You need to choose a printer based on the planned use of it – whether it will be used to print only documents or images or photographs.
- What parameters to pay attention to
- Types of printers
- Print resolution
- Additional functions
- Top Printer Makers
How to choose a printer for your home: parameters you need to pay attention to
When choosing a printer for home use, you need to pay attention to the following parameters:
Chroma (color, black and white);
Type (laser, inkjet or directly photo printer);
Print resolution (important for photographs);
However, characteristics such as print speed or first page out delay for a home printer can be ignored. In the end, it is hardly planned to exploit it very intensively.
If you plan to use the printer to print abstracts, term papers and similar documents, then in most cases a black and white device is sufficient. However, when printing images, graphs and similar information on paper, it is advisable to use color.
However, there is one 'but'. While color and black and white inkjet printers cost about the same, laser printers with color printing are significantly more expensive than black and white. In addition, refilling or replacing cartridges can be quite expensive.
Type (inkjet, laser or photo printer)
Printers intended for use in the home are divided into three types in terms of the principle of operation:
They differ in the type of ink and printing mechanics.
For example, inkjet printers use liquid ink. Through a nozzle, they fall on a sheet of paper, leaving an imprint on it – text or an image. Inkjet printers are among the cheapest, have a compact size, but they have a lot of disadvantages:
Increased printing price (on average, the cost of displaying text or images on a page is 2-10 rubles – this is the price of consumed toner);
Increased noise level – the printer may make an unpleasant grinding or similar sounds when printing;
Periodic 'Preventive Printing' Needed – If the printer is not used for a long time, the toner in the nozzle dries up and may result in damage.
On the other hand, an inkjet printer can be fitted with a CISS – a continuous ink supply system – which significantly reduces the cost of printing. However, this modification is not possible with every model, and it also leads to a loss of warranty.
Laser printers are significantly more expensive. Moreover, the price for color models is higher than for black and white ones. However, they have a low cost of printing (up to a few kopecks per sheet), they operate silently and do not require preventive maintenance.
There are also disadvantages to laser printers:
Dark streaks appear in the image due to toner baking on the roller. This problem occurs after prolonged use of the device and / or several refills;
Limited number and relatively high cost of cartridge refills;
The high cost of a new cartridge.
Thus, if you need to print infrequently (up to about 10 sheets per week) and at the same time the budget is very limited, then an inkjet printer will suffice. For operation in large volumes, it is better to take a laser one.
Photo printers stand apart. These devices are designed for printing photographs, for which they use special consumables – glossy paper and pigment inks. These printers are equipped with 6- or 8-color toner, have very high print resolution and excellent color reproduction.
Nevertheless, these printers have a very high cost of printing (about 10-15 rubles per photo). And therefore, it is advisable to use them only for photographs. It is better not to print documents and 'pictures' on them.
The print resolution determines how 'smooth' the image will look. In addition, the higher it is, the more small details can be seen in the photograph. However, printers with higher print resolutions are quite expensive.
The vast majority of inkjet and laser printers are available in 300 x 300, 600 x 600, or 1200 x 1200 dpi (can also be abbreviated as DPI).
Resolution of 300 × 300 dpi is sufficient for printing texts and simple graphics (diagrams). With it, even the small print will remain quite readable. However, when printing images with high resolution or a lot of detail, some elements may be 'lost' or smeared.
A resolution of 600 x 600 dpi is suitable for printing both text and images at an acceptable level of quality. It is these printers that are recommended for home use, since they differ in balanced toner consumption. But they are also not recommended for photo printing.
If you need to print images, photographs, or very small text, it is better to use printers with a resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi. It is worth remembering that it can be native or interpolated. The first option provides the greatest 'smoothness' and image detail, but such printers are quite expensive. The interpolated resolution of 1200 x 1200 dpi allows for slightly higher quality prints than devices with 600 x 600 dots.
If you need mixed printing – that is, periodically you need to output highly detailed images on paper, and occasionally just texts – a high-resolution printer with an economy mode will do. It does 'reverse interpolation'. Economy mode drops print resolution to 600 x 600 or even 300 x 300 dpi, which can help reduce toner consumption while maintaining legibility.
The above parameters are valid for laser and inkjet printers. Photo printers, due to their specialization, have a significantly higher print resolution – for example, for the Epson Expression Premium XP-710 it is 5760 × 1440 dpi.
Many modern printer models are equipped with a number of additional features. The more of them, the higher the cost of the device. However, many of these features make your printer much easier to use:
Built-in scanner and photocopying mode. Models that have these modes of operation are called MFPs (multifunctional devices) and are very convenient for home use;
Compatible with alternative operating systems such as macOS or families Linux. If you plan to use the printer on a computer where Windows is not installed, then you need to make sure that the manufacturer has a driver for your environment;
Ability to work in a local wired or wireless (Wi-Fi) network. This will allow you to install the printer in any convenient place and not connect it to the computer with a USB cable;
Compatible with mobile devices (at Android or iOS). Printers equipped with this function can be used to print photos directly from a smartphone or tablet;
Ability to double-sided printing without page shifting. A convenient function if you have to print books, teaching aids or just large documents. It saves paper well;
Slots for memory cards. Most often, this function can be found in photo printers. It allows you to print images from a professional camera to paper without using a computer;
Liquid crystal display, often touchscreen. Another feature commonly found in high-end photo printers. In combination with the previous one, it allows you to select the necessary pictures and put them on paper, as well as carry out cropping or other image editing operations.
However, all of these features are only worth overpaying if you really need them. There are dozens of manufacturers and thousands of models on the printer market today, so you can always find an alternative.
Top Printer Makers
The market of manufacturers that produce recommended printers for home use is represented mainly by three brands – HP, Canon and Epson.
HP printers are mostly in the lower price range. They are suitable for everyday printing, but have a high maintenance cost – consumables are expensive. However, almost all HP inkjet printers can be equipped with a continuous ink supply system (which will still void the warranty).
Canon laser printers, as well as the mid-range Epson models, are excellent for everyday use as they provide an optimal cost per print. However, some devices will not refill cartridges, which can be a serious problem.
And for photo printing, it is recommended to use Epson printers, since they offer the widest functionality and excellent characteristics in their price range.
In the following articles, our experts will tell you how to choose the right laser printer, the secrets of choosing printer paper and the main criteria for choosing a photo printer for printing bright photos.
Attention! This material is the subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a purchase guide.