Select the item on the page that has the error
We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our site. By continuing to use the site you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more

How to choose a printer

Catalogue

Whether you are buying a printer for your business or home, we can help you make sense of it all. Read our article to learn what really matters when choosing any kind of a printer.

Printers are divided into inkjet and laser printers depending on the printing technology. Both categories include multifunction devices that also feature a scanner and copier functionality. Read on to find out more on how to make sense of the printer parameters and learn what those parameters actually mean. With some helpful advice, choosing the right printer can get much easier.

How do I choose the right printer?

Printer usage

If you want to choose the printer correctly and make sure you will be 100% happy with it, you need to have a clear idea of why you are buying it and what you expect it to do. After all, home printers have to meet different requirements than business or school printers.

First, answer the following three questions:

  1. How often do you print and how much do you print?
  2. Do you print in colour or in black and white?
  3. Do you also need to copy and scan along with all the printing?

I print only occasionally and in small quantities, both in black and white and in colour, and sometimes I need to copy something.

If the abovementioned description sounds about right to you, then you should check out home inkjet printers. Their low purchase price and compact dimensions easily offset the cost of cartridges (ink toners for inkjet printers). Better yet, most of these printers are multifunction, so they can also scan and copy documents.

I print often, mainly in black and white.

In this case, you need a laser or LED printer. These are notable for their fast and inexpensive printing, especially when it comes to black and white documents. Due to their higher purchase price and very low printing costs, they are suitable as business printers. Just like ordinary inkjet printers, laser printers are often multifunctional in their design.

I want to print spiffy holiday photos.

If you want to print photos, consider thermal printers or high-quality inkjet printers. The difference lies in printing technology, as the thermal printer has dry printing and the colour intensity is determined by the temperature. Unlike inkjet printers, however, this type is unsuitable for printing common text documents.

Maximum print resolution

The maximum print resolution, usually listed in DPI, indicates the number of pixels that the printer can print on a given area. More precisely, it means the number of dots it can print per inch. The general rule is that the higher the DPI, the finer and the more detailed the image.

Print resolution for inkjet printers

With inkjet printers, especially if you want to print photos, we recommend choosing a printer with a high print resolution. Basic inkjet models print at 4800 x 600dpi, the current printing standard is 4800 × 1200dpi, and some more high-end devices offer a resolution of 5760x1440dpi or more.

Print resolution for laser printers

Laser printers are designed primarily for printing text documents, so they can get away with having a comparatively low resolution - basic laser printer models print at 600 x 600dpi. However, even among cheaper models you can find printers with a resolution of up to 4800 x 600. That said, the print resolution is not a key parameter when choosing a laser printer. Laser printers are not designed for printing images and photos, so the resolution is not nearly as important in this case.

Print resolution for 3D printers

For 3D printers, the resolution is listed as horizontal and vertical, in tenths of millimetres. Horizontal resolution refers to the X and Y axes, while vertical to the Z axis. Its value indicates the minimum possible thickness of one layer. At present, the recommended horizontal resolution is below 0.1mm and vertical up to 0.2mm. The thinner the layers, the more detailed objects you can print, though with a caveat that the printing will also take longer. With more sophisticated printed objects, you also have to consider various supporting constructions, which means extra work for the printer. Printing a large object in high quality may take a whole day.

Printer consumables

The difference between various types of paper may seem trivial, but it's not. Since there are dozens of paper types on the market today, it is important to know at least the basic parameters, such as size or weight.

Paper size

Most inkjet and laser printers work with A4 and smaller sheets, but there are also those that can handle A3 and larger. Consider, however, how many A3 pages you really print and whether paying extra for this feature is actually worth it.

Paper weight

The higher the weight, the better and more expensive the paper. Weight is listed in grams per square metre and the paper standard is 80g/m2. Quality paper is around 250-300g/m2. Paper with very low grammage is also available, but we don’t recommend using it for duplex printing because the ink may smudge and bleed through.

Print speed ​​(pages per minute)

Print speeds indicates the number of pages that the printer can print per minute. When it comes to speed, laser printers are generally significantly faster and more efficient.

Print speed of inkjet printers

For inkjet printers, the standard print speed is about 20 pages per minute. For the most basic models, the speed drops to 5 printed pages per minute, but there are also devices that can print up to 70 pages per minute.

Print speed of laser printers

For laser printers, the standard print speed is about 20 to 30 pages per minute, but there are also devices that can print up to 60 pages per minute.

Special printer features

Airprint

Many printers now offer the option to connect to a computer or phone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Connection cables are no longer necessary, which speeds up the printing process and makes printing much easier overall.

Refill tank system

Allows you to refill the ink straight into the printer tank. This is a greener option than having to constantly buy new cartridges.

Borderless printing

Some printers can print over the entire surface of the sheet.

Two-sided printing

If you are interested in duplex printing, make sure to choose a printer where this feature is explicitly listed as available.

Copying and scanning

There are printers that, in addition to regular printing, can also copy and scan documents. We call them multifunction printers. This is the best printer option for a regular user.

Fax

Some printers can also fax documents.

Memory card reader and USB

While the USB format has become indispensable over the past decade, memory cards have also gained considerable popularity. Many modern printers allow you to print documents straight from a memory card.

Automatic Document Feeder

Also known as ADF, this is a device that makes printing faster and easier. While normally you have to put sheets into the printer yourself, the automatic document feeder can do it for you. Perhaps the most useful is their ability to turn paper sheets in duplex printing. Standard document feeders can handle up to 200 sheets per minute.

Frequently asked questions when choosing a printer

How long does one cartridge last?

What is the yield of an average laser printer toner?

Laser and LED printers can print over 2000 pages with a single standard toner. This is one of the best options available is you want to save on printing operating costs.

What is the yield of a single ink cartridge

With basic inkjet printers models, expect to get a few hundreds of pages per cartridge. Of course, the overall yield also depends on the cartridge volume. One millilitre of ink can fill about twenty pages, so you can use this simple formula to get some idea of how many pages you can print: cartridge volume in ml × 20 = number of printed pages per cartridge. It is also worth noting that inkjet printers consume a certain amount of ink for automatic print head cleaning, which takes place every time you turn on the device. Each cleaning procedure consumes approximately the same amount of ink as printing 5 standard pages.

How much should I invest in the printer?

Inkjet printer prices

Basic inkjet printer models are very cheap and affordable for everyone.

However, if you print fairly often, it pays to invest in the more advanced devices that offer a higher resolution, faster printing, easier operation, and many extra features such as Wi-Fi, automatic document feeder, duplex printing, etc. Multifunction printers for normal home use don’t cost much and these devices are also suitable for less demanding professionals.

In the higher price category, you can find well-equipped printers for demanding users. Truly high-end devices cost a hefty sum, but their features are truly excellent.

Laser printer prices

Basic laser printer and LED printer models are slightly more expensive compared to basic inkjet devices, but their low printing costs make it well worth it.

If you print often, however, it pays to invest in the more advanced devices. With laser printers, you have to be ready to pay extra if you want to print in colour. Prices of colour laser printers are similar to those of the more advanced inkjet printers. Well-equipped laser printers suitable for smaller offices are relatively cheap, but professional printers designed for large offices can be very expensive indeed.

3D printer prices

3D printers are getting cheaper as the technology evolves, so now you can get a 3D printer for a reasonable price without much trouble. These cheaper models are mainly suitable for creating small 3D models and prototypes. There are also 3D printers on the market that cost as much as a car, and these can create some truly incredible things.

multifunction printer

Multifunction printers

  • Works as a printer, scanner and copier
  • Laser and inkjet models
  • All price categories

Multifunction printers also provide a scanner and copier function. They are becoming increasingly popular in both homes and offices. Multifunction printers can be either inkjet, laser, or LED. Before buying, consider how often you are planning to use it and what you normally print. Inkjet printers are more suited for printing photos and graphics, while laser and LED printers excel at printing text documents.

Advantages and disadvantages
  • Include a scanner and a copier
  • Wi-Fi interface and other useful features available
  • Save money and space
  • Higher service costs
  • Not suitable for professionals

Do I need a multifunction printer?

You have to ask yourself if you really need all the functions this printer type offers. How many copies, faxes, scans, and prints do you actually make every day? Multifunction printers have become very popular especially in home and medium-sized business environments, since they can save you plenty of space and time.

Is there anything I should pay particular attention to when choosing a multifunction printer?

The most common issue is the scanner resolution, because especially in cheaper printers, scanners can be of a very low quality. You should also take note what printing technology the printer uses. A laser printer and an inkjet printer will inevitably have different parameters.

Should I buy a scanner separately?

In general, scanners in multifunction printers are not as good as dedicated scanners. However, they are far from bad and are normally more than enough for home and office use, where you usually just scan some photos or text. They also don’t take up extra space, which is a great bonus. For professional photo printing, we recommend using a dedicated scanner and a high-quality inkjet printer.

inkjet printer

Inkjet printers

  • Print speed 20-30 pages per minute
  • Print resolution up to 9600DPI
  • Suitable for printing photos and documents

Inkjet printers deliver excellent print quality. They are suitable for printing photos and are equally useful for both casual users and professionals. Their biggest advantage lies in their very low purchase price - which, if you don’t print too often – easily offsets the extra money you have to pay for ink cartridges.

Advantages and disadvantages
  • High-quality prints
  • High-end models are designed for professional photo printing
  • Often feature borderless printing
  • Higher operating costs
  • Printing is slower compared to laser printers

Photo printers

Photo printing

Printers of photos Photo printers are designed for those who require professional-quality photo printing. These printers support a large number of print features and settings, and the mobile version can give you a physical photo just a few moments after you have taken it. The most popular photo printers use thermal technology, but high-quality, high-resolution inkjet printers can easily match them.

Advantages and disadvantages

  • Wide range of settings - e.g. glossy and matte levels
  • Many print formats
  • Memory card reader and USB for fast printing straight from your PC and camera
  • Not suitable for printing text
  • High printing costs

Large format printers

Large format and A3 printers

Printers of photos If the standard A4 sheet format is not enough for you and you know you need to print A3 prints or posters, technical drawings, diagrams, etc., consider buying a large format printer. Large-format printers can have a print width of up to 254cm - 233cm more than the standard A4. The most common printer technologies are ink and laser, which are very cost-effective if you don’t print in particularly large quantities – they are less expensive than ordinary screen printing. Some large format printers also come with a  multifunction scanner design.

Advantages and disadvantages

  • Large format printing, A3 printing and more
  • Support for automatic duplex printing
  • Borderless printing
  • High purchase price
  • Large physical dimensions of the printer

Do I need an inkjet printer?

The inkjet multifunction printer is generally the most common printer type found in European households, but our product selection also includes models designed for the professional high-quality photo printing. If you don’t print all that often and require colour printing from time to time, buying an inkjet printer is a good idea.

Is there anything I should pay particular attention to when choosing an inkjet printer?

Every inkjet printer requires ink cartridges, which you have to buy rather often. This can get really expensive if you print a lot, so take note of the ink consumption as listed in the printer specifications. When purchasing new cartridges, make sure that your printer and the new cartridge are compatible. Always check the compatibility with your printer before buying.

Laser and LED printers

Laser and LED printers

  • Print speed up to 60 pages per minute
  • Lower DPI compared to inkjet printers
  • Suitable for cheap printing of large amounts of documents

Laser and LED printers are ideal if you need to print many black and white prints for cheap. They are best suited for users who print text documents on a regular basis. Ideal for schools and businesses for example. Some models also have colour printing as an option.

Advantages and disadvantages
  • Lower cost per page
  • Suitable for printing text documents
  • Up to 60 pages per minute
  • Designed for black & white printing
  • Some components gradually wear out

Do I need a laser printer?

The typical users of laser and LED printers are university students, offices, and all people who, for one reason or another, have to print large amounts of text. A single toner will generally give you about 2000 pages of text.

Is there anything I should pay particular attention to when choosing a laser printer?

If you are buying a laser printer for your business, make sure that it has an automatic document feeder. It can save you and your employees a lot of time, because it makes printing considerably faster and is absolutely invaluable when duplex printing, for example. Also take note of the print resolution, as it can be rather low in cheaper models. This could pose problems if you ever need to print documents with a small font.

What is the difference between laser and LED printers?

Laser and LED printers operate on basically the same principle, with the only major difference being the source of electromagnetic radiation. Laser printers use a perfectly focused laser beam, which gradually irradiates dots on the so-called drum. The beam is guided by a system of mirrors. LED printers have a laser head with one or more diodes, which pulse-flash across the entire page width. This makes them much more compact and also reduces the number of mechanical components they need to have, reducing the overall risk of failure. Another advantage of LED printers is their ability to adjust the intensity of emitted light, which means that they can produce different colour tones and finer colour transitions when printing.

3d Printer

3D printers

  • Turn your ideas into reality
  • Technology of the future
  • For both professionals and amateurs

3D printers have been on the market only for a short while, but they have undergone a tremendous amount of development and today you can choose from many affordable models.  Before buying, you should devote some time to study 3D printing in general to make the selection process easier. 3D printers can be confusing if you are a total beginner.

Advantages and disadvantages
  • Recreate your modelling work in real life
  • Incredibly versatile
  • Cheaper models are affordable for everyone
  • Less user-friendly
  • Require a certain level of technical skill

Do I need a 3D printer?

The time when 3D printers were exclusively the domain of hardcore enthusiasts is already past. At present, 3D printers are often used by prototype designers, architects, and other designers from various fields. Many schools and organisations also use 3D printers for study purposes.

What are 3D printers used for?

3D printers are used to reproduce 3D graphic designs. 3D printing allows you to create complex functional shapes with less material than required by traditional production methods. The basic principle is very simple. You create a spatial model on your computer and send it to the printer. The 3D printer then prints out the model by gradually applying horizontal layers of molten plastic.

Important parameters when choosing a 3D printer

Build area

The build area is most often listed in millimetres and in three axes. The last one indicates the height. All these dimensions are often similar or even exactly the same. A 3D printer for home use should have a build area of at least 100 × 100 × 100.

Materials

The printing materials most commonly used in 3D printing are ABS or PLA, supplied in 1.75mm or 3mm thick filaments. ABS is more suitable for smaller projects because the thermal expansion of this material causes the individual layers to twist and warp due to the difference in temperature, so if the printed object is large, the resulting deformation can be big enough to prevent any further printing. PLA, on the other hand, is a nicely malleable and biodegradable material, which, however, retains its mechanical properties only to a temperature of about 60°C.

Speed

The print speed depends on the printer's parameters, but also on the complexity of the printed object and the type of material used. Speed is listed in millimetres per second. Ideally, the printer should have a print speed of at least 40mm/sec, but if you can get a faster printer, go for it.

Bed

The printing bed should be positioned horizontally to ensure even nozzle height at every printing point. The bed also serves to attach the model, which is why printing beds often have a rough surface, to which the first layers will simply stick. Another option is that the printer will create a wide base for the printed model, which will get separated from the model during the last printing phase. The deformation of the edges due to rapid cooling can be avoided either by a pedestal that would serve as a support, or by using a heated printing bed to prevent rapid cooling of the model.

Dot matrix printers

Dot matrix printers

  • Small format printing
  • Very high print speed
  • Requires special paper

Dot matrix printers excel at printing long text documents at a very low cost. They are especially suitable for printing long lists, forms, and accounting documents. When printing, they use a pin system where the pins strike an ink-soaked ribbon against the paper. For this reason, these printers are unsuitable for printing anything other than simple text.

Advantages and disadvantages
  • Very fast printing of long texts
  • Print multiple copies at a time
  • Long printing costs
  • Require special paper
  • Impossible to print images

Do I need a dot matrix printer?

If you work in accounting or simply need to print long documents on a regular basis and need to print them quickly and with several copies at a time, then a dot matrix printer is exactly what you need.

Is there anything I should pay particular attention to when choosing a dot matrix printer?

The number of pins is the most important parameter when choosing a dot-matrix printer. Printers are divided into two categories depending on the number of pins.

9 pins

These printers are suitable for printing basic documents without complicated graphics elements.

2x9 pins and more

The number of needles directly affects print quality and print speed. Printers with increased pin-count are faster, have better printing quality, and are usually quieter. They are also able to print multiple copies at a time.

Also take note of the print speed, which indicates the number of characters a machine can print per second.

EET printers

EET printers

  • Printing of receipts
  • Easy operation
  • All price ranges

Cash and EET printers are used to print cash receipts for customers. In addition to their speed and low cost, you will also appreciate how easy they are to use and their long service life.

What are the types of cash printers?

Cash printers can be thermal or dotted. The advantage of dot matrix printers is a lower price, minimal operating costs and the ability to print on multiple sheets at the same time. Thermal cash registers excel at higher speeds and quiet printing, but their printing has limited durability.

How do I connect the printer to the cash register?

The most common interface type for connecting a cash register printer is USB or LAN, but high-end models also offer Wi-Fi for easy and convenient cable-free connectivity.

What are the paper formats?

Paper rolls with a width of 55 to 80mm are used in cash registers. Some models allow you to choose the roll width according to your needs.

Glossary - Printers

Printhead

The printhead is a major component of an inkjet printer that contains the printing elements, enabling the printer to put ink on paper. The cartridge may or may not be part of the printhead. The printhead generally prints using three most common colours.

Cartridge

A replaceable ink cartridge for inkjet printers.

Toner

A black or coloured powder (CMYK: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) used in laser printers and copiers. Toner production uses different polymers.

0
Print
My Alza Log In Shipping & Payment About Us
Shipping to:
WEB13

Why buy from us? We offer student discounts to ISIC Card holders More info »