Printer buying guide-how to choose a printer for your needs
A printer is a device that accepts text and graphic output from a computer and transfers the information to paper. Printers vary in size, speed, sophistication, cost, etc. In general, more expensive printers are used for more frequent printing or high-resolution color printing.
Identify your needs before you go further, ask yourself some basic questions: Do you need to scan, fax, or copy documents in addition to printing? How often will you print? Do you need to print high-quality images and graphics or high-quality text documents? Do you need color printing? Should your printer be compatible with a specific type of paper?
To help, we’ve put together a printer buying guide for selecting an office printer, with explanations of some of the most common terms.
Type of the printers
Firstly, you need to know the type of printers on the market as it will be useful info when defining the purpose of your printer.
- Inkjet printers recreate a digital image by spraying ink onto paper. These are the most common type of personal printers.
- Laser printers are used to create high-quality prints by passing a laser beam at a high speed over a negatively charged drum to define an image. Color laser printers are more often found in professional settings.
- Thermal printers produce an image on paper by passing paper with a thermochromic coating over a print head comprised of electrically heated elements and produce an image in the area where the heated coating turns black. A dye-sublimation printer is a form of thermal printing technology that uses heat to transfer dye onto materials.
- All-in-one printers are multifunction devices that combine printing with other technologies such as a copier, scanner, and/or fax machine.
- LED printers are similar to laser printers but use a light-emitting diode array in the print head instead of a laser.
- Photo printers are similar to inkjet printers but are designed specifically to print high-quality photos
Most modern printers offer color printing. However, they can also be set to print in black and white. Color printers are more expensive to operate since they use a couple of ink cartridges: black, cyan, magenta, and yellow ink.
The sharpness of text and images on paper is usually measured in dots per inch (dpi). Most inexpensive printers provide sufficient resolution for most purposes at 600 dpi. The resolution depends on the content that will be printed the most so make sure to think about the quality of the printouts too.
Need for Speed
If a user does a lot of printing, printing speed is an important feature as you don’t want to be waiting a minute for a couple of sheets.
Today, nearly every printing device offers multiple connectivity options. Basic Wi-Fi and cloud printing connectivity are now standard, but for particular projects, other types of connections may be more useful.
- USB: USB connections are common on printers, with the USB-A standard being especially common. This allows you to hook up external hard drives and a variety of other devices, then use the printer’s menu screen to print files directly off them.
- Ethernet: Printers may also be equipped with Ethernet ports for wired connections to the internet.
- Wi-Fi: The majority of printers are designed to connect directly to your Wi-Fi network. You will typically provide them with your Wi-Fi information during setup. Then you can download software on your computer, phone, or another device to send printing jobs directly to the printer, no cable necessary.
- Wi-Fi Direct: Wi-Fi Direct is a peer-to-peer connection not related to your Wi-Fi network. Instead, it establishes a secure signal directly between a device and the printer. It’s safe, quick, and great for on-the-spot printing needs.
- NFC: connect your printer to a smartphone or tablet by simply touching the device to a specified area on your printer.
- Cloud printing: Many fully featured printers, particularly AIOs, now offer internet-based features that let you access photos stored on sites such as Facebook, Flickr, Dropbox, and Google Drive, as well as remote printing.
- SD cards: Some printers may also have slots for SD cards, which you can then navigate through using the printer’s menu and choose select files to print. This may be especially useful for photographers who can transfer SD cards directly from cameras to printers.
Compare the cost of your chosen printer to your funds. Be sure to consider both initial and long-term costs. For example, an Inkjet printer may initially be less expensive than a laser printer, but they can cost more long-term because ink cartridges print fewer pages per cartridge than the toner used in laser printers.
We have given you the printer buying guide to make buying a breeze. From thinking about how much you’ll be printing daily to taking into consideration the features of each device you’re bound to find the best printer to meet your needs in a flash. For more office tips and tricks, be sure to check out the rest of our website.