The Comprehensive Guide to Printer Buying
There are 2 mainstream categories for printers: Laser and Ink jet printers.
When comparison shopping, be sure to look not only at the price of the printer, but also at the availability of affordable ink for the printer. Check a site like Clickinks.com
for availability of the specific replacement cartridge. Contrary to what printer manufacturers may say, using remanufactured or compatible cartridges can not void your printer warranty (see Magnuson-Moss Warranty Improvement Act
). You can estimate the cost per page for any given product. If the cartridge yield is 300 and the price of the cartridges are $30, then you will average 10¢ per page, and if you print about 200 pages a month you are looking at an average $20 per month cost.Laser printers
cost less per page to print, especially if remanufactured toner
cartridges are available. Laser printers also print faster and are preferable for heavy printing, such as in a large office. They print better text quality, but inferior photo quality compared to an inkjet printer.
Inkjet printers will use less power than laser printers. Ink
, unlike toner powder, can run when fresh off the printer or if it gets wet. There is a low initial cost when purchasing the printer, however printing will cost you more in the long run with the purchase of ink. Inkjet printers are good when used to print photos, and many times feature media card slots to print directly from a digital camera.
Higher resolution (more dots per inch) is a simple way to compare image quality. The standard resolution for laser printers is 600 dpi, and for ink jet is 720 dpi. 720 dpi on an ink jet is an equal, not better resolution, compared to the 600 dpi on laser printers.
If you need to print on heavy stock paper, glossy paper
, smaller or larger size paper or would like duplexing (the ability to print on both sides), be sure that the printer can accommodate all of the paper sizes and types you would like to use.
Before buying a printer, check the manufacturer’s web site (i.e. Epson.com) to make sure they provide driver updates and currently offer a driver for your operating system.
No matter what printer category you choose, you will also have the additional option of an All in one (AIO) or Multifunction (MFP) printer. These AIO/MFP offer additional functions such as printer, scanner, copier and fax.
With all of this in mind, you will make an educated buying decision that you will be happy with for years to come.