Saturday, September 24, 2022

How To Buy A Printer

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Inkjet Printers Offer Versatility

Computer Hardware Accessories : How to Buy a Printer

Home and small-office users who print a light volume of pages but also a fairly wide varietyanything from a letter or driving directions to childrens vacation photoswill enjoy the versatility of todays inkjet printers. While the truly low-end models can still be pretty slow, some high-end models can be impressively fast. For the best print quality, youll need to invest in an assortment of papers, and youll have to learn your way around the printers driver settings. You can reduce how often you swap paper types by purchasing a model with two separate paper trays.

In the past, almost all inkjets had the same features: one paper tray , minimal buffer memory, and no networking options. These days, inkjets sport an array of features, such as larger displays or touch screens, integrated Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and more paper-handling options. Makers of business-oriented inkjets are also offering higher-yield ink cartridges, optional paper trays, standard duplexing, expandable memory, and more features for networked environments.

PC Worlds Top Inkjet Printers chart ranks our current favorites.

How Are You Going To Connect Your Printer

USB ports remain ubiquitous on printers. Most office printers, and an increasing number of home printers, include Ethernet ports and/or Wi-Fi, which allow you to share the printer with your home network. Printers that support Wi-Fi Direct can connect directly to most Wi-Fi-enabled devices.

A few printers can connect to and print from a mobile device via NFC , merely by tapping the phone or tablet to a particular spot on the printer, but the NFC fad seems to be fading. Most major printer companies now provide mobile apps so you can snap a photo with your phone and print it out directly, without needing to transfer it to a computer first. Small-format photo printers often support Bluetooth for connecting mobile devices and more.

For Working From Home

Make your home office work for you with a printer thats up to the job. If you use your phone or tablet a lot, then grab a printer you can connect to wirelessly. It saves you the hassle of having to fire up your laptop every time you want to get that invoice printed.

And if youre off to host a presentation and need a pile of handouts in a flash, a printer that can do 30 pages per minute is a lifesaver. And to keep costs down, go for a printer thats compatible with XL cartridges which can give you 600 pages per cartridge.

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What’s The Difference Between Inkjet And Laser Printers

There was a time when you could make a clear distinction between inkjet and laser. Inkjets delivered top-quality prints with vibrant colours across a range of paper types , but the ink costs were high and they required regular maintenance.

Laser printers, meanwhile, were the more functional, affordable option designed for pumping out pages and pages of documents on the cheap. The trade-off was lower quality photo prints so they’ve always been the preferred alternative for businesses where text and graphic quality weren’t as important.

But times change. Though ink costs for the most part remain high when using standard cartridges for separate colours, they’ve become much more efficient and affordable particularly if you use one of the refillable tank systems. Many models are just as fast as one another and both types can handle bulk printing with ease.

Today, you have a range of inkjet and laser options to suit your budget and text/image quality demands. The best way to find the most suitable printer for your needs is to check our test results.


Inkjet printers can produce sharp, vibrant, top-quality prints across a range of paper types. They’re ideal for everything from documents to photos but ink costs can be an issue for some models. However, the introduction of printers from HP, Epson and Canon with refillable tanks deliver some affordable options for those with high print volume needs.


Printer ink can drive up costs over time.

What Kind Of Ink Does My Printer Use


Your ink choice depends on the kind of printer you buy. Laser printers use toner, a powdered substance that comes in a cartridge. Inkjet printers, meanwhile, use ink as the name suggests.

Printer manufacturers sell proprietary cartridges to coax you into buying more of their products. The recommended inks for different types of printing such as colour, monochrome and photo, will be in the instruction manual or specified on the ink packaging.

Every printer manufacturer uses proprietary cartridge systems, though some let you use cheaper generic ones as well. Others block third-party cartridges entirely. In either case, the manufacturers strongly discourage the use of generic cartridges arguing that unofficial ones can damage your printer. These damages aren’t likely to be covered by warranty.

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How Much Should I Spend

You can buy a new inkjet printer for less than £50 and you dont need to spend much more to get a good one. Our Best Buy printers start at around £40. For around £150, you’ll get a high-quality all-in-one, colour laser printer.

The more you spend, the more features you’ll get from your printer. But, these days, even an all-in-one printer/scanner with wi-fi and Apple AirPrint could only cost you £40. For more than £100, you’ll get home-office features such as an automatic document feeder, or automatic double-sided printing.

Which? tests printers for every budget, ranging from affordable inkjet printers to business-ready laser printers. We assess their quality, speed and running costs, and go deep into their features and ease of use. Each has its place and purpose. We help you narrow down your search so you find the right printer for you.

Just need a decent printer that won’t cost a fortune in ink? See all tested models in ourfull .

Choosing Between Inkjet Or Laser Printer

Knowing what type of printer is best for your needs can help you prevent overspending in a big way and render better print results! You are likely familiar with the two most common printer types: inkjet and laser. Inkjet printers apply layers of ink by shooting tiny droplets through jets in the printer head. They are commonly cheaper and come ready to print in color. Most of the printers designed for printing photos are inkjets since they produce better images than more expensive laser printers.Laser printers use powder toner instead of ink. They print faster and more efficiently than inkjet printers when printing text, and despite higher initial costs, they produce more pages of text for less money in most cases. If you commonly print out longer documents that are not image heavy, a laser printer may be a better investment in the long term. Learn more about the differences between inkjet and laser printers.

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Paper Handling And Format

How many papers can the printer hold in its tray? What kind of paperformat does it use? These are questions you need to ask about any printer youwant to buy.

Many printers used at home print in A4 paper format. However, someprinters can also print on special papers with unique sizes such as envelopes. Thisis possible thanks to the special feed trays possessed by such printers.

Paper handling also deals with the number of paper your printer can holdin its input tray. Larger trays allow you to input lots of paper at once smaller trays will require you to add paper frequently.

Some printers have a secondary tray that can be used to stock paper. Thiscould be for a different paper type or just to double the paper to avoidfrequent paper refills.

Paper handling can be extended to refer to the paper size your scannertray can accept. Large scanner trays allow you to scan multiple documents atonce.

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Best Single Function Home Printer

Computer Hardware Accessories : How to Buy a Laser Printer

Canon Pixma iP7250

If you don’t want any scanning or copying fuss, and simply want a printer that can print, you won’t find better than the iP7250 for your money, even though we first reviewed it back in 2015. So many printers now are released with multi-functionality and features thrown in that you just don’t want, and the iP7250 is still the best of the rest.

Print quality is excellent for any kind of document, and easy wireless & mobile connectivity gives you plenty of options. It’s not even that expensive to run, and taking 5 individual cartridges means you only replace what you use.

Make sure to give some photo prints a go, the iP7250 also rated as one of our top home photo printers. Read the full Canon iP7250 review.

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What Else To Look For In A Printer

Whether you’ve decided on an inkjet or a laser printer, a standard printer or a multifunction printer, these are some really useful features and printing options to look out for:


Most modern printers will come with a USB port and the necessary cables for direct connection to a computer. Some may also have an ethernet port for joining a wired network, which can be located away from your work desk, helping to save on space.


Automatic double-sided printing can save you a lot of paper costs and wastage over the life of the printer.

Manual feed

A few inkjet printers can print onto transparencies this may require special ink.


A watermark function lets you print a light mark or outline on the page without requiring imaging software like Photoshop.

What Is An All

You can buy straightforward inkjet or laser printers, but a device that scans and copies as well wont cost you a whole lot more. Most have wi-fi connectivity so that you can print from several PCs or laptops, not to mention tablets or smartphones. Some include a fax function, too.

Some all-in-one printers have an automatic document feeder on top, which is handy for scanning and copying multi-page reports.

  • Pros Can scan, photocopy and fax as well as print
  • Cons Tend to be larger models that take up more space

See the best all in one printers, and other models, in our. Or, get the lowdown on wireless printing in ourwireless printing explainedguide.

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Theres A Printer That Can Bring Your Pictures Files And Ideas To Life Quickly And Easily

Printing technology has developed considerably in recent years, so if you want to upgrade an older model or youre getting started in home printing, you might be amazed at the exciting new features on modern printers.

Weve created this guide to help you learn more about the most important things to consider when buying a printer, and to help you find the one that best meets your needs.


What Is An Ink Tank Printer

Canon PIXMA TS6020 Wireless All

Ink tank printers are a new breed of inkjet printers that have large tanks of ink. They offer an easier method of refilling the ink when compared to conventional inkjet printers. When not used for a long period of time, many inkjet printers get clogged with dust and dirt, leading to breakdowns and costly repairs. Often, the price of replacing the ink cartridges in inkjet printers ends up being higher than the cost of a new printer. This is where ink tank printers come in handy. Their ink is cheaper, and anyone can refill their ink. Ink tank printers are costlier but offer cheaper printing and maintenance costs.

Epson was the first brand to release ink tank printers, but almost all other brands have now released their own ink tank printers.

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How To Determine A Printers Printing Speed & Quality

Printer brands can make wild claims regarding their printers printing speed and the print yield . However, all of them have recently started using standardised tests developed by the ISO , which makes a level playing field. The ISO test protocol requires brands to test their printers using the same document set and test procedures, which means that you can trust and compare those numbers between different printers.

A printers printing speed is usually measured in PPM . Printing speed may not be very useful for home use cases, though, but it can be extremely important for offices where a lot of documents are printed on a regular basis, and faster printing can result in higher productivity. Printers may have different printing speeds for monochrome prints and colour prints.

Printing quality can be determined by looking at the prints DPI and colour accuracy. DPI stands for dots per inch. DPI refers to the number of dots that are placed in a square inch of space on the paper. The higher the DPI, the higher the detail in documents and images.

Refilling The Tank: Ink And Toner Cartridges

Some people suggest that you can save significantly on the cost of printing each page by buying ink and toner made by a company other than your printers manufacturer. Thats fine, if you want just the cheapest possible printing for short-lived documents. If print quality is paramount, however, youre taking a risk. For example, at the temperatures applied by your printers engine, generic toner may not fix to the paper as well as the manufacturers compound. The result could be poorly shaped characters and gray banding across the pageand thats not a great way to impress a potential customer.

There are several ways to spend less on ink and paper for your printer. See our report Six Savvy Ways to Get More Prints for Less Money for sensible ideas to increase the efficiency of your printer and extend the page life of your ink cartridges.

Several laser printer manufacturers sell toner cartridges at a discount if you return empty cartridges for recycling. Lexmark, for instance, charges $115 for each 3000-page color cartridge for its C534n model if you return it, but a nonreturnable version costs $145. In part, this policy is intended to discourage customers from refilling the cartridges, but it can also help save the environment.

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Printer Buying Guide: What Printer Should I Buy

When you consider the amount of printer options out in the market today, its no surprise that most consumers find printer shopping a pretty daunting task. As printer nerds, wed like to offer you some advice that can help you find the right printer you need in the simplest way possible. Weve found that asking yourself the following questions helps identify the best printer for your needs. Lets begin!

Should I Consider A Wireless Printer

How to buy a 3D printer

Wireless internet, or wi-fi, is an excellent feature to look for in your new printer. It enables you to connect it to the internet without needing a cable, meaning you can place your printer where you like in your home.

Once you have connected your wireless printer to the internet, you can access a range of online services, such as the free mobile printing apps offered by the big printer brands HP, Epson, Canon and Brother.

Other online features to look out for include Apple AirPrint, enabling you to print from Mac, iPhone and iPad devices more easily, and Cloud Print, enabling simpler printing from Google programs and services.

Find out more in our in-depth guide to wireless printing.

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Check Out Our Other Home Office Best Lists

If youre buying a new printer for your home, theres a good chance youll want to add a few extra items to make your home office as efficient as possible. Weve added our most useful Best Lists for home offices below:

Computing and Gaming Editor Formerly the Staff Writer at Stuff Magazine, Ryan’s been writing about tech since he graduated from Cardiff University. At Trusted Reviews he is focused on everything computer-related, giving him a va

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What Are My Choices

  • Inkjet printers spray ink from ink cartridges onto the paper. It is an economical option for printing high-quality documents.
  • Laser Printers use a powder called toner and a complex laser system to print your information on the paper. Its designed for printing large quantities quickly.
  • 3D Printers take digital files from your computer and transforms them into physical 3D objects using special filaments.

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Ciss Ink Aka ‘big Ink’

An alternative to small and thus frequently replaced ink cartridges is a so-called ‘big ink’ system, which draws ink from relatively large ink tanks via tubes. If you go through ink like there’s no tomorrow, a continuous ink supply system replaces the original cartridge with a modified cartridge, linked via flexible tubes to external reservoirs of ink that can be topped up at any time.

Epson, HP and Canon have all released CISS compatible printers. There are several makers of third-party big ink systems as well, which you can retrofit to a limited range of existing printer models. While we’ve tested a few official CISS printers, we haven’t looked at the third-party alternatives.

Mono CISS printers only use one type of ink, while colour printers require cyan, magenta, yellow and black. As the ink is used up, you refill the relevant chamber from ink bottles supplied by the manufacturer. The nozzle on the bottle slots into an ink feeding tube of sorts.

The advantage here is that if one colour runs out faster than the others, you don’t need to replace the entire cartridge. Instead, you can just top off the cyan tank for example. When you run out, you can save money by ordering another bottle of the colour you require. It’s by far the most economic way to print, regardless of the manufacturer.

Some printers have a continuous ink supply system that you can refill at home.

Generic ink cartridges





Refilling printer ink cartridges yourself

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