Last month, we ran a feature on how to buy a printer. It was recently brought to our attention that this piece was missing some important information. There are always going to be different options out there and not necessarily one single right or wrong way of doing something, but since we always want to include all of the best information and advice for our readers, we have asked the experts at Epson to write a follow-up article to set a few things straight!
It’s a common issue for many first time buyers: you need a printer and it’s not clear which type will best suit your needs. Here’s a quick guide to the important qualities you need to consider.
There are basically two broad printer types: lasers and inkjets.
Inkjets are far superior for producing outstanding colour photographs, graphic designs, signs, presentations, newsletters and flyers. Why? Because they print at much higher resolution than lasers and use high quality liquid inks while lasers use powdered toner.
In fact the quality of photographs produced by today’s inkjets is also far superior to the photos that were once produced in smelly labs and darkrooms, and they are more resistant to fading providing you use the printer maker’s recommended inks and paper.
So if you want high quality colour printing then the choice is clear: you should buy an inkjet printer. There are many different models that will suit many different needs within this choice, but most first time buyers choose a multifunction printer that, apart from high quality colour prints, will also produce high quality colour scans and copies (depending on the quality of the original image), fits easily into your home wireless network, and may even be able to send faxes.
If your need is for a small to medium volume of documents that are mostly text – letters, essays, reviews, briefing papers – with occasional colour graphics, then the choice is less clear cut.
Laser printers have traditionally been favoured for this type of ‘office’ work because of their comparative speed, low cost per page and ability to handle longer multi-copy printing jobs.
However the new generation of high-speed inkjet printers can match lasers for speed, cost per page, and initial purchase price and generally outpoint lasers for quality, particularly for high quality colour as these office inkjets have the same printing technology as that found in the best photo printers, yet also produce excellent quality colour material on plain paper.
So if documents are your priority printing need, then you need to consider both lasers and office inkjets, especially those that have multifunctional capabilities such as copying, scanning and faxing.
Once you get your printer, no doubt you will find new and creative uses for it that were not on your original needs list, and you may want to start the process again.