Contracts, flyers, maps or event tickets – no matter what you want to print, there’s a suitable printer for that. But choosing the right machine for your varying business and personal needs can be challenging. Here’s a quick buying guide to help you make the right decision more easily.
Typically, you’ll come across two types of printers: inkjet or laser. So what are the advantages and disadvantages of inkjet printers? They rely on ink cartridges which apply the ink directly onto the paper. They’re great for printing photos or black and white documents. Many models tend to be small and compact in size, which makes them one of the most space-saving options for the home office. Inkjet printers also tend to be cheaper to buy. However, they almost always require more ink because the machine cleans its heads by wasting some of it. The printing process is also a little slower than with laser printers. But upfront costs of inkjet printers are usually low which means they’re a good choice for businesses that have low or only moderate printing needs.
If you’re after faster printing speeds and lower costs in the long-term, laser printers are a better option. Laser printers use toners which dust-bond the ink to the paper. It’s a much more efficient way of printing, but means you’ll be largely restricted to black and white printing. Toner costs tend to be low and you can find great deals on toners online at TonerPartner UK, for example. The downside of laser printers is that they’re more expensive to purchase, take up a little more space in the office, and may be noisier.
This class of printers heats thermal paper to coat on a special ink that turns black upon heating. They’re more commonly used to print receipts and shipping labels. So if you’re in the business of selling or distributing, thermal printers will be high on your list. The advantages are that they’re great at printing labels, compact in size, and relatively cheap to run, but they’re not really suitable for any other type of printing. You can read more about the features of thermal printers here.
Photographers or graphic designers may need more specialised printers such as photo printers. These can run higher costs when it comes to ink cartridges and paper, but they will still be cheaper than sending in your roll of film for professional development at a store.
Ultimately, the type of printer you choose will depend entirely on the needs of your business and your budget.