People who need a new printer are often at a loss: laser or ink, and what is the difference? Should you buy cheap printers? And is it true that many devices break automatically after a certain period of time? A Guide to Buying a Printer.
More and more people are working from home, and many children are taught through homeschooling. In the course of these changes brought about by the corona pandemic, many users had to upgrade. In addition to a laptop and monitor, they often also need a printer, for example to print worksheets or other documents. But many people find it difficult to buy a printer: the selection is large and the market is confusing. The models often vary in price, features and print quality. So which printer is the right one for your own needs?
Buying a printer: ink or laser?
When buying a printer, what do I want to print and how much do I want to print? The follow-up costs should also be as cheap as possible. With laser printers and inkjet printers, the market is divided into two categories. Both types of printer are available as black and white as well as color devices. The combination with copier and scanner, so-called multifunction devices, can also be found in both laser and ink printers.
A black and white laser printer is recommended for those who mainly print text and now and then a PDF with some graphics. The biggest advantage of such devices is that the ink cannot dry out, since the toners in laser printers are powder-based. They are therefore particularly suitable for people who probably rarely use their printer. Even after months of inactivity, they still work reliably.
In laser printers, color powder is heated and fixed on the paper. The devices are now very compact and work with conventional printer paper. Unlike inkjet printers, laser printers do not print line by line, but in one step. The printing process is therefore particularly fast and text and graphics are razor-sharp on the paper.
Black and white laser printers are now quite cheap. Recommended models from Brother, Kyocera or HP can be found for 100 to 250 euros. Color laser printers are now also available for home use, but with prices averaging 200 to 400 euros, they are significantly more expensive. Compared to color inkjet printers, however, color laser printers do not offer such high quality when printing complex graphics or photos.
Follow-up costs and health
Laser printers are the right choice for users who either rarely print or print a lot of documents. What sounds strange is easy to explain: Infrequent users have the advantage that their laser printer does not dry out, so the device cannot break easily or the toner does not have to be replaced. On the other hand, users with high levels of pressure save on follow-up costs. Although the toner in a laser printer is more expensive than a classic printer cartridge, it usually lasts longer. A color toner for a color laser printer can print at least 645 pages, a black and white toner even more. The printing costs per page are therefore significantly lower compared to inkjet printers.
When it comes to laser printers, many buyers also look to the health aspect. Since the devices work with powder instead of ink, they emit a small amount of toner particles via the built-in fan. The manufacturers counter this fine dust emission with filters so as not to exceed the so-called LGA limit value. However, it is advisable not to operate a laser printer in the immediate vicinity of the workplace and in a well-ventilated place.
If you want to print out colored graphics or even photos from time to time, it is better to use an inkjet printer. The devices are also ideal for users who print regularly but only a few pages. Inkjet printers print texts particularly quickly and, above all, more quietly than laser printers. And photo prints on special photo paper are usually of better quality.
Inkjet printers inject ink onto paper through nozzles. This allows you to print photos or greeting cards. But it also makes the printers vulnerable: if the devices are not used regularly, the nozzles can clog. As a result, the ink jets only print very faintly or with gaps, in extreme cases not at all. Modern inkjet printers want to prevent this problem with integrated cleaning programs. At regular intervals they start cleaning the printhead, during which the dried-on nozzles of the printhead are flushed with fresh ink from the printer cartridges. However, this puts a strain on the printer cartridge, which empties more quickly as a result of the cleaning processes. That can go into the money. It should also be noted that inkjet printers must be connected to the power for automatic printhead cleaning. So if users want to store their device for a long time without electricity, a laser beam printer is more recommended.
Compared to laser printers, inkjet printers are significantly cheaper. Simple devices for color printing are available for less than 50 euros. However, such cheap models sometimes cause high follow-up costs, since the appropriate cartridges have to be bought very expensively. Therefore, users should inform themselves in good time about which cartridges can be operated in the devices and whether there are cheap alternatives to the original cartridges from the manufacturer.
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What good are replica cartridges?
Replica cartridges are an alternative to expensive original ink. With them, users can often save up to 90 percent with the same print quality. However, some printer manufacturers are fighting against these third-party cartridges. A few years ago, for example, HP caused trouble when, after activating a security function on some models, printing with replica cartridges was suddenly no longer possible. After customer protests, the manufacturer then allowed third-party cartridges again.
Buyers should check whether foreign ink can be used in the desired printer. However, if a repair is sent in, the manufacturer service can recognize that a third-party ink has been used and may refuse the guarantee. In general, it is also advisable to rely on established manufacturers for replica cartridges.
|Per||+ high print quality
+ smudge-proof printout
+ high printing speed
+ low printing costs
+ toner does not dry up
+ ideal for infrequent use
|+ inexpensive purchase
+ quiet operation
+ high quality photo printing
+ ideal for regular printing of fewer documents
|Contra||-higher acquisition costs
-not suitable for photo printing
-possible fine dust pollution
|– Nozzles can dry out – The cleaning program uses
ink and requires a power connection
– Usually higher follow-up costs