any color runs out, you can't print ANYTHING until you replace it. Many unruly users referred to this as being "held hostage" by HP, and I absolutely agree. I hate these large printer companies, really. They suck. They do these things all the time. The thing is, every company does it. The only way to avoid it is to buy a printer with tri-color cartridges, but if you want to do any regular amount of color printing, that isn't a solution -- you'll end up spending much more and probably have issues with quality and defects (tri-color cartridges often get clogged or cross-contaminated, when one color leaks into another and ruins it entirely). I do want to mention that I saw a lot of talk about it reprinting an entire print job if just one page prints incorrectly. That sounds odd to me. I haven't encountered it as I've been working with customers that have this printer, and there are also many ways to reprint one or a couple of pages from a print job without reprinting the whole thing. Nonetheless, be aware and hit the CANCEL button if it starts printing things you don't want.

This is still one of the best printers on the market to me, mostly because I know that other printers have exactly the same issues as this one. I have countless customers who own printers of all kinds that incessantly complain about not being able to print because one of the cartridges is empty, even though they aren't trying to use that color. Geez, even my friends -- you know, outside of my professional life -- complain to me about this. If you buy the HP Officejet 8500, you really should do your best to buy refilled cartridges. Not the cheapest ones you can find online, they won't likely work well. I recommend Cartridge World particularly for the 940 (sometimes a different number abroad) cartridge, but any reputable online refill cartridge retailer (Quill, for example) will have ones that weren't made in a basement in China. Buy the high-yield cartridges -- per dollar you will save, refills or not.

If you only need to print things in black, always go for toner/laser printers. Even though the 8500 is economical (if you make informed purchasing decisions and hit cancel when it has a mind of its own), toner is always more cost-effective for black-only printing. If you do not print often or anticipate to, you will not derive the same value from this printer as regular users. It simply isn't worth the higher upfront costs if you don't use it enough. But, I still maintain the stance that this is one of the best color printers on the market. If I've learned one thing in my years helping people with their printers, its that them not being happy with a printer in no way relates to whether or not it is a good product.

HP Officejet Pro 8500 All-in-one Printer
Amazon Price: $849.99 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 12, 2016)
The HP Officejet 8500 can do it all. And a lot of it.
A full set of O.E.M HP 940XL Ink cartridges including the black, cyan, magenta, and yellow cartridges.
Generic HP 940XL/44 Remanufactured Ink Cartridge Replacement for HP 940XL
Amazon Price: $7.72 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 12, 2016)
A set of remanufactured 940XL Cartridges that will yield similar quality and output for a small portion of the price as brand new cartridges.