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Which is the Best Printer for Me?
Table of contents
It can be hard for people to understand which printer is the best printer for their needs. After all, the printer that is perfect for one person may not be that great for another. For example, if you print numerous legal documents every day, you’re not going to need the same type of printer as someone who prints brochures and fliers. Below we have broken down the most common purchasing groups, helping the people within these groups understand which printer may be best to suit their needs. If you identify with more than one of these groups, don’t worry. In such a circumstance you simply need to go with the printer that offers all of the features that you will need.
Believe it or not, home users are some of the most hard-core printer users. This is because they need a lot from their printer. They need their printer to handle everything from personal documents to homework assignments, and even the printing of photographs. Many home users also want their printers to double as a copy machine, scanner, and fax. Because of this, most home users are best off purchasing an all-in-one inkjet model. These models are affordable to purchase and can perform a variety of functions, keeping up with a home user’s demand. If you find yourself in this group, your demands will be pretty straightforward.
Home users usually don’t want to spend a lot of money on their printer. After all, they aren’t making a business investment as the printer will only be for personal use. With that being said, however, home users do demand a lot from their printer.
When purchasing a printer for home use the first thing you want to do is make sure the printer is compatible with the operating system you are using on your computer and/or computers. For example, if your computer is running on Linux and the printer you buy isn’t compatible with the Linux operating system, you’re going to have to return that printer (and possibly pay a restocking fee).
Once you know that the printer you are looking at is compatible with your operating system, it’s time to determine the type of connectivity you want. A lot of home users want plug-and-play printers with USB connections. In addition, if you work on a laptop or have multiple computers in the house with a Wi-Fi network hooked up, then you’ll want a printer with Wi-Fi capabilities as this printer will allow you to print from any computer in the home as long as it is connected to the network.
If you do not have an Internet-based fax account and you want to be able to fax from home, you should also look into an all-in-one model that provides faxing capabilities.
Those who use a printer for their home business rather than just home personal use will need a bit more out of their printer than the average home user. In addition to ensuring that your printer is compatible with the operating system that you run on, you need to make sure it can keep up with the demands of your home office’s activities. It can be a lot to ask for from a printer, but if you shop smart and know what to look for it can indeed be done.
While many printer consumers don’t need to worry much about a printer’s memory, if you are purchasing your printer for a home office you may be one of the few who need to seriously take memory into consideration. If you print large documents with graphics and other memory-intensive objects, then you may run into error messages or printing issues when you go to print a document if the printer’s memory isn’t sufficient. Make sure the printer has enough memory to handle any type of document you may want to print.
Since you run your office from home, space is probably somewhat of an issue. You likely don’t have room for a fax machine, scanner, copier and printer all in your home office area. Because of this, you need to look into printers that offer all of these features – also known as all-in-one printers.
If you send out mailings from your home office, you also need to make sure that your printer can handle the media that you want to print on. If a printer can’t print on envelopes and you have a mass mailing to send out, you’re either going to have to hand-address each envelope or hire a print shop. Your best bet is to purchase a printer that can print on envelopes and any other type of media you may need the printer to support.
The input capacity of the printer is also going to be one of the things you want to look at. Unless you want to stand at your printer all day feeding it ten sheets at a time, you’re going to want a printer that has an input tray that can accommodate at least 100 sheets. This way the printer feeds the sheets automatically directly from the tray and you don’t have to worry about feeding the printer yourself.
A small business has similar needs to that of a home office. A small business will need a printer that can serve more than one purpose and stand up to the heavy duty needs that a small business can commonly present. There are a number of factors to take into consideration when purchasing a printer for a small business operation.
When purchasing a printer for your small business you first need to ask yourself what other functions you want the printer to serve. Do you need the printer to work as a copier? Do you need it to work as a scanner? If you do not have these other devices, you need to look for an all-in-one model that will offer these capabilities.
A small office should also consider looking for a printer that can connect through a Wi-Fi network. That way all of the computers in the office can use the same printer without the need to hook up the computers with cords.
Another thing to consider when purchasing a printer is the cost to operate the printer. Businesses have different needs and tend to print in higher quantities. Because laser printers are cheaper to run in terms of ink, you may want to forego inkjet models in preference of laser models that can accommodate your needs.
A small business that prints in large volumes must also look at the speed of the printer, the size of paper it can handle and the media it can print on. For example, if your office prints on post card stock for company mailings you will need a printer that can print this media type and size in a decent amount of time for the printer to be able to do its intended job.
If you are a student, you need a printer that can handle all of your class needs. If you live in a small dorm, space may be of primary concern. In that case, you’re going to want a portable printer that is small enough to fit in your limited dorm space.
For students who need to print large documents like term papers, a printer that has a high black and white ppm speed will also be important.
Cost is also a factor for many students. Since inkjet printers tend to require the least amount of out-of-pocket purchasing cost, inkjet models are a best bet for students to focus on when selecting the printer that is right for them.
Many students like to print out copies of the photographs they take in addition to printing school papers. The truth of the matter is that inkjet printers can be very costly in terms of photo printing. Because of this, students may also consider purchasing a stand-alone photo printer in addition to an inkjet printer for school needs.
Digital photographers have very unique needs when it comes to purchasing a printer. If this printer is going to be an integral part of your business, you are going to need to look at the color gamut the printer can produce, the types of papers that are supported, the color management tools and the different paper path options that are made available.
An upscale stand-alone photo printer is going to cost quite a bit more than your traditional inkjet printer or some of the lower-end photo printers, but the quality produced by it will make up for it in the long run. As a professional digital photographer, you don’t want to provide your customers with low-quality prints. As such, you will have to invest in a more expensive printer that can handle your professional photography needs.
Obviously a large corporation will have very different needs than most consumers when it comes to purchasing a printer. First and foremost, you need to consider the fact that you will likely be purchasing more than one printer. Since your corporation likely has stand-alone scanners and copiers, an all-in-one model is not really necessary. What you need is a printer that can work hard and fast and get the job done right.
The first thing you want to do is make sure any printer you are thinking of purchasing can keep up with your workload demands. This means looking at the PPM, the input tray, the memory and the media supported.
First, let’s discuss memory. When you are in a corporate environment it is not uncommon to have multiple employees sending documents to the printer at once. It is also common to print large documents with graphs and other graphics. Because of this, memory needs to be taken into consideration when purchasing a printer or the printer will not be able to accommodate your corporation’s printing needs.
In addition to memory you need to look at how much paper the printer can hold. You’ll want to look at printers that have multiple input trays to accommodate the needs of your office. Some printers, when all memory trays are combined, can store more than 800 pages so your employees don’t have to reload the machine constantly.
The speed of the printer will also be important in a corporate environment. Speed, referred to as ppm, is how many pages the printer can print in a minute. The type of documents you are printing will affect a printer’s ppm, but you should look for a printer that offers a ppm of 25 or higher when printing black and white documents.
Supported media is also important for many businesses. This is because businesses often have to print on envelopes and other types of media in the course of business. You will want to make sure that you purchase a printer that can accommodate all of the different types of media your company prints on. If you have printing needs that can’t be handled by a standard printer, such as printing of receipts or printing on DVDs and CDs, then you will also need to invest in printers that can tackle these tasks.
Because corporations often print a large volume of documents, the workload ability (also known as max duty cycle) of a printer is also important. This is usually presented in how many pages the printer can handle on a month. With personal printers, it’s not uncommon to see workload limits in the 5,000 page range. However, with a corporate printer you will want a max duty cycle of 50,000 or more.
The cost to operate the printer will also be important, since chances are that your corporation will be operating multiple machines. Laser printers do require a higher up-front investment than inkjet printers. They do, however, cost less to run in the long run as the toner is more cost effective.