Learn how to choose a printer with the right capabilities for your needs
Most consumers do their homework when it comes to selecting a new laptop PC, but in many cases, the purchase of a printer is an afterthought. If you are a business professional or student who relies on producing top quality proposals or research papers, your choice of a printer is critical to your success. You should pinpoint the equipment that is capable of handling the type of work you require, is convenient and trouble-free, and incorporates seamlessly into your workspaces.
Depending on your expectations, any of a number of printer types may fill your bill. If you need a full-service machine that includes a scanner, fax, copier, and printer, you are in the market for an all-in-one unit. This type of printer is a great workhorse for a busy office in which you produce printed materials, sign documents and scan them for emailing, plus receive and send information by fax.
If you are not set up with a land-line phone however, you may not want a fax machine, selecting instead an all-in-one without a fax component. You will save a few dollars too. Before you scale back further, though, deciding that copying and scanning are features you don’t need, remember that you may have unforeseen occasions when you are glad your printer can perform these functions.
If you need a specific printer dedicated to a single purpose, such as photo printing, you should select your equipment accordingly. You can save on the purchase price of an all-in-one if you already have such a machine and only need a dedicated fax or an extra scanner.
Another consideration when selecting a printer is the price of replacement ink cartridges for inkjet models or toner cartridges for laser printers. Sometimes a low-priced unit is not such a great buy if you must devote big bucks to purchasing refills. Also check whether the printer comes with full-sized cartridges or “starter” cartridges that will require you to purchase refills sooner.