Something to consider, aside from initial purchase cost, is operation and maintenance costs. You can easily pickup an inkjet for $50, but take a look at the size of the ink cartridges. If it runs out every 100 pages, you’re going to spend much more on ink in the first year, than if you had purchased a much better quality laser.
B&W text and simple graphics will look sharper on a laser printer. If you use a good quality inkjet paper though, most casual users will be hard pressed to notice the difference. On the other hand, a good photo inkjet printer will give a good color laser printer a run for it’s money, in quality and cost. If you’re going to print a lot of photos, your best choice would be an inkjet.
You’ll see ‘Duty Cycle’ listed mostly on specs for laser printers. This refers to how much paper the printer is expected to be able to handle each month. This will be a factor for you if you are buying for a large office, or if you are publishing your own fliers on a regular basis. You’ll have to ask yourself, “How much printing will I do each month?” Now that doesn’t say your printer will break if it’s rated at 30,000 and you print 30,050 one month. If you know though, that you will print 75,000 pages a month, don’t buy a printer rated at 50,000.
What can connect?
The last thing left to consider is, what machines will be connecting to this machine, and how? Will the printer be on a network? Will different operating systems access it? If you’re going to be the only user, and you have one PC with XP running on it, you just have to make sure you have the right ports and that it has drivers for XP. If, on the other hand, you are part of a small Linux workgroup, you’re going to be somewhat limited on your selection.
This is a feature that is mostly used for older programs. Say you have a printer that emulates an Epson FX80. That means it understands the commands used to communicate with an Epson FX80. Your program may require a certain printer to function properly. Some programs, especially in vertical markets like Real Estate and Insurance, make direct requests to the printers. Your printer must either be the right type of printer, or it must emulate that printer, in order to speak the language. If you have special software, other than off the shelf types like Word or Photoshop, be sure to check the program’s printer requirements.
About the author:
John Gibb manages http://www.computer-and-printer-reviews.com
The site dedicated to computers and printers.
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