Printer Buying Guide
It’s true that much of our communication has moved to the digital arena, but we still live in a world that loves paper. Whether it’s a research report for school, a newsletter from our preferred house of worship, a business contract, or a birthday card from friends or family, there’s no substitute for the feel of paper in our hands.
Thanks to today’s printer technology, it’s easy for us to create those research reports, newsletters, contracts, and cards from the comfort of home, and have those documents look as professional and creative as ones purchased from a stationery store or printed at the local copy shop. Whatever the task, there’s a printer that can accomplish it quickly and easily.
But with hundreds of models and dozens of brands covering a wide range of prices, choosing the right printer for our needs can be a challenging task. To help with the process, we’ve created a printer buying guide that takes a look at how we use printers, the types of printers on the market, the features those printers include, and a look at what Lenovo has to offer.
What People Use Printers for in 2021
In most cases, what we do in our daily lives determines what we use our printers for. A student, for example, is likely to use a printer for tasks including creating hard copies of homework assignments or preparing resumes for a post-college job search. The family chef might print out their favorite recipes to store in a binder. Someone with an arts & crafts hobby might print out their favorite pictures for a scrapbook. If our beloved pet escaped from our yard, we might print signs to post around the neighborhood asking people to be on the lookout.
More advanced uses include creating multicolor newsletters to keep people informed about the activities of our favorite organization, printing out the photos we’ve taken with our digital camera, or making birthday or holiday cards.
And with many of us now working from home, either as the head of our own business or as a remote worker for a larger company, a printer is a critical accessory for our workspace. We use it to print everything from letters to clients, to invoices for vendors, contracts for new business, and more.
Types of Printers
One of the challenges in choosing a printer is deciding exactly what type to purchase. Different types of printers have different capabilities that are each suited for specific applications, and certain after-sale factors need to be considered, such as the type of printing medium required (ink, toner, etc.). With that in mind, let’s look at inkjet vs. laser printers, what’s the best printer for a small business and what features are becoming popular in multifunction printers.
Here’s a brief list of printer types, how they function, and the tasks for which they are best suited:
The original home printing technology. Dot matrix printers typically use a print head that moves back and forth across the page, striking an ink-soaked cloth ribbon against the paper much like a typewriter. These noisy, chattering low-resolution printers were the most popular home printing technology until the 1990s. Although there are still dot matrix printers on the market, they’ve largely been supplanted by other printing technologies.
These lightweight, inexpensive printers produce copy, both color and black-and-white, by spraying tiny droplets of ink onto the page. Inkjet printers are popular for casual home use where the jobs are small, but replacement ink cartridges can be pricey and they’re generally not suited for high-volume printing. If you’ll occasionally be printing photos, a photo inkjet printer is a great option.
Laser printers use lasers to melt toner powder onto the page to create copy. Laser printers are generally larger than basic inkjet printers and the toner cartridges are more expensive, but the cost per page is lower and the print speed is much faster. Like an inkjet printer, laser printers are capable of printing in color, although the image produced won’t be as good as one produced by an inkjet printer. Laser printers are a great choice if you regularly print a large number of monochrome (black and white) text documents.
LED printers are similar to laser printers, except they use a light-emitting diode array instead of a laser to melt the toner. LED printers have fewer moving parts, and as such experience less mechanical wear and are considered more reliable than a laser printer. They also offer faster print speeds than many laser printers, making them suitable for situations where you often need to print a large number of pages quickly. Like laser printers, LED printers can print in both black-and-white and color.
Wireless printers are available in inkjet, laser, and LED varieties. The main feature that distinguishes them from standard printers is that they incorporate wireless connectivity, eliminating the need for a cable connection. If you use a laptop as your main computer and you frequently take it on the road, you have multiple computers sharing the same printer, or you’d like the ability to print documents from your smartphone or tablet, you’ll want a computer that incorporates wireless connectivity. Be aware that connecting to a wireless printer can be tricky. Different devices have different setup requirements, and it may take a bit of time to get everything working properly.
As the name implies, a multifunction printer incorporates other capabilities in addition to printing, making them a great solution for a home office. Those often include the ability to scan documents, make copies, and send faxes, and are available in inkjet, laser, and LED varieties. Some models offer wireless connectivity as well.
Other Printer Features
Although multifunction printers incorporate several different capabilities into a single package, there are several other features often found in a single package. If you’re in the process of choosing a printer for your small business, consider whether these features would be beneficial as well:
An increasingly common feature in modern printers is the ability to print via email. Users simply send the document to be printed to the printer’s email address and the device takes it from there. This can be a particularly valuable feature if you’re on the road and want to have documents printed at your home office.
Flash drive compatibility
Many modern printers include a USB port that allows users to print directly from a flash drive. All the user needs to do is plug the drive into the printer’s port and select the file to be printed from the printer’s menu screen. This can be a great time-saver when transporting documents from an outside location to the home office.
Copied document sizing
Some printers include the ability to resize a copied document, making it either larger or smaller. This can be a handy feature if you need to, for example, enlarge a newspaper article or fit multiple documents onto a single page.
OCR scanner software
Multifunction printers typically come with software that includes drivers for the various functions and an interface to control those functions. Multifunction printers with scanner capabilities often include optical character recognition software that converts scanned text into a file that can be opened and edited with a program such as Microsoft Word.
Lenovo Printer Brands
Whether you’re looking for an inexpensive inkjet printer for school assignments or photos, the best home office laser printer, or a multifunction unit for a growing business, Lenovo has something that’s sure to fit the bill.
Lenovo offers the best-known brands in printing, with printers from Xerox, Canon, and Lexmark. Models range from inexpensive multifunction inkjet printers with wireless connectivity to powerful LED and laser models that can print dozens of pages a minute.
There’s always a deal on printers to be had, with big savings off the regular retail price. And when it comes to printing supplies, Lenovo has you covered there as well!
Still having trouble deciding which printer is right for you? Reach out to the experts at Lenovo! We’re here to help.