Quick Guide to Choosing the Right Printer

By Nicole Tinkham

Purchasing a printer for the office or for personal use can leave your head spinning. But it doesn’t have to be as complicated as you may think. It’s true that there are a ton of features to consider but we were able to break down your options into SIMPLE questions to help you get on the right track to determine the best printer for your needs. Ask yourself the following questions to get a general idea of what you’re looking for in a printer and contact Jeff in our machines department (941-747-2995) to discuss your options further.

Here is your QUICK guide to choosing the right printer:

#1: What are your basic needs?

Let’s start broad with your basic printer needs. Think about what you would like to be able to do with the machine. Do you need to fax and scan as well? Have you thought about a wireless printer?

•    An all-in-one printer (includes copy, scan, and fax)
•    A basic printer with no additional features
•    Wireless

#2: Do you need to print in color?

If you print off mainly black and white documents, there’s no need to purchase a color printer. A basic monochrome printer is your best bet. When deciding between the two, keep in mind that color printers require all 3 colors (cyan, magenta, and yellow) plus black while monochrome printers only require a black cartridge.

#3: How often will you be using the printer?

The difference between a personal printer and one for a large business or copy center is huge. When looking into a new printer, consider the volume of printing you’ll be doing.

•    High volume (over 1,500 pages a month)

*Note: A high volume printer often saves money in the long run because it’s able to handle large print jobs and the cartridges last longer.

•    Low to moderate volume

#4: Laser vs inkjet printer

Here’s where the tricky part comes in. Many people aren’t sure the difference between a laser printer and an inkjet. Let us break it down for you.

•    Inkjet printers: Inkjet printers use a liquid ink (toners use powder) that sprays a mist over the print pattern. This produces a cleaner print that smudges less. One of the benefits of ink cartridges is the small size, making them easy to replace.

•    Laser printers: Laser printers use toner cartridges. Unlike ink cartridges, toners use a powder-based printing agent that contains organic compounds and polymers. Instead of applying ink that dries, toner is fused to the paper by burning the powder onto the page. These cartridges may be much larger and more expensive than ink cartridges but they have a higher page yield, making them last longer.

Answering the four questions above will help get you on the right path for purchasing the perfect printer for your needs. Two more things to consider: How much money are you looking to spend on a printer (they range in price) and how much space you have available as some can be bulky and others more compact. Take some time to figure out what you’re looking for and contact our machines expert Jeff at 941-747-2995 or email him at jeffs@keetonsonline.com to help you with the rest of the process.

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