How to Choose a Home Printer Perfect for Your Needs

Contrary to what you might think, the home printer is not dead. Yes, most of us are going digital these days, but you hate to be that person who is always asking a friend, family member, or coworker to print something out for you. There is a better solution, and it is getting your own dang printer finally.

Finding a home printer isn’t as hard as it sounds either, but you can’t just buy the first one you see in the store or online, you need to make considerations. Between costs, performance, and needs, here are some of the factors to look for when finding a good printer for your home.

Multifunction Use

What are you going to be using this printer for? If you just print black and white/color paper for school work or office pages then you don’t need to consider much, but many people like having the option of scanning, and some people even still fax as hard to believe as it is. Still, an all-in-one printer is your best bet because they’re cheap, save on space, and do the basic functions you need if you’re not going too crazy. If you’re looking for higher quality images, photos, graphs, or charts, then lean towards a dedicated photo printer instead of an all-in-one. 

Compatibility

Not every printer is the same as you likely know, but it’s not all about the process or the performance, it’s often about how compatible it is. This isn’t about connectivity either, as we’ll get to that soon, but you want a printer that works well with your devices. If you own a Chromebook, you might find that printing isn’t always as easy as it should be because the printer isn’t as compatible. This is when you’d look for more mobile-friendly options that would work well for these devices. Similarly, heavier duty printers work better with a desktop or dedicated laptops, so consider what devices you use and how well they really work together.

Type of Printing Process

A question everyone has around printers (or should have) is whether they should go with laser or inkjet. There is no definitive answer as it is quite subjective in all honesty, but the best piece of advice is that laser is cheaper if you print monochrome, while inkjet has much more color depth and quality. Laser cartridges last longer, but the color variety can be more expensive. If you don’t have too much to print, then the laser is a good bet, but if you use the printer extensively than inkjet is favorable.

Connectivity

There are five primary types of connections for a printer: USB, Wi-Fi, Cloud, Wi-Fi Direct, and SD. This depends on your home setup so if you use a laptop or print from a mobile device, then Wi-Fi/Wi-Fi direct/Cloud connectivity is usually a good bet because you can print remotely, even while away from home in some instances. You simply need the software and the connection set up. USB/SD card printers can be more reliable because the connection is plugged right into the device, or within arms reach of the card slot, and this is definitely your best bet for a home office setup with a desktop or photographer.

Printer and Printing Costs

What everyone wants to know is how expensive it’s going to be to invest in a home printer, and the answer is not much. You aren’t going to be paying an arm and a leg like you used to, but cartridges can cost anywhere from $15 – $80 depending on the quality of the cartridge or the type (monochrome/color laser, monochrome/color inkjet). The printers themselves have gone down in price as well, with many very serviceable models being under $200 or less. The price will vary depending on your needs and the total amount of materials you intend to print, naturally.

Printing Performance

PPM, DPI, and duty cycle are terms you should know when looking for a printer. PPM is the pages per minute, and this varies for color vs monochrome (monochrome ~20 pages, color ~15 pages). DPI is dots per inch which indicates how many dots of an image or color can be applied to the page per square inch but the DPI resolution is changing as newer printers can adjust this. Duty cycle is how many pages your printer can handle in a month, with lower meaning less workload on your printer. 

As you can see, there is a little bit to know when looking for a printer, but most of it overlaps making it quite easy to find the right device for your needs in your home setup.