Printer Buying Guide

When using your computer for personal or business use, it won’t be long before you need to print out your work. This printer buying guide will help you make the right choices when deciding on how to choose a printer that is best for you.

1. Home, Student or Office use?

The type of printer you purchase will depend on your budget and where you are using it.

For an office environment, you may wish to spend a little more money to ensure your printed documents are smudge-free and look professional.
However, if your requirements at home are less demanding, there are plenty of cheaper options that will be adequate for your needs.

2. Types of Printer

Laser Printer

Uses static electricity to attract and hold toner to the page. More expensive than most printers, they nevertheless produce high-quality prints with no smudges. Perfect for an office environment.

Inkjet Printers

Popular for home use, inkjet printers squirt tiny dots of ink onto the page to produce the end result. Slower than laser printers, they are cheaper but still offer excellent quality.

Multifunction Printers

These devices combine various devices into one, such as a printer, a scanner, a photocopier and even a fax. These are more expensive, but are great if you want to save on space.

Photo Printers

Increasingly popular since digital camera growth, photo printers often plug straight into cameras to offer instant prints.

3. Resolution

The resolution is the maximum number of dots per inch (expressed as dpi) that can be printed, with measurements going horizontally and vertically.

The higher the resolution, the more detailed the final print results usually are.

4. Print Speed

Speed may be a factor if you intend to get a lot of use out of your printer, particularly in office environments.

This is typically measured by the number of pages printed per minute, although other factors may affect the speed – such as how long it takes the printer to warm up.

5. USB or Wireless

Being able to connect your printer to your computer is vital, with most models using a USB port. Alternatively, you can connect over a wireless network.

You may also want to purchase a printer that has a memory card slot, so that you can print photos or documents directly from that.

6. Processor and Memory

Processor and memory considerations are only likely to be important if your printer is going to be dealing with large workloads, most commonly in the workplace.

Opting for a more powerful processor and increased memory means your printer will be able to queue more documents and adequately handle tasks sent by numerous computers.

7. Paper Handling

An important consideration when wondering how to buy a printer is what kind of paper formats can it handle?

You may need to print off large spreadsheets or envelopes, so make sure your device has A3 functionality and other formats to tackle these tasks.

8. Running costs

Ink and toner can be expensive. In fact, they will quickly overtake the cost of your printer.

It is important to find a printer where replacement ink cartridges and toner can be found easily and at a reasonable price.

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