Printers have definitely come a long way since Hewlett Packard has first introduced them in 1984. The first ThinkJet was able to print just two pages a minute, at a price of $489 a piece. Nowadays, you can print up to 30 color pages in less than a minute with a printer that does not cost more than $99.
You can even print a 3D object, which is something no one could have imagined back in 1984. All of this means that there are practically an unlimited number of choices you have when you want to buy your home printer.
With so many choices and options available, buying the best printer for your needs could be quite a daunting task.
Here are some tips on how to buy the best printer for you.
- Determine the Purpose of your Printer
For starters, you need to know exactly why you need the printer for. You see, printers are created differently. For instance, a small business will have different needs than a home user.
Here are four types of purposes for your printer:
- Home Usage: if you are a home user, you need to choose a printer that can tackle a wide variety of work. A home color inkjet printer that is both affordable and versatile should do. As an alternative, you can buy a laser printer for additional versatility and speed.
- Student: as a student, you need a printer that can crank out page after page, especially if you are writing an important thesis. A monochrome laser printer could prove to be your best friend in this case. For power users, a multifunction inkjet could help you make the most out of fax, copy and scan options
- Small Business Usage: small business owners can benefit of all-in-one-printers that fit in tight spaces. Depending on the extra features you choose to add to your printer, such as auto feeding, wireless and autoduplexing, a printer for small businesses could get quite pricey.
However, if you already have a scanner or fax, you can choose to buy a laser printer for your small business.
- Digital Photography: as a digital photographer, you need to invest in a high quality printer which is able to create high-quality images. You must also look at the characteristics of supported papers, ink set and color management options.
- Know the Main Types of Printers Available
Now that you have determined the purpose of your printer, it is important to know how to differentiate between the main types of printers in order to choose the right one for your needs.
- Inkjet: printers that run on the inkjet technology use thousands of ink dots in order to print a photo or text on a page. Inkjet printers are quite cheap, being a handy option for people on a budget. A single function inkjet is perfect for home users who print less than 150-200 sheets a month.
- Laser: laser printers are ideal for offices. The results are high quality and the printing time is reduced due to the laser printing technology. However, laser printers are not the best choice for photos.
- Photo: photo printers are perfect for digital photographers. These printers offer several editing options and are compatible with PicBridge. You can upload your photos right from your camera and save precious time in the process.
- All-in-one printers: probably the most common types of printing machines you can find on the market, all-in-one printers allow you to print, scan and photocopy your documents. While you can find some laser versions, most all-in-one printers are inkjet versions.
An all-in-one printer has separate cartridges for each color, so you need to replace them as soon as they run out of color. You can use the compatible cartridges that will have the same level of quality as the original but cost less and that way you can save a lot of money.
- Other Considerations
In addition to the aspects listed above, when choosing a printer for your home or office, you should also take into account the resolution, the print speed, connectivity, extra features, paper handling, memory and price.