One of the more daunting tasks most of my customers tell me is replacing their printer. Either for personal use or replacing printers at their businesses it seems to be quite the challenge. You walk down the printer aisle and you quickly realize you have no idea what you are doing. Do I need an Inkjet printer or should I get a monochrome laser printer or should I invest in a color laser? What's the difference and how do I know which printer is best for my printing needs? Going in you decide
"I'll just get the same one I had". But low and behold the store no longer carries that model. Now you're realizing...
" %&*$# I've got to learn a whole new printer!"
Lets start out by separating out the printer types and what makes them different.
InkJet Printer: Inkjet printing is a type of printing that recreates a digital image by propelling droplets of ink onto paper, plastic, or other substrates. Inkjet printers are the most commonly used type of printer, and range from small inexpensive consumer models to expensive professional machines.
Monochrome Laser printer: Monochrome Laser printers are machines that print text and images from computers by using a laser beam to control where a single color is applied to paper. They use Toner verses Ink which is a dry powder material. They're often faster than other types of printers and can generally produce large numbers of black-and-white (no color) documents cheaper than other printers.
Color Laser Printer: A laser printer that prints in color using four toner (dry powder material) cartridges (CMYK) of cyan, magenta, yellow and black. The colors are applied one at a time to the photo conducting belt, which delivers it to the drum and then the paper. These printers are generally the most expensive to use but provide the most professional results.
Simple questions to ask yourself and the best answers:
1. All I print is coupons, letters, children's homework and few articles at home. Occasionally I like to use color on these prints. Which printer should I purchase?
The best printer to purchase is an Inkjet printer. Now let's get a bit more specific.
I only print once a week and sometimes I can go weeks without printing. Which type of InkJet printer should I purchase?
The type of InkJet printer you should purchase uses only 2 ink cartridges. A black cartridge and a 3 color cartridge.
The reason to use this type of printer is because the important printhead is right on the cartridge itself and tends to dry out when left unused for periods of time and will result in poor print quality. If your ink cartridge dries it's much less expensive and easier to either replace a single cartridge or prime your cartridge printhead. Each time you replace your cartridge you get a new clean printhead.
I print almost everyday at home and I use color often. Which InkJet printer should I purchase?
The type of InkJet printer you should purchase uses 4 or more color (black, cyan, magenta, yellow ) ink cartridges and the printhead is inside the printer and not on the cartridges.
The reason to use this type of printer is basically a cost issue. When you use a lot of color in your printing and you print often it is much cheaper to replace just the color you have run out of instead of a cartridge that holds all three colors. When you print everyday the printhead, that is inside your machine, is less likely to dry and begin clogging. A Clogged printhead in this type of printer is more difficult and expensive to resolve. This printer style is for frequent usage.
2. I print frequently and I don't generally use color. I use my printer for business or at home and the cost of printing is a very important factor in my budget. Which printer should I purchase?
The type of printer you should purchase is a Monochrome Laser printer. It uses only one toner cartridge. It only prints in black and is economic to use. They generally cost less than 1 cent per copy verses an InkJet printer which can cost up to 15 cents or more per copy.
They come in all brands and range in all price categories.
The cartridges range in large capacity high page count cartridges to the more economical lower page count cartridges. It is recommended you base this printer purchase on how much printing you do. Large capacity cartridges (6,000 to 15,000 pages per cartridge) are for businesses who do in excess of 2 to 3 reams of printing per week. Smaller businesses can get away with smaller cartridge page counts (1,500 to 3,000 pages per cartridge).
3. I have a business and I use my printer for printing out invoices, sales brochures and other sales tools. Color is very important and I have a logo that needs to be printed on all materials. Which printer should I invest in?
The type of printer you should purchase is a Color Laser printer. It uses 4 color toner cartridges. It prints in full color . This printer is great for printing logos, invoices and sales tools. I personally use a color laser for most of my printing. The cost of the printer determines how many whistles and bells are included with your printer. Cartridges can range in price from $50.00 to $400.00 per cartridge and each printer needs 4 cartridges. As for the Monochrome laser, all cartridges come in different page counts and you should determine which printer to purchase on how many reams of paper you use each week.
As a side note... color laser toner cartridges are quite expensive and it is important to know that in the last few years re-manufactured color laser cartridges have really rivaled the over priced OEM color laser toner cartridges in color reproduction. I challenge anyone to tell the difference between a brochure printed with expensive OEM brand cartridges and a Quality re-manufactured color laser cartridge. I will shamelessly plug my business because we guarantee our color cartridges to give the same results as the name brand OEM. Not all re-manufactured or compatible laser cartridges are made equally. It's important to trust the Printing Supply company you decide on and the products they provide.
In conclusion I would like to make just a few points. Printer shopping is difficult for even the most seasoned, well versed, professional. Don't become over whelmed, you can just simply call or email me and I will give you the best advice I can. I don't sell printers generally so I haven't a stake in the game. I will point you in the right direction based on the information you give me. Good Luck and always remember it's important to always get advise on things you don't know and give on things you do.