Printers Buying Guide

Printer Buyers Guide


Whether you are updating an older printer, or venturing into the world of print for this first time, then we have the printer for you.


In this handy guide, we explain the advantages and disadvantages of the different features and technologies you may come across.

Types of Printers



What are Inkjet Printers?

Inkjet printers create a digital image by dropping spots of ink onto paper.

Inkjet printers are the most commonly used type of printer, they are ideal for home use and are ideal for printing anything from tickets and photos, to school and work documents.

If high quality prints are what you’re looking for, inkjet printers are a great choice. They can print onto many types of paper, including glossy photo making them ideal for printing photographs.

Inkjet printers generally have lower startup costs than Laser printers and are compatible with Inkjet Cartridges, which are generally less expensive.



What are Laser Printers?

Laser printers use a laser to build up a pattern of static electricity. The static electricity attracts onto the page a kind of powdered ink called toner.

Laser printers are designed for frequent use and can cut costs in offices and any home that requires a significant amount of printing. Laser printers are ideal for printing documents as they produce perfect sharp black text.

Although Toner Cartridges are initially more expensive than Inkjet Cartridges, toners typically provide a much higher page yield and need replacing far less often (on average after 1400 pages). Therefore, the technology suits the printing demands of a business who are looking for a cost-effective way to print a high volume of pages.



What are All-in-One Printers?

An All-in-One Printer is the combination of a copier, scanner and printer all within one device. It is available in both Laser and Inkjet technologies. They are compact in terms of the space they take up and are very cost effective. Some even include a fourth function, a fax, which makes them ideal for busy homes and small offices.



What are 3D Printers?

3D printers are a new generation of machines that can make everyday things. The 3D printing process turns a whole object into thousands of tiny little slices, then makes it from the bottom-up, layer by layer. Those tiny layers stick together to form a solid object.

3D printers are only recently becoming much more accessible and allow insight into the world of additive manufacturing and prototyping. The possibilities of 3D printers are endless, and they’re now commonplace in industries such as engineering, product design, manufacturing and architecture.

Wireless Printing

Need to print something in a different room? Wireless connectivity is a convenient feature that allows you to print from a computer, tablet or smartphone without having to plug in. Printing from any room in the house is perfect for busy families where everyone can make use of the printer!


Apple

Can I print from my IOS Device?

Some printers are Apple AirPrint compatible. This technology is exclusive to Apple devices that allows you to print from your iPhone, iPad, Mac or any other compatible Apple device. It doesn’t require you to download any additional software and is extremely easy to use.


Android

Can I print from my Android Device?

Some printers support Google Cloud Print. This technology allows you to print from any Windows or Android device without having to download additional software to your smartphone, tablet or laptop device. A huge benefit of Google Cloud Print is that you can print from anywhere in the world.

Email Printing

Email Printing (E-Print) allows you to print from anywhere with an active internet connection. The printer acquires its own email address to which you send your documents to be printed.


Memory Card Slot

Printers that feature a memory card slot mean an SD card can be inserted directly into the printer. You then choose the desired documents or photos to be printed through the devices control panel.


NFC

Near Field Communication is a short-range wireless technology that allows the connection of two devices through briefly touching or holding them close together. It’s a quick, simple solution to printing without any fuss. Both the printer and the device need to be NFC compatible.


What kind of printer is best for me?

Printing for Home Use

Printing for Home Use

If you occasionally print family photos, documents or any other common types of files then you should be looking to purchase an Inkjet Printer. The initial cost of an Inkjet Printer is much lower than a Laser Printer. You get a lower page yield from an inkjet printer, but you won’t be paying for ink and features that you may never use. Overall, an inkjet will provide high quality prints, at a reasonable price.

If you only print black and white documents, a monochrome laser printer could be ideal. They have a lower running cost over a longer period of time, especially if you are planning to print in high volume.

Printing Photos

Printing Photos

Photo Printers are made specifically for printing images, giving you professional lab quality prints. These specialized inkjet printers use individual inks for each color, ensuring natural color reproduction. Some photo printers use as many as 6 individual inks, creating vivid and bright prints.

If you want the fun of printing photos but on the go, then look at our range of instant photo printers. You can connect via Bluetooth from your smartphone and print in just a few taps.

Printing for Small Businesses

Printing for Small Businesses

There are a large range of printers for business that boast both inkjet and laser technologies. When shopping for an office printer, always consider the print speed and if an Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) is required. An ADF allows you to scan and copy several documents at once, eliminating the need for you to stand next to your printer, placing single sheets of paper into the scanner. You may also want ensure the printer can duplex, meaning it can automatically print on both sides of the paper.

A business inkjet printer is ideal for a home office, as it boasts the functionality to print, copy, scan and fax all within one unit. They also feature larger ink cartridges meaning they will need changing less often.

Printing for Large Businesses

Printing for Large Businesses

Larger businesses require fast and cost-effective printing. Laser printers fulfill both these needs. They are able to print on a range of paper sizes, include larger paper trays and will need less maintenance. In other words, they keep you printing for longer in order to maximize productivity in the workplace.

How do I save money on ink?


HP Instant Ink

HP Instant Ink

HP’s Instant Ink service is a convenient alternative to the traditional purchasing of ink. It works by sending a new ink cartridge directly to your door, before an old one runs out.

It’s a monthly subscription service with no ongoing commitment or annual fee. HP Instant Ink eligible printers are connected to the internet and will send a message to HP, ensuring you will never run out of ink again.


VIEW ALL INSTANT INK PRINTERS

ecotank

Epson Ecotank

Epson Ecotank printers do not use traditional cartridges, instead they use bottles of ink. This is a cost-effective method of printing, as each bottle provides enough ink to print approx. 4000 pages (this is 2 years of printing for most users) and cost far less than traditional cartridges.

Although the initial start-up costs are higher, you will save much more over time.


VIEW ALL ECOTANK PRINTERS

Jargon Buster

Inkjet|The most commonly used printer technology with home users. Inkjet printers work by propelling extremely small droplets of ink onto paper to create an image, the dots are placed very precisely with resolutions of up to 1440x720 dots per inch (dpi).


Laser|Designed for frequent use, laser printers are ideal for home offices and larger businesses. Laser printers use a laser to build up a pattern of static electricity. The static electricity attracts onto the page a kind of powdered ink called toner.


Wireless Printing|Wireless printers connect to your device through using your home WiFi network and can be accessed from anywhere in your house. Multiple devices can be connected to a Wireless Printer – the perfect printing solution for a busy home!


Mono|Monochrome Printers exclusively print black and white documents, they feature higher print speeds than typical inkjet printers and are typically used by businesses.


Wi-Fi Direct / Wireless Direct|WiFi direct provides the ability to wirelessly connect your printer to your device, without the need for a WiFi signal. Ideal for homes and offices without an accessible WiFi network or as a backup if the office WiFi were to fail.

Apple AirPrint|Apple AirPrint allows you to print directly from your Apple iOS device. There is no need to download additional software, as airprint comes as default on most devices.


Google Cloud Print|Google Cloud print allows you to print directly from your tablet, smartphone or any android device. It is included on all Android devices so there is no need to download any unwanted software. Simply create / Login to your Google account to get started.


NFC|Near Field Communication is a relatively new innovative feature for printers. It allows two devices to connect by simply touching or being close to eachother. Both devices must be NFC compatible for this feature to work.


Email Printing|Email Printing (E-Print) allows you to print from anywhere with an active internet connection. It is available on selected HP Printers and acquires its own, personal email address in which you send your documents to be printed.


PPM|Pages Per Minute (PPM) is the primary unit of measuring a printer’s speed. It measures the amount of standard A4 pages that can be printed in one minute.

IMP|Similar to PPM, this stands for Images Per Minute and is the second established unit of measuring a printers speed. It refers to the amount of standard A4 pages that can be printed within one minute, taking into consideration a fixed resolution.


DPI|Dots Per Inch (DPI) measures the resolution of a printed image. It refers to the volume of dots that can be fitted into one square inch. The higher the number, the better the resolution – something to look out for when choosing a printer for photo printing.


Auto Duplex|Auto Duplex is a convenient feature that allows you to automatically print on both sides of the paper, a cost-effective feature that also benefits the environment.


ADF|An Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) allows you to scan or copy multiple documents automatically, without having to manually process each page.


Bypass Tray|A Bypass tray is an alternative tray for loading paper or special media into the printer. You can use this tray to print onto mediums such as transparencies, envelopes and labels.


LCD Screen|Some printers include a touch screen to help your preview and manage print jobs. This makes it incredibly easy to control and complete simple print, copy and scan jobs.



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