The Latest Printer Buying Guides – Since there are many types, brands, models and designs of printers on the market that make us confuse to decide what to buy. Here we share tips that make you know exactly what kind of printer suit you need. The choice of color or only black is still successful. Somewhat more difficult: all-in-1 or not. And then you also have to pay attention to possibilities such as wireless and double-sided printing. We help you choose, also with an eye on the quality and speed of the prints. And most importantly: how much ink goes through it and what it costs.
1. Main Types of Printer Buying Guides: Color, Scanning and Copying
Most people look for a color printer that can also scan and copy. There are, therefore, many of them. Every printer that can scan and copy is called ‘all-in-1’. But if it is also a color printer, then it is really all-in-1!
Black and white: laser
If you only want to print in black, you will soon end up with a laser printer. With this you print razor-sharp texts and you do not suffer from drying ink. Here too you have the choice for scanning and copying. Such an all-in-1 black printer is slightly more expensive.
Do you want to print really beautiful photos on glossy paper? Some printers have 1 or 2 extra colors for even better photos. In our test results you can see whether that really works. Look at the score for photo quality, or ‘color on glossy paper’.
2. How Many do You Print? Choose between Inkjet, Ink Tank or Laser
Less than 15 pages per month
The next printer buying guides is if you do not print a lot, choose a different printer than if you print a lot. Most people do not print much. Our Best Buy is therefore a printer that is suitable for this target group. We assume 15 pages per month. If you print so little, a typical inkjet printer with cartridges is a good choice.
Are you printing more?
There are also some more expensive printers without cartridges, but with built-in ink tanks and inexpensive ink bottles, such as the Epson EcoTank series and the Canon PIXMA G series. You earn back such an ink tank printer if you print roughly 25 pages or more on average per month.
Are you printing even more?
From about 50 pages per month it is interesting to invest in a color laser. The advantage of a laser printer is that the color powder in the (toner) cartridge cannot dry out and therefore lasts a very long time.
Costs for ink
The cost of a printer is often not in the purchase price. The ink or toner that goes through it over the years often costs even more. Especially if the printer uses a lot of ink to prevent blockages. If you print very little, it could be that more ink is spent on cleaning than on printing itself.
We not only test the printers by printing them one after the other, but we also measure for a few weeks how much extra ink is used if you do not print a lot.
- Inkjet printers from Brother and Epson are more economical than those from HP and Canon, when it comes to printers with a separate cartridge for each color.
- Printers with 1 black and 1 tri-color cartridge are more economical, but if one color is used up, the ink supply of the other colors is no longer useful.
3. Which cartridges do you use?
Starter to XL cartridge
If you buy an inkjet printer, it includes ‘starter’ cartridges. They are the same size as normal, but they contain less ink. They are therefore quickly empty.
If you are going to buy new, you can choose from regular or XL cartridges. Both equally large. The latter are also referred to as high-capacity cartridges. So there is more ink in it than in the normal cartridges: that is cheaper per print.
In our comparator you can find the prices of these XL cartridges per printer: you can even filter them.
A printer usually works with 4 colors: black, cyan, yellow and magenta. Most printers work with individual colors: 1 cartridge for each color. Advantage: you can replace each color separately.
Some work with 1 black and 1 color cartridge that contains the 3 colors: a color combination cartridge with a built-in printhead. Advantage: with every replacement, the printhead is also renewed. Disadvantage: you cannot replace the colors separately.
Original brand or counterfeit
If you want trouble-free printing, it is best to use original cartridges (those of the printer brand). But with alternative ink you are much cheaper and most prints are in order, especially those in black and white. We know this from several tests in the past. However, alternative ink fades faster and there are more problems such as error messages.
Refilling yourself is also possible, but gives the most hassle. You can also have it done: Many customers of refill stores find this a must.
4. Where do you buy new cartridges?
Online Ink Specialists
You can buy the cheapest ink cartridges from the printer manufacturer online at webshops specialized in ink. They are a lot cheaper there than in the store. Sellers 123inkt, Sneltoner and PrintAbout were the cheapest during our price survey of July 2019.
With cartridges from other brands you save on average 50% compared to original ink cartridges. You can also save with a laser printer by buying alternative toners.
If you want to print with original HP cartridges, consider whether an HP Instant Ink subscription is for you. That is a subscription, not with calling minutes, but with a number of prints per month. The Epson ReadyInk subscription works differently. You simply pay for new cartridges there.
You can also refill cartridges in a refill shop. Doing it yourself is quite a hassle and a hassle.
5. Useful Functions
Print on both sides
There are only a few, but there are still printers where you have to turn over the paper yourself. That is of course a no-go, so opt for ‘double-sided printing’: easy and environmentally friendly!
Automatic Document Transfer
With multiple ordinary sheets of paper, automatic document feed is very useful. Then the printer automatically scans or copies 1 or more documents.
On a (touch) screen you can see error messages, remaining ink and printing progress. Or you can adjust settings for it: you don’t have to do that on the computer.
6. Which connection do you want to use?
Cable or wireless?
Do you want to be able to make a wireless print from your smartphone, tablet or laptop? Almost all printers are suitable for Wi-Fi (including Apple Airprint) and printing via the internet with, for example, Google Cloud Print.
Side note: only connect your printer to the internet if that is really necessary.
Is wireless not necessary? There are also still printers that you connect to your home network with an ethernet cable, or that you can connect directly to your computer.
Print via your own WiFi network
If you connect the printer to your WiFi network at home via WiFi, all devices in that home network can print something on your printer, for example via:
The printer app
A printer with WiFi has a corresponding app from the manufacturer, with which you can operate the printer
You do not need to set anything on your Apple iPhone, iPad or Mac
Another option is printing via Wi-Fi Direct. This allows you to make a 1-to-1 connection with the printer. A Wi-Fi network is not required.
Print from an online account
It is also possible to send something to the printer via the Internet. You must create an account for this and enable ‘web services’. Then you can access the printer via the internet. This is possible via the app from the manufacturer, but also as follows:
- Many printers can be given their own e-mail address. The file that you mail is printed. You can set which e-mail addresses are allowed.
- If you install the Google Cloud Printer, you can print from anywhere in Google apps, Chrome and a number of other applications.
7. Try out, exchange and recycle the printer
Try the printer at home
The last printer buying guides is you may not try out and exchange a printer at all (web) stores at home if you are not satisfied. Always inquire about the options before purchasing.
When you buy a printer online, a legal trial period of 14 days applies. You can try the printer in it, but you cannot use it.
And therein lies the crux: one salesperson sees the printer with cartridges installed as a try. The other as use, because the printer is then full of ink and can no longer be sold as new.
Return old printer
The seller of a new printer is legally obliged to dispose of the old device for you. This also applies to web shops. That is why you pay a recycling fee with the purchase of every electrical device. Is your old printer still working? Give it away or sell the printer.