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Printer Buying Guide

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The following tips and advice can be applied to both home and business users.

Whether you are only going to print a few pages a week or your business will be printing dozens of pages a week the same buying principles apply.

Probably the most common mistake we see when it comes to buying a new printer is home users going into a big store, seeing printers piled high in the isle at £29 or £39 and putting it in their basket because it’s ‘cheap’.

For some people this may well turn out to be a good investment because they only print the odd email or air line ticket.

For others it could be a costly mistake, kids doing homework, mum and dad printing out various articles, you might find yourself needing new cartridges every few weeks. And with some original cartridges costing anywhere from £10 to £30 and having as little as 5ml of ink it’s not surprising that so many complain about the cost of printing.

A printer with 4 or 5 cartridges is generally cheaper to run than a printer with just 2 cartridges, and if you can choose one that you know will accept compatible cartridges, at a fraction of the cost of originals, then worrying about the price of printing could be a thing of the past!

So here are a few do’s which should help you choosing which printer is right for you.

  • Find a good printer deal and check the price of cartridges.
  • Check how many pages a cartridge is quoted as doing.
  • Read user reviews online.
  • Consider different brands.
  • Choose a printer that will accept compatible cartridges, which will generally make it allot cheaper to run.
  • Think what you normally print, do you need to print just a few pages or dozens of pages a week?

And here are a few don’ts which should help you choosing which printer is right for you.

  • Buy a printer because it is on sale or because it’s cheap.
  • Blindly follow in-store recommendations.
  • Assume cheap cartridges are better value.
  • Buy a top-pick printer thinking it suits you.

And before you buy ask yourself do you need any of the following features.

  • AirPrint - Print directly to your printer from a smart phone or tablet.
  • Card Reader - If you use digital cameras or other card-devices a lot, a built in card reader slot saves a lot of time.
  • Duplex - Printing onto both sides of the page automatically, a great money-saver if your home printer does a lot of work documents.
  • ePrint - You can email your printer documents and it will automatically print them, perfect for leaving things ready for you at home.
  • Networking - Most homes will have wireless access now but if you need a wired connection make sure your printer has it.
  • PictBridge - Essential for budding photographers, some printers now even support Wireless PictBridge to automatically connect your camera.
  • Paper Trays - Extra paper trays and feeds are ideal if you find yourself printing on different paper frequently.
  • Wireless - Can connect wireless to your network. (This DOES NOT mean it also has a physical network port.)