If you are looking for an affordable printer, you want to choose a device that is also reliable and easy to use. A printer is one of those things that you don’t give much thought to, at least until it stops working.
Choosing a Reliable and Affordable Printer:
What to Consider
Inkjet vs. Laser
Printers come in many different forms, but the first decision you will need to make is inkjet vs. laser. Both inkjet and laser printers have their benefits, and the decision is a highly personal one.
If you are looking for a more affordable printer, inkjets are usually cheaper. When choosing between two similarly priced printers, it’s important to factor in the future cost of ink, as well as the purchase price.
If you print only a handful of documents a month, a laser printer is probably the best choice. The ink in inkjet printers can gel and clump when the printer sits idle for long periods of time, and that will obviously affect the reliability of the device. In the long run, this could also increase your costs.
If you print all the time, and the price of replacement ink cartridges is reasonable, you may find that an inkjet printer is the best value. Again, it’s important to check the costs of replacement cartridges carefully and examine their estimated page yields. That way you will be comparing apples to apples.
Related Read: 5 Ways to Save Money on Printer Ink
When choosing between an inkjet and laser printer, you should also consider the documents you typically print. If you plan to print photographs and full-color documents, an inkjet printer will probably be the least expensive choice. You will still need to factor in the cost of replacement cartridges, but color inkjet printers are almost always cheaper than their color laser counterparts.
If most of your printing is black and white, a quality laser printer is probably the way to go. Laser printers are known for their reliability, and the cartridges can last a long time even with regular use. In addition, the cost of replacement laser cartridges is often less than the cost of a full set of inkjet cartridges. That can sharply reduce the cost per page, giving you more for your money in the long run.
If you run a business, you might want to choose a multi-purpose printer/scanner/copier/fax instead of a standalone printer. The ability to scan documents can be particularly attractive for business owners, as can the faxing and copying capabilities. These multi-purpose devices are more expensive than printers, but much more affordable than buying four different devices.
Buying a device with wireless capability can add convenience, and make using the printer a lot easier. The price differential between wireless and wired printers is low, so it makes sense to include this capability on your shopping list.
The newest printers on the market combine the convenience and color printing capabilities of traditional inkjet printers with the lower costs of laser printers. Epson has released a line of EcoTank printers, and they can be good for both business and personal use.
These EcoTank printers come with a special refillable tank, eliminating the need for expensive replacement ink cartridges. When the printer runs out of ink, you can simply purchase a refill and fill up the tank yourself.
As with any kind of printer, it is important to check the costs of the EcoTank refills and calculate the estimated cost per page. Some EcoTank printers have yields as high as 8,500 color pages and 11,000 black-and-white prints, putting their costs on par with, or even lower than, the best laser printers. While they are costlier up front, the lower operating costs of EcoTank printers can make them a much more affordable printer over time.
Getting the most for your money is not always easy, especially when purchasing computer equipment for your home or business. If you are in the market for a new printer, you need to think about how much you print, how much you have to spend and how much the replacement cartridges will cost. Taking all of this into consideration is the best way to find a truly affordable printer, and not just one with the lowest sales price.
Contribution by Crystal Crowder
About the Author
Crystal lives and breathes tech. She’s spent over a decade writing tutorials, reviews, and more on tech, business, and lifestyle sites. Her idea of fun is settling down with the latest tech and gadget news.