Inkjet printers - a buying guide

An inkjet printer produces a hard copy of digital images or text by spraying ink on to paper.

Typically, an inkjet printer can produce copy with a resolution of at least 300 dots per inch (dpi), and some inkjet printers can make full colour copies at 600 dpi or even higher.

The sheer versatility of inkjet printers makes them a good buy for home users and some businesses too- you can print everything from university dissertations and business presentations to wedding invitations or family photos.

Points to consider when buying an inkjet printer

  • First of all, consider the type of documents you want to print. Is colour printing important, or will monochrome suffice? Colour printers sometimes cost more than black-and-white printers performing similar functions.
  • Consider the running costs as well as the initial purchase price of your Inkjet printers tend to be cheaper to buy initially than laser printers, but are not always cheaper to run.
  • What are your paper-handling requirements? Most inkjet printers handle paper up to A4 size, but certain models will print on A3 paper too.
  • Will you need a multi-functional printer? Some inkjet printers can also scan documents and send or receive faxes. These all-in-one printers are great for saving space in the home or a small office.
  • Will you be printing photos? In most cases, inkjet printers produce better quality photographs than laser printers. If you want to print off the family album, a good quality inkjet makes the most of photos from DSLR and phone cameras alike
  • When choosing an inkjet printer for the office, check that the print speed is fast enough. You can read the product specifications for each printer to check the print rate, measured in pages per minute (PPM)
  • Automatic document feeders (ADFs) are a great feature for fast-paced offices as they allow you to scan and copy several documents at once.
  • If you plan on printing regularly, check the monthly duty cycle, as this shows you the maximum number of prints that the manufacturer suggests are suitable.
  • Do you need a wireless inkjet printer? Wireless printers connect to your PC or Mac using your WiFi network and so you don’t have to be in the same room to print. Several computers and mobile devices can use the same printer.
  • Auto duplex is a special feature that gives you the choice to automatically print on both sides of the paper, helping you look after the environment and save money.

Geeks can learn more about inkjet printing at Wikipedia.

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