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How to Choose the Right Printer for Your Printing Needs

Updated on March 2, 2013

If you are not that familiar with computers and computer peripherals, sometimes you just don’t know what you need. A printer is one important computer peripheral that you are going to use often. So, it is important that you choose the right one before you buy to avoid unnecessary expenses in the future. Most often, printers of the same type have almost the same printing quality. However, there are people who are more meticulous about the qualities of their pictures. For more meticulous people, you should buy printers with a higher dpi for a higher printing resolution on colored photos. Aside from that, you might want to use a 6 or more ink printers rather than the usual 4 ink printers. But for most people, if your printer can generate the pictures from your computer with the right colors and a smooth picture, you are most likely going to be satisfied with the outcome of your printed picture or document.


I won’t be telling you which brand of printer you should buy. Different countries might have more or less different brands that they push on the market. What are important, though, are the printer features you might need.


Printer Features


Double-sided Printing

This feature comes in handy for people who write novels, long speeches, long articles, and books. Without this feature, you can print the odd numbered pages first and then print the even numbered pages after. If your printer comes with built-in duplexers, it will simultaneously print your documents on both sides. Some printers offer this feature as an add-on when you decide that you need this feature.



Fax feature

Computers already have this feature in the modem. Your computer’s fax modem already enables you to send and receive faxes. However, for you to use this feature, your scanner and printer should be connected to your computer. To send faxes, you would first scan the document onto your computer. To receive faxes, although the document automatically is stored into your computer, you would still need to connect your printer to print the document.


Some printers have fax feature. It can be an advantage to you if your printer has this feature because you can send and receive faxes even without attaching your printer to your computer. But your printer must be connected to your phone line. Your fax communication would be more automatic if your printer has this feature. It also enables you to send and receive faxes in color.



LCD Display

Regardless of the size of the LCD monitor of your printer, you might find this feature useful. The primary function of LCD monitor in your printer is that if you are going to directly print your pictures from your mobile gadgets, you’ll be able to preview the picture your printer is going to print. As opposed to a printer without a monitor, you might make mistakes in choosing the right picture to print. Aside from that, you’ll be able to edit your pictures before printing them.



Memory Card Slots

With this feature, you will be able to print your pictures from your cell phones, digital cameras, or other gadgets that use compact flash cards, memory stick, or multimedia cards. You’ll have to insert the card to the appropriate card slot of your printer. Furthermore, you can scan pictures and documents directly to your memory card without using a computer to transfer files.



Photocopy feature

If you use the traditional way of scanning your document or picture to your computer before printing them, you would be wasting a lot of time, not to mention the efforts you would also be wasting.


If you buy a printer with photocopy feature, you won’t even need to connect your printer to your computer to complete this job. Photocopying with your printer will only be slightly slower than a real photocopier. Furthermore, you have the option to photocopy your pictures with color. A printer with built-in scanner will give you this feature.



PictBridge feature

With this feature, you will be able to print your pictures directly from your cell phones, digital cameras, mp3 players, and other gadgets that have USB port. If your printer doesn’t have this feature, you’ll need to load them on your computer before printing them. If your printer has this feature, you won’t need to connect your printer to your computer to perform this function. Just attach the USB from the gadget to the printer to get the job done.



Scan feature

If your printer has this feature, you won’t need to buy a separate scanner to load your pictures onto your computer. You can just use the scan features of your printer.



Wireless Technology

With wireless technology, your printer must be equipped with infrared, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi. With this feature, you won’t need to connect your cell phone to the printer. All you need to do is enable your cell phone’s and your printer’s wireless communication. Printing should be successful as long as communication between two devices is acknowledged by both devices.



All of these features are added to the printer because they are useful both for business and home use. You can always look for the right printer by choosing the features that you need. Instead of buying two or three separate devices, you can just buy one printer that has all the functions that you need. This way, unnecessary expenses and space consumption are reduced.


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    • BeatsMe profile image

      BeatsMe 8 years ago

      Hi Dink96, the wireless technology is a feature where you can connect with communication devices. Do try to look at the Amazon ads above and see if you can find something you like. Hope this helps.

      Btw, the cartridge grievance we have to face is something we can't do anything about. We can only keep on hoping that it'll be better in the future. :)

    • Dink96 profile image

      Dink96 8 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      I once bought an HP printer/scanner in which the scanner died within 6 months, which really disappointed me, as I LOVED the scanner feature. I recently bought a Lexmark printer/scanner at Target for $35 on markdown, but I'm with Quicksand, the cost of the cartridges is ridiculous! I'm ready to bring in the old HP from the garage and go back to doing my scanning at the office until I can save for a wireless printer/scanner. Any suggestions?

    • BeatsMe profile image

      BeatsMe 8 years ago

      Hi Cgull, thanks for leaving new info. :)

      I think if you buy second hand items, it all depends on luck. Sometimes you buy them in still good condition but sometimes, you're not that lucky. It also depends on how well you appraise an item.

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 8 years ago from North Carolina

      Yes, initially I paid $200 for an Epson inkjet, it worked well but the inkjet cartridges cost a fortune during those years. Later my friend introduced me to this $5 HP printer. The schools use it for a few years and give it to the supply stores, who then dispose it at cheaper prices. They only need minor fixes, most of them work good as is. I bought one and used it for the past few years, it works great. I only print when necessary, otherwise I keep them in PDF format for sharing. Regarding color prints, online albums are much better, it keeps it in the same format and preserves it for a long time. I use Picasa and Flickrr, they both do great.

    • BeatsMe profile image

      BeatsMe 8 years ago

      Hi Cgull, thanks. $5 for a laser printer? Did it function? It sounds like the toner of laser printers are expensive.

      I didn't know photos printed from color printers will fade. Thanks for adding new information. :)

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 8 years ago from North Carolina

      BeatsMe, You should try surplus stores. I bought couple of laser printers in North Carolina for $5 each :) I only need the toner. that will cost $20 more. But I saw cheap laser printers in Office Max, if I see one I will let you know, you can get them for under $50 now. They will last long. Color printers are ok but the photos will fade with time, it is better to have them online in Picasa, Flickr or Photobucket.

    • BeatsMe profile image

      BeatsMe 8 years ago

      Hi Cgull, I agree with you about inkjet printers. Aside from those expensive cartridges, paper jams are also very common problem.

      I think that laser jet printers are expensive from where I am. I still don't know anyone using them. So, I have no idea how easy they are to use.

      Thanks for sharing your experience with printers.

    • cgull8m profile image

      cgull8m 8 years ago from North Carolina

      BeatsMe, I use HP LaserJet Printers, they are very useful, rugged and last long. I bought it from a surplus store near my area (usually available in universities). I got a old one but it still works good. If I had to buy a new one I will buy HP they are excellent quality. I avoid inkjet printers, I used to have Epson, I paid a fortune for all those cartridges, never again I will make the same mistake. Laser printers are cheap now.

    • BeatsMe profile image

      BeatsMe 8 years ago

      Hi einron, Thanks. I'm glad you've found this helpful.

    • einron profile image

      einron 8 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

      Thanks for the info. Very useful to know.

    • BeatsMe profile image

      BeatsMe 8 years ago

      Hi quicksand, thanks for the info. :)

      Really. I haven't heard of Lexmark. But then again, I don't pay that much attention. The most common brand 'round here are HP, Epson, and Brother.

    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 8 years ago

      My printer is a Lexmark. It can also scan, and photo copy. But the price of a black ink cartridge is exactly 33% of what I paid for the printer.