Need a new printer? Think of these things.



Cost of ink

Look at the cost of ink, its very different, a cheap printer can cost you a fortune in ink.





HP printers have the print head integrated on the cartridge so when you change the ink you get a brand new print head too. But they usually have one single ink tank for yellow, blue and red so if you run out of one of them you still have to change the entire cartridge. Canon and some Epson models have separate ink tanks for each color, so you can change just the one that´s used up. A good advice is to never stock ink, if your printer breaks down the ink you have left might not fit on your next printer, repairing an inkjet printer is usually not a good idea in most cases since the repair might be more costly than buying a new printer.





Parameters like dpi, printing resolution, is so good on all new printers that you don´t need to worry about a small difference or pay extra to have the best available.




Printing speed

If the printer is for home use, speed is not something you should pay a lot of extra money to get, almost any printer will be fast enough. Laserwriters are usually much faster. Speed is measured in pages per minute, but it might be for text only pages. Pictures take more time to print depending on size, see this page for more info about images.





Basically all printers have USB today, some might have Ethernet too, for a computer older then -98 you probably need a serial connection. With an Ethernet connected printer you can share the printer on a network and print from several computers. This can also be done with most USB-printers but requires a different setup. Ask me if you´re not sure what can be done concerning the setup you´re planning. I do not recommend installing a USB-card in an older computer to be able to use it with a modern printer. Sometimes it works fine, sometimes it doesn´t.





Make sure it says "Mac" on the box. Most printers are Mac-compatible, but better safe than sorry.





If you only need to print in black, ask if it can run without the color cartridge. Or if you can replace the color with a dummy to keep it running if you really don´t need to print in colors. Or if you can use a big cartridge with only black ink.

Inkjet printers use liquid ink and it will dry if you don´t use it for some time. Print something at least once per week. Most printer drivers have tools to clean the print heads, this can sometimes save you the cost of buying a new cartridge, and if the print head has dried ink on it won´t help to change the cartridge anyway unless it´s built into the cartridge like on HP printers. Cleaning it multiple times is usually what it takes to give you a clean print again.


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