Your Guide to Buying a Home Printer

How to choose the best printer for your home? What are the important specifications that you have to check before buying a home printer?

Home printer

Choosing a home printer may sometimes prove difficult because of the many diverse types and choices as well as the different specifications in the market. To make it easier on you, we wrote this guide to answer some questions about owning a home printer in addition to some recommendations and explanations to the most common specifications.

Inkjet printer or Laser printer?

Laser printer

This is the first question that anyone who wants to buy a home printer will ask themself, should I purchase an inkjet printer or a laser one? The answer depends on the type and quantity of documents the person wants to print.

Inkjet printer has the bigger share in the market, and that is because it can print anything especially with colored ink like, novels, glossy pictures, and any other type of printouts. Its disadvantages are that it is slow, the clarity of the printouts is less than that of the laser printer, and sometimes it is more expensive.

Laser printer is more common in offices due to its ability to print more text with speed, efficiency, and lower cost. It is also clearer as the ink does not dissolve away if it is dampened.

The prices of the colored laser printer have become affordable lately, but it is costly to change the color separator – in case of damage – which makes it less likely to own at home. If you want to print pictures, or pages of a report, you can choose the inkjet printer. If you needed to print a higher number of papers in a short time, then choose the laser printer.

But do not forget that the laser printer is a little more expensive than the inkjet, even at the same speed, even though the inkjet printer may sometimes have the option of duplex printing.

Before making a final decision, you must know that the inkjet printer is being produced with a bigger color ink capacity, which minimizes the cost of printing one paper; also, it has become faster than before almost matching the speed of the laser printer.

Multipurpose printingMultipurpose Printer

Both printers (inkjet and laser printers) have a scanner which makes them multipurpose printers: printer, copier, scanner, and fax in one machine.

Although you might not need all these functions, but buying a full option printer is the wiser decision since you do not buy different machines and hence save space. And since multipurpose printers are more widespread with reasonable prices, we recommend buying one for home use.

Note: Because the multipurpose printers are more widespread, the single purpose printers will not be produced in the future.

Photo Printers

PrinterIf you are interested in printing photos more than documents, then you should purchase a printer specified for printing photos. Though it does not have the flexibility of a multipurpose printer, it has a high printing quality and sometimes meets or exceeds the picture quality you get from specialized places.

In most photo printers, the ink is placed in a separate place from paper, but in portable photo printers, the ink and paper are in one storage place, but it is smaller (printing pictures sized 6x5 inches) or wide up to 24 inches. Its accessories are more expensive than multipurpose printers and printing high definition pictures requires special type of paper.

Ink ribbon cost

Color Ink Refill

Although the photo printer is affordable, its ink is not.  You have to check the ink prices before buying the printer, which you can check on Labab.com for an approximate cost. It might be better to buy a more expensive printer with cheaper ink.

However, you have to take into consideration ink refilling instead of buying a new one every time since that will save you money. Although merchants do not recommend that as they insist that it causes problems in the printer and hence they started inserting small pieces of slides inside the ink caps they sell to make refilling them harder, and some cancel the warranty when unauthentic ink is used.

Duplex printing and duplex copying

From the common specifications, considered a major addition, is printing and copying both sides of the paper at the same time. Its advantage is that you no longer have to flip the page over to print/copy on the other side since the printer is doing it for you now. If multipurpose printers have print servers for the scanner then they can perform this specification, but if there is no print server then the printer cannot perform duplex printing/copying.

If you copy duplex pages (like magazines) continuously, like students who copy their learning materials, then this is the recommended printer for you. In addition to the fact that it saves paper if there is no need to print single pages.

Network Support (printing through Wi-Fi)

Many available printers offer the option of multiple connections after having a USB port as an only connection option for many years. And since the USB cable is generally short it requires that the printer be placed near the computer. Note that, some routers have USB ports that can be connected to the printer to simplify wireless printing within the home network (no further need for direct connection to the printer though the USB port as you only need to be connected to the Wi-Fi at home to print wirelessly).

Wi-Fi is a more common option, since it is usually used more in households, and almost all printers have Wi-Fi support whether it is at home or at an office and therefore many have a Wi-Fi option installed in case a router was not available.

Memory Card Slots, PictBridge, and Cloud storage

If you want to print numerous pictures, keep in mind that you need a printer with memory card slots, Bluetooth, PictBridge and cloud storage. All these specifications allow you to print pictures from the camera directly instead of copying them onto the computer and then printing them from there. You can also insert a memory card in the printer. Some printers can recognize all types of memory cards, however SD memory card is the one most recognized by printers.

You can connect the camera to the printers supported with PictBridge using a normal USB cable, or through the cloud (Dropbox, Google Cloud Print, etc…). Nonetheless, all these options does not forego the use of a computer since you need to copy the memory card  and empty it on your computer, and because most photographers like to edit their photos on a bigger screen before printing them.

Many full options printers have internet options in them now, as you can reach stored pictures on sites like: Facebook, Flicker, Dropbox, Google Drive, and through other applications. Keep in mind that many of the listed options cannot be accessed without an internet connection.

Handling Different Types of Papers

All printers are equipped to deal with a big bundle of printing papers sized 29.7x21 cm 80 grams, but what about bigger papers and glossy paper?. Many printers have servers to deal with different types and sizes of paper, which makes them easier to handle. Make sure you look at the paper holder size, small holders have a small capacity which means you will have to constantly refill paper, while a bigger holder can have 250 papers, and some printers have double holders, and so you only have to refill it once a month.

Speed, quality and colors allegations

In the past, it was easier for companies to claim allegations about their printers speed, quality, and ink use and so on. But today, every company undergoes many tests created to meet the global standards. The basis of these tests that are certified by the organization does not allow any company to make exaggerated statements about their products. Every measurement and evaluation is submitted in a similar way using the same standards. The negative aspect of this is that there are certain types of tests that may not examine the printer in a way similar to how you will be using it at your home, especially if you print many pictures which slows down the process and uses a lot of ink.

Therefore, you must depend on these specifications to compare between each printer, but they do not necessarily express the result you will get upon using the printer due to the diversity and types of users.

In conclusion, and after reading this guide, you can go to the printers section on Labeb’s website and search for the offers that suit you the most.


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