Printer Buying Guide


Be sure to consult our handy guide before you buy a printer for your home or office

Choosing the right printer for your home or small office can at first seem like a daunting experience — at least until you are familiar with some of the basics.

Traditionally, inkjet printers have provided affordable printing solutions and high-quality photo output on a wide range of printable media. Laser printers, on the other hand, are reliable for their sharp text and colour documents featuring highly saturated colours, suitable for presentations and graphs.

Given these fundamental characteristics, the inkjet printer makes an ideal home printer while the laser printer finds its niche in the office environment. Interestingly, inkjet printers are gradually finding their way into the SMB space too, while falling prices of laser printers are making them attractive to consumers as well. Then, there are additional features to consider, such as the ability to scan and copy through wireless, cloud or from mobile devices. With the lines blurred, which printer should you turn to for your home or small office needs?

  1. Inkjet Printers

Inkjet technology excels in colour accuracy and producing photo prints with true-to-life colours. The printers are generally more cost-effective for small volume outputs, and recent innovations have reduced their costs-per-page substantially. Performance wise, some inkjet printers are on par with their laser counterparts. For example, Canon’s MAXIFY series can attain ISO speeds of up to 23ipm and 15ipm for black-and-white and colour prints respectively.

Characteristics of inkjet printers

  • Compatible with a wide range of media from plain to glossy photo papers
  • Photo-realistic and natural image reproduction
  • Presentation-ready office documents (MAXIFY series)
  • Generally affordable with a good balance of features and performance

 

  1. Laser Printers

Laser printers are excellent for reliably producing documents that feature crisp text and punchy colours. Unlike inkjet printers, laser printouts are delivered dry-to-touch, making them an ideal choice for large volume, time-sensitive printing. For instance, Canon’s 324 II toner cartridge offers a significant ISO page-yield of up to 12,500 pages, greatly reducing the number of times needed for cartridge replacements for high-volume printing.

Characteristics of laser printers

  • Produce well-defined text and saturated colours — ideal for presentations
  • Consistent print speeds
  • Some machines are designed to handle high volume printing with large paper cassettes and toner cartridges with high page yields
  1. Single-Function versus Multi-Function Printers

Multi-function printers (MFPs) integrate more functions into the device body, enabling users to print, copy, scan or fax. When it comes to their price tag, MFPs cost a little more than their single-function cousins, but their space-saving design makes them popular choices for your business necessities.

Final Checklist

Of course, there are many other factors to take into account aside from the printer type and function. First and foremost, what is your budget? Simpler designs with basic functions can cost less than S$100, whereas flagship business models cost more because of device complexity and additional features.

Other questions you should be asking include the following:

  • Do you need a printer with automatic duplex (double-sided) printing to reduce paper waste?
  • What is your preferred paper capacity?
  • Does the printer offer additional cassette options when your print volume demands grow?
  • Are mobile and cloud printing features necessary such that you may print wirelessly from remote locations?
  • Have you considered your network requirement? This is another important consideration, because wireless connectivity may be absolutely necessary in cases where it is challenging to reconfigure the office with wired LAN connectivity.

Ultimately, the choice of an inkjet or laser printer for the office has less to do with the printing technology employed, but rather, the type and volume of documents to be printed. Laser printers perform excellently when documents printed in the office are predominantly text-based with less colour coverage — but the operating cost of colour lasers is also significantly higher than colour inkjet printers.

However, when it comes to business inkjet printers that won’t break the bank, nothing comes close to Canon’s high performance MAXIFY series for its wide array of features and flexibility in printing quality documents — all at a comparable price point to many laser printing devices in the market.