What Type of Printer Should I Get?
To choose the best printer for your needs, you must first identify your budget, the output quality you require, and the type and volume of printing you will be doing. Following consideration of these factors, you will be able to determine whether a single-function or multifunction unit is appropriate, as well as whether a laser or inkjet printer is the best option for you. With so many printers on the market, making this decision can be difficult. Approach the decision with caution to ensure that you get a printer that fits your needs while remaining within your budget.
Multifunction vs. Single-function Printers
Multifunction printers incorporate several features beyond standard printing. These devices may also scan, photocopy, and function as a fax machine; many multifunction printers offer all four of these features. If you need a fax machine, scanner or copier, a multifunction device may save money and office space by replacing two or more machines with a single unit. On the other hand, if you only need to print, investing in a multifunction printer costs you extra for features that you are not likely to use. If you need to perform specialized printing tasks that require high-quality images, a specialized single-function printer will probably be the better option because single-function devices tend to offer higher quality at the upper end of the price range than their multifunction counterparts.
If you only plan on doing a small amount of printing, a standard consumer inkjet printer will most likely suffice. A laser printer, on the other hand, is recommended for offices where multiple people share a single printer or where large print runs are required on a regular basis. Laser printers are more capable of handling high-volume print jobs and are also more cost-effective when dealing with large-scale printing requirements. Laser printers are typically larger and have larger print trays; they also print much faster than inkjet printers. This is especially important when printing documents with hundreds of pages.
Laser printers are better suited to printing high-quality text pages, especially documents that use very small font sizes. For photos and images with complex colors, however, a high-end inkjet printer produces better quality. Inkjet printers blend colors together seamlessly, while lasers sometimes have delineation or lines that can be seen where the colors change.
Laser printers are typically more expensive than inkjet printers. Their maintenance costs are also lower because inkjet machines contain fewer consumables. However, the cost of ownership over the printer’s lifetime must be considered. A laser printer is the better investment for high print volumes or if you intend to use the printer for an extended period of time. Due to the relatively high cost of inkjet ink cartridges, the actual cost-per-page of a laser printer is usually lower than that of an inkjet printer.
When purchasing a printer for an office environment, networking features can be important. If you prefer to minimize the wires in your office to make it simple to interconnect all the devices in the network, look for a printer that allows wireless networking. If you only need to connect the printer to a single computer in a small office, don’t pay extra for fancy networking and wireless capabilities.
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