With so many different types of printers out there and office supplies online to make the purchase easy, it can be difficult to figure out what kind to buy. You don’t want to spend $500 on a fancy laser printer only to find out that you’ll never need most of the features. This article will describe several different types of printers to help you determine which type will fit your needs. Then you can buy office supplies online with ease.

Before Buying Any Printer:

Check to make sure that the printer you choose is compatible with your computer. Many laptop computers do not accept traditional printer cables and will instead connect through a USB port. There are also wireless printers that can be connected to your home network if you use wireless internet or Wi-Fi in your home.

Inkjet Printers

Inkjet printers are the least expensive type on the market. They are called inkjet printers because the ink is dispensed through a series of jets. Color inkjet printers typically require four different ink cartridges: black, yellow, magenta and blue. With different combinations of these primary colors, the printer can create thousands of different secondary hues. Most inkjet printers can print 18 to 30 pages per minute in color. Many photo printers are inkjets. Inkjets are smaller than laser printers and even come in portable versions.

Laser Printers

Laser printers are more expensive than inkjet printers. Laser printers create images through a system of static electricity, using positively and negatively charged components to apply the ink to the paper. Laser printers usually require much larger toner cartridges than inkjet printers. The cartridges are bulky and look more like an electronic device in their own right. They’re quite a contrast to the small inkjet refills. These cartridges hold a lot more ink than inkjet refills and therefore will last longer. Laser printers can be much faster than inkjet printers, on average printing up to 50 pages per minute; however, the average home laser printer is not much faster than a standard inkjet, printing around 20 pages per minute in black or as few as four in color. Because of the more elaborate technology involved in laser printers, they are typically much larger than inkjet printers. On the other hand, they can handle higher volume.

All-in-One Machines

All-in-one machines offer the ability to scan, print, and copy documents all in one place. These machines are not much bigger than laser printers and they include a traditional printer coupled with a document feed where users can scan documents and either copy them or save them as digital files. While these machines offer the convenience of multiple functions in one, the average home computer user is not likely to need a scanner or copier very often. In a small-business setting, however, an all-in-one machine might be perfect for small print jobs and occasional copies.

Photo Printers

As the name suggests, photo printers are specially designed to print photographs. Some photo printers don’t even require a computer, but rather have ports where you can insert your camera’s memory card and select photos to print from a small preview screen on the printer. You will need to buy photo paper in order to print your own photographs. Unless you choose the most top-of-the-line photo printer, the print quality of photos printed at home will be noticeably lower than professionally printed photos. Most photo printers have a variety of settings based on the quality and speed with which you want to print. Higher quality prints take much longer to print, possibly even more than a minute for a single picture. Photo paper also comes in many varieties, and the quality of paper you choose will affect the quality of your finished prints. If you factor in the cost of the ink and the photo paper, printing photos at home usually saves you between $.01 and $.05 per print.

The website for our top-rated site for office supplies online, Office Depot, has tools to help you choose the right printing machine for your needs. You can narrow your search by speed, price, brand name and other options. Taking a few minutes to research your options can help assure that you won’t need to return or replace your machine later on.

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