When shopping for a printer, the first thing you need to do is figure out what printer and what features are required. Here we will walk you through some of the key questions that you need to consider.
What category of printer do you need?
Most printers available on the market are general-purpose printers and these printers are designed for printing text, graphics, as well as photos. There are also other special-purpose printers which include portable printers, dedicated photo printers and label printers. If you want to use your printer to print, say, photos, you need to consider whether you want to only print photos or do you need a printer that can print other types of output as well.
General-purpose printers for home use are normally focused on printing photos, and general-purpose office printers are normally intended to print text. There are an increasing number of multifunction printers which are designed with a dual role of home and office printer which are particularly useful for home offices. But they generally favour one roll over the other. You will need to consider how you are going to use a printer and pick a printer that is designed for that role.
There are two common technologies when it comes to printers. Laser and inkjet. They are increasingly overlapping in capabilities but there are still differences. Laser printers tend to print higher quality text than inkjet printers and almost any inkjet printer will produce better quality photos than the majority of laser printers. You need to decide for yourself if photos or text are more important and pick the technology accordingly.
Do you need a single or All in One printer?
Multifunction printers which is also known as all-in-one printer, usually have been equipped with additional functions including copying, scanning, faxing. All can be done directly from one device, and even you will be able to scann to e-mail. Some all-in-one multifunction printers also offer additional printing options as well. Web connected printers will allow you to connect directly to the Internet, using wireless connectivity to print out content without having to use a computer. Some other models will let you e-mail your documents directly to the printer’s own e-mail address which will then print them out.
Do you need color?
If you will be using a printer from home, you will probably need color, but for an office printer, if you’re only going to be printing letters and black-and-white documents, there’s no reason to spend extra money on a color printer. Many color, laser printers can print at high enough quality, that you will be able to print your own advertising handouts and brochures, which may save you money when comparing with printing small quantities at a local print shop.
How big a printer are you comfortable with?
One thing which is sometimes overlooked is the size of the printer. Even some home printers can be uncomfortable to share a desk with and even printer with a small footprint can be quite tall and feel as if it’s towering over you.
How are you going to connect?
Printers these days, in addition to having a USB port, may also include ethernet ports so you can share the printer with other computers. Many will also includes Wireless capability. Keep in mind that if you have a wireless network, you will be out of print wirelessly to any printer on the network, whether the printer requires a wireless connection or not.
Do you want to connect to mobile devices ??
Most printers in the market can be paired to a mobile device, smartphone or tablets. You can print anything from your phone screen wirelessly. It is made easier, using AirPrint for iOS devices or Google Cloud Print or other apps for Android devices and more.
What level of quality do you need?
Printers can vary quite significantly in the quality of their output. You will need to check out text, photos, and graphics separately since high quality for one kind of output doesn’t necessarily mean the others will be high quality as well.
Do you need a fast printer ??
If you are only going to be printing one or two pages, you probably won’t be needing a fast printer. If however you are printing a lot of documents, speed can be very important which means you will probably be better with a laser printer.
Laser printers normally come close to the claimed speeds when printing text documents because they don’t need much processing time. Inkjet printers will often claim faster speeds than more expensive laser printers but seldom live up to their claims.
How much will you need to print?
If you’re only going to be printing a few pages a day you won’t have to worry about how much the printer is designed to print which is defined by its recommended monthly duty cycle. If you’re going to be printing close to the monthly duty cycle make sure you don’t buy a printer that doesn’t includes that information in its specifications. You can figure out how much you print by how often you buy paper and how much. Then you can pick a printer which is designed to print at least that much.
You also need to consider the minimum and maximum size of paper you require and whether you need a duplexer so you can print on both sides of the page. With input capacity, you normally want a high enough capacity so you don’t need to add paper more than once a week.
How much does it cost?
Finally you need to work out the total cost of owning the printer. Most manufacturers printers will specify cost per page and many give a cost per photo. To calculate the cost of ownership, calculate the cost per year for each kind of output. This includes monochrome, colour documents and photos, and multiply the cost per page for that kind of output by the number of pages you will print per year.
Then you need to add the amounts together and that will be your total cost per year. Then take this value and multiply it by the number of years you would like to own the printer, and at the initial costs of the printer. You can then compare the total cost of ownership between different printers to find out which one is the cheapest in the long run.