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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.

Photo printers

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.

Maintenance costs

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.

Connection

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.

Paper

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.

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