Everyone who owns a personal computer (PC) or laptop at some point will need to send information to a printer. This could be a letter, flyer for your garage sale or pictures of your friends and family. With so many brands and types of printers on the market where do you start?

The two main types of printers sold today are “inkjet” and “laser” printers. Of these two they come in various configurations, from a simple printer to an “all-in-one”. The simple or bare bones printer will simply print pages in black ink. An all-in one depending on the model could have the capability to print both colour and black pages as well as be able to scan documents (like a photocopier), send and receive faxes and print photo quality images. The primary difference between an inkjet printer and a laser is the speed at which it prints. A laser printer is far faster in document printing and often used in an office environment or when printing large volumes of documents. An inkjet tends to be the printer of choice for home users.Printers

No matter what type of printer you purchase here is some advice that may help you with your decision. When you buy a printer that is your initial fixed cost and you only outlay that money once. The main cost in a printer is the running cost.

Inkjet printers: They use “ink cartridges”, always with black and sometimes a “tri-colour” cartridge. The tri-colour cartridge has all 3 ink colours in one unit, red, green, blue (RGB). So if you are printing a banner that uses a lot of green likelihood is the green will run out before the red or blue. No matter which colour runs out 1st the whole cartridge has to be replaced even with ink still remaining in the other sections. What a waste! There are inkjet printers that use individual cartridges for all colours black, cyan, yellow, magenta, blue, and other various colours. This printer will cost far less to run as you only need to replace the colour that is empty.

Laser printers: They use “toner cartridges” and work on the same principal as inkjet printers. So the more individual cartridges it takes the less the overall running cost. Also be aware laser printers also require the “drum” and the “developer” to be replaced after so many thousand prints, (depending on the model). These two items are often costly so make sure you ask your vendor about these additional overall running costs.

Also be aware when manufacturers often quote the amount of paper sheets the ink cartridge or toner can use i.e. 3000 sheets, this is often for only 5-10% of paper coverage. So in reality if you are printing full colour or black pages, do the appropriate math and calculate the actual amount of full pages it will print.

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