Looking to buy a printer? Or replace an old one? With all the advances in technology, the competition between brands has escalated. And so has the challenge of deciding on which printer to get.
To make the search more manageable, I’ve made this little guide that you can use to pick the right printer for your needs.
There are many types of printers, including inkjet, laser, photo, and 3D printers.
Photo printers and 3D printers are quite specific in their functions, so there’s no need to draw a comparison as there’s no place for confusion.
For home or office use, however, there could be too many options on the market.
To narrow down the choices, evaluate your needs, and determine whether you need an inkjet or a laser printer.
Inkjets are the most common type as they’re quite versatile in terms of the media they’re able to print.
Moreover, they can print various types and sizes of paper, including labels, scarp-booking paper, business envelopes, and much more.
They can also print pie charts, essays, coupons, glossy photos, tickets, and receipts –whatever you need.
If you’re going to do diverse printing including photos and graphs on different materials, I’d definitely recommend an inkjet printer.
Laser printers are the best choice for high-volume printing in the quickest possible time with low costs.
If your printing will be limited to texts and documents, there’s none better than a laser printer.
On top of that, printing in black only would save you a ton of money compared to any other printing methods.
When I was new in the world of printers, I would often be tempted by the low up-front price of some printers.
However, as I got more experienced and seasoned, I realized that the actual cost lies in the cost of the consumables you’ll have to buy in the long run.
Not only that but also the money you’ll have to spend on maintenance.
From that moment on, before I judged the “price” of a printer, I’d research things like the duration it would take before my original cartridges run dry, how much I can print with one cartridge, and how much a replacement cartridge will be.
Soon after that, I came to the epiphany that is sometimes buying a more expensive printer with cheaper consumables is more cost-efficient than having it the opposite way around.
You can check out some of the best cost-efficient printers in this article: https://themicro3d.com/best-printer-home-use-with-cheap-ink/
Moreover, I recommend checking out the different ink plans and programs some brands provide their customers.
For example, HP provides an “Instant Ink” program that automatically delivers replacement cartridges once the ink in yours runs low. It also comes with a fixed number of pages for a specific monthly fee.
Epson and Canon have “Ink Tank” models which allow you to fill from small ink bottles to reduce the cost per page of your printer.
Finally, some Brothers printers come with multiple cartridges in the box to spare you the need to buy replacements for some time.
Duplexing or two-sided printing refers to the printer’s capability to print on both sides of the paper in a single go without the user having to flip the page over manually.
It’s a simple feature, but it saves a lot of time and provides the user with more convenience overall.
Nowadays, it’s very common to use internet-based services to print, such as Google Drive, Apple AirPrint, DropBox, Flickr, Facebook, and more.
Moreover, you can print from different devices, including laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
That’s why you should get a printer that can connect to many devices via several means such as USB ports and Wi-Fi to get the most convenience from your unit and facilitate the printing process.
An average printer can print 8.5 x 11-inch papers, but can it handle different media types such as index cards, cardstock, envelopes, or glossy stock?
A 250-sheet tray is good enough to require only one refill per month.
And some printers come with an optional second tray that expands the capacity of your input tray.
The speed of a printer is measured in PPM (Pages per Minute), and it’s an essential aspect that should comply with the International Standards Organization’s (ISO) requirements.
13 to 15 PPM speed for printing in black is acceptable, while 11 to 13 PPM is suitable for color printing.
The resolution of a printer is measured in DPI (Dots per Inch) which basically measured the number of ink dots the printer can spray over an inch.
Naturally, the larger the number of dots, the higher the quality of your prints.
200 to 300 DPI should be good enough for most general tasks.