Printers nowadays have become essential devices whether you’re using them at work or at home, and with the emergence of new models and features on a monthly basis, nearly anyone can enter a local store and leave with a printer!
Now, if you’re trying to make up your mind and buy a printer, the previous statement might seem like an overstatement and make your decision a bit more arduous. Is it really that simple? Can I really buy a printer that I’ve been putting off buying for a couple of months now?
The answer is: definitely yes, but it all comes down to one simple question that you need to answer before you pay the money: why exactly do I need the printer? Do I need something special or just something basic to print a few pages every now and then?
In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide to help you minimize the number of options and make sure that you’ll end up paying your money for a number of features that you’ll be using.
Inkjet or Laser Printer?
Before we delve into details, let’s make it clear that the biggest difference between inkjet and laser printers us that an inkjet uses ink and is more suitable to use at home, whereas a laser printer uses toner and is frequently used in office and work settings.
Now let’s discuss each individually.
Inkjet printers have a number of advantages and disadvantages. Among the advantages are their affordable prices and their ability to print both photos and texts. On the other hand, the advantages include two grave problems: the ink cartridges are usually very expensive to replace, and the ink dries up, so you need to use the printer regularly to prevent that.
Related article: The 5 Best 11×17 Printers 2020
Among the advantages of a laser printer is the fact that it uses a toner powder that doesn’t dry up, so you can use it frequently and it will still function perfectly, and although it’s more expensive, a laser printer can print large quantities of documents at an overall lower cost per page.
The bottom line: specify the nature and the frequency of your work as well as your budget, and based on that, choose from an inkjet printer or a laser printer.
What Other Features are Important to You in a Printer?
Duplex printing is a feature that allows printing or scanning on both sides without you needing to flip the pages over manually.
So, if your work requires that you regularly print on both sides, duplex printing is definitely an option worth considering.
Connectivity and Networking Capability:
When you choose a printer, you have to consider how the printer connects to a computer. In that regard, printers can be divided into three categories: wired printers, network printers, and wireless printers.
- Wired printers largely use USB for direct connection, connecting the printer to the computer for data transfer.
- Network printers are used to grant multiple users access to a printer quickly. A wired network printer uses an Ethernet cable instead of a USB connection, and it connects directly to a router instead of an individual computer; thus it is more suitable for an office setting.
- Wireless printers are similar to network printers, but instead of using a cable to connect, the printer connects via Wi-Fi.
The bottom line: wired printers are the cheapest option, but network printers are a better choice for large organizations or workplaces. Even better are the wireless printers who give you the benefit of a wired network printer, but also grant you the luxury to place the device anywhere since it only depends on the Wi-Fi signal.
This is the part where we discuss the quality and amount of paper you insert into the feed tray. You need to consider what kind of paper you will be using. Are there any index cards or specialty papers? What about sizes and weights? You also need to consider the size of the input tray; the larger the better since you won’t need to refill the paper supply often.
Memory Card Slots, PictBridge, Cloud, Bluetooth, and Other Connections:
If you need to print many photos, you will probably need to consider a printer with built-in memory slots, or printers that can connect via Bluetooth or PictBridge or Cloud-based support. Doing this will ensure that you directly print as many photos as you want from a camera or a smart device without having to transfer the pictures to a computer first.
The printer’s resolution or DPI (dots per inch) refers to the amount of ink that an inkjet printer can place in a one-inch line of the print document. The higher the resolution, the better, especially if you’re going to print lots of high-quality texts, graphics, or photos.
What about Supply and Operating Cost?
The razor and blades business model still applies to the world of printers where you tend to buy a printer at an unbelievably low price, but you’ll pay the double of that price to replace the ink cartridge or refill it for instance.
Before you opt for a printer, don’t be so simplistic as to look at your feet; rather, research the supply and replacement costs before you make your purchase.
It is important that you keep in mind that not a single person can tell you which printer best fits your needs because only you have to determine what you need the printer for. The different the needs are, the different the choice is. Being well-informed and answering as many questions from those above will help you make the right choice effortlessly.
Fascinated by science from an early age, Jason has always been drawn to learning and experiencing technology. From learning about light through his passion for photography, building out PCs, and printing 3D models life couldn’t be better. When he isn’t writing about all things 3D printing related he enjoys reading, watch soccer and enjoy with his family.