The Wonderful World of Printers and Ink

Prior to purchasing a printer, whether that for your home or office, there are a few things you should note. Which should you buy? Well it entirely depends on your expectations. Are you looking for high quality prints for professional-looking graphics and text? Or are you looking for a volume printer that can print off many documents in a short period of time? Depending on your answer to questions like these will dictate which printer you should buy. Let’s go through a little checklist that will help determine what type of printer you need.

Inkjet Printers

The most common type of printer, an inkjet printer works by thrusting particles of ink onto paper. Inkjets are some of the most inexpensive printers you can buy. Inkjets are easy to set up, can print off documents and graphics relatively quickly, and produces decent-to-high quality prints. If you plan on using a printer for your home, an inkjet is probably the best option. If you are looking at getting an inkjet for the office, you probably don’t want to purchase an inkjet for the simple reason being that it isn’t a great mass-printing option and pales in comparison to a laser in terms of print speed.

Laser Printers

Laser printing is fairly self-evident. It works by using a laser beam to shine onto a drum to produce characters and graphics. Laser printers are great for pinpoint, precision printing. In a nutshell, just think of a laser printer as: high resolution documents quickly. Laser printers are perfect for small businesses, school computer rooms, or other situations in which printing volume of pages is the preemptive goal. One of the most cost-effective laser printers is the Samsung CLP-315. If you’re looking for a laser printer a little more serious (and a bit more expensive), check out the HP 2600N. Laser printers are more expensive than inkjets, both in terms of the toner replacement and in the actual machine itself. You also probably don’t want a laser printer if looking to print off photos or graphics with vivid colors. Still, for documents and memos, laser printers are great and an effective machine.

Dot Matrix Printer

Some of the advantages of a dot matrix printer include low cost per print page, the printer will rarely jam and is quite a reliable machine, and a dot matrix can be used to print one long, continuous document. It’s great for long data entries and similar jobs. Print quality or printing colorful images is not a strong point of a dot matrix printer. As this type of printer is considerable older than the previous two options, it won’t print as quickly as an inkjet or laser printer either. This is all without mentioning the printer will sound like an automobile engine while printing. Well, not quite but you get the idea.

Multifunction Printers

Multifunction printers are named because they do exactly that: multitask. A multifunction printer can print, copy, scan, and fax (I know, who uses fax anymore right?) and in essence save a ton of the space you would need as opposed to buying separate machines for each task. By bundling each task into one machine, you will also save a hefty bundle of bucks. You’ll also only need to buy a single set of consumables (paper, toner) for the machine instead of buying various cartridges for each printing device. The problem of this is that if one component of the machine is broken, it will be likely that the entire device may be temporarily disabled until fixed. In addition, unless buying an expensive multifunction printer, the print quality will also be lower.

Brian Prowse is a writer and self-proclaimed tech geek. He writes for sites such as that specializes in HP toner cartridges. When he’s not writing or playing around with the coolest gadgets on the market, Brian enjoys traveling and graphic design.