5 Things To Know When Buying A New Printer

By: Frank Bolsom

In spite of the "paperless office" that was supposed to be ushered in by the common use of computers, there is more printing done today than ever before. And that means that printers and their supplies have to be replaced on a fairly regular basis, whether you're printing at home or in a business.

Today's printers offer a lot of features - high resolution photo printing, multi-function printer/scanning/faxing, digital memory card readers and much more. But before you make a decision, there are some basic considerations that you need to think about.

First is the long-term cost of the printer. You can buy a very good color printer for well under $100 these days but the catch is most of these inexpensive models have costly ink cartridges.

If you're thinking about buying a budget printer, find out how much the ink costs to replace and whether there are generic or refilled cartridges available for it.

Second, find out whether or not the printer you're considering includes full size ink cartridges. Many of today's printers come with "starter" inks that have much less ink in them than a standard cartridge.

The printer may not seem like such a good deal when you have to buy a new set of ink after printing 40 or 50 pages.

Next, consider the cost of the black cartridge. Most people print much more black and white than they do color. Some printers have considerably larger black cartridges than others, and if you do a lot of black printing the larger cartridges can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Fourth, consider what kind of things you'll be printing. If you want to be able to print your own digital photos you should look at one of the many photo printers on the market.

If you're not printing photos, however, photo printers generally cost more to operate than other options. You might be better off with a laser printer that has considerably lower operating costs than inkjet.

Lastly, think about whether you really need all those extra features like faxing, scanning, photocopying, etc. It sounds great to have all these options, but most people rarely use them, if at all.

And consider the cost for these other features as well. Do you really want to make photocopies at home that could cost $0.50 to $1.00 per page when you can get them for 5 to 10 cents at the local copy store?

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