With so many types and models of printers on the market, it might look like choosing a printer is a piece of cake. However, there are so many factors you must consider before you make your final decision. Basically, you need to determine what you need the printer for and your budget and from here it gets easier to choose the best printer for you.
Depending on your needs and budget, your decision which printer to get might be not so difficult because if you have a limited budget and you are not a very demanding user, then almost any low-end printer is fine for you. Similarly, if money is not an issue and you can afford to buy an expensive model with many extras, then the decision is also easy. But in all other cases, when you don’t have much to spend but you do require a quality printer, you will have to do some brainstorming before you reach a decision.
One issue that needs to be cleared in advance is that this article applies to choosing a new printer. Having in mind that printers are getting cheaper and cheaper, it is pointless to buy a used printer. Also, if you can’t really make up your mind about what type of printer you need most, you can always get one inkjet and one laser printer and enjoy them both. But if you can afford only one printer, here are some tips, which will help you decide which printer is best for you.
Your needs are the first factor you must take into account. You must know what kinds of tasks you will perform occasionally, frequently, and on a daily basis with your printer because this influences directly your options. As you will see next, both laser and ink printers are great choices but under different circumstances.
Home users are traditionally regarded as the least picky group of users but this is not necessarily so. Home users are usually not obsessed with printing quality but rather with cost. Still, there are exceptions. For instance, if you are a photo maniac, then you will most likely want a printer for printing photographs. If you are not very picky about the quality of the printing, even an average inkjet will do. But if you want really professional photos, a special photo printer is a better choice. And if you need really high quality printouts, you might consider using the services of a printing house, rather than print them on your own at home.
If you are like most home users, you will need a printer to occasionally print documents, books, papers and similar texts. In this case you will hardly need color printing and your primary concern is that printing a 100-page report does not cost a fortune. Almost all personal laser jets can do the job. Additionally, the cost per copy is lower for laser printers and you will appreciate this if you print a lot. Laser printers are also (generally) faster than inkjets, so printing a 100-page report will not take you hours. However, in most cases speed is not an issue for home users because unlike companies, you will hardly print thousands of pages on a daily basis.
If you do need to print photos and other images at home, then your best option is an inkject printer. Color laser printers are expensive and the cost of their consumables is too high, so for a home user on a budget, a color laser printer is not much of an option.
Home Office/Small Company
Unlike home users, small companies or individuals who need a printer for their home office, are less likely to need to print stunning quality photos. This does not mean that a color printer is obsolete for you but since you will be printing more documents than images, then a monochrome laser printer will be a much better choice than a budget inkjet. Monochrome laser printers are faster and their consumables cost less in the long run.
On the other hand, if you really think that color is important for you, you can get a new low-end color laser jet for $200-300. Their print quality is generally better than the print quality of low-end inkjets and the costs per page are more or less comparable for both types of printers.
Another option that you might want to consider are small multifunctional devices. There are also portable printers that weigh from 2 to 5 pounds and if you travel a lot, you might consider getting one of these.
For large companies price comes second to speed and consumables cost. Workgroup printers cost over a thousand dollars but purchasing one of them is a wise decision because they are fast and can print many copies a minute, which is ideal, if you don’t want to see your employees queued up in front of the printer, waiting for their reports to come out. Large multifunctional devices are also a choice.
When you know your printing needs, the next step is to decide on the type of printer you want. Here is what you need to know about inkjets, laser printers, and multifunctional devices.