Printer Buyer's Guide

Overview With so many types, brands, and models of printers available, it can be a bit intimidating finding a printer that will meet your printing needs. Check out the top ten tips below for purchasing a printer. Also take a look at one of the many printer buyer’s guides on the Internet. The printer manufacturers themselves publish some guides, while others can be found on unbiased Web sites (like the ones listed below). Since printer technology advances at a break-neck pace, printer prices can change frequently. The “Additional Links” section provides information about the latest printer designs, trends, and prices. 

Top Ten Printer Buyer’s Tips A great deal of advice can be found online about printers and printer accessories. Sorting out what advice is most useful to you can be a daunting task. Listed here are the top ten most important tips to keep in mind when purchasing a printer. These tips are listed in order of importance.  

1. Compatibility: A new printer is not suitable for your printing needs if it does not work with your computer system. Look for compatibility with the connection type, the printer language, the make and model, and the operating system. 

2. Price: How much can you afford to pay on your budget? Many inexpensive printers are available that produce good quality graphics, text, and color, but they might lack speed and reliability. 

3. Cost of Consumables: There are many hidden costs associated with printers, such as the cost of paper, toner, ink cartridges, and replacement parts. 

4. Availability of Replacement Parts and Accessories: One advantage of buying your printer from a major manufacturer is that the replacement parts and supplies may be readily available. Smaller companies might be difficult to contact, they might go out of business, or they might discontinue carrying parts for older models. 

5. Print Quality: Do you need a printer that prints only in black and white or do you need one that will print in color as well? Do you need a high-resolution printer or would a printer with less resolution be acceptable? 

6. Printer Speed: Do you need a fast printer or will a slower one still meet your needs? Generally speaking, slower printers are less expensive than faster ones. 

7. Expandability: Will your new printer continue to meet your needs in the future? Look for network compatibility, memory expansion, and features that you might need in the not-too-distant future. 

8. Power Consumption: Do you require a printer with power-saving features or Energy Star compliancy? 

9. Network Support: Will you ever be connecting your printer to a LAN (Local Area Network)? Is the printer network ready and compatible? 

10. Multifunction Peripherals: Many printer manufacturers are marketing printers that can perform other tasks such as faxing, copying, and scanning. You might want to consider if any of these functions are important to your needs. 

Online Printer Buyer’s Guides Many printer buyer’s guides can be found on the Internet. The more reputable ones are compiled by organizations that are not related to printer manufacturers. Are you interested in information about dot-matrix printers? If so, visit shopping.yahoo.com/s:Dot%20Matrix%20Printers. You can find information about ink jet printers at www.pcworld.com/reviews. You also might want to consider reading about other types of printers to decide which one best suits your needs at http://reviews.cnet.com. Forbes provides an in-depth printer buyer’s guide at www.forbes.com/buyers/038.htm. If you are interested in a printer buyer’s guide and reviews for Macs, visit macreviewzone.com.  Many other online printer buyer’s guides can be found by entering “printer buyers guide” at your favorite search engine site. 

Additional Links Read about multifunction printers (MFPs) at www.forbes.com/buyers/046.htm. Here you can learn about the features, prices, and availability of these relatively new devices. Additional information and reviews can be found at ZDNet.com. At this site, you can also purchase the printer that best suits your needs. Visit the Web page www.winappslist.com/utilities/printer_utilities.htm to find many useful printer utilities.  For freeware printer utilities, visit the site www.webattack.com/freeware.