For people who do a lot of printing there are many different options, and which ones you choose depends mostly on the quantity and kind of printing you do. The two main kinds of printers are inkjet printers and laser printers.
Inkjet printers are a good all-purpose choice for most consumers. The main advantage of inkjet printers over laser printers is the lower initial cost. You can get one for as little as $60, while the cheapest, black and white laser printers cost more than twice as much. However, the cost for ink is very high for inkjet printers, and tends to be even higher for the cheapest printers.
Inkjet printer manufacturers make their money from selling ink. You can get ink more cheaply by avoiding buying from the manufacturer, but it's still pretty expensive, and you can have problems with clogged ink jets. So ink jet printers only make economic sense if you don't do a high volume of printing, and of the printing you do, a lot of it is in color. The high cost per printed page problem is the main reason why for most businesses, an inkjet printer is not the best choice. If you print, say, 10,000 pages of black and white a year with an ink jet printer, your ink will cost around $1000. But with a laser printer, you could print 40,000 monochrome pages for the same price, and that's including the cost of the printer. Savings are considerably less for color, but with a very high volume you still save a lot.
Laser printers are faster and quieter than inkjets, and have fewer operational problems. The faster speed is another key reason why laser printers are a better choice for businesses. They are also a better choice for students, writers, and others who mostly print a lot of text. Or they may also choose to have a super cheap inkjet printer on hand for the occasional color print job.
For photographers and others who require very high quality color prints that don't fade, the printing equipment should use ink that is pigment based rather than dye based. These are inkjet printers that are far more expensive than regular ones, costing $600 or more, but the ink can cost less. Another option is to use what is called dye sublimation technology, which can produce the very highest quality prints for a lower price and at a faster speed, but they don't last as long as prints made with pigment-based inks.
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