Reports. Diplomas. Reports. Lists and checklists. All this can be printed quickly and easily using a home printer. At the same time, intense competition among manufacturers of printing devices has led to the fact that prices have fallen to absurd lows. So next time, instead of the nearest copy center, go for a new printer or MFP.
Of course, as with all technological devices, the choice can be difficult given the sheer number of options on the market, not to mention the confusing terms that only complicate the process. Knowing this, we have created a printer buying guide with clear explanations and recommendations.
Laser or inkjet?
The first thing to do is decide how often and how much you plan to print.
Today, inkjet printers make up the bulk of the market. These are the most versatile devices that allow you to print almost everything: text documents, charts and graphs, glossy photos. At the same time, many models work faster and are superior in speed to laser counterparts. An inkjet printer is better to choose if you plan to print different files in a small amount.
Laser printers are most often installed in offices, as black-and-white documents are printed there, and in large quantities. These printers are cheaper and allow you to save on refilling cartridges. Some models may also support color printing, but they tend to be more expensive to maintain than color inkjet printers.
Multifunctional devices or MFPs for short are convenient in that you can buy just one device and get a whole range of options: printing, scanning and copying. Increasingly, manufacturers are releasing MFPs for home use, thereby leaving print-only models to office workers.
If you like to store family photos in albums, and not on flash drives and a computer, then you should consider buying a special photo printer. Such devices are usually single-tasking and do not support as many functions as an MFP. But then the quality of the photos can compete with those that you get from a photo salon or copy center.
Many of the printers designed to print photos or graphics are small devices. Consumables will cost more than conventional MFPs and printers.
However, if you do not pursue high quality pictures and do not print them so often, then you can stop at an MFP with a photo printing function. To do this, you will only need to purchase special photo paper.
When choosing a printer, you need to pay attention not only to its cost, but also to think in advance about the cost of components. It is not uncommon for manufacturers to lure customers with incredibly low prices for their budget printers, knowing that they will be able to make regular profits when it comes time to change cartridges.
Consider how often you plan to print. It may be worth buying a more expensive printer in order to save on cartridges in the future. Check if the model you like has the ability to refill its own cartridges. It will cost less than constantly buying new ink blocks.
Please note that printer manufacturers now often build special chips into their cartridges that track the life. Because of them, refilling ink can be complicated.
Finally, check out the ink replacement systems. Many companies offer special programs that automatically ship cartridges to you when ink runs out. Other manufacturers supply several cartridges at once as a set, which allows you to forget about refilling the device for a long time.
Duplex printing and scanning
One of the most popular features of printing devices is automatic two-sided printing or scanning. Modern printers have special modules that apply an image and scan from two sides without your control and participation. Thus, there is no need to turn pages manually. This is convenient not only in terms of saving time, but also in terms of saving paper.
USB is a standard and familiar way to connect all devices to computers. However, it is not always convenient, because for this you need the computer to be close enough to the device, and this excludes mobility and convenience. Therefore, today most modern printers can connect over the network to several users at once.
In offices, this most often happens through internal network connections. At home, Wi-Fi connections will be more relevant. With their help, you can print files not only from a computer or laptop, but also from smartphones, tablets and digital cameras.
Memory card slots and other storage
If photo printing is one of your top priorities, then consider a printer with built-in memory card slots, Bluetooth connectivity, or cloud services.
This will allow you to print photos directly from your camera without transferring the files to your computer. You just need to remove the memory card from the camera and insert it into the printer.
Support for cloud services will allow you to send photos directly from Google, Dropbox, iCloud and other online services.
Although you should not overestimate this feature, especially if its presence greatly affects the price. You will most likely still want to transfer your photos to your computer to clear your memory card. And photographers will want to retouch some shots and test color settings and image quality on the big screen.
Any printer and MFP is able to print on the usual office paper. If you need more — check if the device is equipped with special trays for printing on non-standard media — envelopes, thick or glossy paper.
Also pay attention to the size of the tray. The little ones will require you to constantly add paper. While with larger trays, this can be done no more than once a month.
We hope that our advice will help you decide on the choice of your future assistant. If you have settled on several suitable models, read the reviews and independent evaluations. You can start searching for a printer in our catalog.