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Choosing a printer for your home office can be confusing.
Before getting a new printer, it is important to clarify your needs. For instance, if you own a small business you don’t need huge printers which will cost you a large amount of money and won’t justify expectations. Instead, you can use multifunctional office printers which can replace scanners, copiers, and fax machines and will save your space. However, if you only need the feature of copying you can opt for laser desktop printers which will increase productivity during the working process and will cut costs.
There are many different types of office printers on the market, from inkjet to laser and beyond. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses, so here’s a quick rundown of some things you’ll want to consider when it comes time to make your purchase:
- What type of printing do you need for your work? Inkjets are best if you print photos often, while lasers are more durable and cost less in the long run.
- Do you need color or just black-and-white prints? Colour printers produce better quality than B/W models, but they’re also much more expensive.
- How frequently will you be printing? If it’s going to be once a week or less, you can probably make do with a cheaper B/W printer that isn’t as high-end. If it’s going to be at least once a day, however, we recommend investing in one of the better colour laser printers on the market.
- How much do you want to spend? This ties into how often you’re going to be using your printer and what type of quality you desire. Other factors fall under the cost of consumables such as ink cartridges or toner when considering price points for printers.
What Types Are There?
There are three main types of printers: Inkjet, Laser, and 3D. Some hybrids exist that combine two or even all three! Here is a brief overview of each:
Consists of tiny jets that shoot ink onto the paper. This is a good budget option for homes because they can print in colour and you only need to replace the colour you need (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key). They often have larger cartridges than laser inkjets and don’t require new drum replacements. They are also more expensive upfront than laser models and toner technology isn’t as advanced, resulting in lower-quality photos. They have recently started to become more popular among big businesses due to their affordability and ability to offer photo prints while still being cheaper than laser printers on a page-by-page basis.
It consists of a charged particle that burns blacks onto the page. They offer higher resolution but are also more expensive upfront and require drum replacements quite often (every 3-6 months depending on use). For best quality, they utilize toner technology which is at least twice as much per cartridge compared to inkjets. You can also get laser printers with built-in scanners and fax machines that all happen to be cheaper than buying three separate devices for your home office. So if you do need these features, we highly recommend them!
It uses a projector to beam an image onto paper or plastic, where it hardens using ultraviolet light. Currently unacceptably priced, very bulky, and not great quality. However, prices will go down in time as the technology improves.
What Features Should I Look For?
This is the most important factor in your purchasing decision. Today’s printers can range from $49 to just over $1,000! If you only plan on using your home printer occasionally, look for a model that will fit both your budget and needs. If you’re printing multiple times a day or are a professional photographer, then we recommend investing more money upfront into one of the higher-end models.
2. Optional Features
These will increase the price tag, but it also increases functionality. So if you have higher demands for editing software or scanning documents, then splurging on these features may be worth it to make life easier. For example, if you’re a graphic designer who needs to print multiple documents on one page or someone who scans receipts from your business every day. The optional features are scanning, copying, and faxing. You can find a printer that only does a couple of the tasks mentioned above (many B/W printers have less, for example), but finding one with all four capabilities is rare and will be more expensive.
This refers to how you connect your printer to your computer. There are three main ways:
- wireless via Wi-Fi network connection (most common)
- wired through an ethernet cable running directly into the machine (slower than wirelessly but more reliable)
- or USB where you plug a cable directly into your computer (most convenient).
The most basic printers you would find at an office supply store work wirelessly, but these typically won’t be the best quality. Most printers you will buy for home use today will be connected by USB cable or even Wi-Fi, so make sure whatever is a priority for you is available in your desired model.
4. Paper Handling
This refers to how many paper trays a printer has and how many sheets can fit inside of them! Top loading printer trays allow you to quickly change paper types when going from coloured photo paper to stock. For example, without changing out the entire tray, some printers have multiple drawers too, which allows ease of use.
They are nice because they save time but are more expensive and limit your paper customization options. Front-loading trays require you to load the paper from the front, which may be an inconvenience but also makes it easier to access all types of sheets. It is a feature that you will rarely need or use but is still nice to have if you plan on printing multiple types of documents frequently.
5. Wireless Capabilities
This is extremely convenient for home users who want their printer out of the way and don’t have a place at their desk for it, or even just anybody who doesn’t want cables in sight. They can also be used as shared printers for your whole family since they work wireless! If this is something you need to have, make sure your model allows for it!
6. Ink/Toner Cost and Quality
This is the most important factor when purchasing a printer on a budget. Printers such as the Canon SELPHY series are much cheaper to use in the long run than their HP counterparts, simply because of how much ink they can hold inside of them. It’s also important to note that some printers you buy will require you to replace both ink cartridges at once, while others let you replace just one. You’ll also want an indication of how black or vibrant your colors will be printed, so if this matters to you, then look for reviews online before making your decision!
When purchasing a printer, the main thing to look for is the cost of ink and the quality if you are printing photos. You’ll want to buy one with a low upfront cost but a high ink capacity, so the price per page will be affordable. This makes the most sense financially because it’s unlikely you would use your printer every day and switching out cartridges on cheaper models can be expensive if you do. If you’re looking for ink and toner cartridges at less than wholesale prices, visit Supply Link USA. All in all, pick something with the largest capacities available!
Let us know if you have any questions in the comments!
About The Author
Riza Angeles is a freelance content creator and blogger at BlissfulAptitude.com who has been living with an Orthopedic Disability for most of her life. She’s an advocate for the rights of PWDs, and she loves to write about anything that catches her eye!
Her goal is to make people feel empowered by reading her articles and help them find their voice through words. Follow her on Instagram: @riza_zangeles.
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