Are you confused about which printer to buy for your needs? This article will help you out in making an educated buying decision that you will be happy with for years to come.
1. Be aware that there are two mainstream categories for printers: Laser and Ink Jet printers. Here are some of the different qualities:
- Laser printers cost less per page to print, especially if remanufactured toner cartridges are available.
- Laser printers also print faster and are preferable for heavy printing, such as in a large office. They print better text quality, but inferior photo quality compared to an inkjet printer.
- Inkjet printers will use less power than laser printers. Ink, unlike toner powder, can run when fresh off the printer or if it gets wet. There is a low initial cost when purchasing the printer, however printing will cost you more in the long run with the purchase of ink.
- Inkjet printers are good when used to print photos, and many times feature media card slots to print directly from a digital camera.
2. Consider the availability of affordable ink for your printer, not just its initial price. It is here that the costs can really start to add up. Check online for the availability of the specific replacement cartridge. Contrary to what printer manufacturers may say, using remanufactured or compatible cartridges may not void your printer warranty, depending on your jurisdiction. Estimate the cost per page for any given product. If the cartridge yield is 300 and the price of the cartridges are $30, then you will average 10¢ per page, and if you print about 200 pages a month you are looking at an average $20 per month cost.
3. Consider the resolution (more dots per inch). This is a simple way to compare image quality.
- The standard resolution for laser printers is 600 dpi, and for ink jet is 720 dpi.
- 720 dpi on an ink jet is an equal, not better resolution, compared to the 600 dpi on laser printers.
4. Check paper type and size abilities of the printer. If you need to print on heavy stock paper, glossy paper, smaller or larger size paper or would like duplexing (the ability to print on both sides), be sure that the printer can accommodate all of the paper sizes and types you would like to use.
5. Before buying a printer, check the manufacturer’s website (for example, Epson.com) to make sure they provide driver updates and currently offer a driver for your operating system.
6. Consider whether you also require other features. No matter what printer category you choose, you will also have the additional option of an All in one (AIO) or Multifunction (MFP) printer. These AIO/MFP offer additional functions such as printer, scanner, copier and fax.