Choosing a printer is not an easy job especially if you are looking to purchase one to print ID cards. There are more than 100 different types of printers with roughly 289 technical features. The printer are you looking for might be different from what your neighbor does.
This article is all about suggestions that make your understandings easy to get the right printer for you.
Below are the things which help in choosing a suitable printer: (Infographic represents the most commonly used decision factors) but, we have listed the advanced points as well.
A clearly identified purpose is the first guide before choosing a printer for you. If you are a student then buying an expensive laser printer would not be feasible at all. On the other hand, if you are a notary public or a lawyer, then the first priority should be a printer with multiple drawers with the ability to handle legal size paper. However, if someone is looking for a printer for normal home use then a budget-friendly inkjet & ink tank would surely serve the purpose.
So, it’s all about clarifying the ultimate use and then shortlisting the choices.
Here’s an infographic regarding this:
A printer comes with different connectivity options. Usually, expensive and modern printers are comfortable with all sorts of connectivity channels such as Lan, Wi-Fi, and cloud connections. Again, you need to clarify which connectivity stream you need. For example, If you are an Apple user then the priority should be a printer that has no complexities with Mac & IOS.
There are some budget printers that work with even google cloud & Apple AI print regardless of the price.
Print Speed (Pages Per Minute)
Printing speed is measured with Pages Per Minute (PPM). Normally, the print speed can vary from 8 PPM to 100 PPM depending on the price and the versatility. Your print purpose would guide you on what to go with!
We have experienced that infrequent users are okay with printers that can deliver at nearly 15 PPM but the numbers will surely vary on the daily print volume.
Print yield is the measurement that tells how many pieces of prints you can make with one set of cartridges. Usually, the print yield helps to calculate the printing cost per page by dividing the consumable price by the number of prints it is expected to deliver.
For example, HP Officejet pro has less print yield than Lexmark but the cost per page is the lowest with Canon which stays at 2.9 cents per page.
We do not always recommend choosing the lowest cost per page printer since it again varies depending on the daily volume.
Document Feeding System & Feeding Tray
Document feeding system refers to the way it feeds the paper to the printer. Usually, most modern printers are now coming with an automatic document-feeding system. But, here are a few things you need to check before buying a printer.
- Whether the printer feeds paper automatically
- How many paper feeders are there?
- How many pieces of paper they can hold all together?
- Is there a separate feeder for A4 & letterhead papers?
- How many feeders allow duplex printing?
- Which feeder helps in scanning?
Not all printers can scan but it’s your job to check if the scanning feature is required. These are things you should be looking for while purchasing a printer with scanning ability:
- Can the printer scan?
- Does it have Optical Character Recognition (OCR)?
- Can it scan both sides in a single pass?
- Are there any manual tasks while scanning both sides of a paper?
- Does it allow the direct scan to email?
- What’s the maximum scanning resolution in Pixel per Inch (PPI)?
- Does it allow Scan to Flash Drive?
- Is there a port for a Flash Drive?
- Can the printer compress after scanning to reduce the file size?
- Can it handle weak papers?
- Can the printer/scanner automatically stop while a paper is stapled with another?
- How many pages the printer can scan in a minute?
Single / Multiple Pass for Scanning
Usually, the modern printer/scanner scans both sides in a single pass. However, budget printers cannot do this and the user needs to manually flip the document while scanning. This is a tough job especially if you are scanning multiple pieces of documents in a single order.
If you are buying a color printer then you need to check the versatility of the color it gives. In a nutshell, there are mainly two types of color printers, 4 color & 6 color.
For better understanding: read the differences between a 4 color & 6 color printer.
Choosing the perfect ink type is very important because you cannot change it once you buy. If you need a long-lasting waterproof color then the pigment ink would be better. The ink tank prints will dilute the color and fade away if the papers come in close contact with humidity.
HTML & TXT Print Flexibility
This feature is very uncommon but some users still require this. Only some good quality printers can print TXT & HTML files. If you need that, double-check.
Scanning & Photo Resolution
Resolution is a major considerable factor when choosing a scanner. Normally, the resolution is measured by Pixel per Inch (PPI). A higher PPI represents better resolution and a larger file size.
Double-check the maximum resolution of your shortlisted printer to avoid future complexities.
Ability to print borderless
Not all printers can make a borderless print. Sometimes we need to make available so much information and remove the paper margin. There are some Ink Tank printers that can print borderless. Check that out!
Paper sizes are standard in the world. All of the printers can print on A4 & Letterhead papers but a few budget printers can print on legal papers. If you need to print larger pages, double-check the paper sizes & the printer’s ability to make prints.
Apart from the size, you should also check if the printer can print envelopes & sticker papers in case you need that.
Availability of OCR
Optical Character Recognition or OCR is a method by which the letters in a scanned paper become copyable. If you need to copy or, search the words within a scanned paper then you should make sure that the printer must come with an OCR facility and that it is automatically done during the scanning process.
Accessibility to third-party ink
All types of printers require consumables to make the printouts. Maybe this is not a wise decision to use cheaper inks from third-party manufacturers but, some users would prefer this to turn down the cost.
But, you should always remember that using a third-party ink may put the printer’s warranty in trouble and often the third-party inks make the printer weaker and significantly affects the print performance.
That was the checklist that would surely help you while making a purchasing decision. If you are strict about the purpose and clear about the expectation of a printer, there is always a better choice in the market.
You may also read the difference between digital printers & laser printers which we have published earlier. You may also read about the differences between Non-impact printers.