Printer Terms You Should Know Before Buying a Printer

Print Speed (PPM)

Print speed (or the number of pages a printer can print per minute) is an average speed that is determined by the printer manufacturer. If your print volume is high or you have a number of people sharing the same machine, it’s definitely worth keeping in mind. Most inkjet printers will include the print speed for black and white (monochrome) documents and a slightly different speed for color prints. This is because the size and type of document you are printing will affect print speed; a color photo, for example, will take longer to print than a simple email. If you will be printing a variety of documents and media types, you will want to look at both.

Cost Per Page

Ink cartridge prices and their respective page yields differ across manufacturers and printer models. To ensure your next printer fits your printing budget, you need to factor in the cost per page to determine how much you will be spending on ink in the long term. Cost per page can be figured out with a bit of simple math, just divide the printer’s page yield by the cost of the ink cartridge.

How Aftermarket Compatible Ink Cartridges Help You Save More

Thanks to their low price point, aftermarket cartridges can bring down your cost per page substantially. Often times at a fraction of the cost of an original brand cartridge, compatible cartridges print the same number of pages and provide a similar print quality.

Paper size

Paper sizes vary, depending on what printer you are using. Check the paper size stats online before you buy to make sure your prospective printer fits your needs. Most inkjet printers can handle standard legal paper sizes of up to 8.5” x 14. If you need a wide-format printing option you will probably need to seek out a specialty printer.

Automatic duplex printing

Duplex printing, or printing on both sides of the page, is a great way to save on paper. Most printers include a built-in automatic duplexer, which is easily accessed by selecting “Print on both sides of the page” in your printer settings.

Print, scan and fax

Having the ability to print, scan or fax a document at the push of a button is essential for any home office or small business. If these are features you can’t live without, make sure they come standard with your printer. Single-function inkjet machines are generally a cheaper option if all you need to do is print, and photo printers (more on that later) are great for, you guessed it, professional photographs.

Wi-Fi

Wireless connectivity is standard for newer model printers these days and it’s easier than ever to print from your smartphone. Most printer manufacturers offer their own version of a printing app, like the HP® Smart app®, but don’t feel like you have to use it in order to print. Apple® AirPrint® and Google Print® are equally convenient and may even come pre-installed on your smartphone!

Printer size

If you work out of a small office, space is everything. Printers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, check the dimensions on the side of the printer box before you buy to ensure they fall in line with your space requirements.

Photo quality

Inkjet printers are known for their ability to print high quality color photos and most of them do a decent job for the casual photographer. However, if photography is your business, you will want to invest in a professional grade photo printer. Pro-grade photo printers cost considerably more than your average home inkjet machine, but the results make a world of difference. The reason? Professional photo printers use more ink cartridges, which allow them to produce far superior prints.

Warranty

Many printers include a 1 year warranty, which usually only covers defects to the machine. Extended warranties may be worth looking into if you invested in an expensive printer, or if your business has had an unlucky track record with past printers.

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