At the end of 2019, I needed to replace my printer.  I was tired of having to constantly buy super expensive ink cartridges and had tried off-brand cartridges (that frequently didn’t work), refilling printer cartridges (made a massive mess and never really worked), and I was just over it.  I decided it was time to take the plunge – time for a real homeschooler’s printer: the laser printer!

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you click on it and make a purchase I’ll receive a small commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, please check our Privacy Policy and Disclaimers and Disclosures.

I was still teaching violin lessons at the time, so I needed to be able to copy things for my students.  We frequently found ourselves needing to scan documents, especially since I didn’t have a smartphone to take pictures with.  And, I was tired of always printing in black and white.  All those awesome free print-and-play games I’d found?  Well, they were pretty boring in black and white.  All this to say, I wanted a color laser printer/scanner/copier.  While you can find pretty compact and inexpensive black and white laser printers, the combination I wanted meant the machine was going to be big and expensive, which of course, also didn’t work.  I had very limited space for it to fit in, and of course, we were on a budget.

Code Within the Laser Printer

Another thing I worried about was what sort of code was in the machine.  I had noticed with my last inkjet printer, that it didn’t want to recognize the off-brand cartridges.  I am less than willing to pay full price for name-brand things, particularly consumables like printer ink or cartridges, so I wanted to make sure it would be okay with the off-brand.

In reading reviews, I also found out that many machines, but particularly the Brother printers (formerly the gold stars in the printer world), once they decided you were out of toner, that was it – they wouldn’t print anymore.  The constant reminders from my inkjet printer that it thought it was out of ink were bad enough, but at least it would still print.  So, I searched high and low for a printer that fit all these needs, but especially that it would keep printing, even if it thought it was out of toner.

Canon Color ImageCLASS MF644Cdw is the Winner!

And I found one!  The Canon Color ImageCLASS MF644Cdw.  This printer is still pretty bulky, and the price was more than I wanted it to be, but it has far surpassed my every expectation.  You know those “starter toners” they send you with?  That have half or less the amount of a regular toner?  Well, after about 6 months it started telling me it was low on toner.  It was still printing beautifully, so I waited.

About 6 months later (1 year after purchase), it was telling me it was completely out of toner.  Again, still printing beautifully, so again, I waited.  Finally, in September 2021, almost 2 years after purchase, close to a year of printing on “no” toner, print quality finally started to suffer.  We replaced the toner with off-brand cartridges, and instantly it’s been printing beautifully again.  In addition, this printer has had NO maintenance; I don’t think there’s any necessary.