What Printer Type To Choose

Printing in black and white

If the majority of your printing is in black and white, a monochrome laser printer may be your best choice. These printers excel at delivering fast, high quality text printing, as well as a low cost per page compared to other print technologies. A monochrome laser printer is a good choice when your print volume exceeds a few pages per day.

Printing in Color

If you need to print "photo quality" images and your print volumes are relatively low, your application is best handled by inkjet technology, and one of Brother's, Hewlett Packard's and more... Color Inkjet Multi-Function printers may be ideally suited to meet your needs.

Color Laser / LED Printer

If your output needs require greater flexibility, then you may want to consider a Color Laser / LED Printer. While Color Laser / LED Printers are more expensive than monochrome lasers, they do allow you the versatility to rapidly produce color documents, reports, and presentations. In addition, Color Laser / LED Printers can easily handle higher daily print volumes as well as deliver a lower cost per page vs. other color printing technologies.

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If you need print speed

A printer's speed is described in terms of ppm (pages per minute). More expensive printers have faster print speeds. Many entry-level laser printers today have a print speed of around 20ppm, which is usually adequate for personal use.

If you have a lot to print

Your print volume determines which printer class to consider. Personal printers are designed for users with lower print volumes. For individuals with higher print volumes, or small groups sharing a printer, an office printer is suitable. Heavy volume users require a heavier duty office printer.

Print Quality

Print resolution is always stated in dots-per inch (dpi). Most laser printers today have a default resolution at 600x600dpi, which is fine for everyday text printing. For sharper output when printing photographs or documents combining text, photos, and charts, a higher resolution, such as 1200x1200dpi or 2400x600dpi, is preferable. 1200x1200dpi is recommended when your materials need to look their very best, but choosing this resolution can significantly reduce your print speed. Certain printers offer HQ1200 resolution (up to 2400x600dpi) and are capable of printing at their best quality while still printing at or near their highest-rated print speed.

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Software Compatibility.

Usually printers of most brands offer excellent compatibility with support for both Windows® and Mac® computers. If you have a legacy application that runs under DOS, consider a printer with both a Parallel interface and PCL® emulation.

Paper Capacity.

If your printer will be on a network, or if you have large print volumes, consider a printer with a large paper capacity to avoid paper outages. Printer brands offers several models with over 500-sheet input capacity. In addition, many models offer optional input or output options for future expansion.

Different Paper Sizes.
Consider whether you will be printing on different paper sizes. Most printers support up to legal size paper. If you frequently print on both letter and legal size paper, consider a printer that offers two lower paper trays. You can fill letter paper in one tray and legal in the other, and automatically select paper from either tray. Most laser printers i.e like the ones from Brother, also offer a manual feed slot or multi-purpose tray for printing letterhead, envelopes, labels, custom paper sizes, and heavier media.

Two-sided printing (duplex printing).

If you want to print two-sided documents, consider a printer with built-in automatic duplex printing. This feature saves time, reduces waste, and can decrease your printing costs.

USB Direct Interface.

Color Laser / LED Printers usually offer an easy access built-in USB Direct Interface for convenient "PC free" printing. With this feature, users can print PDF and JPEG files directly from a USB flash memory drive. The USB Direct Interface also provides PictBridge support. Simply connect your PictBridge-enabled digital camera to print pictures directly from the camera, without first downloading to a PC.

Secure Print.

For document security, many printers offer a Secure Print feature. This feature password protects documents to help ensure that only the password holder will see confidential documents.

LCD Displays.

Many printers offer either a monochrome or 3-color LCD display to enable users to easily modify settings or to determine the printer's status.


If you have applications that require DOS support, you'll need a printer with PCL® emulation and a Parallel Interface. Most laser printers offer PCL® emulation, which is generally used for everyday office document printing. If you are printing graphics, photos, special fonts and charts, or if you are a Mac® user, consider a printer with PostScript®.

Warranty, Service and Support.

Most printers come with a one-year limited warranty. Usually there's a toll-free customer service number and a technical website providing access to the most up-to-date printer drivers, documentation, and technical support.

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