Printers

Choosing the right printer

Everybody needs a printer from time to time. Everyone needs a hard copy so it’s normal to need to print out forms, directions to get somewhere, essays, coupons, gig tickets, the list goes on…

With so many printers available on the market it’s difficult to get your head round what one to choose, especially seeing as there are so many types available. In this blog we’ll try to demystify printers, so you can choose the one that’s right for you.

What type of printer should I buy?

The main consumer types of printer are inkjet and laser. So what’s the difference?

Inkjet printers

Inkjet printers work by dropping tiny droplets of ink directly onto the page. They come in either monochrome (black ink only) or colour (this type uses four colours of ink – cyan, magenta, yellow and black). Ink printers are generally very good all-around printers and can deal with anything you throw at them whether it’s pages of text, graphics or photo-quality printouts. They will work with nearly all types of paper stock – handy if you want to print out photographs on quality photographic paper.

Pros

  • Great for images
  • Low start-up cost. The printers are generally cheaper than laser printers and replacement ink can be cheaper than a toner cartridge
  • Can handle lots of types of paper including glossy photo paper, textured stationary and even some fabrics
  • No warm-up time
  • Ink cartridges can be refilled (this can be VERY messy though)
  • Smaller, lighter and easier to maintain than laser printers

Cons

  • Ink is stupidly expensive and will probably cost up to here times the cost of your printer for a full set of replacement cartridges. Ink works out more expensive than champagne per ml.
  • Ink is water based so can be susceptible to water damage
  • The print heads and cartridges need regular cleaning. This can use a huge amount of ink
  • Slow compared to laser printers
  • Some inkjet printers produce fuzzy text on plain office paper
  • Inkjet printers generally have low-capacity paper trays. Not very handy if you’re printing a lot

Laser Printers

Laser printers work on a completely different principle. A laser is used to scan across a drum in the printer, building up static electricity. The static build-up attracts toner powder to the paper and it is then is rolled at a high temperature to fuse the toner particles to the paper.

Pros

  • Fast print speed. Especially noticeable if you print high volumes
  • Laser printers produce the best quality text. If you are mainly printing text they are the best you can get
  • Designed for high volumes
  • Far cheaper than inkjet printers when compared to a cost per page basis. Though toner cartridges are more expensive they will last far longer and toner isn’t wasted on head cleaning

Cons

  • Laser printers take a minute or so to warm up
  • Up-front costs can be higher than inkjet printers
  • Laser printers can’t print on as many types of paper as inkjet. They cannot use heat sensitive paper at all
  • Home laser printers, especially colour ones aren’t as good at photo printing as inkjets and the cost per page is very high for colour
  • Generally, laser printers are bulkier due to the mechanisms required to print

If you’re looking to buy a new printer check out these discounts at eBuyer, where I’ve always found very reasonably priced deals.