How to Buy a Computer Printer

Are you having trouble selecting a good printer from the various models in the market? How do you decide between an inkjet printer, laser printer or color laser printer? Will what you buy give you the quality printouts that you need?

This article attempts to answer some of these questions by running through the various types of printers out there. We'll cover both inkjet and laser printers, so read on and find out more about these two categories of products.

In my opinion, inkjet printers are getting pretty dated. Most folks go for laser printers these days, given that their prices are falling rapidly. There are also various all-in-one printers which can scan, fax and print all at the same time - these are extremely popular as well.

Inkjet Printers

Inkjet printers are the slowest type of printer, but are also the most affordable. Inkjet technology shoots a lot of colored dyes through tiny holes within a print head onto pages, giving maximum resolutions of 9600 by 2400 dots per inch. This makes them capable of very good quality photos and graphics.

Here are some of the considerations to think about when buying an inkjet printer.

Print quality
Always try to print out a sample from the inkjet printer you intend to buy. Check that the printout does not smudge and gives good color tone.

Maximum print resolution
The maximum print resolution (i.e. the number of dots that lie inside a square inch of paper) is another factor to look out for. This is extremely important if you're printing a lot of detailed graphics and photos.

Cost of Replacing a Cartridge
Remember that the ink in the printer is a consumable. Many manufacturers cash in on the replacement inkjet cartridges of inkjet printers. Before shelling out money, be sure to check the prices of replacement ink cartridges and how many pages they can print.

Monochrome Laser Printers

Monochrome laser printers are a necessity in the modern office. They are now extremely cheap and affordable even for home users. Compared to inkjet printers, monochrome laser printers are faster and give better text reproduction. Also, the laser toner cartridges are cheaper to replace than inkjet cartridges. Let's look at the key factors to consider when buying a monochrome laser printer.

Printing Speed
The speed at which the laser printer can print out full text pages is a important consideration when you're looking for one. Always check this specification out before purchasing one.

Maximum print resolution
Similar to inkjet printers, the maximum print resolution is also a key consideration in monochrome laser printers. Pay attention to this specification if you're printing out a lot of graphics.

Paper tray capacity
Although not critical to home users, the paper tray capacity is important to corporate users of laser printers. In big offices where employees tend to use the same printer, it is vital that the printer can hold a lot of paper.

Color Laser Printers

Color laser printers are catching on recently with small business owners, with once sky-high prices coming down to reasonable levels. Color laser printers are useful for printing color brochures, photographs, or graphics. These printers are also prohibitively expensive - so if you're a home user, you'd most likely want to stay away from these. Let's look at the key factors to consider when buying a color laser printer.

Print speed
If you own a publishing business, printing a lot of graphics, then spending extra money on a fast color laser printer makes good sense. Usually, the less-expensive model print at a rate that is too slow for a business.

Print quality
Print quality is very important for business owners who need to print crisp, detailed graphics. Remember to check out sample prints from the color laser printer you intend to buy.

Maximum print resolution
Again, the maximum print resolution is also a key consideration in color laser printers. You need to consider this when buying such printers.


Hopefully, this article has shown you the differences between inkjet printers, monochrome laser printers and color laser printers. If you're out shopping for a printer, keep the above shopping tips in mind and you'll be able to pick a model that's just right for you.