Choosing the right printer can be hard work. There is so much choice available from so many difference manufacturers. It’s no wonder we get calls from frustrated owners trying to understand where it all went wrong. So here’s five tips to help you next time you’re looking for a new printer.
The first step to choosing the right printer is to decide what are you going to use that printer for. Is it a central work-horse for your business? Or do you need one to work from Home? Will you be needing to print photos? Or maybe you want to print CAD drawings? Having a clear understanding of what you want to do with the printer will help you narrow down your selection.
Not all printers are the same. Each manufacturer offers printers that have their own benefits but usually by sacrificing something else. For example, you may want one that prints quickly but the quality is not important. You may need one that is small enough to fit in a tight space but doesn’t need to print A3. Or you might want a printer that holds a lot of paper.
If like many of us have been, you are working from home – you may want to invest in a multi-function printer. These MFPs not only print but can also scan and photocopy too.
Of course, you may not even need a printer. If you’re using your printer just for photographs, you’re maybe better off using an online printing service like Photobox or Snapfish. It’s almost five times less expensive to get photos professionally printed than it is to print the photos at home. Oh, and you’ll get top-quality photos every time.
Yes, you could buy a printer from the local supermarket at less than it would cost to buy a set of ink cartridges. Be warned though, the only way the manufacturers can make a profit on this promotion is to make their money back through the cost of the inks.
A better way to see if a printer is good value is to calculate the cost of the prints per page. Printer cartridges all have an estimated number of pages they can print to. As an example let’s assume a black cartridge can print 5,000 pages and costs £50 for the cartridge – the cost per page is just 1p per page.
By comparison, some of the ‘cheap’ printers you see for sale can cost over 20p per page to print! This is how you work out if a printer is cheap or not.
Currently there are two main types of printer on the market.
Inkjet printers have a cartridge that is full of ink fluid. The fluid is jet‘ed through tiny nozzles in the cartridge onto the paper.
Pros: Cartridges print less pages but are usually cheap to buy
Cons: Ink dries up and blocks the nozzles if not used regularly
Laser printers use cartridges full of fine powder called toner that is heated and fused onto the paper.
Pros: Laser cartridges are usually cheaper per page than inkjet.
Cons: A set of laser cartridges can cost many hundreds of pounds to buy.
Also because the toner is fused to the paper the ink won’t run if the paper gets wet. The last benefit is that laser printers are usually faster at printing.
The manufacturers almost always publish specifications. Take the time to look them up as these factors will help you choose the right printer for you. Here is our most common specifications we look for when choosing the right printer for our customers…
And the biggest one… WIFI!
Many people think a printer needs to have WiFi if they are to print from their laptop. This is not true. You only need a WiFi printer if you cannot connect the printer directly to your router or network via a cable. Don’t worry your laptop will still print via it’s own wifi to the network printer.
Be warned though – WiFi printing is slow, unreliable and well, urgh! Please only buy a WiFi printer if you REALLY cannot get a wire from your network to the printer.
Inkjet, Laser, multi-function, photo and even WiFi printers all have their pros and cons. If you’re in need of a printer and don’t know where to start we can supply you with the right model, set it up for you, and help you keep it going strong.
Contact us today to get started.