What should you look for when buying a printer? Much has changed on the printer front in recent years and it can become confusing as to what one you should choose. We have created a simple overview that explains what features you probably need when buying a new printer.
Do you know what you are going to predominately use your printer for? We will explained some of the terms so that you can create a picture of what the various functions are used for, and what you need.
Here we will split printers into categories by function, such as printers for photo printing, home, office or A3 format.
Laser or ink?
For many, it will be a choice between laser and inkjet. A number of things separate these 2 types apart as explained below.
Laser printers are often used for the home office and both small and large companies that need to print high number of documents each day. They are often more expensive than inkjet printers, but happily cheaper to run over time. Such printers can often boast faster print speed than inkjets. Do you use your printer often, if so you may want to choose a laser printer. Laser printers use a toner that melts and adheres to the paper during printing. Since the toner is a powder it will not dry out over time and laser printers can stand long periods without being used.
Inkjet printers are most popular type of printer and can deliver very high quality photo prints. Inkjet printers are usually less expensive than laser printers, but may be more expensive in operation for those who print a lot. If you want to print both photos and documents, an inkjet printer is a good option. Many inkjet printers today also have other features like a scanner and fax features and is therefore also suitable for the home office and small businesses.
Single or multifunction printer?
Single Function Printers are somewhat self-explanatory as they are only equipped with a print function, either with or without colour printing. Single Function Printers are ideal if you only ever intend to print documents and you can always buy a laser printer if you intend to print high-quality images.
Multifunction printers are printers that are also equipped with a scanner, copier and/or fax. These printers are perfect for home offices and businesses and are available in both laser and inkjet.
What features do I need?
Printers come with various different features. Here is an overview of what they mean.
Number of cartridges: This will indicate how many cartridges or toners one inkjet or laser printer uses.
Wi-Fi: Many printers have the ability to connect wirelessly. This is a useful feature that means you don't have to use annoying cables to connect to the printer. In addition, all users on the same network can use the same printer.
Ethernet: Some printers have the option of wired network connection. All users on this network can use the same printer.
Duplex Printing: Duplex Printing is a feature that will print on both sides of paper. This feature will help you save money on paper. Some printers have an automatic setting for duplex printing, while others can be set manually.
Document Feeder: Document feeder ensures that paper will be fed automatically into the machine, meaning you do not have to do it manually.
Email print: This feature lets you send emails directly to the printer so it can print the document or image automatically. The printer will have a unique email address so you always know where to send the message to get it printed.
Fax: Some multifunction printers also have fax capabilities.
Scanner: A scanner lets you take digital copies of documents and images. Very useful for those who want to share files online, or make backup copies of documents, et cetera.
Ink and Toner
In many cases, you will see two types of ink and toner: original or compatible. Original ink/toner is produced by the same manufacturer as the printer, and often comes with a hefty pricetag. Compatible ink/toner is manufactured by another manufacturer, but at a cheaper price that works with the printer.
One can in some cases also select different capacities, such as "standard" or XL ink/toners. XL cartridges cost more but will last longer than standard cartridges/toners and considered more cost effective.
It's also possible to refill some ink cartridges with refill packs. This consists of bottles of ink and a syringe to which you use to inject the ink into the dry cartridge. Some manufacturers put restrictions in place preventing you from doing this, so it's always was best to do a Google search on your printer model to see if this is possible.
TIP! Do you want a printer that is inexpensive to operate, we recommend that you check the price of ink/toners first so you get an idea of operating costs. Also remember that cartridges can dry if the printer is not used for a long time.
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