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Printer Buying Guide - Print Smarter, Not Harder

When it comes to purchasing a printer, there are many options available on the market, making it difficult to know which one to choose. It's essential to consider factors such as price, type, brand, dimensions, resolution, speeds and dpi to ensure that you select a printer that meets your specific needs. In this buying guide, we will break down these factors and more to help you make an informed decision when purchasing your next printer. Whether you are a home user, small business, or a large corporation, this guide will help you understand the different options available and help you choose the best printer for your needs.

Price: Printers can range in price from under $50 to several thousand dollars. The cost of a printer will depend on the type, features, and brand. In general, inkjet printers are less expensive than laser printers.

Cost of Replacement Ink: It's important to consider the cost of ink or toner replacement in the long run. Some printers have higher upfront costs but lower costs for replacement ink cartridges, while others may have lower upfront costs but higher costs for replacement ink cartridges. It's important to research the cost of replacement ink cartridges before making a decision, as it can have a significant impact on the overall cost of ownership of the printer. It's also good to consider if the printer uses individual ink cartridges for each color or a tri-color cartridge that holds multiple colors. Some printers may have an option to use high-yield cartridges which can save cost in the long run. Additionally, it's important to consider the yield of the ink cartridges, which is the number of pages that can be printed with each cartridge. This can also affect the cost of ownership. By taking into account the cost of replacement ink cartridges, you can make a more informed decision and select a printer that is not only suitable for your needs but also cost-effective in the long run.

Colors: Printers are available in a variety of colors, including white, black, and silver. Some printers also come in more unique colors, such as red or blue. However, color is not an essential factor when choosing a printer and should not be the main consideration.

Type: There are several types of printers available, including inkjet, laser, thermal, and dot matrix printers. Inkjet printers are best for home use and can print on a variety of media, including paper, cardstock, and even fabrics. They are also good for printing photos. Laser printers are better suited for office use and can print at high speeds and with a high resolution. They are also more efficient and cost-effective for printing high volumes of text documents. Thermal printers are used for printing receipts and other thermal paper. Dot matrix printers are used for printing multi-part forms, such as invoices and purchase orders. It's important to consider the type of printing you will be doing before selecting a printer.

Popular brands: Some popular printer brands include HP, Epson, Brother, and Canon. HP is known for its wide range of products and its emphasis on innovation. Epson is known for its high-quality printing and advanced technology. Brother is known for its cost-effective and efficient printing solutions. Canon is known for its high-performance and durable printers. It's important to read reviews and do research before choosing a brand to ensure you are getting a reliable product.

Dimensions: The most popular printer size is the desktop printer, which can be placed on a desk or table. These printers are compact and easy to use. However, if you have limited space, you may want to consider a compact or portable printer.

Resolution: A good resolution for a printer is 600x600 dpi (dots per inch) for a laser printer and 4800x1200 dpi for an inkjet printer. Higher resolution printers will produce sharper, more detailed prints. It's important to consider the resolution if you will be printing images or graphics.

Speeds: The fastest printers are laser printers. They can print up to 30 pages per minute. Inkjet printers, on the other hand, typically print at speeds of 15 pages per minute. It's important to consider the speed if you will be printing high volumes of documents.

Dpi: To find the dpi of your printer, you can check the specifications listed in the printer's manual or on the manufacturer's website. You can also check the settings on your computer or device to see the dpi of the printer you are currently using. Dpi stands for dots per inch and it determines the resolution of your printed documents.

Additionally, it is also important to consider features such as wireless connectivity, duplex printing, and mobile printing capabilities. It is also important to consider the compatibility of the printer with your operating system and devices.

About William Elward

Founder of Castle Ink, William Elward has 20 years experience in the printer industry. He's been featured on CNN Money, Yahoo, PC World, Computer World, and other top publications and frequently blogs about printers and ink cartridges. He's an expert at diagnosing printer issues and has published guides to fixing common printer issues across the internet. A graduate of Bryant University and Columbia's Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program, he's held various leadership positions at The College Board, Bankrate, Zocdoc, and Everyday Health. Follow him on Twitter at William Elward's Twitter Profile