Posted by Adrian Rigby onPicking the right printer for your home can be a confusing process. A quick Google of 'Best Home Printers' is likely to bring up hundreds of thousands of results, but how do you know who to trust? The best approach is to consider carefully your own needs and then find a printer that matches them. To help you on your way, here are several points to consider before making a purchase.
1 - InkJet or Laser
One of the overarching decisions you will need to make is to decide the type of printer that you would like. Generally, there are two choices here - either an Inkjet or a Laser printer. Inkjet printers are more common in home settings, and laser printers are seen as a more sophisticated choice, often more popular in offices. However, bear in mind that a colour laser printer is the same price as many inkjet printers now. Let's dive into some of the reasons why below.
2 - Budget
In terms of costs, Inkjet printers are typically cheaper to purchase initially than laser printers. While Inkjet printers will serve most printing purposes, the extra quality and low running costs of laser printers nudges them into contention. However, it's important to think about long-term savings too. There may be times when print quality is especially important to you for a printing task. A laser printer with its extra detailing could save you on the costs of having your work printed professionally.
3 - Functionality
Printer technology has come a long way in recent decades, and many of today's printers can almost resemble spaceships, they are so full of features. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, you should create a wish list of features for your printer, and stick to it. Look at what you actually want to get, otherwise you can end up wasting a lot of money on features you may not actually use.
Upper range printer models today are often capable of double-sided printing, scanning, copying, and faxing in addition to standard printing functions. However, these extra features will likely increase your initial outlay, so think carefully about which functions you will actually need and realistically use. However, a lot of basic printers today come with a lot of functions built in already.
4 - Photo printing
Both inkjet and laser printers are capable of printing graphics and photography. However, laser printers typically print at a much higher resolution which results in crisper tones, and more vivid imagery. Printer resolution is displayed in DPI (dots per inch), and the higher the DPI the sharper an image will become. Again, it's important to consider what you will be printing and how important image quality is for your printing needs. Most new inkjet printers will operate at around 5,000 dpi which is more than enough for most printing needs. However, if you are printing in larger volumes, a laser printer may be your best choice.
Inkjet printers can be great for printing photos. However, you should ensure the ink is fully dry before touching the picture to avoid any smudging. The great thing about laser printers is that, unlike inkjet printers, the colour is actually fused into the paper when printing- eliminating the risk of smudges.
Just so you are aware, Compatible cartridges are a great option for 99% of printing however some can be prone to fade overtime. If you need archive life and archive quality for your photos, you should purchase the official branded cartridges made by the manufacturers.
5 - Printer speed
Printing speed is measured in pages per minute (ppm) for text and images per minute and (IPM) for photographs. While no one likes a slow printer, most of today's modern printers are fast enough to not leave you hovering around for too long. However, if you regularly print large amounts then you might want to put a high PPM or IPM on your list of key requirements. Overall, laser printers will print faster than inkjet printers. However, if you are printing photos (on an inkjet or laser), it will inevitably take longer because it is printing in a lot more detail.
6 - Connectivity
Another leap in printer technology has been the ability to print via different connections. As well as standard cable connected printing, many printers can connect to WiFi networks for wireless transmission, as well as printing directly through other devices with Google Cloud Print and Apple Air Print. This may be useful if you live in a large house, or act as a time-saver if you want to print straight from your mobile devices. Having said this, whilst wifi connectivity is desirable for many people, it can be frustrating. A printer that is physically connected to your computer will always be more reliable.
Whilst a lot of modern printers come with a lot of functions, some don’t . So, you MUST check this first before you buy and not just assume.
7 - Cartridge Costs
It may be counter-intuitive but cheaper printers tend to use more expensive cartridges, particularly inkjet printers that have two ink cartridges in. Which can end up costing more to maintain over time. It's important to do your research before you set foot in a store or shortlist your favourite printers online. Looking in advance at how much cartridge replacements will cost for your favourite printer will help to avoid unnecessary damage to your bank balance. You can also save plenty of money by choosing cartridges that are high-yield versions as opposed to standard versions. -This means that you can get more pages from your printer before having to replace the cartridge.
Whilst inkjet printers use ink cartridges, laser printers use toner cartridges instead. Whilst toner can sometimes initially be more expensive, they tend to last a lot longer. You should weigh up the cost of the printer as well as how much each cartridge is and the frequency you will need to change them before making your final decision.
8 - Paper compatibility and size
Another running cost to think about is paper. Laser printers heat pages, and some paper and transparencies may struggle to adapt to the heat which can result in poor prints. In general, however, an 80-100gsm bond paper should be suitable for both types of printers.
If you are using your printer for crafts, you may need a printer that has the ability to cope with heavier stock paper and card. Ensure you check your requirements before deciding on a printer.
Most printers are A4 but some can print A3. Before buying a printer, ask yourself if you need to print on a larger scale? If so, make sure you check the printer you are looking at has this functionality.
9- Available Space
A major consideration is deciding where you are going to put the printer. Whilst some are relatively compact, others can take up quite a lot of space. Ensure you measure the space available first before you buy your printer.
10 - Your needs
Are you running a home office, making crafts, printing photos, or simply printing off important documents or school work? It's easy to get swayed by fancy functions, or seduced by flash sales, but you should think carefully about your usage and potential running costs before making a decision.
For example, if all you are doing is a general printing, then a standard inkjet printer will be more than meets your needs. However, if you have children who print a lot of homework, you may want to consider a colour Laser printer.
If people suddenly find out you have one of these at home, you will become the favourite friend and neighbour!
If you are unsure about which printer is best for your home, then please do not hesitate to get in touch. Pick up the phone and call us at AB Cartridges on 01522 683460. Alternatively, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Whilst we do not sell printers, we have over 20 years of experience and knowledge. Therefore, we can offer free, unbiased advice to help you get the best products for your needs.