Now a days, there are a lot of storage devices available to store important documents, files, images, videos etc. But sometimes it becomes necessary to print the hard copy of the required document or files. Also if you want to frame your photos and vacation snaps into album to keep them with you, then it is important to print them using printer that produces high quality and detailed output images.
But choosing a perfect printer according to your need is tough because the market if full of different types of printers with a variable range of prices. So before choosing any printer whether for home use, office use or business work, you should keep some important factors in mind that will help you to choose the right one.
Are you looking to purchase a new printer but aren’t sure which how to choose? Are you looking to upgrade to new one from what you currently own? Can’t decide which printer will fulfil your purpose?
So here in this article “Printer Buying Guide: How To Choose The Best Printer For You” we will help you to select the right and perfect printer according to your need.
Before Going to the Store or Buying Online…
Before purchasing any printer from online or offline store, you must ask yourself some important questions in order to choose a right printer for yourself.
Will you be using this for only study purpose like printing assignments, project or school work? Will you be using printer for light home-office work or is this a business printer that you are going to purchase? Are you going to print lots of paper and documents? Whether you require a color or black & white printer?
Most important factor is your budget, as cost decides what features and output quality you will get. A high cost printer will have more features than a low cost printer.
Does it Really Matter What Brand of Printer You Buy?
Brand plays an important role in choosing any product in this world whether it is a digital product, automobile, clothing or household items.
In the similar way, choosing a printer of branded company will provide you high value and performance than a non branded product. Because the company has built its brand and reputation by providing products that are durable and have great performance.
So if you are planning to buy printer, then I would recommend to go for brands like Samsung, Epson, Brother, HP or Canon. The printers from these brands offers value for money products.
So till now if you have decided your purpose and budget, then lets look into the other important factors that need to be taken into consideration while purchasing printers for you.
Important Features of Printer To Be Consider
1. Type of Printer : Single Function or Multi Function Printer
i. Single Function Printer
A single function printer performs only a single task of just printing a document or image. This printer don’t have other features like scanning, faxing, photo copying, etc.
This printer is best suitable for those who require only to print documents, files and images. Single function printer comes in two variants like Inkjet and Laser printer.
This printer is however cheaper than that of multifunction printer due to absence of other functionality.
ii. Multi function Printer
A Multifunctional printer is a printer which comes in all in one features like scanning, faxing, printing, and photo copying. This printer is available in both inkjet and laser variant.
This printer is best for home use not only because it’s cheaper than purchasing a printer & scanner separately, but also for the sake of saving space.
2. Inkjet or Laser Printer
i. Inkjet Printer
Inkjet printers are most commonly used by home and small business users. This printer uses liquid ink to recreate text or image by spraying ink using magnetic plates inside the printer directly on the paper. This printer produces very high quality images as they blend the ink colors more precisely.
Inkjet printers are cheaper than laser jet printers but refilling of cartridges again and again costs you more if you are using it to print lots of documents and images.
Also these printers are not suitable for printing in moist environments as these contains water based inks, and so the prints are vulnerable to water damage & fading.
- Great for printing high quality photos
- Low initial cost
- Don’t require warm-up time before printing
- Can be refilled and reused
- Smaller, lighter and easier to maintain
- Can print on glossy photo paper, textured stationery, fabrics & heat sensitive papers.
- Water-based color, so prints are vulnerable to water damage and fading
- Ink cartridges need frequent cleaning
- Very slow as compared to laser printer
- Have low-capacity paper trays of 50-100 sheets
- High printing cost per page
ii. Laser Printer
Laser printers make use of static electricity to apply a fine powder called toner on to the printing paper. This process occurs very fast, that is why laser printers can print far more quickly than Inkjet printers.
The initial cost of laser printer is high but in the long run it is more affordable if you print very high volume of documents as laser toners are less expensive than Inkjet cartridges.
They are available in color and monochrome and are best suitable for small to medium businesses where printing is done in large volume. If you are required to print a lots of documents and papers then this printer will be best for you as the printing is very fast.
- Cost-effective than inkjet printers
- Higher print speed
- Higher paper capacity trays
- Multiple devices can be connected to one printer simultaneously
- Low printing cost per page
- Requires short warm-up time
- High power consumption
- Low print quality compared to Inkjet
3. Monochrome or Color Printer
Monochrome printer prints documents and images in black and white color. These printer use only black cartridge for printing and hence are cheaper than color printer and have faster printing speed.
If you want to print mostly text and document & don’t have any issue with black & white printing, then go for these monochrome printers.
Color printer use multicolored ink to print documents and are costlier than monochrome printer due to use of different color of cartridges.
These printers are best suitable for printing colorful documents and images. These printers are also available in both inkjet and laser variant.
4. Printer Speed
Printer speed is the measure of how fast a printer can print the pages. It is mainly measured by “pages per minute” (PPM).
The more PPM of a printer means it can print more pages per minutes and are considered to be faster. Laser printers are very fast as compared to inkjet printers.
Print speed doesn’t matter if you are using it only for home. But if you are under time pressure for a print job or needs to print a lot of documents, then print speed or pages per minute matters a lot. In this case you can go for a printer with high PPM.
5. Paper Handling Capacity
Paper handling capacity of printer means how much paper sheets a printer tray can contain at once while printing.
The number of paper sheets your printer can contain in its standard configuration should be twice or thrice more than the number of pages you print per day, so that you don’t have to refill the paper tray again and again. This becomes important when you are using printer for office purpose.
A normal printer ideally holds 100 to 150 sheets of paper in a single tray whereas a business printer holds around 250 to 300 sheets of paper at minimum in a single tray.
If you have a very busy office and requires to print hundreds of pages per day, then it is better to choose printer with multiple paper tray.
Duplexing is a great feature that comes in many printers. It means that you can print on both sides of the paper sheet automatically without flipping the page manually.
On a printer, duplexing is done by printing the first side of the paper sheet and then pulling it back through the printer, flipping the sheet and again printing on the other side automatically.
This feature becomes very handy and useful if you require to print a lot of pages on both sides of the paper in less time. This also helps to reduce the wastage of paper as number of paper consumed for printing is reduced due to printing on both sides.
For example, if you want to print 100 page document, then printer with duplexing feature will take only 50 papers to print whereas printer without duplexing will consume 100 paper.
7. Connectivity Options
Now a days, every printer offers you multiple options for connectivity to connect your devices quickly with the printer for printing documents.
Some of the common connectivity options that are available in printers are Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Memory card slots and some printers also offers cloud printing and Apple AirPrint feature.
Many printers also comes with voice activated printing technology which allows you print documents using voice command. Most printers also offers their own mobile apps that gives you broader option to connect and print.
So lets see what are the different types of connectivity options that are present in printers.
i. USB, Card Reader and Media Slots
USB port in printers allows you to print files directly from your pendrive or any other USB enabled devices easily.
This is useful when you don’t want to use your computer to print documents. Also using the USB port provided in the printer you can directly connect you camera to print images. Common USB port that is available in most of the printer are of USB type-A port.
Also some of the printers allows you to insert memory card or SD card directly to print the required document.
For example, if you are a photographer, then you can insert the memory card of your camera directly into printer to print the images.
Ethernet is the most widely used connectivity option to connect printer to computers and laptops. The cable that is used is the standard Ethernet cable with RJ-45 connector.
This is commonly used for offices as it can be used to connect multiple computers to a single printer simultaneously.
iii. Wireless Interface
In present world, almost everything is getting wireless, and all new printers available in markets offers the best Wi-Fi feature. As long as, your computer is connected with the same network as the printer, you can print documents wirelessly without any hardwired connection.
Also many wireless printers provides feature of connecting it with smartphones and tablets for printing. Wireless connections also allows you to print remotely, which can be very useful in case of work from home situation.
Many printers also have Bluetooth and NFC (Near-Field Communication) connectivity feature using which you can easily connect printer with smartphone, tablet, laptops and computers.
Using NFC, you can directly print documents from NFC (Near-Field Communication) enabled devices by simply touching it to the NFC printer or by bringing it close to the printer.
iv. Cloud printing
Many printers comes with cloud printing technology that allows you to send files and documents from any network compatible devices, like smartphone, tablet or computer, to the printer that is registered to your Google account. In this way you can print file without installing the printer’s driver on the device which you are using.
Cost is the most important factor that need to be considered while choosing any printer whether its for home use or for business use.
Cost of a printer decides its features, size, variant and functionality. Type of printer, connectivity features, paper handling capacity, etc. depends upon price of the printer.
A printer with high price will have more options and features than a printer with low cost.
Also you have to research the cost of replacement supplies like cartridges depending on how often you have to print, whether it is worth it to purchase a more expensive printer.
So these are some of the important features you need to look into before purchasing any printer. If you are a home user or student, then a single function printer, it may be inkjet or laser, will be best for you. Here you don't have to look for a fast speed or duplexing or paper handling capacity of printer. But if you are running business, then you may look for a printer that has a good printing speed, adequate paper handling capacity, multiple connectivity options like Wi-Fi, cloud printing, ethernet, etc. and mostly it should be multifunction printer so that you don't have to purchase fax machine, scanner etc. separately.
From Where Should I Buy It?
There are mainly two option available to you to buy any printer, i.e., from offline store or from online.
Printers are almost available in every store that sells laptops, computers and PC peripherals.
But before making any decision to purchase any printer, my recommendation is to check and compare its price on both offline and online stores.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What should I look for when buying a printer?
There are many things you can look for when buying a printer including Budget, Type of Ink, Print Quality, Print Speed, Wireless Connectivity, Additional Features, Paper Format, Compact, Portability, etc.
2. What is the ideal speed of a good printer?
A printer with an print speed of less than 20 ppm will be pretty slow; a range of 20 ppm to 40 ppm is adequate for most offices; and a speed greater than 40 ppm is ready for higher-volume use.
3. Which printer is best for home use: laser or inkjet?
Inkjet printers are better for printing photos and color documents, and while there are color laser printers, they are more expensive. Unlike inkjet printers, laser printers do not use ink. Instead, they use toner, which lasts much longer.
4. What does ppm stand for in printers?
Pages per minute
Printer speed is the measure of how fast a printer can print the pages. The more PPM of a printer means it can print more pages per minutes and are considered to be faster.
5. Which printer type has the highest print quality?
Laser printers are faster in speed & tend to produce higher quality results and are more well-suited for high-volume printing than inkjet printers. Laser printers can also print much sharper lines and are therefore well-suited for text, logos and simple business graphics.
6. Is Ink Tank Printer better?
Ink tanks can churn out up to 6,000 to 7,000 pages from a single refill. This is considerably higher than conventional cartridges.
7. What are the disadvantages of inkjet printer?
The only disadvantage of inkjet printers is that if you don’t use the printer regularly, all the ink in the reservoir, cartridge, and tubes can dry up and cause clogging problems. Laser printers are better for those who don’t print as often.
8. How long does printer ink usually last?
Around 1 to 2 years
There is a consensus that printer ink lasts around 1 to 2 years before it expires. Shelf life can be either shortened or extended by taking proper care of your ink and toner cartridge.