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How to Choose the Best Printer for Your Home Office

The need for a home/office printer has increased as more people work or go to school from home. You might be a parent who needs workbooks printed for your child. You could also find that writing notes on a business report with a pen or pencil rather than a keyboard is more convenient. Perhaps you've learned that you need to mail a form to a government agency. Or you've had enough of going to the office supply store to print a few forms.

Whatever your reason for needing a printer, you will not have trouble locating one. Printers haven't evolved all that much in recent years; they've only gotten more efficient and less expensive. Laser and inkjet printers, colour and black-ink-only printers, print-only and multifunction devices will all be available. Because there are so many options, it's a good idea to decide out what you want before going to your favourite purchasing site and hitting "purchase."

Inkjet printers spray tiny droplets of liquid ink onto a page. The bulk of consumer inkjet systems use separate ink cartridges, each with a printhead that splits the ink into practically microscopic droplets. (On professional-level inkjets, separate printheads are usually changed on their own.) Colors are created by mixing different coloured inks together.

A colour inkjet printer requires a different number of ink cartridges than a monochrome inkjet printer. Most low-cost inkjet printers only have two cartridges: one for black ink and another for cyan, magenta, and yellow ink. Inkjet printers with four distinct cartridges for cyan, magenta, yellow, and black ink are common in low- to medium-priced models. Printers used by photographers or businesses will have a greater assortment of coloured inks, while more expensive printers will have a separate black cartridge for text.

LASER PRINTERS are printers that use a laser to print
In these devices, lasers are utilised to generate static electricity on a rolling drum within the printer. Toner (powder ink) is drawn to static electricity and melted onto the paper. Toner cartridges are more expensive than ink cartridges at first, but they last far longer than liquid ink, resulting in a reduced cost per page. At initially, laser printers are more expensive than inkjet printers, but they save money in the long run. You can also save money by using promo codes from websites such as Askmeoffers, which offer deals from a variety of vendors that you can freely use.

Laser printers provide various advantages over inkjet printers, even if you don't need colour. They are faster than inkjet printers (especially low-end inkjet printers, which can be quite slow), and the text printing quality is superior (although current inkjets are certainly precise enough to suit most documents). Additionally, colour laser printers are more commonly available than in the past. They are, however, more expensive, and unless they are professional-level printers, the colour will not be as excellent as an equivalently priced colour inkjet.

If you expect to work from home in the near future — or even if you don't — a multifunction (also known as an all-in-one or AIO) printer is a good investment. Not only can you print from your computer, but you can also scan current documents and copy or save them as files with these devices. (Some also allow you to fax a scanned document, however this feature is quickly becoming obsolete as faxing is no longer necessary.) They're great for minimising the quantity of paperwork in your house because you can save PDFs of most of your documents (especially those that have been sitting around for years) and then throw away the printed versions.

The majority of modern printers take paper from the front, run it through the drum or roller, and then drop it into the output tray. If you're printing on thicker material, you don't want the paper to bend; in that case, seek for a printer with an input tray that extends from the printer's back, allowing the paper to be pushed through in a straight line.

Some printers also feature multiple paper trays in the front, allowing you to use different coloured paper or have one tray store letter-sized paper while the other holds legal-sized paper, for example. You should also be aware of the capacity of your input and output trays. You don't want an output tray that can only hold 50 pages if you want to print a 200-page document, or you'll wind up with 150 pages strewn across your floor.

The most expensive aspect of a printer, without a question, is the ink, not the printer or even the paper. Divide the price of each ink cartridge by the cartridge's page yield, or the number of pages you're projected to get out of each cartridge, to figure out how much a printer will cost you in the long run. The page yield is frequently included in the printer manufacturer's statistics for that printer. Consider two multifunction printers from the same company, one with colour inkjet and the other with black-only laser. If you want to buy a printer and a cartridge, you can save money by using coupons from CouponsABC. They have easy-to-use codes on their website.

When purchasing a printer, ensure sure it has Bluetooth, NFC, and/or Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as compatibility with the computer or mobile device you plan to use it with. Make sure your printer is Apple AirPrint compatible if you have a Mac, iPad, or iPhone.

Check the manufacturer's website to discover if your printer is compatible with Chrome OS if you're using a Chromebook. (Epson, for example, maintains a page that lists all of its Chrome OS-compatible printers.) Finally, NFC technology is now supported by various printers. By just touching your phone to the printer's NFC label, you can link one to your phone.

Even the most basic printers now include LCD screens that allow you to effortlessly connect to your wireless network and change printer settings like printing double-sided or from a specified paper cassette.

Unless you're trying to save money, you'll find that a touchscreen is more convenient to operate. Non-touchscreens often need you to browse to the feature you wish to access, pick it, navigate to the setting, select it, and then return to the main menu by pressing a series of buttons. This is made considerably easier with touchscreens.