A printer is not something you buy every day. Hence, on the day you decide to buy one, you’re flooded with a variety of printers – both online and offline.
It is fairly easy to find tons of good printers with a multitude of features in the market these days. The baffling part of this ordeal is narrowing down to the one you actually would want to put your money on. However, once you’ve decided on what you want out of your printer, it becomes much easier for you to pick one.
To make it simpler for you, we’ve come up with some of the most common features people look for when buying a printer for their home or small/medium-sized offices or businesses.
Inkjet versus laser printers
Firstly, choose between a laser printer and an inkjet printer. We would advise a laser printer, as it is more cost-effective and durable when compared to an inkjet printer. And if you’re looking to have a printer for your office to print documents in black-and-white, laser printers are your best bet. Inkjet printers are mostly used for printing high-quality images in colour such as photographs. They might be bought cheap, but continuous replacement tends to get quite expensive in the long run.
Colour or black-and-white
Would you want to buy a car where the cost of fuelling it surpasses the cost of buying the car in a matter of months?
Cartridges are a printer’s fuel. Factoring in the cost of the cartridge is one of the most important points to consider when you’re buying a printer.
It wouldn’t be feasible for you to invest in a colour cartridge if you’re looking to print in colour on rare occasions. Colour cartridges cost significantly more than the black cartridges. Did you know that printers use ink for routine maintenance too, and not just to print pages (this is something akin to keeping the channels flowing to prevent them from drying up)? Or that a coloured ink cartridge doesn’t just use black to print black-and-white pages?
Basic or multifunctional (scan, fax, etc.)
Multifunctional printers don’t just print. They scan, copy, fax, and do all related jobs with one device. If your needs include multiple functions with regard to printing documents, a multifunctional printer will serve you well. Then again, not all multifunctional printers include every single ability in the book and so you’d have to be pretty careful of picking one that would suit your needs. (If you want a scanner with a multitude of functionalities for frequent scanning needs, investing in a good scanner is worth the money spent.)
However, if you’re just looking at printing, you can opt for a basic standard printer, and nothing more. (Needless to say, with all the multiple functionalities packed into one unit, multifunctional printers also cost more than basic printers.)
If you would frequently have the need to print large volumes in quick time, you might want to look at the speed of your printer. The speed of a printer is essentially the speed of the machine itself, measured in PPM (Pages Per Minute) or IPM (Impressions per Minute). Printing speed comes in handy in instances where you are printing out large posters, and advanced printers divide large poster-sized sheets into smaller pages and print them in sequence (for instance, a large A1 sized photo is divided into four A4 sized pages and grouped).
Page size to be printed
Maximum page size that can be printed is also an important factor, but is often overlooked while purchasing a printer. If you need to print large-sized pages, your printer needs to be equipped with this ability. Know that most laser printers print faster than their inkjet counterparts.
Automatic duplexing (double-sided printing)
Also, automatic duplexing or double-paged printing is also something you look for if you’re printing text documents for academic purposes, or for your business or office. Look out for the ability to print on either side of a page if you want to use paper optimally.
Tray size is yet another factor you need to consider. If you want to print large-sized documents or print often, a larger tray size will spare you the trouble of refilling pages again and again.
Display panel on the printer
Apart from these, display panels are also desirable features in a printer. A larger display panel makes it easy for you to troubleshoot printer problems as it will clearly show you messages such as “low toner” or “insert paper”. Moreover, if a printer does not have a display panel, it is considerably harder to connect it to a network and use it.
Printing options (mobile, wireless, etc.)
If your needs include printing directly from a camera or a mobile device, you can seek such printers accordingly as most standard printers come with a USB port to connect to a computer or a laptop. Some also come with an ethernet port to connect to a network.
Borderless printing (for printing photos and images)
Speaking of cameras, know that borderless printing to the edge of the paper is an important feature to look for in a printer if you are looking at printing mostly photos or images. Not all printers can do this, so make sure you ask for one that specifically does this.
In fact, this is true for all the essential features you’re looking for in your next printer. Like we’ve said, anyone can point you to a lot of good printers in the market. The crucial part is to know and ask specifically for the ones that meet your needs best and serves your purpose without needing excessive maintenance in the long run.