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Printer Buying Guide

Inkjet Printers

PROS:
  • Great for photos and image-heavy documents. Inkjet printers do a better job of blending smooth colours than laser printers.
  • Inkjet printers have a low start-up cost. Printers are less expensive than laser printers and inkjet ink cartridges are cheaper than toner cartridges.
  • Inkjets can print onto many types of paper, including glossy photo paper, textured stationery and even some fabrics.
  • Almost no warm-up time is needed before printing.
  • Inkjet cartridges can be refilled and reused, cutting down on waste and saving money.
  • Inkjet printers tend to be smaller, lighter and easier to maintain than laser printers.
CONS:
  • Inkjet ink is more expensive than champagne.
  • Inkjet ink is water-based, so prints are susceptible to water damage and fading.
  • Ink cartridges need frequent cleaning. Although printers perform this maintenance automatically, it wastes lots of ink.
  • Inkjet printers are getting faster, but are still very slow compared to laser printing. High volumes are a challenge with inkjets.
  • Some inkjet printers will produce grey, fuzzy text if printing on plain office paper.
  • Inkjet printers for home use have low-capacity paper trays of around 50-100 sheets. Output trays are nearly non-existent. This might be a problem if you print a lot.

Laser Printers

PROS:
  • Laser printers can print faster than inkjet printers. It won't matter much if you print a few pages at a time, but high volume users will notice a huge difference.
  • Laser printers produce perfect sharp black text. If your print jobs are mostly text with occasional graphics, laser is the way to go. Laser printers also handle small fonts and fine lines far better than inkjet.
  • Laser printers are better prepared to handle high-volume print jobs.
  • Price-by-price comparisons favour laser printers over inkjet printers for documents that aren't graphically complex. Although they're more expensive, laser toner cartridges print more sheets relative to their cost than inkjet cartridges and are less wasteful.
CONS:
  • Although laser printers work faster, they take time to warm-up.
  • Although toner is cheaper in the long run, upfront costs for laser printing are more.
  • Laser printers can't handle a variety of paper or printing materials like inkjets. Anything heat-sensitive cannot be run through them.
  • Home laser printers can handle simple graphics, but smooth photographs are a challenge. If you want to print photos, go for inkjet.
  • There are some compact laser printers on the market, but in general, laser printers are bigger and heavier than their inkjet counterparts.

Multi-function Printers (MFPs)

Multi-Function Printers (MFP) are printers that can do multiple tasks, they can print, copy, scan and fax (depending on the model). You can get these in inkjet and laser and they provide a good all in one solution for office needs.



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