How to Choose a Printer

Printers come in all forms and sizes. With so many models and brands out in the market nowadays, a buyer can easily get carried away when shopping for a printer. Buyers need to be aware of basic printer information in order to avoid bringing home one with too many or too few features. Knowing the basics can help a buyer choose the right type of printer that suited for his or her printing needs. Buyers need to know their basic printing needs, and should match those needs with available printer features.

Color or Monochrome

Manufacturers typically offer two basic color packages: colored and monochrome (black and white) printers. Monochrome printers work best for printing plain text, letters, or documents in black and white. Monochrome printers consume cheaper supplies, and should be acquired when printing big volumes black and white prints.

Color printers work best for pie charts, photos, forms, invitations, brochures and other advertising or presentation material. Color printers can print in black and white as well as in full color.

Inkjet or Laser

Inkjet printers spray ionized liquid ink onto paper, one strip at a time. They offer an inexpensive way to add color to documents, provided one does not plan to use them too often. Inkjet printers can produce very high-quality photographs better than most laser printers.

Laser printers use a beam of laser to produce electric charges on a rotating drum in order to transfer toner onto paper through heat and pressure. Laser printers generally create sharp graphics which do not smudge when handled, and cost less to operate than most other printers.

Print Volume

Laser printers can handle volumes of 30,000 to 200,000 pages per month, while inkjet printers typically produce less than 5,000 pages a month. The volume or printing capacity of a laser printer makes it ideal for business or commercial application. On the other hand, inkjet printers cater more to household buyers and businesses which do not require a lot of printing.

Cost to Buy and Cost of Use

Inkjet printers cost much less to buy than a laser printer, but can have an extraordinarily high cost per page for cartridge supplies. Printing relatively low volume (around one or two reams per month) prints using an inkjet printer will result to negligible costs, but increasing the volume to a higher level will drive the cost up by a considerable amount. Models that offer individual cartridges for each color give users more savings compared to tricolor cartridges that need to be replaced as soon as a single color runs out.

It will cost twice as much, or even more to buy a laser printer, but laser printers offer a much lower printing cost per page than an inkjet printer. Laser printers cost much less to maintain and operate and have a lower cost over its lifetime, but have a higher store price tag.

Other Special Features

Modern day printers come with various state of the art technological features such as larger displays or touch screens, Wi-Fi, and more paper handling options. Touch screen display and interface provide a very convenient and user friendly way to navigate printer controls. Wi-Fi or Wireless Fidelity features allow a printer to connect to a wireless home or office network, thus eliminating the cost, time, and effort involved in installing additional network wires for the printer, it also allows users to relocate a printer anytime within the range of the Wi-Fi signal. Various paper handling options can allow ease of use by eliminating the need to frequently reload paper, and some printers offer automatic back-to-back printing.

The best way to buy the right type of printer is to match the user’s printing needs against the printer’s capabilities while taking into consideration the cost to buy and the cost to operate a printer. Knowing the basic guidelines on how to choose the right type of printer can help a lot in buying the right printer suited to a user’s printing needs.