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Printer Buying Guide

If you have started looking for a printer for your computer, you have probably noticed there are many different types. You can buy personal printers, laser printers, workstation laptop printers, photographs printers and so forth. The type of printer you want will depend upon what you will primarily use your printer for. This guide will help you decide what type of printer is best suited to your needs.

If you are looking for a printer for home use, your printer will most likely be used to accomplish many tasks. The kids may be printing their book reports and essays. You may print a photo or two from time to time as well as some pages from the Internet. Most people want a home printer that is not overly expensive but will still be reliable. In most cases, you will want to buy a general purpose color inkjet. These printers usually cost between $50 and 150 dollars and are designed to do just about a little bit of everything.

Perhaps you will be printing a large quantity of text pages and not many photographs. You may be working on that future award-winning novel. In this case, you may want to buy a personal laser printer. These printers can handle printing a large amount of pages. They text quality will be excellent and they will print quickly. You can get a monochrome (only prints black) laser printer for as little as $200.

Do you take a lot of photographs that you want to print? In this case you may want to consider buying a photo printer. You can purchase one of these to use along with your other home printer. Many of the photo inkjet printers use special ink and paper. They are able to print high quality, fade resistant photographs.

You can buy a dedicated snapshot printer. They are limited to 4x6 prints. This printer will work well as a second printer. When you have a compatible digital camera, you can print your photographs directly from the camera without loading the pictures onto your computer.

Are you an entrepreneur who needs a printer for your home office? You should look at multifunction printers. These printers will combine an inkjet or laser printer with a copier, a scanner and fax machine. These all in one machines can save you money and space. Many inkjet all in one printers as little as $100.

For those of you that are shopping for a computer for your small business or your department with ink a larger organization, you will want to look at workgroup laser printers. These printers are designed multiple printing jobs. They have faster processors and more memory than other printers. Workgroup laser printers can print as many as 20+ pages each minute.

Portable printers are also available. These printers are designed to be small enough to fit in a briefcase. They should be battery powered and weigh less than five pounds. These printers often print slower and with a lower quality than other printers. If the printer has a Nickel-Cadium (NiCad) battery, about 90 pages can be printed on one charge. The cost for a portable printer can be anywhere from $150-$500.


When shopping for a computer you will probably hear and read the term resolution a lot. This is the maximum numbers of dots per inch that can be printed. Printers with high resolutions can print more-detailed text and images. The average resolution that you should look for is 600x600. If you want to print a lot of photographic quality pages, then you will want a printer with a higher resolution.

Print Speed is another specification you will want to consider when shopping for a printer. This is an estimate of how many pages or photos the printer can print per minute.
Paper Handing will relate to how many pages the printer can input and output. Most injet and laser printers have input and output trays that can hold at least 100 sheets of paper. This may be important if you will be printing lengthy reports or pages of information at a time. You will want a printer that can handle a higher number of papers so that you do not need to continuously reload the printer.

When purchasing a printer, you will also need to make sure it is compatible with your computer. Not all printers are compatible with both Windows and Macintosh operating systems. You will need to check to find out what operating systems the computer can be used with.

More on Cost

The least expensive printers available are inkjets. They start out as low as $100 or even less. However, the ink can be costly when it needs replaced; costing between $12 and $60. The cartridges usually last for 100-200 pages. When you spend the money on a more expensive printer, it can actually be more economical in the long run. They have higher capacity ink tanks and have separate ink tanks for each color.

If you have a laser printer, the toner costs can be expensive. However, it is important to consider how many pages a toner will yield. This can be anywhere from 2500 to 10,000 pages. The cost per page is therefore only a few cents per page.

Many times printers do not come with the connector cables. Read the box or ask a sales associate to determine whether you need to purchase a printer cable. It can be frustrating if you get your new printer home only to find out you do not have everything you need to set it up. A printer cable can cost between $10-30 if you need to purchase one separately.


Before setting out to buy your printer, consider what you will use the printer for. Using the tips above, you should be able to decide what type of printer best meets your needs. Take your time when shopping for your printer. Read the box carefully to find the specifications and what is included with your printer so that you can buy the best printer for your needs.