Having a printer in your home is a bit of a must have these days. Even with the onset of email and mobile tickets and so on, there's still plenty of times when the good old printer is needed.
That being said, with the huge range of features and brands to choose rom. Also the price range can be massive and many people will wonder why. They all do the same job, right?
Well they do, but like in a lot of things, some are far better than others at this. A cheap printer is more than enough for infrequent use of printing of emails, tickets and other things that pop up throughout the year. If you do far more than this, or are looking for an office printer, then you'll need a better one to cope with the extra use it'll be getting.
So let's have a look at some of the printer jargon and what is worth your money, and what's not needed for infrequent use.
Functionality of Cheaper Printers This isn't as stupid of a question as it may sound at first. Yes, the main function is to print. But there could be other uses and features that you are looking for, or you didn't know a printer could do and now think it will be something you need. Will you be needing a scanner function, maybe a photocopy feature would be handy too, would you like to be able to send and receive faxes? Yep, we are surprised people still send them too. Photo printing is another thing that a modern printer can do. Remember though that these are pretty expensive, and so is the paper they use and the ink needed for photo quality printers. These are the main extras that you can get on a cheap printer. But remember the more features you get, the more expensive the printer will be.
Printer Cartridges This is a top issue and rightly so. This is where the most of the cost will go on the life of your cheap printer. Ink can be expensive and you really do go through it pretty quick. First thing to note is that in cheaper lesser known brands, it can be harder to find replacement ink for it. A top money saving tip of ours is that when ink is on an offer, or a money saving discount, then buy it in bulk and this will save you money on printer ink in the long run.
Print Engine of the Printer You can easily be forgiven for not thinking this is anything to be bothered about. But weather you want an inkjet or a laser printer can be important. Inkjet printers replacement cartridges are cheaper than lasers, they are usually cheaper printers to buy to. So why bother with a laser printer you may be asking. Well they are smaller and accommodate a wider variety of print media. They also have a better quality of print, and are more reliable. The ink of a laser printer lasts longer and they are quieter than an inkjet ones. So you can see this is all down to your preference and both have some good plus and minus points.
Scanning Features of the Printer This is something that most people think they'll not need. That is until they need to scan a document and email it. This isn't just something for the office user. It may be for something simple as scanning a picture so you can send it to a friend on the other side of the world, or a document that requires a signature and needs to go to the recipient in a rush. If this is the case then getting a cheap printer with a scanner is worth the little extra investment. Scanning multi page documents is not something most people will be doing in their home, so it's not worth the bigger increase in cost we feel.
Print Resolution of the Printer If print quality is important to you then looking at the print quality is something you'll want to do. Print quality is measured in DPI. Cheaper inkjet printers should produce 600 x 600 DPI in black prints and the cheap inkjet printers printing in colour you should be looking around the 4800 x 1200 DPI mark. A base model laser printer should be around 1200 x 1200 DPI in black copies and the colour is usually around the same. This can be misleading, but 1200 x 1200 DPI for a colour print is more than good enough for most users needs. So from this you can see that cheap laser printers have a better base model print quality than the cheaper inkjet printers. When looking at the print quality on the manufactures distribution, it's worth noting that they will always give you the resolution based on the slowest printing speed.
Print Speeds of the Printer This is another topic that for 99% of people is just a none issue. If you are one of those that print speeds is an issue, then base model cheap inkjet printers print at around 25 pages in a minute. Remember agin that manufactures are measuring this in the lowest quality, highest speed setting. Laser printers will usually do about 40 pages in the same time. As you can see, both are pretty quick and for the vast majority, print speeds shouldn't really be taken into consideration.
Printer Network Connectivity This is a fairly important factor as it dictates how you're able to use the printer.Older ones just have an ethernet port that you plug into your laptop or PC and print via the cable. You don't get to many of these, these days. You should try and find a printer with a network connection of some kind. There's WiFi, Bluetooth, or connection to your router so both the laptop and the printer are on the same network. WiFi ones are the latest kind and offer the easiest way to print from your PC, Laptop and any mobile devices you have also. This is also not that much more expensive so this is the connectivity that we recommend you shop for.
Printer Driver Support This can really be an important factor for certain users. MacBooks, Linux and old Windows users can have some issues connecting to certain types of printers. This is due to the drivers that they use. If you use any of these then it's worth checking the driver support of the printer that you're looking at. Last thing you want is to buy a printer that you're not able to use on your chosen device.
Duplex Printer Capabilities Agin, this is something that the vast majority of people really shouldn't pay much attention too. It is a feature that allows you to print on both sides of a page. It's a good little feature for those printing a lot, as it will halve you paper needs. But for infrequent users it's a nice feature to have, but more something you should be at the forefront of your mind.
So now you're armed with what all the features of a cheap printer do and which ones are better for you and which are not worth your extra money, you're far better placed to get a quality cheap printer that meets your needs perfectly.
In summary we think sticking to a well known brand like HP, Cannon or Epson for your cheap printer, and buying from a well known store that has good customer service, ones like Argos and Currys, is the best way to get amazing value for money on a top quality cheap printer.