There are several types of printers available on the market and it can be confusing to determine which one is best for your needs. Our printer buying guide is here to explain the different types.
Laser is one of the oldest computer printer technologies and is still popular with many segments of the market - laser printers tend to offer fast print speeds and good value-for-money. Most laser printers are black-and-white only, so are best for printing large amounts of text only. Colour laser printers are available but they tend to be very expensive.
Laser printers are best for anyone who wants to print out large amounts of simple text and doesn’t require colour printouts or photos. For example someone working from home could get by with a personal laser printer, while small offices often use workgroup laser printers.
Brother laser printers are some of the best on the New Zealand market.
Inkjet printers are generally the most versatile for home use and produce acceptable results for both text and colour photo prints. On the downside, inkjet printers are slower than laser printers and the colour cartridges can be costly to replace. You can also buy specialist photo inkjet printers.
Inkjet printers are best for general light-to-moderate home usage.
Canon Pixma printers are a preferred brand.
As the name suggests, photo printers are required for anyone who prints out a lot of photos from their digital camera - more than what the average inkjet can handle. Photo printers produce prints of near-professional quality and can often be directly connected to the digital camera to start printing.
Some dedicated photo printers use inkjet technology, but the vast majority use a process called dye-sublimation to produce these higher-quality results.
If you’re considering a dedicated photo printer, you should take a look at the HP PhotoSmart range.
Multifunction printers are known by nearly as many names as they have uses - you’ll also see them referred to as MFPs, multifunction devices (MFDs) and all-in-ones.
Once again, the name gives it away - all-in-one printer can often print, scan, photocopy and even fax. You can buy either a laser all-in-one or inkjet all-in-one, depending on how you plan to use it.
Because of their comprehensive functionality and cost efficiency, multifunction printers are favoured by people who work from home and can even be suitable for small businesses.
Once again, Brother, Canon and HP all make excellent multifunction printers.
Last but not least, portable printers are compact and designed for people who travel a lot - especially anyone who travels for work. Because these printers are small and light, you will be making sacrifices somewhat in terms of image quality.
Most portable printers are of the basic colour inkjet variety and tend to be expensive when you consider the quality of print on offer.
The Canon Pixma iP2700, as pictured here, is one portable printer you might like to consider.