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The need for a home / office printer is mostly working or studying from home. You may be a parent who needs to print workbooks for your child. Or you may find it easier to take notes on a business report using a pen or pencil rather than a keyboard. Or you suddenly find out that a government agency has asked you to send them a form. Or maybe you’re tired of going to your local office supply store to print out a random form.
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Whatever the reason, if you need a printer, it’s not hard to find. Printers haven’t changed much over the past few years; they became more efficient and cheaper. You’ll still have a choice between laser and inkjet printers, color and black-only printers, and print-only and multifunction devices. With all these decisions you have to make, it’s a good idea to see what you want before you hit the “buy” button on your favorite shopping site.
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In this article, I will not tell you which specific printer to buy. But I’ll go over some of the options you’ll face and some of the features you’ll want to make sure you get, including inkjet vs. laser, single-function vs. multifunction, and how to decide what to buy. where to buy
If you haven’t bought a printer recently or have never needed a printer, you may want a quick refresher on the difference between inkjet and laser printers. The following is a broad simplification, but will give you a general idea of how they work.
Inkjet printers spray tiny droplets of liquid ink onto a page. There are several types of inkjet systems, but most consumer systems use separate ink cartridges, each equipped with a print head that disperses the ink into nearly microscopic droplets. (Professional-grade inkjets usually have separate printheads that can be replaced on their own.) Colors are created by combining different colored inks.
The number of ink cartridges used by a color inkjet printer varies. The cheapest printers usually use only two cartridges – one with black ink and one with cyan, magenta and yellow inks. Most low- to mid-priced inkjet printers offer four separate cartridges—blue, red, yellow, and black ink. Higher-end printers will have a different black cartridge for text; printers used by photographers or businesses will have a wider selection of color inks.
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But even the most expensive inkjets can add up to serious cash. The printer itself may not cost more than $50 or $100, but a set of cartridges can cost nearly as much. And since most color inkjets won’t work at all when any of the cartridges run out of ink (for example, you can’t just print black if a blue cartridge runs out), you’ll need to replace spent cartridges. (We’ll deal with ink costs later.)
There are several inkjet printers out there, known as supertank printers, that offer refillable tanks at a lower price than traditional ink cartridges. They are sold by several manufacturers, such as Brother, Canon, and Epson, and may be considered if you plan to do a lot of color printing.
The Pixma TS Series is a compact all-in-one printer with a 1.44-inch OLED window as well as front and rear paper feeding features.
These devices use lasers to generate static electricity on a drum that rolls inside the printer. Static electricity draws the fused toner (powdered ink) onto the paper.
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While ink cartridges are initially more expensive than ink cartridges, they last longer than liquid ink; as a result, your cost per page will be lower. Laser printers also cost more initially than inkjet printers, but can save you money in the long run.
Laser printers have several other advantages over inkjet printers – if you don’t need color. They are faster than inkjets (especially low-end inkjets, which can be very slow), and their text print quality is more accurate (although today’s inkjets are certainly accurate enough to serve most document sizes).
Color laser printers are also more available than ever before. However, they are more expensive and unless they are professional-grade printers, the color will not be as good as an equivalently priced color inkjet.
One of the smallest laser printers in its class, the HP LaserJet M110we is perfect for printing black and white forms and documents.
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There are several other factors to consider before purchasing a new printer. Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding what to buy.
One way to decide whether to buy a laser or inkjet printer is to consider what you want to do with it. If color isn’t important to you, it’s a no-brainer. A laser printer will be more economical and faster. But if you want to print your kids’ computer art in color or print random photos, then you’re in the market for an inkjet.
If you find yourself working from home in the near future—or even if you don’t—you may want to consider an all-in-one printer (also known as an all-in-one or AIO). These devices not only print from your computer, but also allow you to scan and copy existing documents, or save them as files. (Some also allow you to fax the scanned document, but this feature is quickly disappearing as faxing becomes less common.) Since you can save PDFs of most of your cards, they’re very useful for minimizing paperwork around the house. (especially one you’ve been sitting on for years) and then throw away the actual hard copies.
(Yes, you can use your phone’s camera to scan and upload documents, and if you only need to scan the occasional document, this may be enough for you. However, the quality of a document scanned with a phone won’t match the quality of a good scanner.)
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Most consumer MFPs allow you to copy 8.5 x 11-inch paper (commonly known as letter size), but you can also buy printers that can handle 8.5 x 14-inch paper (legal size). . If you find yourself doing a lot of copying or scanning, you should look for an all-in-one with an automatic document feeder (commonly called an ADF) that lets you move a series of pages through the system quickly.
Most current printers work by pulling the paper from the front, feeding it around a drum or roll, and then ejecting it to the output tray. However, if you’re printing on heavier paper, you don’t want to bend the paper; in this case, you may want to look for a printer that has an input tray that comes from the back of the printer to push the paper in a straight line.
Some printers also allow you to store more than one paper tray in front, for example, allowing you to choose different colored paper, or have letter-size paper in one tray and legal-size paper in another.
You also need to know how many sheets your input and output trays can hold. If you’re planning to print, say, a 200-page manuscript, you don’t need an output tray that can only handle 50 pages, or you’ll find your 150 pages scattered on your floor.
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Duplexing – printing on both sides of a page – is more common than ever, but not all cheap printers include this feature. Especially useful if you do a lot of printing and want to save paper. Of course, most printers allow you to print on both sides of the paper by manually putting the paper back into the printer after the first side has been printed, but this can be a real pain in the neck.
Arguably, the biggest expense for a printer isn’t the printer itself or even the paper—it’s the ink. There’s one way to figure out how much a printer will cost you in the long run: calculate the cost per page by dividing the cost of an ink cartridge by the cartridge’s page yield, or the number of pages you expect to print. from each patron.
You can usually find page yield among the statistics published by the printer manufacturer. For example, take two multifunction printers from the same manufacturer, one a color inkjet and one a black-only laser printer.
The biggest expense for a printer isn’t the printer itself or even the paper—it’s the ink
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The HP Envy Photo 6055e All-in-One, which sells for about $160, has a yield of about 240 pages for the high-yield black ink cartridge and about 200 pages for the cartridge.
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