Being one of the most necessary computer peripherals, printers are easy to find in any marketplace. But what makes shopping for one difficult is the number of brands and types available for you to choose from.
So let's sort them out.
Types of printers
Ink-jet printers are so named because they use printheads with a series of nozzles to spray microscopic jets of ink onto paper to create an image. The more dots they put on the page, the higher the resolution and the sharper the image they produce.
Ink-jet printers the cheapest types of printer around. However, ink-jet printers are only recommended if you don't print things out very often because their ink is expensive, so the cost you more per printed page than laser printers. The images are also not as sharp as those produced by laser printers.
Laser printers put images on a piece of paper by melting plastic toner powder into the paper. They are more expensive than ink-jet printers up front, but cost less in the long run because their toners can print so many more pages than can be done by ink-jet printers, and they do it faster as well. The quality of their prints are also sharper and cleaner.
If you're looking for commercial quality and commercial quantity prints, a laser printer is the way to go.
Dot-matrix printers are the oldest printers in the marketplace. They work by striking pins against an ink ribbon to produce a set of dots on the paper-very similar to how a typewriter works.
Dot-matrix printers are the only printers that can print on multi-layered forms, making them great for producing carbon copies of documents. Also, they are relatively inexpensive, and their cartridges are cheap to replace as well.
However, they are very loud when in operation, and their print quality is not as good as those of laser and ink-jet printers. Also, most dot-matrix printers can only print in black and white.
If your main concern is to create hard copies of text files, and quality is not an issue, a dot-matrix printer is the most practical choice for you.
Multifunctional printers are a good choice for you if your work requires versatility. It performs various tasks in addition to printing-such as scanning, copying, and faxing.
However, think twice before you lay out for an all-in-one printer. At nearly two feet wide and a foot deep, often weighing in at over 30 pounds, you've got to have enough space for it. You've got to have the budget for it too.
Photo printers are the best type for you if you're planning to print only photo size and photo quality images.
They can capture the range and depth of color in your photographs and then reproduce those on quality photographic paper. The quality of prints depends on the dpi(dots per inch) resolution that they print at. The higher dpi numbers, the better the prints.
Here are other available features you might want in your printer:
Automatic document feeders (ADF) allow you to put a lot of paper in at once so you do not have to feed more papers in every few minutes. With this feature in your printer, you can still enjoy your meal while having the printer do its work in its own.
Duplexing is the ability to print on both sides of the page. This is a must-have feature for your printer if you're into printing flyers and brochures.
Built-in scanning lets you scan documents as well as print them. This feature is a must-have for the graphic arts industry.
Network printing is a suitable feature for office settings it lets you connect multiple computers to the printer.
Wi-Fi connection is also available for printers. Through Wi-Fi, printers can receive wireless data for printing. A user can print from anywhere while on a wireless network and only needs one printer for multiple computers.
Dot-matrix can print on multi-layered forms, making them great for producing carbon copies of documents. They have the cheapest and most long-lasting replacement cartridges. However, they are noisy and their print quality is not as good as those of laser and ink-jet printers.
Ink-jet printers are the most affordable printers but their ink cartridges are expensive.
Laser printers are more expensive than ink-jet printers up front, but they cost less in the long run because they can print more copies from a single cartridge. They also print better-quality documents at a higher speeds.
Multifunctional printers perform can also scan, copy, and fax. However, it requires a good amount of space and money.
Photo printers are the best for you if you're planning to print only photo quality images.
Features such as automatic document feeders, duplexing, built-in scanning, network printing, and Wi-Fi make printers more useful or convenient.