Buying a Printer, which one?

Choosing the right printer can be a daunting task. There are several different types of printing technologies to choose from, each suited for different needs. Printers come in all shapes and sizes, from tiny travel companions to workgroup workhorses; some are geared toward photographers, others are for multitaskers. And the many specifications for resolution and speed can be misleading. As a rule of thumb, inkjet printers are a must for pretty colors and long-lasting photos, whereas laser printers are best to produce speedy text documents.

Whatever you need to print, there’s a home printer that can do it. And intense competition among competitors like HP, Lexmark, Canon and others has ground prices to such absurd lows that you can now walk into a store and walk out with a brand new printer for a relatively cheap price.   But selecting a home printer among so many options can be tough, especially with all the convoluted terms that can complicate the process. With that in mind, we’ve decided to put together a quick printer buying guide for selecting a printer to suit you need.

The first question all printer buyers must tackle comes down to a simple matter of what you plan on printing. This takes us to the question:

Inkjet or Laser?

An inkjet printer is a type of computer printer that creates a digital image by propelling droplets of ink onto paper. Inkjet printers are the most commonly used type of printer[1] and range from small inexpensive consumer models to very large professional machines that can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

A laser printer is a common computer peripheral that rapidly produces high quality text and graphics on plain paper. Laser printers are far more expensive to purchase and maintain.

Inkjet and laser printers are the two types of computer printers used by both businesses and individuals at home. Inkjet printers use multiple cartridges that receive the writing or pictures from the computer and print it out onto the page in ink through tiny jets. Laser printers use static electricity with a laser to melt powdered toner onto the paper. Both types of printers have their advantages and disadvantages over the other, while some areas are not very different between the two.

Inkjet and laser printers are the two types of computer printers used by both businesses and individuals at home. Inkjet printers use multiple cartridges that receive the writing or pictures from the computer and print it out onto the page in ink through tiny jets. Laser printers use static electricity with a laser to melt powdered toner onto the paper. Both types of printers have their advantages and disadvantages over the other, while some areas are not very different between the two.

Inkjet printers are quieter in operation. They can print finer, smoother details through higher printhead resolution, and many have lower initial purchase prices than laser printers, but the cost per page when using original ink is usually significantly higher compared to a laser printer.

Now we take a look at the important factors to consider;

Resolution

Resolution on a printer is measured by the amount of dots per inch a printer is capable of printing. When looking at purchasing a printer, it is important to look at the DPI the printer is capable of printing.

It is also important to know that some printer manufacturers may generate their own methods through software for increasing their resolution.

Speed

Speed is another important consideration when looking at computer printers. The speed of a printer is rated in PPM, or pages per minute, and rate anywhere between 4 and 10+ PPM, depending on several factors such as if it is Black and White or Color, text only or full page. You should expect a faster PPM from a laser printer printing text than an Inkjet printer.

Ink and Toner

Ink or Toner is becoming a very important factor when purchasing a printer. Look at the below characteristics of the Ink and Toner used with the printer.

Price  – By far the most important factor is price; if the printer becomes a frequently used device you may find that the price of the ink can far surpass the price of the printer. Look how much the ink will cost when it needs to be replaced.

Availability  – From where can the ink or toner be purchased? Some printer manufacturers may require that you purchase the ink directly from them; and if purchased from a third-party, cause your printer warranty to become void. Verify that the ink can be purchased from a third-party and if so, from whom.

Type  – See what ink or toner used with your printer, and for users considering an Ink Jet printer, see if the printer accepts separate color cartridges. Some manufacturers may include all the cartridges as one cartridge, causing you to have to purchase all the available colors for one color that may be out. In addition, see if the cartridges are just ink or ink and nozzles. Cartridges with ink and nozzles will cost more than those that have just ink.

Cost Per Page – The measurement of the ongoing price of the printer after its initial purchase. It is important to look at the cost per page and see how much you may be paying for the amount of printing you expect to do. You can expect to pay less for a laser printer than an ink printer when looking at Cost Per Page.

Paper handling – The method of how the printer handles and distributes the paper can be an important consideration when looking at printers. Many Ink Jet printers well feed paper through a slot on the top of the printer, while laser printers will use a tray method of feeding the paper to the printer. Depending upon the amount of printing you expect to have and the paper you plan on using, such as a paper envelope, will help make your decision when purchasing a printer.

Other Features – If you are willing to spend a bit more to make your printer spit paper, you might want to consider additonal features such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi (also WLAN ) or AirPrint all allowing wireless printing either from your phone, laptop or iPad (respectively) and not have to connect and reconnect cables each time you want to print from more one than one device.

Options – When purchasing a printer, look to see if the printer requires additional add-ons that may be required; this can also factor into the overall cost of the printer. These add-ons can include but are not limited to such things as cables, trays, ink, software, etc

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