Whether you’re new to the printing world or you’re looking to upgrade from an old machine to a new one, you might get confused with all the options available on the market.

If this is the case, this thorough guide will help you make up your mind and choose the kind of printer that best suits your needs.

Your Printing Needs Determine The Type of Printer You Should Get

Before we dive into things, let’s just clear something up. There are many types of printers including inkjet, laser, super tank, photo and instant photo printers, and 3D printers.

Inkjet printers and laser printers are the 2 common types and that serve many purposes. That’s why we’ll be talking about these 2.

Inkjet Printers

Inkjet printers typically have compact and lightweight designs.

By spraying tiny ink droplets onto paper, they can form your prints on various types and sizes of paper including envelopes, scrapbooking, labels and more.

Moreover, they’re usually multifunction (all-in-one) machines where they can print, scan, copy, and sometimes fax.

Usually, inkjet printers are bough for printing in color as they can produce many things such as glossy photos, essays, coupons, pie charts, and more.

They usually have faster performance than their laser counterparts.

Laser Printers

These beasts of machines can print large volumes in a short time and at some of the lowest costs per page.

They operate by using static electricity and toner (powder) rather thank ink to produce images and texts.

Laser printers are your best bet to save money on consumables if your printing would constitute of monochrome text mainly.

However, most of them don’t feature scanning and copying like their inkjet counterparts.

On top of that, printing in color would be substantially more expensive on a laser printer than on an inkjet one.

Duplexing (Two-sided printing)

Duplex printing on a printer is a very big plus.

This means that your printer is capable of two-sided printing in one go –no manual flipping is needed.

You’ll typically find an automatic document feeder (ADF) for the scanner to also have duplexing capabilities.

Duplexing generally makes your job easier be it printing, scanning, or copying.

But for printing specifically, it’s also cost-efficient as it would cut your paper costs down to a half.

Networking capability

How you can connect your printer and connect to it is a make or break factor in the shopping decision.

For example, you should make sure of your printer’s compatibility with your device like a MacBook or a Chromebook. you can check this list of Chromebook printers by The Micro3D if you’re looking for the latter.

Make sure your printer supports internet-based features such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Apple AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Mopria Device Printing, and Flickr.

Paper Handling

This part includes two aspects. The first is the number of sheets your printer can accommodate at a time.

Less than 100 would be too little. 250 is a satisfactory average.

The second is the size of the paper your printer can work with.

Usually, a typical printer supports 8.5 x 11 paper. So you should look for various sizes including legal, letter, A3, and A5.

The type of paper can also make a difference so look for a printer that can work with index cards, glossy stock, and cardstock.

Ink and paper programs

A printer’s costs are actually more concentrated in its consumables than its up-front price.

So before you’ve made your decision on which printer to buy, make sure you’ve gathered all the information you can when it comes to ink and paper programs provided by printing companies.

More often than not, buying an initially expensive printer with cheaper cartridge lines is more economical and budget-friendly than buying a low-budget one with higher running costs.

Moreover, research your ability to refill the cartridges of your printer as this has the potential to drastically lower your printing expenses.

For example, HP offers an “Instant Ink” program which automatically sends you cartridges once the ink levels of yours run low.

On top of that, HP also offers you a specific number of pages for a fixed monthly fee.

Canon and Epson, on the other hand, have “Ink Tank” models which you can fill from small ink bottles to minimize the cost per page or your printing.

While some of Brother’s printers come with a number of cartridges in the box to spare you the need to buy replacements for a considerable period of time.