Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Matching Pixels To Printers

Working in the Digital Age is a challenge. Having completed our task we then often have to print the result. Deciding on the most suitable printer depends on what the end result of our endeavors look like. Is it in black and white or does it have a rainbow of colors that detail each element separately? Possibly it is made up of only text. Perhaps it is a combination of text and pictures. These considerations will drive the decision on which printer to use.

Printer categories

Printers come in only two flavors. The first is called impact printers because the print mechanism always touches the paper. The other is called non-impact printers because the print mechanism never touches the paper. Within the non-impact category two groups have survived the onslaught of technical innovation. They are laser and ink-jet printers. Ink-jet printers are about one third of the price of laser printers. To provide an image the ink-jet printer places small drops of ink on the paper. These drops are not only very small but their position compared to one another is very precise. Laser printers work very differently. They exploit the principle of static electricity. Since opposite electrical charges attract each other all we have to do is to give the paper one type of electrical charge and the graphite dust (or toner) the opposite charge and we have a working laser printer. There is also a printer that combines different functions such as scanning, copying and faxing. They are referred to as All-in-ones.

You want to do what?

To make life easier for us HP divided its range of printers into six groups. They are:

  • Deskjet printers that can be used at home
  • Photosmart printers are suitable to print photos at home or in small offices
  • Officejet printers are for businesses, whether they function from home or small offices
  • Business Inkjets are the work horses for offices
  • HP Laserjet printers consist of laser printers and also all-in-ones
  • HP Designjet printers are targeted at artists and graphic


Knowing what type of printing needs to be done is not enough. HP divided their printers into smaller groups according to specific features they possess. Resolution refers to the detail that we can observe in an image. The print speed tells me how fast it prints whereas the paper capacity informs me how often I will have to put down my coffee and add more paper. Some printers are able to print on both sides of the paper and some can be connected to other printers to form a network. Lastly HP informs us on how many pages a printer is rated to produce in a month. This is called the monthly duty cycle.

There are always extras!

A printer’s purchase price is not the only expense. Other items that need to be budgeted for are supplies such as ink, toner and replacement parts. Once these are covered, the masterpiece is ready to be shown to colleagues or friends!