Printers - A Practical Buyers Guide
Buying a printer can be a complicated business, there are more shapes, sizes and
types of printers available to the home and small business user than ever before.
Printers have also become specialized for their intended purpose.
It is no longer a case of "a printer is a printer". Printers are now designed to
be good in a particular area rather than a "Jack-of-all trades", which will do everything.
An often overlooked issue, is the very serious consideration of cost of ownership,
which is all about of how much it will cost to keep your printer running (see below).
So making that decision on which printer to go for can be a seriously arduous task,
especially if you are keen to buy a printer that is not only affordable to buy but
also cheap to run.
So here is the information that you need to know and consider, but no one tells
you! We have not expanded on which printer is the best at any given time because
models constantly change and you can find that information in any current glossy
PC magazine off the shelf. Instead, here you will find the good, bad and ugly
bits from the different types of printers available so you can make an informed
Inkjet printers form images by spraying tiny droplets of liquid ink onto paper.
The size and precision of the dots of ink and the type and quality of the ink
itself govern how good the print quality is. A quality inkjet printer can
produce very near photo-quality images using specialist photo coated paper.
In general there are two types of inkjet printers, those with the printhead
built into the printer like Epson, Brother etc and those where the printhead is
actually on the ink cartridge like HP and Lexmark. There are many arguments for
and against both technologies, but in our experience we have found both to be
very good, the major difference seems to be that the cost of running a printer
using the "printhead" type ink cartridge is usually higher.
Inkjet ink is specially formulated for specific printer models and their purpose,
much technology is involved in the development of these inks to improve print
quality, longevity, drying speeds and printing speeds etc.
Most inkjet ink is produced using dye based ink which can flow easily through
the tiny nozzles of the printhead, this type of ink is good for photos and
colour shades but not so good for longevity or solid vibrant colour, think of it
like a water colour painting.
In recent years pigment ink technology has advanced considerably to enable use
in inkjet printing. Previously ink pigments were too large and would block up
the nozzles. This type of ink is good for solid colours and longevity, think of
it like an oil painting.