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Printers

Which printer should I buy?

Hi, I'd like to buy an affordable, durable printer that can produce colour letterheads and borderless images to a good standard. Can you recommend anything?

Hi, I'd like to buy an affordable, durable printer that can produce colour letterheads and borderless images to a good standard. Can you recommend anything?

Pete Bailie

Hi Pete,

If you're printing a large number of documents, we'd advise you to buy a colour laser printer. These are initially more expensive than inkjet printers, as are  the consumables (ink), but they're more economical and will save you money in the long run. Check the price of the replacement toner or ink cartridges and how many pages they'll cover before you buy.

Lasers are typically faster than inkjets. Printer speed is measured in pages per minute (ppm), where larger is better. But always take note of the fine print that these ratings carry. They may not be comparable from model to model, depending on the test conditions.

Lasers also produce better quality text output, but they're not as good at printing photos. Most, like the Lexmark C522n, produce reasonable images but few, if any, produce borderless (no margin) prints. If you must have borderless, you'll need an inkjet such as the Canon Pixma iP6600D. This produces far better pictures than a laser, although the text isn't as crisp and it isn't as economical when printing large volumes.

As for durability, most printers are pretty hard-wearing but most manufacturers quote a maximum monthly duty cycle to indicate how many pages it's designed to churn out before it keels over.

Finally, you should think about connectivity. Most printers connect to a PC or laptop via a USB cable, but some let you print pictures straight from a mobile phone via Bluetooth, USB memory key, infrared or Wi-Fi. Some can be connected to a network via an Ethernet cable, which is ideal if you're sharing the printer with a large number of users.