Lasers are faster and sharper for text. Inkjets are better for photos. Laser toners are usually expensive but print thousands of pages. Ink cartridges are cheaper but print fewer pages. If you don't use the printer regularly, a laser will hold up, but if you leave your inkjet off for days at a time, the ink will clog and possibly ruin the printer.
If you have a need to print out high quality photos, a laser can't touch an inkjet for that. But if you can skip the photos or don't need top quality, the Samsung CLP300 color laser does a nice job on photos and a great job on text. I got mine for $80 at Staples after a big rebate. I also bought an extra set of toner cartridges for $70 at http://ccs-digital.com
but even though I've done a lot of printing over the year, I'm still on the original set.
If you need high quality photos, only an inkjet will do.
As someone who was in the computer hardware business for years (though I rarely sold printers since I couldn't compete with the crazy rebates) I have always recommended Epson. The print quality is excellent, even on plain paper. I have photos I printed on a 640 about ten years ago hanging in my office which still look good, though not as good as the ones from the CX8400 on glossy paper. The warranty is excellent. For a year, Epson will express-ship a replacement and pick up the old one. I had one customer who needed this. He called one afternoon and had the replacement two days later. Another client bought a Canon. It needed two repairs within a few months. Each time it was taken to the repair center, then picked up a few days later. This client runs a specialty printing business and this really hurt. They have since bought an Epson and have had no down time since.
Epson has also made things easier for their customers by standardizing their cartridges. Most of their printers use one of two types. The three-color plus black use T069 (CX5000 CX6000 CX7000 CX7400 CX7450 CX8400 CX9400FAX CX9475Fax NX100 NX105 NX400 Workforce 30/40/500/600 and C120) and the 5-color plus black use T078 (R260 R280 R380 RX580 RX595 and RX680). This means you should be able to find a lot of people who use the same cartridges you do and possibly buy in quantity. When it's time to replace the printer, the next model will probably also use the same ones.
Though I am quite happy with the results of the CX8400, if you really want the absolute best photo quality, go with one of the 5-color ones. Some of the models above include scanner and/or printing on DVDs.
Right now Epson is having a blowout on the 5-color R280 for $60. It even prints on DVDs.
The biggest complaint about all inkjets is the high cost of ink cartridges. http://ccs-digital.com
has cartridges for about $4.50 each. They also have a unique product - a two-piece cartridge where the ink is in a separate tank inside the cartridge. When the ink runs out, you replace just the ink tank and the original chip resets itself to full. By keeping the same chip, you save 1.50 per cartridge. Ink tanks are only $3 and hold 50?ore ink than disposable cartridges.