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Printer Buying Guide

Choosing the right printer can be daunting with so many types and features available. Here's a quick guide to help you navigate through the main printer types.

What are the different types of Printers?

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Inkjet Printer

An inkjet printer is a type of printer that creates a digital image by propelling droplets of ink onto paper or other media. Inkjet printers are one of the most popular types of printers for home and small office use, due to their affordability, ease of use, and high-quality print output.

  • Best for: Colour printing, photos, and occasional use.
  • Pros: Excellent colour accuracy; great for photos; versatile.
  • Cons: Ink can be expensive; slower print speeds.

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Laser Printers

A laser printer is a type of printer that uses a laser beam to produce high-quality text and graphics. Laser printers are generally faster and produce higher quality prints than inkjet printers, but they are also more expensive to purchase and maintain.

  • Best for: High volume black-and-white printing.
  • Pros: Fast printing speeds; cost-effective for large volumes; sharp text quality.
  • Cons: Colour laser printers can be expensive.
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All-in-One Printers & Multifunction

All-in-one printers typically work by using a single print head to print, copy, and scan documents. The print head uses ink cartridges to print documents and toner cartridges to copy and scan documents. Some all-in-one printers also have a built-in fax machine that allows you to send and receive faxes.

  • Best for: Scanning, copying, faxing, in addition to printing.
  • Pros: Multi-functional; saves space; cost-effective.
  • Cons: More moving parts can mean more maintenance.

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Dot Matrix Printers

A dot matrix printer is a type of impact printer that prints by striking a ribbon with a matrix of pins, creating a pattern of dots on the paper. Dot matrix printers were once the most common type of printer, but they have been largely replaced by inkjet and laser printers in recent years.

  • Best for: Carbon-copy printing.
  • Pros: Reliable; impact printing for multi-part forms.
  • Cons: Noisy; limited graphics capability.

Portable Printers

A portable printer is a type of printer that is designed to be lightweight and compact, so that it can be easily transported. Portable printers are typically used by people who need to print on the go, such as business travellers, students, and photographers.

  • Best for: Printing on the go, from mobile devices.
  • Pros: Compact and lightweight; often battery powered.
  • Cons: Limited print quality; not ideal for high volume.

Features To Consider

PC Storage.

Print Speed

How quickly do you need to print documents or photos? If you need them quickly, then choose a printer with a fast print speed. Otherwise, you can choose a less expensive printer with a slower print speed. Print speed is measured in pages per minute (PPM). It is important to consider print speed if you frequently print large documents.


Print Volume

Print volume is an important consideration when choosing a printer, especially if you print a lot of pages each month. Printers with high page yields or bulk ink systems are a good option for high-volume printers, as they can save you money on ink and toner costs in the long run. High page yield printers are designed to print more pages per ink or toner cartridge. This can save you money, especially if you print a lot of text-based documents. Bulk ink systems are tanks that can be refilled with bottled ink. This can be a more cost-effective way to print, especially if you print a lot of colour photos or graphics.


Print Quality

How important is print quality to you? If you need to print high-quality documents or photos, then you will need to choose a printer with a high resolution. Consider the printer's **DPI (Dots Per Inch), especially if you're looking for high-resolution photo printing. However, if you just need to print simple documents, such as receipts or boarding passes, then you may be able to get away with a less expensive printer with a lower resolution.



How do you want to connect your printer to your computer or other devices? Most printers have USB ports, but some printers also have wireless connectivity. If you want to be able to print from your smartphone or tablet, then you will need to choose a printer that has wireless connectivity.

  • USB: Direct connection to a single computer.
  • Ethernet: Wired connection to a network.
  • Wi-Fi: Wireless connection, useful for multiple devices and mobile printing.
  • Bluetooth: Short-range wireless connection, typically for mobile devices.
  • Cloud Printing: Allows for remote printing via the internet.

Cost of Consumables

Cost of Consumables Printers can be expensive to operate, so it's important to consider all the costs involved when choosing one:

  • The initial cost: the upfront price of the printer.
  • The cost of ink or toner, some printers have lower ink or toner costs than others.
  • Monthly duty cycle: This is the maximum number of pages the printer can handle per month without wearing out quickly.

Additional Features to Consider:


Paper Size

The paper size on a printer is the maximum size of paper that the printer can print on. The paper size is typically measured in inches or millimeters.


Paper Capacity

The paper capacity on a printer is the maximum number of sheets of paper that the printer can hold at one time. The paper capacity is typically measured in sheets of 20 lb. bond paper. .


Duplex Printing

Duplex printing, a common feature on modern printers, allows for printing on both sides of paper, saving paper, toner, and reducing environmental impact.



If you are printing sensitive documents, then you may want to choose a printer that has security features, such as password protection and encryption.


Noise level

Some printers can be quite noisy, especially when printing high-volume jobs. If you need a quiet printer, then you will need to choose a model that has a low noise level.


Display and Usability

Some printers come with touchscreen displays for easier navigation and functionality.


Supported Media

Beyond standard paper, does it support photo paper, card stock, envelopes, CDs/DVDs, etc.


Energy Efficiency

Consider printers with energy star ratings or power-saving features.

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