How to buy the best printer

Posted on Sep 12 2012 - 1:28pm by Peter Millikin

If you own or use a computer then chances are you’ll probably use a printer too. If you haven’t bought a new printer for a while, the choices can be overwhelming.

Very few printers only perform one function these days. The popular all-in-one printers now include a variety of functions that many of us now need and love, such as the ability to copy and scan as well as print. Printers may also come with a fax machine, WIFI, Bluetooth technology, even a screen to view pictures.

It’s nice to have these added features on a printer, you might not need them right away but at some point I’m sure you’ll find many very useful. I know from my own experience with my Canon, the scanning feature has been invaluable and I think I actually use it more than the printer itself!

Will you be printing text, pictures or both?

If you are printing mostly text, a laser printer will have a much higher purchase price than an ink jet printer. But laser printers are generally a lot cheaper to run, especially if you’re only printing black and white documents. The downside is they don’t print especially high quality pictures unless your spending hundreds on the laser printer.
Inkjet printers, on the other hand, can print good quality photos, but are somewhat more expensive to run. Again, knowing the exact needs of your usage is essential to choosing the best printer for you.

It might even pay to have one of each!

Do you need colour cartridges?

Some printers use the colour cartridges even when you are not printing in colour! Ask your supplier the question before buying the printer as this would be an unnecessary expense. SO to clarify, if you have no intention of printing colour, then make sure that the printer you are purchasing can be used with black ink ONLY.

Is the printer compatible with your computer?

You definitely do not want to purchase a printer that is not compatible with your Mac or PC. The manufacturer’s website will be able to tell you if your printer is compatible. Most printers require you to plug in to the USB on your computer. If you don’t have a USB port spare you can always purchase a USB adapter then it can be “daisy-chained” to support more USB’s for things like your new printer.

Is the biggest saving in the ink cartridge or the printer?

Manufactures of the printers make enormous profits from selling you “original” ink cartridges, probably more revenue than the printer itself! That’s why refilling you cartridge is becoming more difficult. Many printer ink cartridges have a built in chip which talks to the printer and tells it when to stop working for you!

Ink cartridges can go on a lot longer than you’re lead to believe, a little like best before dates on food. I have refilled my printer cartridge 5 times, it too has a built in chip! Other than having to force the printer to do a factory reset every now and then the print quality is still crisp and bright.

Do you have any tips for buying a printer or saving money on ink cartridges? Please leave a comment and share this article with your friends and followers by using the social buttons!

Read about the Author

Peter has received many accreditation's including many from the Times Online. As founder of You Could Save (2005) and What Stationers (2007) Peter regularly helps consumers and national organisation ‘save money’. He believes that the only successful way to bring people together online is to provide an open marketplace where people can all work together in a friendly, unbiased environment.

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