Printing is becoming a common task that most computer users perform on a regular basis. Also, now a days printers are able to perform multiple functions, and thus, add a lot of value to computer users who own them. However, picking the right printer has become tougher than before due to huge variety of choice. This is especially true for home users who usually buy printer for occasional use without considering any other potential use. Here we will tell you how to pick a right printer for home, whether it’s an inkjet or a laser printer.
If you have a set budget, then you can skip this section. However, if you have a loose purse, then keep reading because we will tell you how to choose the printer that delivers maximum value for your money. You must ask yourself a few questions, like will you print large number of pages regularly? If yes, then you would need a printer that has a fast print speed. Are you someone who desires top quality prints all the time? If answer to both the questions is, yes, then you should go for professional level printers, otherwise, you choose a budget model.
Inkjet or Laser
There is a perception that inkjet printers are costlier to operate than laser printers, but with the advent of ink-tank technology this gap has vanished. Also, print quality of inkjet printers have considerably improved, but still in print quality inkjet can’t beat a laser printer. Moreover, if you don’t use your printer for a long time, then inkjet printer print nozzles sometimes gets blocked while no such problem occurs with a laser printer.
Does this mean laser printer is the best choice? Not necessarily. Laser is way more costly than an inkjet, especially if you go for a color laser. You can easily get a decent quality color inkjet printer at the cost of a monochrome laser and the operative costs will remain almost the same. So, are you ready to pay extra just for quality, when you can get both color and B/W prints at the same price?
Multifunction or Single-function
Now a days multifunction printers are designed to be compact and efficient, thus, making them easier to own for home users. The benefits of having an all-in-one is that you can perform many functions like scanning and copying documents, photos, etc. on a single machine. Some devices can also work as a fax machine, but it’s all about spending extra money for additional features. Although multifunction devices are costlier, but convenience does add value if you have need for it.
Cartridge Costs and Availability
Cartridges, ink or toner, are an important factor. Most of your money after purchasing the printer will be spent on them. It’s usually seen that once you own a printer you tend to print more often. So, it’s wise to calculate in advance the cost of per page print, this can be difficult for color printers, but take a rough estimate. Also, ensure that the availability of ink and toner cartridges is good, so that in future you are not stuck with an unfinished project because of unavailability of cartridges.
USB connectivity is standard for every printer, but some home use models provide Wi-Fi and sometimes Bluetooth connectivity. Wireless connectivity will be truly useful if you do your work through a smartphone. If you want to print photos from camera, then a memory card slot will allow you to print directly from your camera’s memory card.
The most prominent feature that improves user friendliness of a printing device is an LCD screen. Printers which are designed to print photos directly from the memory card will surely have this feature as it helps in reviewing the photos before printing. In a multifunction printer, an LCD screen is truly useful as it allows you to perform many functions without needing a computer.
Home use printers support minimum 100 sheets in input tray and this is enough for most users. If you want to print photos, then do check whether the printer supports glossy photo paper or not. Usually, home printers support A4 size papers, but some expensive ones support A3 size also. Support for double-sided printing is a highly useful feature as it can save your time, effort and printing costs. Check for the duty cycle of the printer.
Warranty and Support
Look at the total warranty period of the printer and also prefer the machine on which on-site warranty option is available.
Finally, all we can say is that as a home user, you should first determine the tasks you want to perform with your printer, then calculate its cost of ownership and operation, then look for its compatibility, user-friendliness and support offered by the manufacturer. That’s it, you know everything that is required to be known before buying a printer. Now, when you want to buy one, consider all the factors discussed above and make a wise choice. Good luck!