How to choose printer for your home or small office
There are so many printers on sale in the market out there today. With popular brands offering so many features, it will seem very overwhelming for someone who is trying to buy a printer for home or small office use for the first time.
If you try to break down the printer features across brands, you will find that it is much easier to find a printer which does not break your budget and fit your requirement.
The first major difference you most likely will have already noticed: Inkjet and Laser printer
Inkjet printers uses individual ink cartridges to produce the picture. The cheapest printers in the market are inkjet printers. Inkjet printers work by putting small droplets of ink onto the paper to create the image. So the different colour cartridges work together to print out the picture. In terms of picture quality, a good inkjet printer can print out good realistic photo quality pictures.
This is how laser printers work according to Wikipedia. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_printing)
“Laser printing is an electrostatic digital printing process. It produces high-quality text and graphics (and moderate-quality photographs) by repeatedly passing a laser beam back and forth over a negatively charged cylindrical drum to define a differentially-charged image. The drum then selectively collects electrically charged powdered ink (toner), and transfers the image to paper, which is then heated in order to permanently fuse the text and/or imagery.”
So this process allows laser printer to print at higher speed than inkjet printers. They are good for high volume document printing as the cost per print is lower than inkjet printers.
But laser printer generally costs more than the most basic inkjet printers. So if you are going to print mostly back and white documents, consider a laser mono printer or a mono multi functional printer, which starts from one hundred over dollars to two hundred over dollars.
Ink Catridges vs Toners
Individual ink cartridges are cheaper to replace than Individual toner cartridges. However, because the printing capacity is different, toners though more expensive individually, can print many more pages than inkjet printers and hence it more cost efficient when it comes to cost for print per page.
Nowadays, the current trend is to for manufacturers to produce higher yield ink to convince consumers to use inkjet printers. For certain manufacturers, the ink colour is spread across the standard four catridges to eight catridges to allow consumers to change out the exact ink colour that is running out.
However, on the whole, it is still cheaper to use laser printer if your printing need is going to be volume based.
Printer consumables such as ink cartridges and toners are important consideration as these are the supplies that you have to keep buying once the printer has been purchased. So if you purchased a inkjet printer and have to constantly top up ink catridges due to high volume printing, the cost of printing can go up substantially over a long run.
For both toners and inkjet catridges, manufacturers usually have high yield selection, so do select that option if printing is going to be constant.
If speed is of essence when it comes to your work flow, watch out for printing speed when you are selecting the printer. Of course, this is directly proportional to how much budget to be invested in the printer.
Nowadays the printers do not just print. Like many of us, they do a lot things as well. Not only do they print, they can scan, photocopy, print wirelessly, print over network, fax etc
With the popular usage of tablets and smartphones, manufacturers also developed apps that can allow printing of documents and pictures directly from these devicesas well. It adds on to the convenience, so watch out for that feature if your print jobs are going to be mostly from smart devices.
For those of us who needs to scan multiple documents all at one go, the auto document feeder feature will be a lifesaver. So look for that feature if you are going to be handling more document based work.
Multi fuctional feature for printers are more popular these days as many home and offices need to use the machine to scan and photocopy at one time or another. So its really good if your office or home can have space to accommodate such printers.
Size and weight
The more heavy duty and functions a printer has, the larger the size in will be. Generally, laser multi function printers are larger in size than the ink jet ones as toners are bigger than ink cartridges. If the printer you have selected can printer up the A3 size, look out for the printer dimensions and weight as you do not want to commit on a printer and later on to find that the size is too big for your home or office.
All printer manufacturers will have their in-house software that work with their printers. Such software can allow for scanning, printing , faxing etc to be done through computer. The software can also be configured for different paper size printing supported by the model.
Most brands should function similarly , just that the software user interface may be slightly different. So if you already own one of the printers from a certain brand, you may want to consider buying back the same brand for a second printer for ease of usage with the software.
Once you have gone through these pointers, you will find it much easier to go shopping for printer as you will already have a good idea what to look for, be it home or office use.