What to Look For Before You Buy a New Printer

Published: 19th May 2010
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Whether you need a new printer for home, work or school, there are certain things you want to know before you buy a new ink jet or laser jet printer. Not all printers are the same and they all have different specifications and are designed to do some things better than they can do other things. Knowing some of the terminology and how they are supposed to work can save you a lot of time and trouble when buying a new printer.

Ink Jet or Laser Jet

It is easy to become confused about the differences between these two types of printers. Ink Jet printers are mainly designed for home and school use because they can printer color and photos more richly and are a bit less expensive that a Laser Jet printer. Laser Jet printers are more designed for work purposes where large amounts of black and white documentation is needed.

DPI or Resolution

When printing out pictures or graphics, the higher the DPI (Dots per Square Inch) the more detailed and clear the printout will be. DPI really doesn't apply to printing text since text always uses a lower DPI setting. If you mainly use your printer to print photographs, you want to go with an Ink Jet Printer with the highest DPI you can find. That way your pictures will be clear and, well, picture perfect.


There are All-In-One printers in both the Ink Jet and Laser Jet variety. Both are designed to fill the roles of multiple machines all in one package, hence the name All-In-One. These types of printers normally also have the ability to scan documents or pictures, make copies, print both text and graphics and may have media readers on them for memory cards. The type of printer you purchase should depend on the features you need, as well as whether it's for work or home.


If you have more than one computer in the house or office and you want to be able to print from them all, make sure any printer you want supports networked printing. If you want to go a little further with it, you can actually get a wireless printer that can be placed in a central location, free from being directly hooked to any computer and wirelessly connect it to your network.

If you are only looking for a printer to print high quality photographs, there are printers designed specifically for that purpose. These types of printers are generally smaller than full function printers and make use of photo quality paper. In the long run, if you want a lot of pictures, this type of printer will save you money compared to getting your photos professionally developed. In addition, you can choose what to print and what not to print when you want them, instead of relying on the photo lab's schedule.

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