Deciding what type of printer to puchase can be confusing

Deciding what type of printer to puchase can be confusing. With all the different brands and types of printers on the market, it’s no wonder that printer shopping can be a bit daunting. A lot of people end up paying for something they don’t need, or else they spend too much on something that will cost them even more in the long run. There are three main types of printers: dot matrix, inkjet printers, and laser printers. Dot matrix printers are used mainly by businesses that need to print a large number of invoices and data in bulk on multiple-copy paper. They work by striking a ribbon similar to a typewriter, and so are still used for forms that have multiple copies. They are loud, and only see limited use today. Inkjet printers, the most common in use today, use ink cartridges to print without heavy impact. Special paper should be used for inkjet printers, and care must be taken to avoid smudging the wet printouts. Laser printers use a laser beam to imprint images onto plain paper. This produces the highest quality printouts, but costs more than inkjet printers. In order to determine what type of printer is best for you, there are a few simple questions you need to ask yourself.

Is the printer going to be used for a small business, or is it just for personal use? Personal use printers are usually used for printing pictures, essays, and standard text documents. In this case you would be fine with an inkjet printer. Small businesses use printers for many varied purposes, such as printing checks, invoices, and presentations. For this you would want to pay a little extra for a laser printer, as the quality is higher, and it is less prone to smudging.

How expensive are the refills? The highest maintenance cost for a printer lies with replacement cartridges. These can easily exceed thirty dollars per cartridge depending upon the brand name. Some printers will accept cheaper third-party cartridges, and some will not. Check online to see if your particular printer can use the less expensive cartridges or if you will be required to pay full price for the brand name. Most major printer manufacturers will claim that third-party ink cartridges will not perform as well as their cartridges, but don’t be intimidated. There are quite a few very reputable third-party ink distributers out there. Some printers have different cartridges for each color. These are actually more cost effective as you only replace the color needed when it runs out, instead of replacing the entire cartridge.

Should you purchase an all-in-one printer? All-in-one printers, also called multifunction printers, combine the capabilities of a printer, copier, scanner, and fax machine into one compact unit. They are great for small businesses, as they not only take up less room than four separate machines, but they also cost less than buying multiple units as well. Personal users may not need all the extra functions of an all-in-one printer, so unless you plan on doing a lot of faxing, copying, or scanning of documents, you may want to purchase a less expensive single-function printer. For the occasional copy or fax, it would be less expensive to use the services of a mail or copy store than to purchase the multifunction printer.

Do you really need any extra features? Some printers can print in duplex, printing on both sides of the same sheet of paper. You can also get a collating tray for keeping multiple copies separated, an automatic stapling unit, and a host of other gadgets and gizmos. If you have a home business, you may want to consider one or two. Most people, however, don’t need the extra bells and whistles for an exorbitant price tag, and will never use them enough to be worth the extra expense.