What to look for when buying a new printer

Posted on 04 November 2011 by admin


Buying a new wireless printer can often be confusing, with many features that sound technical and irrelevant. We show you the important features to look for when buying a new printer, to ensure you end up with a product that lasts and works well for you.

LCD Screen
Quite often printers nowadays come with a small LCD screen. This is a god send for convenience and lets you manage print jobs, check ink levels, see error messages, and configure other settings without having to touch a computer.

Paper types
As with any printer the ability to handle different paper sizes such as envelope printing and such like can be a real benefit. Laser printers can usually handle different weights of paper, something that inkjets sometimes lack. Envelope printing is now a standard feature for most printers irrespective of the type but be sure to check, if this is important to you.

Inkjet printers can be very compact when compared with laser printer’s inherent larger footprint. But even inkjets aren’t the last word on space saving. There are very small printers available now that are portable and can fit in a laptop bag, but beware, you often pay a premium for their small size and they often lack features that larger printers have as standard.

Ink consumption and cost
Ink consumption can be an issue with some printers so try reading some reviews before purchasing to ensure you don’t buy a thirsty printer. If you are thinking of buying an Inkjet then ideally, the printer you buy will have separate colour cartridges instead of 1 tri-colour cartridge. This means when one colour runs out of ink, you don’t have to replace the other colours, that may be far from empty, hence saving money. Check the price of cartridges before you buy.

Photo printing
Many home printers nowadays have excellent photo printing capabilities that let you print your digital pictures. Using glossy paper you can get stunning results. Lasers have traditionally been aimed toward printing text documents, so bear this in mind if considering a laser printer. Although photo printing has caught up a lot in the last few years some budget lasers are still not as good at reproducing images as their inkjet counterparts.

Often overlooked, but if you plan on submitting large documents or photos to your printer, then a big memory buffer is a useful item to look for. This sounds scary but isn’t – it effectively means how much memory the printer has to store print jobs. So if you submit a large image, the printer will take the document or image into it’s memory, and let your computer get on with other tasks, thereby speeding up your productivity.

Many All in One printers nowadays come with a built in scanner. This can be used to scan important documents to email, or scan old photographs to for editing and such like. These scanners can often be used as photocopiers too – with a single button press you can copy a document and it is printed instantly. Take a moment to think whether a scanner could be useful to you and if so see here for our round up of recommended All-In-One printers.

Wireless capability
Finally, wireless capability is so cheap nowadays that it is included in nearly all printers. This is such a great feature to have as it means you can print from anywhere in the house, from any computer or device such as an iPhone or iPad for example without having to physically plug into the printer.

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