You must have seen an inkjet printer somewhere around you. They’re everywhere. So, have you ever taken a moment out of your day, or you’re lying awake at three in the morning wondering how do inkjet printers work and if you should purchase one? Wonder no more, you have the answers right here.
What is Inkjet Printing and How Does It Work?
Inkjet printing is a technique of printing that uses ionized ink. The printer sprays tiny drops of ink into the paper using magnetic plates. The reason why the ink is ionized is for it to be directed by the magnets.
The printer has tiny nozzles that spray the ink into the paper. The quality of the printed image depends on the DPI. DPI stands for Drops Per Inch, which is quite self-explanatory. It is the number of ink drops on each square inch of paper. Increasing DPI leads to an increase in printed image quality.
Thousands and thousands of tiny dots together form an image, much like how a TV screen works, for example. Each dot has its own color, and when looking from afar, you can see the full image.
However, do not let that fool you into thinking that the dots are big and that you can see where each drop starts and ends. An inkjet printer drop has a smaller diameter than a single human hair. So, no, you cannot see each dot individually under normal circumstances.
Inkjet printers use a DOD system (Drop-On-Demand) using two different methods, either piezoelectric or thermal. The thermal DOD is self-explanatory; they use heat in order to warm the ink until it vaporizes into bubbles. Those bubbles cause the ink to flow through the nozzles.
On the other hand, the piezoelectric method uses a voltage that affects a conducting material, which results in ink flow through nozzles.
When it comes to popularity, inkjet printers are one of the most widely used printing techniques. They are simple, easy to use, and more affordable than laser printers (check this comparison between inkjet vs laser). In the past, inkjet printing wasn’t as advanced as it is now; it was much slower and much more expensive.
There must be a reason inkjet printers are so popular, right? There actually are multiple reasons.
Inkjet printers are all around you. They’re compact, which makes them portable. They’re easy to use. Besides, they don’t make much noise. Moreover, inkjet printers can work on most kinds of paper. However, they work best on high-quality paper. Besides, they don’t need time to warm up before being able to use them.
- Low Initial Cost
When it comes to cost, inkjet printers are considered a very cheap option. The low initial cost of inkjet printers makes them one of the best options when it comes to purchasing a printer for home usage or small volume printing.
- High Quality
The colors of your printed image could be a massive factor in how the final output looks. When it comes to using inkjet printers, you are guaranteed vivid colors and high-quality printing.
Even though inkjet printers have many advantages, they also have weaknesses that you need to take into consideration.
- Prone to Damage
Due to the many components of an inkjet printer, that makes it more prone to damage. The tiny nozzles that spray ink are not as durable as you’d want them to be. In addition, the ink could dry inside said nozzles and clog them.
- High Cost of Ink
While inkjet printers have a significantly low initial cost, the ink itself could be quite expensive. The cost of ink could eventually add up, making the total cost to use an inkjet printer relatively high. Besides that, the ink is not exactly the best; it could bleed or run, especially if exposed to water.
- Low Printing Volume
In addition to the high cost of ink, there are other factors that make inkjet printers not the best option if you’re planning for a high printing volume. They are relatively slow. Besides, the printed paper might need some time to dry completely.
What to Look for in an Inkjet Printer?
You wouldn’t just go to the nearest store and buy the first printer you see. There are multiple factors that differentiate one inkjet printer from the other.
While inkjet printers are known for their high-quality printing, not all inkjet printers are the same. Like mentioned before, the quality of printed images depends on the DPI. You can find inkjet printers with DPI ranging from 600 all the way up to 2,400. Choosing the suitable DPI that will work best for you depends on how much details you want and how high should the quality be.
Nobody likes waiting, and inkjet printers are not the fastest printers out there. An essential factor to take into consideration is the print speed. Even if you are not in a rush to print paper, generally, the faster the print speed is, the better.
Another thing that can make a difference in printing quality is the size of the ink drop. Smaller drops result in higher-quality and a sharper-looking image.
Inkjet printers are the traditional kind of printers. They are very popular, and they’re inexpensive. Also, they are small in size, and they produce a high-quality image with vivid colors.
However, the ink itself is not the best. It is expensive, and it cannot resist water well, it runs and smudges when exposed to water. In addition, the nozzles can clog with ink.
Inkjet printers are convenient to use at home or in small offices. However, they aren’t the best when it comes to printing volume.
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.