One of the constant questions we get asked here at Stinkyink towers is ‘I’m thinking of buying a new printer, what do you recommend?’ I believe that we can give an honest opinion on this as we don’t sell printers - just the consumables, and we have loads of printers here to feed! These are all personal opinions and in no way are intended to denigrate or damage anybody’s reputation.
This is not an easy question to answer because there are so many options out there, so before we can start to answer your question we need to ask you some questions.
What will you use the printer for, is it:
Purely for home use, kids homework etc.
For printing high quality photos
For small office use - mainly documents, but with some requirement for colour
For office or business use - high speed documents
1. For home use
Needs to be easy to use and low cost to run, so that you can afford to print off those school projects and loads of web page information without having to take out a second mortgage. DO NOT BUY HP, Lexmark or Dell. These manufacturers all use an ink cartridge with a built in print head, but also use a method which puts three different colours all in one cartridge - when one colour is run out the cartridge is finished. Epson, Canon and Brother all use a technology where the print head is built into the printer, so as you finish one colour you just replace that ink tank - a much cheaper option immediately. These days, I would recommend looking for a Multi-Function device, that is a printer that is also a scanner, copier and printer all in one. Basically one machine will print documents from your PC, but will also allow you to scan documents back into the PC again and Photo Copy documents whenever you need them. All of the major manufacturers offer these types of machines so costs are very competitive, the thing you need to know is the cost of owning and using them.
When you start looking at the cost of ink cartridges the immediate thing that jumps out is the price differential between original and compatible or refilled cartridges. For home use the compatible/refilled cartridges are more than adequate for purpose. Compatible cartridges are manufactured by third party manufacturers and are generally significantly cheaper than the Manufacturers original cartridges.
So, we need a Multi-Function printer, made by Epson, Canon or Brother and we now get down to personal preference. For ease of use and ease availability of competitively priced ink cartridges, I personally recommend Brother products - my daughter at University has one and is delighted with the results.
This also fulfills the requirements for No 3 - Small office/Home office use; one device in a small footprint which will fulfill three requirements - once again Brother wins out in my opinion.
So I have covered options 1 and 3 above, next number 2 photo printing;
There are two different types of photo printers, Canon , Samsung and Kodak produce 4 x 6? photo printers, which use a ribbon technique called dye sublimation printing. These produce a very high quality print which is equivalent to or better than that produced by traditional silver halide photo processing in shops etc, the drawback is that you are limited to the sizes that you can print and it can also be expensive.
Your other option is an inkjet printer. To be able to print high quality photos you must have at least six colours available, and some of the top end printers now use up to 10 different colour cartridges. Using these inks and good quality inkjet photo paper, the output you can achieve is breathtaking and in many cases better than traditional methods of outputting photos. Which one to choose is a really difficult question and probably revolves more around your personal preferences and the thickness of your wallet than anything else. My own personal preference is for the new Canon Pixma printers, results achieved with their new Chromalife 100 inks are stunning, the inks are guaranteed for up to 100 years (with some caveats!) and they are using semiconductor manufacturing technology for the print heads which enables the printers to produce superb output every time.
Finally number 4, office use.
With the advent of Colour Laser printers for under £200 there is no argument - go for a colour laser. These days they are small footprint, usually networkable and the toner used is a Chemical toner which will give outstanding results. They will print faster than an inkjet printer, the cost per page is less than an inkjet printer and they are much more robust than an inkjet printer. We also offer compatible toner cartridges for a large range of laser toners, so the running costs are significantly reduced. The biggest issue we found using these printers here at Stinkyink Towers was they were a bit fussy about the quality of the paper we were putting through them. We can’t get away with the very cheapest 80gsm copier paper, but still use an 80gsm laserjet paper which goes through all of our machines very happily and causes us no problems at all. If you can afford it look at the Multi-Function machines, again up to 4 applications in one small(ish) footprint. We have an HP MFP(Multi Function Printer) which includes a fax, Network printer, scanner and copier all in one machine and is reasonable to run
In summary then, for home/small office use get hold of a Brother Multi Function inkjet printer, cheap and easy to use and run. For High Quality Photo Printing you won’t go far wrong with one of the new Canon Pixma Photo printers and finally for Office use a colour laser or MFP device
I hope that this distillation of our collective wisdom is of use, if you need any more information please feel free to give us a call.
John Sollars is managing director if Stinky Ink retailers of ink cartidges for business and consumers. Stinky Ink is based in Shropshire.
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