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Buying The Right Printer

Buying The Right Printer

When choosing the right printer, you'll have to think about what type of document you print and how often you'll print it. Offices and small business are more likely to look for speed, cost per page and possible networking options where as the home user may be looking for high quality photos or a compromise between these specifics.

We are in the process of adding a range of printers to our stock, we already have 4 available on finance and we will be adding a few more in the near future. If you would like to see any specialist printers for either business or personal use, please feel free to leave any comments with your suggestions and we’ll try our best to make them available for you. To help explain which printer may be best for your needs, we thought we would have a closer look at the different types of printers on the market.

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An Overview of Printer Types

Monochrome Laser

Monochrome Laser Printer

Monochrome Laser Printer

Generally, if you print a lot of text, such as letters and other business documents, a laser printer is likely your best bet. They are fast, produce good-looking documents at only a few cents per page and have more networking options.

Monochrome Laser Printers are often a lot faster than inkjets and corporate machines can print text at nearly twice the speed of home models. When printing text, laser printer speeds ranged from 12 to 30 pages per minute. This is good news for a busy office or anyone who demands high volumes of print.

The amount of paper the model can hold also plays part to how fast and efficient your printer can run. Monochrome lasers hold from 150 to 900 sheets, with corporate models frequently holding around 500 sheets as standard. Expansion trays can also be added, holding up to as many as 5000 sheets for certain models.

Monochrome Laser Toner

Monochrome Laser Printer Toner

Most high-end lasers include at least 64MB of RAM. Many models now come with expansion options permitting a few hundred megabytes of memory, important for queuing multiple print jobs at once. A medium sized office should equip themselves with at least 64MB – 128MB. Possible other specifications to consider are the network capabilities and remote management options, laser printers tend to have more options in this field than a standard inkjet printer.

The ongoing cost of running the printer is also a factor, laser toner cartridges are much cheaper than inkjet cartridges and the overall cost should work out to be just a few cents per page. The initial price of laser printers has also dropped dramatically over past few years making them affordable for the home user too, but despite saving money on ink and cost per page, the initial outlay will still be considerably more than inkjet printers.


Color Laser

Color Laser Printer

Color Laser Printer

If you would like to print in color and still demand the large volumes of print like an office or small business, then you should consider buying a color laser printer.

Ideal for office documents containing color charts and other graphics, color laser printers often produce black-and-white pages at a cost per page similar to monochrome lasers. Print speeds when printing black and white text are also similar to monochrome lasers at around 12 to 30 pages per minute, however when printing graphics in color, expect to get speeds of around 5 to 20 pages per minute depending on the model.

Most color lasers produce photos that are adequate for many uses, such as real-estate brochures, car insurance claims, or advertising fliers.

Color Laser Toner

Color Laser Printer Toner

Many models now support glossy paper that helps prints look more like real photos. However, they still lack the color accuracy and print resolution to rival inkjet printers.

Like the monochrome laser the initial cost of a color laser machine is considerably more than an inkjet. The color laser toner cartridges are also more expensive than the monochrome cartridges but the overall cost for printing in color still works out to just few cents per page.


Inkjet

Inkjet Printer

Inkjet Printer

Inkjet printers offer a good compromise between quality and speed. Text quality isn’t the highest but they can produce extremely good quality photos and vendors are increasingly adding new features such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to increase connectivity options. PictBridge, a dedicated UBS port for transfering images from a digital camera, is already a popular feature on most photo orientated inkjets.

Makers of business orientated inkjets offer a host of extra features such as higher capacities, optional paper trays, ethernet network connectivity, and more memory. Inkjet printers are quite a bit slower than laser printers, you can expect around 1-5 pages per minute depending on the content of the document.

Color Laser Toner

Color Laser Printer Toner

Inkjets are the cheapest printers to buy, but if you print a lot, the cost of replacement ink cartridges will certainly catch up on you in short time. Most cartridges only hold enough ink for 300-1000 prints, the cheaper the cartridge the less ink it will have so even buying economy priced replacements usually doesn’t save any money in the long run. It’s the price and capacity of ink jet consumables that will determine the lifetime cost of an inkjet printer.


Multi Functional

Multi-Functional Printer

Multi-Functional Printer

An MFP combines print, copy, scan, and sometimes fax functions in an often large all-in-one unit. These are especially attractive for personal use, home-based business or even an executive office. MFP’s can come in either inkjet or laser form and can be geared for office or personal use.

Office-oriented models have an automatic document feeder for scanning multiple pages as a single task, and they often have a built-in fax machine and Ethernet or Wi-Fi networking.

Photo-oriented models sometimes let you scan slides and negatives, and they usually have built-in media slots for reading from digital camera memory cards. Both office and photo-oriented models come in inkjet or laser formats so the choice is highly dependent on your needs. A laser MFP would be ideal for a fast moving office environment whilst an inkjet printer would do well serving a smaller operation concerned about print quality.


Snapshot

Snapshot Printer

Snapshot Printer

A more specialist type of printer is the Snapshot printer. They print extremely high quality 4×6 inch photo images and connect easily to your computer of digital camera, and because of the specific size of photos, these printers are compact and portable.

Using either dye-sublimation or inkjet print technologies, snapshot printers are able to print almost photo quality images. Models with four or more colors of ink generally produce the best quality and models with several shades of black and grey ink will print high quality black and white photos.

Being designed for a specialist market, snapshot printers are generally more expensive than inkjets designed for personal use. Never-the-less models designed for the home user are very affordable and produce high quality prints.



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