The Mouse Trap – Choosing the best printer for your money

By Janis Weber

Choosing the right printer can be a daunting task. There are several types of printing technologies to choose from, each suited for different needs. Printers come in all shapes and sizes, from tiny travel companions to office group workhorses; some are geared toward photographers, others are for multitaskers. And the many specifications for resolution and speed can be misleading. To get started, you’ll need to decide which of the following profiles best fits your user type.

An inkjet printer produces hard copy by spraying ink onto paper. A typical inkjet printer can produce copy with a resolution of at least 300 dots per inch (dpi). Some inkjet printers can make full color hard copies at 600 dpi or more. Many models include other devices such as a scanner, photocopier, and dedicated fax machine, along with the printer, in a single box. In the inkjet printing mechanism, the print head has several tiny nozzles, also called jets. As the paper moves past the print head, the nozzles spray ink onto it, forming the characters and images. An inkjet printer can produce from 100 to several hundred pages, depending on the nature of the hard copy, before the ink cartridges must be replaced. A few models require separate cartridges for each primary pigment, along with a black ink cartridge. The principal advantage of inkjet printers is the fact that most of them are inexpensive and light weight. The copy from an inkjet printer needs a little time to dry. Inkjet printers also require non-porous paper. Paper designed especially for inkjet printers is heavier than the paper used with laser printers or photocopiers (24 pound vs 20 pound), has higher brilliance, and is somewhat more expensive. Another limitation is the fact that most inkjet printers are slow, and they are not designed for high-volume print jobs. While the initial cash outlay for an inkjet printer may be modest, this type of printer is expensive to operate over time compared with a laser printer.

Throughout the decades, laser printers have become so efficient and affordable that they have become a staple in almost every home and office. Numerous workplaces across various industries tend to favor laser printers over inkjets for their printing needs. Laser printers do not have liquid ink that evaporates even if it is not used much. Here we have a large cartridge with dry powder in it. It does not ever evaporate. Instead of soaking into the paper, it lies on the paper. You must use laser paper in this machine (not inkjet), or it will smear. Most people only need a black or monochrome printer. How many times do you really need or use color? Too expensive to buy and print. A black laser printer can cost as little as a basic inkjet. If you require color, yes, it will cost more.

In summary; there is no clear answer as to whether laser printers are better than inkjet printers. Both types of printers have their inherent strengths and weaknesses. However, if you closely examine every aspect that makes each one unique, the ideal option becomes clear. I am going to list some highly rated choices in both categories here and their average cost. Remember these come with varied options like two-sided, self-feeding and fax. You many not need so much.

  • Canon PIXMA TR4520 Wireless All in One ($120)
  • HP Officejet Pro 6978 All-in-One ($170)
  • HP OfficeJet Pro 9015 All-in-One ($250)
  • HP ENVY 6055e All-in-One Printer ($170)
  • HP OfficeJet Pro 8035 All-in-One ($285)
  • Brother Compact Monochrome Laser Printer, HL-L2350DW ($172)
  • Brother Monochrome Laser Printer, Compact All-In One Printer, MFCL2710DW ($300)
  • Brother Compact Monochrome Laser Printer, HLL2395DW ($220)
  • Brother Monochrome Laser Printer, DCPL2550DW ($200)
  • Brother Compact Monochrome Laser Printer, HLL2395DW ($220)

I found a couple good color laser printers from $350 – $700.In case you are looking for a cheap disposable printer here is one; HP DeskJet 2722 All-in-One Printer ($49). It will run out of ink monthly and probably jam up. You will be replacing it within six months or the day after the warranty expires. I’m sure you understand given the cost.

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