The printer choice that is best for you.
Whatever you are printing, there is a home printer that can do the job for you. But how do you choose which printer best suits your needs. The sheer number of printers to choose from can lead to overload. Keep reading to get a simple guide to buying a home printer.
Inkjet or Laser printer
Firstly, ask yourself what you want to print, and how much do you want to print. Inkjet printers use cartridges of ink that are applied wet to paper and dry rather quickly, while laser printers use toner, a type of dust that bonds to paper for fast and efficient printing.
Colour inkjet printers comprise the bulk of the market, simply because they can print just about anything. From essays to glossy photos. Today’s inkjets are all-in-one printers mainly and print quiet fast.
Laser printers are still the best printer for the office as most the printing you would be doing there is in monochrome. Monochrome laser printers are affordable, offer fast printing speeds, and provide prints at a cheaper “price per page” (P.P.P) cost than any colour inkjet printers. You would need to give up the flexibility of colour inkjet printers, though you can get colour laser printers.
Laser printers generally have excellent page yields per toner cartridge. High yield toner cartridges can last between 3,000 to 20,000 pages depending on the model printer you have. This tends to be less important if you do not print a lot, but if you print often these figures can make a huge difference for the printer you choose.
A multifunction printer is a printer that can scan, copy and fax as well as print. You can get inkjet or laser varieties and are usually called “all-in-ones” or multifunction printers. (MFPs)
For use at home, we here at Cartridge Emporium highly recommend a multifunction printer. They are cheaper than buying a printer and a standalone scanner, but also take up a small footprint in your home. Since MFPs are extremely common you can pick up one reletivitaley cheaply.
MFPs also scan documents directly to your device, be that a computer,tablet or smart phone. You can still send faxes with most MFPs though faxing is slowly going the way of the dinosaurs as most people just email now.
Speed, Resolution, and Colour Claims
Outrageous claims made by printer manufacturers about how fast there printing is or the page yield of there ink cartridges have largely left us now as today, nearly all vendors use a standardized set of test developed and licensed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). These test protocols provide a level playing field.
PPM: This means “pages per minute” and is a guide to how fast your printer will print pages. Printers have very different PPMs for black and white versus colour printing, so you will see it quiet often that printer manufacturers will provide 2 different PPMs. Home printers will not really have to worry about this unless you find yourself under the pump and need to print a lot, quickly.
DPI: This translates to “dots per inch”. How many dots of ink your printer can print on a square inch of paper. This number is important if you need a printer printing high-resolution or high detail images. Though this number is important, it is a little outdated as new printing methods and software can enhance a printed image without changing DPI, so do not let it be your ultimate deciding spec when you buy a new printer.
Duty Cycle: This is the number of pages per month that a printer can reasonably be expected to print. What YOU print should be well below this number, so your printer doesn’t experience to much wear and tear.
These are different specs you should have a look at when choosing which printer best suits your situation, but they are not all-encompassing features.
There are many different ways to connect your printer with your device. In fact, most printer offer multiple ways in which to connect to your device. You need to choose which way is best for you.
USB: USB connections are common across all printers, with the USB-A standard being especially common. A USB connection from your printer to your device gives a secure “wired” connection. Nothing in between your printer and device. Usually the most stable of connections. Most printers do not support USB-C connections, but that is also slowly changing.
Ethernet: Some printers may be equipped with an Ethernet port for connection over the internet or through a modem. You generally do not to use this at home, though some office printing setups find this a useful way of connecting printers through out the whole office.
Wi-Fi: The majority of home printers are designed to connect directly with your wi-fi network. Just connect your printer to your home network, download the driver files for your device and send print jobs directly to your printer. This is great for the home or small office as no cable is necessary to connect to the printer, and multiple devices can use the one printer, as long as they are on the same network.
Wi-Fi Direct: Wi-Fi direct is a peer to peer connection, not related to your wi-fi network. It secures a direct connection between device and printer. It is safe, secure, and great for on-the-spot printing.
SD Cards: Some printers may have slots for SD cards, which you can navigate through using the printers menu, and choose which select files to print. This can be particularly useful to photographers who can then print directly from there cameras to the printer.
Cost of Ink
If you regularly perform big print jobs – perhaps from a home-based business that requires hard copies – then the cost of ink is a huge factor to consider.
Ink cost can be measured per page, but this really depends on the printer model and how it is designed. Cheaper printers may cost a few cents per page more….but depending on how often you use it will greatly affect the choice of printer that you buy. Unless you are printing hundreds of pages every month, these small differences in price will not affect you.
Duplexing (2 sided printing or scanning)
1 feature that is becoming very common and that we here at Cartridge Emporium consider a huge plus is automatic duplexing. Duplexing refers to printing or scanning both sides of the paper without you have to manually flip the page over. Generally a printer duplexing, prints one side of the paper, sucks it back into the printer then prints the other side of the paper.
Generally, MFPs will have a Automatic document feeder (ADF) for the scanner. Some of these have duplex scanning, which will scan both sides of the page as the document feeds through the ADF.
The major convenience of duplex printing can not be over stated enough.
Every printer will feed on a fat stack of A4 paper, but what about other sized paper, like envelopes, index cards or photo paper. Some printers have dedicated spots for different sizes of papers, or your paper tray can be changed for the type and size of paper you are using. Depending on how much you print, also have a look at how much your paper tray can handle, sometimes it is more efficient to get a second paper tray, or a larger one. Once again it depends on your use of your printer.
As you can see, while printers have not really changed what they do, it is better for you to choose which printer will suit you better.
Take all these different factors into account, and you will definatley find the printer for you.