Assignments, flight itineraries, your cooking recipes. Whatever that you need to print, there is always a printer at home that is capable of handling your daily printing. And the immense competition in the printer industry from brands like HP, Canon, Epson and others has forced prices for this industry to such a low that you can simply walk into a store and walk out with a brand new printer for only RM150 or less.

However, selecting a printer will always be a headache, given various options existing in the market right now. Especially with all the complicated terms that can very quickly mix up the process. Putting that in mind, we have put together a quick yet dependable printer buying guide for choosing a printer according to your needs. Explanations will be kept to the minimal without sacrificing the important points and the recommendations will serve many users.

1.) Printer Type (Inkjet or Laser)

Photo source: lifehacker
Photo source: lifehacker

First and foremost is the question all printer buyers will need to solve is what and how much is your estimated consumption.

Well, if all you need is simple day-to-day printing like printing a word document or an occasional photograph, copying and scanning your stuffs, then an inkjet printer will be the best for you. Be it an All-in-One or a single function printer. Inkjet printer is normally your go-to printer for your daily document printing. Being cheap is not the only thing that makes inkjet the go-to, but it is also compact and the cartridges are on the low.

Keep in mind, that inkjet printer do come with two different variations. On one hand, it is the normal inkjet printer that prints both monochrome & color, while on the other it only prints monochrome which will cost you much cheaper if you opted for one.

Looking at the laser printer, it is usually the printer of choice for a more professional environment. This is because in office or corporate environments, printing consumption is actually pretty high and they need a printer that is capable of performing heavy duty printing, which is fast printing. So, if you are in constant use of a printer and tend to do bulk printing, a laser printer is a much better choice for you as the laser printer gives a better “per print ratio” in the long run if you do the math.

Better “per print ratio” it might be, but this however comes at a cost. Generally, laser printers are much more expensive than an inkjet and because of its high toner cartridge cost, it will be much bulkier than its counterpart.

2.) Printer Functions

Photo source: hp

Printers vary in different functions, besides print-only, it also comes with scan & copy and other all-in-one functions. Majority of manufacturers such as HP, Canon & Epson manufactures printers that comes in different capabilities, functions, from single-user to multiple network sharing printer. However, not all printers are All-in-One option. Also, more advanced printers also comes with the Wi-Fi function. This means that you can forget about the pesky and irritating thing of wires cluttering your space or locating your printer beside your PC. With Wi-Fi, you can print wireless anywhere as long as you are within the radius of the coverage. Multiple function printers can be in 3-in-1, 4-in-1, or 5-in-1.

Single function printers are still available in the market. It’s all just a matter of preferences.

3.) Toner Cartridges for the Printer

Photo source: grenfellinternetcentre
Photo source: grenfellinternetcentre

While selecting a printer is one thing, choosing its’ cartridges is another. Things get tricky from here. Yes, you may stumble upon a great deal for the printer you selected, but the most unfortunate thing is that the toner cartridge will cost a lot more than the printer in the long run and you will end up with the thought of switching another printer which will cost a fortune. Therefore, it is critical that you pay attention in both selecting a printer and find out the cost for the toner cartridges as well.

Do keep in mind that the calculations for different brands as well as toners for both inkjet and laser printer varies. Depending on your frequency in printing, it could worth more to purchase a more expensive printer with a cheaper line of toner cartridge, which will usually cost much lesser. There is also the option of refilling your own cartridges, which can cost dramatically less than buying a new one every time it runs out. Be aware though, that printer manufacturers today add tiny chips to prevent their cartridges from being refilled with fake inks.

[READ MORE: What Are The Differences Between Original Cartridge and Compatible or Non-original?]

4.) Memory Card Slots, USB, Cloud Printing

Photo source: samsung
Photo source: samsung

Most of us have camera or smartphone with tons of photos, to print some of it but the lengthy process of plugging it into our computer’s USB port and transferring is so hassle; why not consider a WiFi Printer that has built-in memory slots, Bluetooth capability, PictBridge, or a cloud-printing support? This capabilities allow printing effortlessly from mobile devices, thumb drive and memory cards without coming into contact physically with the printer until the printout result.

The memory cards from camera can be popped out and slotted into the slot built on the printer – this slot generally have a multi-format card reader, and some even provide SD card support.

If your camera is PictBridge-enabled, it can then be plugged into a printer via the same USB cable you would use to connect to your PC if and only if the printer supports PictBridge as well. While, cloud-based printing means that you can directly send files from the Internet (such as Dropbox, Google Cloud Print, etc.) to your printer.

5.) Cost-Per-Page

Photo source: bigw

Most manufacturers are obliged to a standardized set of tests developed and licensed to them by the International Standards Organization. These set of tests is created in order to level the playing field of the printer industry in the sense of the claims and ratings of all cartridges are developed and manufactured under the same guidelines and same test procedures.

The fly in the ointment is that even though these sets are claimed by the ISO to be the usual documents used by a normal business user. However, the results from these tests plays a little to none to you, especially if you are those that will be making a lot of graphics and photo printing, which will decrease the production speed of the printer and in the long run, burn through ink.

Nonetheless, these facts and figures will act as a base for you to make a comparison between the machine of your choice. And before you actually withdraw your money from the bank or cashing in your credit cards for cash backs, please read published reviews from established writers and hands-on evaluations on sources like YouTube and if possible, request for actual printout tests at a store and make your decision from there.

If you have the knack of roughly calculating the page-per-yield, read more about: How to Calculate Cost Per Page (CPP) and What Does 5% Coverage Mean?

Now that you have a rough estimations on your need, check out our Top 5 Customers’ Choice Wireless Printer of 2015 printer reviews.

You can also visit our #ATOZSTAYGREEN site to read more about #TradeIn Campaign & Printer Recycling.