Printer Buying Guide

Printer Buying Guide

(Last Updated On: July 5, 2020)

A printer is a hardware output device that we use to generate a hard copy of the desired data and print any required document. A document can be in the form of a text file, image, or combination of both kinds. It accepts the initial input command provided by the users on a personal computer or on any other devices to escalate and print the required documents. For instance, if you need to submit a project report, you must create a soft copy of your required report and initiate printing with the help of any printer.

Printers are one of the most commonly used computer peripheral devices, classified into two categories, and we call them 2D and 3D printers. The 2D printers are widely used to print the required text and graphics on a paper; on the other hand, 3D printers are used to create three-dimensional physical objects.

How Does the Printer Work?

How printers work is quite simple. In short, the digital images and text are converted into physical copies with the help of printers. Printers do this using a driver or specialized software designed to change the file into a set of language that the device can understand. The text or the image is then recreated on to the page using a series of minuscule dots. The only authentic difference that separates the various types of machines available is the method in which one transfers the dots into the page.

Types of Printers

Various types of printers are as follows:

1. Inkjet Printers

The Inkjet printers are mostly used by home and small business users that statistically prints the characters by directly spraying the ink using magnetic plates inside the printer on the allotted paper. It contains a belt, ink cartridge, paper feed assembly, stabilizer bar, and the print head.

The device stores the ink in cartridges and uses another round to print several more types of colored documents. These colors are a combination of magenta, yellow, black, and cyan. These types of printers can create high-quality pictures with the help of vivid colors. Furthermore, inkjet printers are more affordable and more comfortable to use as compared to other printers.

Advantages of Inkjet Printers:

Inkjet printers can produce a high quality of output.
These printers are more fast and easy to operate.
These types of printers do not take more warm up time.

Disadvantages of Inkjet Printers:

The printer takes more time to print the document.
The running cost is high.
Highlighter marks are not allowed.
Sometimes, the machine can produce a wrong warning of an empty cartridge.

2. Laser Printers

The laser printer is an ordinary Printer for personal computers. The first laser printer introduced in 1971, and just after that, Gary Starkweather developed it at Xerox PARC. The device uses the laser photocopier technology that prints the images and text on the given paper. Whenever the printer gets input to print any required document, a laser beam injects the data on the report based on a drum, which is ceramic coated with the help of electricity.

When the drum got enough charged, it rolls in the toner. The ink copies the image that has accused the drum. Then the ink is combined to paper with the help of pressure and heat. The data now transfers on a piece of paper.

When we print the document, the excess amount of toner is collected, and the drum removes an electric charge. Most laser printers can write only in monochrome, and the monochrome laser printer is ten times cheaper than the color one.

There are a variety of differences between these printers:

The laser printer has dry ink; on the other hand, an inkjet has wet ink.
An inkjet printer is more expensive than the laser printer as it includes replacing the ink inside frequently.
If a paper is not dry, the inkjet printer will print the data blur, but the laser printer, on the other hand, prints bright in such situations. The inkjet printer is more suitable for printing smaller documents, while the laser printer can write a lot of records.

Advantages of a Laser printer:

Laser printers include higher paper capacity.
These printers are less expensive than the inkjet printer.
It can print documents speedily.
The laser printer tends to increase productivity.

Disadvantages of a Laser printer:

Laser printers we use may require warm up time.
Laser printers are bulkier as they need the laser technology and imaging drum to operate.
The laser Printer requires high voltage leads to emit small carbons.

3. Multifunctional Printers

A Multifunctional printer is a hardware device that can complete various tasks such as scanning, faxing, printing, and copying. Because of all these tasks, it is also called the All-in-One Printer of the all-time. It is most suitable for big budget-minded business owners that want to minimize costs, consolidate the current assets, and improve the workflow. It is crucial; to connect the printer to a computer device with the help of a wired or wireless connection program. Sometimes, one maintains with the support of control panel like those of standalone copiers. There is no need for more than a unit because it can quickly complete with multiple tasks within an organization, home, or both.

Advantages of the Multifunction Printers:

The multifunction printers tend to save the initial cost because instead of purchasing a set of printers and fax machines, you can directly purchase one large MFG for multipurpose use.
These printers are beneficial for both home and office because they save tons of floor space. It is difficult to find the desired amount of space for the scanner, fax machine, and printer, but a multifunction printer takes limited space and can perform multi-task such as scanning, printing, and faxing.
The most valuable use of a multifunction printer is that its operation functions are faster than laser printers or other printers. Some of the multifunction printers can send printed documents, scanned images, faxes, and copies at the same time.
These printers only need one cable to power the whole setup, which reduces the congestion and electricity required to run the device. Thus, the multifunction printer consumes less power as compared to other printers.

4. Photo/ Snapshot Printers

Photo Printers, also are known as the Snapshot Printers, came into existence after the home photo printing became popular in the early 2000s. These printers are the alternative to the photos that are printing on the standard inkjet photo printer. The 4″ x 6″ pictures can print out with the help of the Photo Printers.

5. Portable Printers

The word ‘portable’ is very easily understandable by everyone. As compared to other traditional printers, the mobile printers use ink or toner that fixed in one place and no matter whether you are at the office or home. Portable Printers are straightforward to use and can be moved from one place to another very quickly.

Printers, Based on Your Need

It is one of the most challenging tasks to choose from a large variety of printers. In today’s advanced world, there are several types of printing technologies from which a person has to choose from; each device suited for different needs. There are large varieties of printers that come in all shapes and sizes, from tiny travel companions to workgroup workhorses; some made for the photographers, and others are for multitaskers. And there are many specifications for the resolution and speed that can be misleading. To get started, a person needs to decide for which of the following profiles best fits their user type.

1. Home User

The persons who want a printer for home then they demand a variety of work from a printer. The electronic device must evaluate everything from a book report to a newsletter of occasional snapshots in a budget of the person. The person has to make the best choice that the printer should be versatile and also available at the affordable printer, such as a small-office/home-office color inkjet.

The small printers cost anywhere from $40 for a single-function inkjet up to $499. Higher the price better the printer with interactive touch panels, Web connectivity, cloud printing, and other features that will make it easier or the person.

2. Student

If a student is writing their thesis on the evolution of the market economy in the southern colonies then he/she will require a printer that can crank out every page after page of text and double-time, and a monochrome personal laser printer should fit the student’s bill. The printer will deliver a copious crisp, legible text faster than a person can say, “Wikipedia is not a valid source.”

Personal laser printers start from around $100 or so, but toner generally produces more pages per refill unit than ink cartridges, so people can save money while clawing their way out of debt.

A multifunction inkjet is a viable and alternate option for the users who have to make the additional copy, have to fax someone and scan options, and it also gives the person flexibility to print in the desired color when necessary — photo postcards for the family, perhaps? If a person decides to head down this path, then they have to spend a little extra that means spending more than $100, for a decent model that will be a little bit faster and won’t chew through expensive ink and paper as quickly.

3. Digital Photographer

Any of the inkjet printers can print photos in color. Still, if the person wants results that approach professional photofinishing, they will need a printer that specially designed to produce the dynamic range of a traditionally styled photograph. If a person considers the printer a critical aspect of their digital darkroom, they need to look at the new characteristics of the color-management tools, the ink set, the supported papers, and the paper path options.

If a person plans to purchase only one printer or is a serious hobbyist, a letter-size inkjet is one of the best choices, since it can also handle routine printing tasks. Some of the people use thermal dye-transfer technology, which is also known as dye-sublimation, in which heat changes the physical state of stable inks until they infuse specially coated paper, solidifying as they cool.

Snapshot printers can print directly from only the compatibly connected digital cameras, but on the other end of the given spectrum (high-quality medium format, or 13×19-inch, desktop models) can cost as much as $800 to the person.

One of the alternatives is that if the person is into digital photography but also run a busy home office, then they should consider a multifunction printer. There are many manufacturers of these all-in-ones that have been working on improving the output of the photo and scanning technology. Many of the manufacturers offer multiple ink cartridges that will save the person’s money in the long term by allowing the person to replace every color. As it depletes others, as opposed to purchasing a brand-new three-color cartridge every time one color runs out.

4. Small Business

Many small businesses can get benefit from a jack-of-all-trades model as a multifunctional tool or all-in-one printer. These given space-saving devices come in both laser and inkjet models that include a copier, fax machine, and scanner along with printing to round out the versatility.

It depends on the extra features that a person chooses (auto document feeder (ADF), auto-duplexing, and wireless); this category can charge the person more. Still, there are many of the lower-end models that start from $99 and up for an original copy, scan, and print functions.

One of the alternatives is that if a person already has a standalone fax or scanner, a personal laser printer should meet their needs as many color laser printers now cost less than $250.

5. Corporate cog

Workgroup laser printers are the obvious choice for the small business or team within a larger organization. It is specially designed to juggle multiple print jobs as all these systems have faster processors, print engines, and more memory capable of printing out more than 30 pages in a minute.

But these $300 worth of printers are more than souped-up personal lasers; they offer workgroup features including network printing, high-capacity toner cartridges, and more considerable paper input and output trays.

One alternative is a business-class inkjet that may be sufficient if the team has modest printing needs, and most of the printers models support network printing and wireless connectivity. If a person is an employee bound for work-related travel and finds themselves hunting for a printer, many of the printer manufacturers still produce individual mobile printers that are many useful accessories on the road.

Features

Wi-Fi Printing Capability

In today’s world, everything is getting wireless, and virtually all new printers currently available in the market now offer Wi-Fi functionality. So long as the person’s computer connected to the same network as the printer, they will be able to print with no wires required. Additionally, many wireless printers can receive jobs from cell phones and tablets via Wi-Fi, which is a valuable advantage in the era of smart homes. Therefore, before buying any printer, it’s wise for a person to evaluate all of the device’s wireless printing capabilities and whether they’re relatively easy to set up and use.

Card Reader and Media Slots

Some of the printers permit the persons to plug-in memory cards or flash drives directly, eliminating the intermediate step of connecting the devices to a computer. Photographers, for example, might use the memory card that they use in their cameras to print the photos directly. Some printers even allow basic image editing, further reducing the reliance on a computer.

Paper Capacity and Duplex Printing

Replacing the printers’ ink is a significant expense and inconvenience; printer paper also figures prominently in the efficiency and cost of their printing. To save paper, one should invest in a machine that is capable of duplicating or printing on each side of a page. And if the person hates having their print jobs interrupted by the demands for more paper, one should buy a printer with a large paper tray.

Printing Speed

Printer speed is one of the simple measures of how fast the printer can print the pages and in how much time. It is measured by metrics that are known as “Pages per minute.” More PPM means the printer is faster. Due to the advanced technologies, the laser printer is very fast that too, with high PPM as compared to the Inkjet printer.

Duplexing

If a printer is a Duplexing, it means that the printer can print both sides of the paper. It is one of the most features in offices, or if the printer usage is high. It is an eco-friendly feature, as well as saves the paper. Say if a person wants to print 100 pages document, then a printer with the duplexing feature will take only 50 articles to print, whereas the printer without duplexing feature will require around 100 pages to print the same. If the person wants to write both sides for a printer without a duplexing feature, then a person has to turn the paper and feed it back to the printer for every page that makes it almost impossible to do the job.

Paper Handling Trays

There are generally two types of trays that are input trays and output trays. The default size of the tray is 100 pages. Say that the input tray can hold 100 pages, so the person can put the papers in the tray and needs to refill once whenever the tray is empty. In general, smaller tray means more frequent refills as it will carry fewer sheets. If the person’s printing needs are higher, they have to make sure that the tray is large enough to hold all the papers.

Resolution

Resolution is one of the essential measures of the quality of printing. High-resolution printing means that the document is visible and bright. Resolution measured in terms of dots per inch. More the dots per inch means that the material has a high resolution. The dots are measured both horizontally and vertically of the document. Say one printer has 700 * 700 dpi, then it means that there are 700 dots vertically and horizontally in one-inch size. The high-resolution papers have more dots; at the same time, higher resolution document consumes more ink or toner. Because of this reason in many of the offices, the resolution is set to medium or of low value by default. If the letters of the document are too small, then a person can increase the decision to make it more clear.

Processor and Memory

If a person doesn’t know about terms used a lot anymore, it helps to know an essential technical distinction between the inkjet and laser printers. It will help itself to judge whether the person needs to care about processor and memory specs: inkjets printer are line printers, and lasers printers are page printers. For line printers, the computer is the one that composes the page in its memory and then streams it to the printer in small packets; that means it generally doesn’t matter for a person how fast the printer processor is or how much memory it has.

On the other hand, page printers need to hold an entire page in memory to image everything. That means if the printer has more memory allows it to buffer more pages. While is the person generally doesn’t see a significant speed difference for the typical jobs — text documents do not take up a lot of memory. — if a person often prints bigger images or big graphics files, especially at higher resolutions, more printer memory can make a difference.

Graphics

The printer demonstration should be able to print several geometric shapes of different sizes and shading. The outlines of the configuration should be crisp with smooth curves, inside areas of solid colors, and appear dense and evenly shaded.

One also has to look for gradients, meaning that those areas where a color goes from dark to light. Is it a smooth transition, or can a person see color banding around, distinct bands of progressing from darker to lighter? Large areas of flat color must appear trustworthy and even, rather than muddy as it will be okay.

Some printers try to dazzle your eye with overly saturated colors; others skimp on ink that leaves images that appear washed-out. One has to look for a natural, mature natural-looking bank balance between the two.

Printhead banding is a visible horizontal strip spread across a page that could be caused by a specific clogged nozzle, a poorly distributed printhead, or a sparse algorithm. Knocked-out text — light the book on a significant dark background — must be sharp.

Photos

Color accuracy: The importance of color in the quality depends upon their aesthetic demands. If a person wants an accurate color, it will cost you a lot more than merely pleasing the color. It takes a lot of work, and a person likely is unable to tell before buying how accurate a printer is.

On the other hand, one should be able to tell if the colors appear pleasing and well balanced, vivid, but not oversaturated. One should also examine skin tones — are they too warm (reddish) or cold (bluish)?

One has to look at a monochrome photo under fluorescent light, incandescent light, and daylight. Then one needs to know about these things: How badly does the color cast change from one view to another?

If a person plans to print a lot of black and white photos, they might want to find a printer with dedicated black ink tanks. And while they will see inconsistencies across different paper types and print resolutions, they shouldn’t be too jarring.

Things to Consider While Buying a Printer

Wi-Fi

If a person is as likely to want to print something directly from their laptop, tablet, or smartphone as they are from their desktop computer. A Wi-Fi enabled printer will allow them to do just as it is without the confusion of transferring files, removing memory cards, or connecting said devices with cables.

If they are after a wireless printer that will not break the bank, there are many printers such as HP Officejet Pro series that includes several reasonably-priced models that will do the job nicely. If the person is after a wireless printer that will let them do just about everything bar changes the ink cartridge without getting out of their seat.

USB

Some printers are specially designed for printing photos, have a front-facing USB port. These enable the person to print directly from a camera or flash drive, saving the person from transferring files to a computer first. Even there are cheaper models in the reliable HP Officejet Pro series that have front-facing USB ports.

Bluetooth

Bluetooth is a technology standard for transferring the data wirelessly and is less common in printers nowadays as Wi-Fi has superseded it. Bluetooth could be useful if the person wants to be able to use their printer wirelessly without any Wi-Fi.

However, there are still Bluetooth printers that are widely available, usually dedicated mobile or photo printers. Most of the models in the HP Officejet Mobile series are Bluetooth-enabled. At the same time, there are several selected models in the Canon PIXMA and SELPHY series of printers that can easily be changed to Bluetooth using an adapter, but the adapter is not cheap.

Web

There is not much difference between a web-enabled printer and a Wi-Fi enabled printer, as both prints wirelessly from the likes of tablets and smartphones. A web-enabled printer will allow a person to print remotely and without a printer driver from any of the devices that are compatible with web printing technology.

The main three used are AirPrint (Apple), ePrint (HP, but consistent with Android, Apple, and BlackBerry) and Google Cloud Print (Android). The mid-range models of web printers in the Epson Expression Home series offer a range of web connectivity options at a reasonable price.

Print Quality

Print quality is generally measured by DPI (dots per inch), which means the number of dots within a one-inch square. Higher the DPI, the more detailed and better the results are. The DPI not only varies by the model, but it also varies by what printer mode and used.

However, most of the manufacturers now often use a variety of technologies to push their printers further, which means DPI is not the be-all and end-all when it comes to quality. Generally speaking, the standard DPI is 300 DPI, whereas 600 DPI will produce professional-quality results, and 2400 DPI means much better images.

Memory Card Printing

Some of the printers, usually all-in-ones printers, include memory card slots. These allow the person to plug the memory card from their tablet, digital camera, tablet & smartphone into the printer and print directly using either a photo for index sheet. The sheet which the person wants to print out first or a built-in LCD (liquid-crystal display) is generally to select what they want to print.

Paper Size

What size of the paper the person will need their printer to be able to take will depend on what they want to use their printer. Photo printers are, unsurprisingly, often optimized for standard photographic print sizes, but if the person wants to print documents as well as photos, they will need an A4-sized printer.

If the person wants to be able to print posters or large images, they will need an A3-sized printer, which often designed for graphic designers and photographers, and also they cost much more than their A4 counterparts, as well as take up more desk space.

Ink Type

The type of uses is one of the most important things to consider when a person is going to buy one, because, in the long run of the industry, the ink will cost way more than their printer. As you already know, there are generally two types of printer from which a person has to choose from when it comes to ink, laser, and inkjet. Cartridges for the former tend to be much cheaper than for the latter, but the latter is the kind of one that tends to yield more pages per cartridge. Generally, the inkjet printers are the one that costs more.

Conclusion

If a person wants to buy a printer, then the person should know all the things mentioned above and consider all the factors to get the best and affordable product with proper and accurate specifications.

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