Printers are one of the most used pieces of machinery of the 21-century. They have gone through serious development over the years, from being able to just print, to doing more stuff like copying, scanning, and other functionalities.
So how can you pick the right printer, especially for you? You’ll need to consider many things, like the printer’s type, its ability to multifunction, and many other elements. That’s why today we’ll show you the most important factors that you must consider before buying a printer.
Your use of the printer is an essential factor that you must consider. You have to decide whether you need a printer for home use like printing letters and A4 papers, or if you need a printer capable of printing 100+ documents daily.
Based on your printer usage, inkjet printers are best suited for home use. They print both black and white alongside colors and at a relatively good speed. While if you need a large amount of paper to be printed daily, then a large laserjet printer is your best bet. These printers are capable of dishing out vast amounts of paper in a short time.
Continue reading: Monochrome vs Color Printers
Multifunctional printers are quite popular. They combine multiple traits, all rolled up into one machine. Depending on the model you purchase, they can do anything from scanning, being used as a fax machine, copying, and printing.
They are perfect for home use and will save you the trouble of buying a fax machine or a scanner. They’re also a cheaper option that makes more sense, especially if you don’t have a lot of space.
Since you plan on buying a printer, there are some terms that you must be familiar with. They are: Duty cycle, DPI, and PPI. We will discuss each one separately.
A printer’s duty cycle is the average number of papers that it can print per month. You must keep your printing amount below that number as if you don’t; your printer will begin to show signs of wear and tear as well as slowing down way before it should. In an office, knowing a printer’s duty cycle is key as if you print more than the duty cycle, your printer might stop functioning at one point, which might be catastrophic.
DPI is short for dots per inch, and it indicates the amount of ink dots that a printer can apply on a square inch. DPI determines the printer’s ability to create high-resolution print-outs. However, DPI has become outdated, and there is newer software that enhances a print-out’s quality without affecting the printer’s DPI.
It means pages per minute and it’s quite self-explanatory. PPM refers to your printers printing speed per minute. You might have recognized that printers usually have two different PPMs; one of them is for black and white while the other is for colored print-outs.
Having a high PPM printer isn’t always the best thing, as these tend to be pretty expensive. Before deciding on an appropriate PPM rate, you should first determine whether you need to print a bulk amount of documents in a short time or not. If you need a fast printer, then going for ones that print 15-20 black and white pages per minute, and 20-25 color pages per minute is your best bet.
Costs here doesn’t refer to the price of the printer itself, as many budget-friendly printers will have anything that you’ll need. Costs refer to the money that you’ll spend to get your printer up and running from the printing paper to the ink cartridges.
You must know the average amount that you plan to print per month before deciding on a printer. A good solution would be to invest in an expensive printer so that you can buy into a cheaper line of cartridges. Plus, you might want to consider refilling your cartridges instead of purchasing new ones.
Nonetheless, you need to know that some printer vendors have taken to installing tiny tracking chips into their cartridges. These tracking chips track your ink or toner’s level and make refilling them much harder.
The last thing that you should know about a printer before buying it is how it connects to your PC or laptop. A USB connection used to be the most common point of connection for a long time. It provides an easy and fast connection as long as your printer is near your PC.
More accessible connection methods have become available. For example, the most common way of connecting a laptop or PC to a printer is through Wi-Fi. Newer technologies like Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print make pairing your printer and your device as fast as a snap due to the newly implemented Wi-Fi Direct.
Other connecting options include NFC, which stands for Near-Field Communication. NFC isn’t available in all printers. It allows you to pair your tablet or smartphone by simply using your device to touch the printer in a specified area. Sort of like scanning a QR code but much easier.
By the same token, if you have a legacy computer, you might need to get a parallel port printer.
Choosing a printer is a daunting task, but we hope that we have helped you to make a better choice. All you have to do is to decide on your needs of a printer, the available space, how much you’re willing to spend after buying the printer, whether you need the printer to scan or not, and decide on the best method of connecting the printer to your device.
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