Choosing the Correct Inkjet Printer

Posted Friday, June 4th, 2010 by .

So you are looking for a new inkjet printer but are not sure which one to get?  With so many options, it can be confusing, so let’s see if we can narrow it down for you.

Is it for office use?

The essential features of office printers are overall costs, quality and efficiency.  You will want a machine that can produce a high number of pages per minute while still maintaining a professional standard for quality (600×600 dpi minimum).  The overall costs can be determined by calculating the page yield, average page coverage and price of replacement ink cartridges, as well as considering the features you are getting for the upfront price of the unit.  Review the cost of replacements and be sure to get a unit that offers cartridges that can yield hundreds of pages, has a low price tag and perhaps has compatible versions available.

Is it for personal use?

Personal printers are preferably compact in size and light in weight, so you can move it around easily and not have it take up too much space.  Affordability is also key, as you won’t want to spend a ton of money on a machine that will be used occasionally.

Is it for printing text documents or pictures?

If you are a student looking for a printer to handle basic tasks such as research papers and light graphics, an inkjet with only two ink cartridges will provide ample quality.  If you are looking more for a photo printer, be sure to get an inkjet printer that has at least four separate ink cartridges and boasts a resolution of 1200×1200 dpi or higher.  Keep in mind, the quality will be better on inkjet photo paper.

Do you mind wires?Choosing an inkjet printer

Connection options vary from printer to printer, though more current models tend to offer all of them.

  • A USB port is the most recognized and allows any external device with USB capabilities to be attached, though typically designated for the computer.
  • Bluetooth is technically wireless, but the device sending the data to be printed will need to be within a limited distance, just like a Bluetooth phone.
  • Ethernet is used for building a network, at home or in an office.
  • Wireless printers eliminate the need to directly connect the printer to a computer, rather it can be put anywhere in the house and only requires a signal to dial into the ethernet network.
  • PictBridge is a connectivity option that is relatively new.  A PictBridge port is designed to let you connect your digital camera right to the printer and preview images on the LCD screen and print them without using a PC.
  • Memory card slots are available on many printers that will take almost all digital camera memory cards and load them to be previewed and printed

Decide which one of these connection options sounds like a good fit for your environment and choose a printer that offers it.

Here is a quick checklist of things to look at when patrolling the market for a new inkjet printer:

  • Upfront Price: these days, high-end inkjet printers can be found for less than $150, so be sure to do some comparative shopping.
  • Ink Cartridges: though the upfront price is worth noting, it is the cost of replacement ink that truly determines the expenses over the life of the printer.  Keep in mind that some ink cartridges are offered in high-capacity versions as well, which could be beneficial and more economical.
  • Speed and Quality: the quintessential characteristics.  Be sure the output rate is up to par with the pace of the work environment and that the maximum resolution is conducive with the type of printing you will be doing.
  • Features and Functions: the inclusion of special features (i.e. touch screen LCD) and multiple functions will increase the upfront price, but could be worth it depending on your needs.
  • Reviews: it is always recommended to read some reviews from other consumers as well as printer experts, just to get a point of view from someone other than the people trying to sell you the machine.

Choosing the right inkjet printer is not an easy task.  It takes research and patience to explore all of the options.  The process may take some time, but once you find the right one, it will be worth it.

Greg Gladman

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Greg Gladman has two degrees from the University of Cincinnati and prides himself on managing the operations and customer service at Ink Technologies. With a mind like a vault, he is full of useful and useless information, making him an asset to the company and to his Tuesday night trivia team. When he is not working, he spends his time bowling and playing golf. Greg dedicates much of his free time to raising money and awareness in support of the fight against blood cancers. You can find him on .

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