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Printers Buyer Guide | ShopClues.com

Printer Buyer Guide

If you work out of home or an office or just like being able to print out documents and photos without rushing to a cybercafé, consider getting a computer printer.

In this guide, you'll be introduced to:

  • The different types of printers including inkjet, laser and 3D printers
  • The different print outputs such as colour and monochrome
  • The different functions a printer can perform in addition to printing
  • Important printer specifications one must look for
  • Choosing a printer based on your needs
  • How to get the most out of your printer
Printers
Laser Printer

Types of Printers




 Inkjet printers

Inkjet Printer



  • The relatively inexpensive cost of an inkjet printer coupled with good printing quality makes them great picks.
  • They can print on different types of paper such as glossy, matte and textured
  • They're relatively easy to maintain
Select Inkjet Printers
Inkjet
Laser printers

Laser Printer



  • Laser printers are ideal for printing high volume requirements
  • Relative to cost, they work out cheaper than inkjets for prints that aren't graphically complex
Select Laser Printers
Laser
3D printers

3D Printer



  • Using successive layering, 3D printers are able to print models of different shapes.
  • At present, most 3D printers can print small products. If you're looking for one that's capable of creating larger and more complex forms, you'll have to spend more.
Select 3D Printers
3D

Output Types




 Colour printers

Colour Printers



  • Colour printing varies between brands.
  • Colour printers are comparatively expensive than monochrome printers.
Select Colour Printers
Colour
Monochrome printers

Monochrome Printers



  • Printers have a black text print speed of between 5 and 25 pages per minute.
  • Monochrome printers cost reasonable.
Select Monochrome Printers
Monochrome

Functions



  • Print: Printers with a single 'print' function are ideal for buyers who want to print and nothing else.
  • Scan: If you need to scan and print, a printer with a 'scan' function is what you should look for.
  • Copy: Home and regular offices as well as students will benefit from a printer that combines printing, scanning and copying.
  • Fax: Adding even more to the functions list are printers that can fax in addition to printing, scanning and copying. These all-in-one printers are great for small offices and home offices.
Select Printers By Function
Print Scan Copy Fax

Specifications for Inkjet and Laser Printer




 Resolution/dpi

Resolution/dpi



  • Choose a printer with a high resolution or dots per inch (dpi) as text and images will look sharper and more vibrant.
  • 300dpi is the typical minimum resolution for many printers.

Cartridge replacement

Cartridge replacement



  • Some printers allow for individual cartridge replacement, which is more convenient.
  • Others require you to replace all cartridges at once.

Paper handling

Paper handling



  • Look for a printer that accepts various standard paper sizes like A4 and A5 as well as envelopes.
  • Small printers can handle between 100-150 sheets of paper which is sufficient for home use.
  • If you need to print more, a printer that can handle 250 pages or more will be more suited to your requirement.
Connectivity

Connectivity



  • Printers with USB, wireless and Ethernet connectivity offer more convenience.
  • If your computer is hooked up to a network, these features can make printing easier.

Specifications for 3D Printer




Pre-assembled kit

Pre-assembled kit



  • Pre-assembled 3D kits are what you'll mostly come across.
  • If you want an inside look into how a 3D printer works, you can go for a kit that needs to be assembled.

Build area

Build area



  • Low-cost 3D printers usually print in one colour and have a smaller build area of about 4x4 inches.
  • Higher-end printers can print in more colours and have a larger build area.
Software

Software

Some 3D printers don't come with software, which means you'll need to look for open source software online.

Your Requirement



  • Printers for home:
    i) If you need a printer for outputting documents, a laser printer will serve you well.
    ii) If you're looking for a printer to produce top-notch photos, consider buying an inkjet model.
    iii) Students, who usually need to print documents and images alike, can go for compact multifunction printers.
  • Printers for offices and business:
    Offices and businesses require printers to handle large volumes of work. While having a multifunction printer can do the job, it could tie-up others' work. Standalone machines, therefore, are best.

Maximise Your Printer

There are several ways you can get the most out of your investment. Knowing what they are, you can see cartridges and toners last longer.

  • Try to print in greyscale. Leave sharp black and rich colour prints for final drafts and for printing photographs.
  • Proof-read and preview your document before hitting 'print'. It'll save you from printing mistakes.
  • If you're using an inkjet printer, power it off when not in use. It enables the ink heads to be 'parked' and capped. This keeps the ink from drying and also saves energy.
  • Some laser printers refuse to print when the toner is low. You may still be able to get a few prints, however, by covering the sensor hole on the cartridge. You can also shake the cartridge to redistribute the toner.

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