Your printer is an important part of your home or office, let’s find out how to choose the best one! Read on as we present ten questions to help you find your perfect printer, be it an inkjet printer, a laser printer or some other type.
- 1. What are you going to use it for?
- 2. How often will you use it?
- 3. What size paper do you need?
- 4. Do you need a photo print facility? If so what resolution will the photos have to be (e.g., 300 dpi)?
- 5. What type of ink will you be using?
- 6. Do you need a fax? If so what chart sizes do you need to use?
- 7. What is the size of the hard drive in your computer (or, if you’re not sure, what is used in your work PC)?
- 8. How many different offices will you have that need to use the printer?
- 9. What’s your budget for the printer, although it doesn’t have to be a lot… just make it fair! [in US$ and £]
- 10. Do you want wireless connectivity for other offices? If so which devices will you be connecting to the printer.
Also read: Detailed Comparison Between Laser Printers and Inkjet Printers
1. What are you going to use it for?
As stated above, this is the most important question to ask when choosing a printer. If you’re not sure what you need a printer for, make sure that you’ve thought about the answer to this question, and have some idea of what purpose it will serve in your home or office space. It’s also important to know why other people have chosen your particular model – i.e. the printer features they mentioned, and the benchmarks they’re using to describe the performance of their printer.
2. How often will you use it?
The usage of your printer will play an important part in the decision you make. If you tend to use it for all your printing needs, this is a very different requirements set than for someone who just uses it for the occasional printout. It also means that your budget may be higher if you plan on using it every day or several times each day, as opposed to someone who will only occasionally turn it on.
3. What size paper do you need?
While many printers can print on a wide range of media, it’s important to know what the minimum size of the paper you’ll need is before making your purchase. Some types of paper are significantly thicker than others, and other types will result in a lower resolution printout; if you don’t intend to use it for something where pixelation isn’t an issue, consider what size you need for the highest quality prints.
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4. Do you need a photo print facility? If so what resolution do you need your photos to be (e.g. 300 dpi)?
If you do need some photos printed, whether for your holiday information brochure or for presentation, it’s always more effective to select a printer that offers a printing option. Even though today’s computer screens aren’t very good at accurately displaying photos, printers have built-in photo print functions that can give good results. As well as the resolution of photos (up to a point), your choice will depend on whether you intend to use the printer as part of a network or not.
5. What type of ink will you be using?
If you’re going to be printing a lot of images, it’s worthwhile knowing what type of inkjet cartridge or laser inkset you can use. Make sure that the type is compatible with the printer too, as many printers offer a range of different cartridges, but only for certain reasons. While some may have an ‘environmentally friendly’ inkjet cartridge, others might be able to print more colors and better quality than others! Keep in mind the manufacturer’s warranty too; some printers are more generous than others and have longer warranties on their printer components (e.g. toner).
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6. Do you need a fax? If so what chart sizes do you need to use?
No printer today comes with built-in fax capabilities, so if you do need to send facsimile documents, it’s important that you research the manufacturers for support for this function. You may have just one printer or multiple ones; each will most likely support faxing different sizes of charts and possibly resolutions.
7. What is the size of the hard drive in your computer (or, if you’re not sure, what is used in your work PC)?
If you want to print a lot of documents, some printers can ‘remember’ the last document that was printed and will also help you to organize them by using memory. The storage space on this hard drive can be substantial – up to hundreds of thousands of pages – so make sure that you know how much storage space in needed for your printing needs.
8. How much do you want to spend?
Lastly, you should ask yourself how much you want to spend. This is a question that’s not as simple as it may seem. If you only need to print the odd document, and print photos once in a while, a low-end printer will suffice. On the other hand, if your prints are of very high quality and needs professional results every time, you may end spending more than your current budget allows.
The major function of any printer is to generate appropriate documents and supports for the business through any connections on an office network or directly connected to the computer. Some printers do not only give the user a source of prints but also offer computer scanning or copying functions.
The standard print resolution is 300 × 300 dots per inch (or dpi) (the same as, for example, laser printing). Laser printers vary considerably from one another in their resolution. The most common resolutions range from 600 × 600 dpi to 2400×1200 dpi, or even higher. Higher resolution can be achieved with professional colour printers, which are generally made of a different material and/or have a different toner cartridge. The most common resolutions for colour are 300 dots per inch (dpi) or 1200×1800 dpi.
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Most photo prints use less than 200 pixels to form an area. A 300 dpi printer will make a photo look quite good, but a 600 dpi printer will make that photo look even better. Some printers are able to print 1200 dpi and higher for photos and can turn out photographs that are almost indistinguishable from those taken with an expensive digital camera.
Resolution can be used as a comparison tool when choosing a printer. For example, if two printers have the same resolution, you can assume they are equivalent for most purposes. Of course, resolution is not the only factor in determining the quality of text or photo prints. The quality of the paper being used is also an important influence on the final quality of text and photo output.
Some printers are able to produce high quality text output even though they do not have a high resolution. This is accomplished by using technology that can produce more than 300 dpi with very light ink coverage and can provide consistent results over time. These printers are often referred to as laser type or laser-quality printers.
Other printers, which use an inkjet cartridge, saturate the paper with a combination of different colors of inks in order to achieve good results. Each color must be applied at the proper amount in order for the printer to get accurate results on paper that may contain any number of colors. The result is much lighter ink coverage using this type of technology, the lightest amount possible for any single color.
Using the light coverage of the ink on a piece of paper is exactly how color laser printers work to create high quality text and photo output. The toner used for laser printers beats out every other type of technology when it comes to producing consistent results time and time again.
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The toner used in a laser printer is made up of traditional carbon-based black ink, in addition to yellow, magenta, cyan, and white. These colors are combined with a fusing process that creates the text component needed for printing. Laser toners are composed of very small particles or dots that will be fused together in order to produce a solid black or color based on the original document or photo.
These inks are less likely to interact with the water based ink or color systems than the water based inks and are easier to handle and clean after application.
Some of these dyes can also be used for a blend with CMYK colors. For example, the black component (Fluorescent Black 86) can be used for a mixture with CMYK dyes. Condensation results in a darker colored image and provides greater color depth. This is often referred to as “embossing” or “glazing” because of the way that it affects paper valleys. This is achieved by using a combination of high quality papers with a high amount of optical density.
Dye sublimation printers are the most popular for production printing as they give a very sharp and clear image with deep blacks and good shadow detail. This is achieved through the use of cyan, magenta, yellow, black, white, and sometimes silver inks that are only applied to the paper substrate. The silver ink is used to help prevent smudging on the image itself; a coating dyes provide superior ink coverage in color photos.
The most common format for sheetfed printing in small batch applications (up to about 200 copies) or for multiple copies in any size application is letterpress or hot-stamp printing. Two-color hot-stamp printing is referred to as “four color letterpress.” This process uses two plates per color—one for the background and one for the characters. The plates are mounted on a platen with the character plate on top and the background table below it. Platen configurations can be either back-to-back or face-to-face depending on customer needs and equipment capabilities. Each color is printed separately using an inking system similar to that of offset printing. The paper being used for this process must be in compliance with the ISO, ANSI, or JIS.
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With letterpress printing, the image is formed by applying ink to a blanket of paper that is then fed into an ink pad for the printing of characters. To print text on this paper, a roller moves across the surface and inks are applied to the paper. Specialized tools must be used to apply these inks; they are often referred to as “type” or “type tools.” These tools include:
Among the most common problems reported with thermal printers is a miscommunication problem between the computer and printer. This can be caused by the driver or software. The solution is to update the driver to the latest version, install any updates available for the application, or use a different application. Another common problem is with paper jams. This occurs when too much pressure is exerted on the paper while inserting it into the printer. The solution is to cut back on printing in order to prevent bulging of paper in printer and worksheet guides.
Some printers have problems generating color if they are not regularly maintained and cleaned. This can be solved by cleaning out any dust or residue that may have accumulated on either xerographic belt or laser optics. Another solution is to lubricate the entire printer. This can be done by putting in a lubricant such as WD-40 or another similar product. This lubricant will prevent any friction between the parts of your printer, thus preventing jams.
A good quality printer should be able to print at full speed without any problems or delays for the first few pages. If this is not happening, there are several factors that may cause it:
Certain printers are hypoallergenic and are known for being able to release fewer particles than other brands and types of printers produce on paper by using environmentally friendly ink cartridges and reducing waste of toner cartridges during printing with their laser printing technologies.
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Other conditions may make it necessary to replace the cartridges in your printer. For example, if you are using a particular brand of laser printer cartridge, most likely this company has recognized that they need to create a product that will work with their printers and be compatible with their laser printer toner. If not, there are other options on how to solve this problem; for example, the cartridge may even be able to be recycled. The following links can direct you in the right direction:
Inkjet printers generally use inkjet cartridges containing ink or toner which is air-discharged through nozzles onto paper or film during photocopying. There are two main technologies: piezoelectric, which uses pressure generated by crystals to create the charge that discharges the ink; and bubblejet, in which a drop of ink is formed by a heating metal plate causing an air bubble to form in the ink. The bubble grows until it is large enough to be discharged explosively through a nozzle onto paper. Piezoelectric printers can mold their nozzles into very fine points or fans for multiple colors of printing. Because of this, there must be a special coating on the paper used with them since they do not use heat like dot-matrix printers. These tend to provide better print quality than bubblejet printers; however this is at the expense of speed.
Both systems can work well with paper intended for their respective printers. However, the inkjet printer must be designed to be compatible with the paper type used, and this is not always the case. Additional information about inkjet inks and compatibility can be found in the following links
Some people report problems with the quality of photographs printed by their laser printers or photocopiers. The problem is often caused by an inadequate output resolution; however, sometimes it may occur because of a poor design or a driver/software problem.