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  • Printers are an essential part of the home computing set-up, and are used for a multitude of tasks,...

    04/05/2011

Printers


Printers: Buying Guide

Printers are an essential part of the home computing set-up, and are used for a multitude of tasks, printing documents to high quality photographs. This article looks at some of the considerations you need to make when buying a home printer for the first time.

There are many things to consider when choosing your printer. The first is what type of printer best suits your needs.

Inkjet versus laserjet

inkjet color printers are the most common format of printer used in home situations, but can also be found in small offices etc.

Other printer formats include color laserjet printers (which are best for large amounts of fast printing), and color laser all-in-one printers, such as HP Multifunctional Printers which are a combination of home printer, scanner and copy machine in one device.

Tip
Bear in mind what you plan to use your printer for and decide in advance which of these formats most suits your needs.

Connectivity

Next, it is important to consider how the printer is connected to the home PC as while many digital color printers are connected via USB wire, some connect to the PC remotely, such as wireless HP printers. Paying for wireless connectivity is certainly worth considering if one printer is to be used with multiple computers, as in an office or multiple PC households.

Tip

Print speed is less of a factor for today’s printers, but bear in mind that the average number of pages per minute that a printer can produce is around
22 ppm. Look out for this value when researching which printer to buy.

Cost of cartridges

Of course, the initial cost of the printer is often offset by the cost of replacing ink cartridges over the years. Try and consider what you will be printing the most - if you print lots of black and white documents etc, consider looking for printers that have separate colour/monochrome cartridges, as many so-called 'all in one' cartridges are designed to stop working once only one colour runs out. This can be expensive to replace, as well as annoying.

Paper to be used for printing

If you plan to print photographs from your printer unit, be sure to research whether the printer can handle specialised digital photograph paper (which is usually highly glossy) and has a high pixel resolution - i.e. how much detail the printer can produce.

Tip

Bear in mind: some printers are also able to take SD cards directly with built-in memory card readers.

When choosing a printer, the most important consideration is what you plan to use the unit for - as different formats have different strengths and running costs.

 
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