Sorting through the seemingly limitless printer options to find the best for you.
Tips for Choosing the Best Printer
By Windows Talk
I would be curious to know how many printers I have gone through over the years: various dot matrix, inkjets and lasers. Some, like the dot matrix ones, I picked up in good used condition when inkjets became more popular. Man, those old dot matrixes were slow and noisy! You still see the occasional one in use at the mechanics, or parts stores where they need copies of invoices and such.
And there was a time when laser printers were only used by large corporations, since they were the only ones that could afford them. How times have changed! Now, you can buy a small, efficient laser printer for home use for about the same price as a good inkjet printer.
In reality, there are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing a Windows printer. Which is best for you depends on how it is to be used. For example, do you need to print in colour, or are mainly printing text? If you need colour, will you be printing digital photos or other high-def images?
Inkjet Printers: affordable and multi-functional
By far, inkjets are the most affordable printer to buy and you can often get what is called a Multi-function device that typically can print, scan, copy (photocopy) and even fax. Having a printer that can scan is very handy. You can scan documents and old photos into digital versions to facilitate organization. Here at home I have a Canon MX 452 multi-function device that can print/scan/copy and fax and it is available (or a similar model) for under $100. Now, I do not do a lot of printing here at home, but I have had it for just over a year and have only replaced the cartridges (1 black and 1 colour) just once. It might be good to mention at this point that cartridges can often be cheaper when purchased online. This is especially true if you can get good, re-manufactured or generic cartridges for your machine. Generic ones will often do a good job, but the colours may not be as vivid as a manufacturer’s cartridge.
One thing to look out for is the type of cartridge system the printer uses. Some models use one cartridge that contains all the coloured inks (like my Canon MX452); this is the least cost-effective setup as you are forced to throw away the cartridge once one of the colours runs out, even if the others have not. Perhaps a better option is to look for an inkjet that has an individual cartridge for each colour, often cyan, yellow, magenta and black. With individual ink cartridges you only have to replace the colours you’ve used up.
Shared with permission from Windows Talk.
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WindowsTalk’s mission is to provide access to the best Windows® and PC resources available, to be informative in understanding new technologies and be helpful in resolving PC-related problems while at the same time helping you to actually enjoy the Windows experience! Windows Talk is owned and operated by James M. Fisher, a Microsoft MVP awardee since October 2003 in the “Windows Expert-Consumer” category.