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Printers and printing materialTips for purchases

You want to buy or change a printer, but, unfortunately, you don’t know exactly which model meets all your needs. Here, you will find some advice, in order to make the right choice.

Standard or multifunctional printer?

Standard printer

A standard device prints your documents in black and white (monochrome) or in colour, depending on the model.

Multifunctional printer

A multifunctional device doesn’t only print pages. You can use it as well for other print and scan tasks :

  • Multifunctional 3 in 1 printer : for printing, scanning and copying.
  • Multifunctional 4 in 1 printer : for printing, scanning, copying and faxing. This model allows you to send and receive faxes. In order to do this, you need to connect your device to the telephone network with an Ethernet cable (RJ), which is already included.

Useful tip: a USb cable is never included. You must buy it together with your device. Most inkjet printers are delivered with standard cartridges. In the box of a laser printer, you will often find toners with a lower capacity, or in some cases with a standard capacity.

How many users are there?

One single user

If you are the only person who uses the printer, you can select a device out of the following options:

  • In order to print from one spot, we recommend a model with USB connection (cable is optional).
  • For more comfort, you can choose for a model with Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n. In this way, you can print wirelessly documents from your computer.

Several users

You share the printer with several users. For a shared and simultaneous use, you can choose for one of the following options:

  • Use a RJ 45 Ethernet cable for a connection with a RJ network. Via this network, it is possible to connect different computers to a single printer with cables.
  • You can share your printer or execute print tasks via a local wireless network (Wi-Fi 802.11g/b/n).

Pay attention to the capacity of the RAM memory. In case of a large capacity, print tasks are set in a queue, without blocking the computer. An example :

  • Recommended RAM memory for 1 person : 16 MB
  • Recommended RAM memory for 5 persons : 128 MB
  • Recommended RAM memory for 10 persons : 256 MB

What are your needs regarding mobility?

Portable printer

You want to use the printed document immediately. In this case, it is a good idea to opt for a portable inkjet printer. The device prints in a blink of an eye your documents stored on a computer by connecting it with a USB cable or Bluetooth. The printer must be connected to the power network or work on a battery (optional for some brands).

Remote controlled printer

For printing outside the office

You want to print documents from a distance, even when you are not in your office. Check first if your printer is equipped with a function for printing from a smartphone or a tablet. This varies a lot among the different brands and models :

  • Apple : AirPrint
  • HP : ePrint
  • Canon : Google Cloud Print – Pixma Cloud Link
  • Epson : Epson Connect
  • Samsung :Google Cloud Print

For printing via Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi direct establishes a direct connection between a mobile device and the printer, without interference of the company’s network, and without inserting a password.

For printing without contact

The brand new models on the market allow you to print without contact or via NFC (Near Field Communication). It is already sufficient to approach the NFC tag on the printer with your mobile device (on condition that it is an Androïd version) in order to start the printing process, without interference of a local wireless network or Wi-Fi direct. This is an ideal solution for showrooms, reception halls for customers and suppliers, etc.

How many pages do you want to print ?

The volume of printed pages has also an impact on the choice of the required printing material.

For sporadic printing

You print sporadically, or more or less regularly, polyvalent documents (less than 500 pages a month), e.g. mails and reports. Opt for an inkjet printer with a resolution of at least 5760 x 1440 dpi, that also allows you to print excellent pictures. The higher the resolution, the better the quality of the picture or the document. The printing speed is expressed in IPM (image per minute) in black and white or in colour.

Useful tip: Prefer a printer model with separated colour cartridges for printing polyvalent documents. Consequently, you just need to replace the empty colour cartridge, which allows you to save a lot of ink and money.

For regular printing

You print very often documents (between 500 and 1000 pages a month). In most cases, we advise you to pick out a laser printer, but at the same time, you need to take into account the cost by page in accordance with the consumption. Inkjet printers deliver already after 2 years similar results as laser devices.

Cost by page : divide the purchase price of the cartridge by the capacity (number of pages), e.g. 50 € / 560 page=0,089 € for each printed page.

Attention : The capacity varies according to the printing settings (draft, standard, high definition), the type of printed documents (texts or pictures) or the type of paper.

Depending on the result, there are different possibilities :

  • First, you can opt for a laser printer. The speed of the laser printer is expressed in PPM (page per minute). Compared to an ink cartridge, you can print a large number of pages for a lower cost with a toner. The capacity of the paper drawer and the RAM memory are clearly larger, which results in a higher score in terms of productivity.

For copying

Do you make a lot of copies? If the answer is “yes”, a monochrome (black and white) or colour laser printer will be the most efficient.

Choose a model with a document charger. Insert a pile of paper, in order to gain time. A model with automatic double-sided printing will help you to save even more paper.

For intense printing

You print or copy regularly a large volume of pages (more than 2000 pages a month). Monochrome laser printers for size A3 are in this case the best option. They are equipped with paper drawers for a large capacity, toners of a high volume (up to 10000 pages), a document charger and a function for automatic double-sided printing.

For printing pictures

You only print pictures. If this is true, it is important to look for a model with a fast printing process. For perfect qualitative pictures, it is advised to print on the compatible photo paper.

Useful tip : the compartment for the printer cartridges is always on the front, which makes it easier to change the refills.

Other functions

Presently, everybody can enjoy the simplicity and the user comfort of an efficient printer, thanks to the recent innovative and functional applications :

Automatic double-sided printing

Thanks to this function, it is possible to print you document automatically on both sides, without needing to move over for turning the sheet to the reverse side.

Document charger

The charger is a tray on which you can put a pile of paper for copying or faxing, without needing to stay right in front of the device. Some printers even have a charger for double-sided printing.

Paper insertion

The location of the paper tray can be important (when it is at the back-side of the printer, it is not an ideal model for installing it against a wall). Some models have 1 or 2 trays, so you can use 2 types of paper. The devices that can be applied for printing on A3 paper - in most cases provided with a tray or an insertion slot at the back - allow you to print documents with maximum size A3, and to print your files on different and/or thicker paper goods (paper with a higher weight, labels, envelopes, etc.).

Touchscreen

Most of the new devices have a touchscreen with shortcuts for the common functions. This is an extremely simple and user-friendly solution, due to the different icons that guarantee a fast access to a large number of functions. Models with a large screen permit you to request a print preview. These screens may not be confused with LCD screens, which give only information.

Memory card reader

There are different slots on the front side, that correspond with several card types (SD, SHC, etc). After you have inserted the card, you can print the documents immediately, without interference of your computer.

PictBridge

Thanks to this application, you can connect your camera directly to the printer, without interference of a computer and without removal of your memory card.

USB port

You can find it on the front or the side of your printer. Via the USB port, you can print directly stored files or scan documents to a USB key.

Printer Control Language

Depending on the model, there a several printer languages : PostScript or PS. They correspond to specific printing requirements :

  • PCL3 uses Bitmap characters,
  • PCL5 allows you to change the scale via intellifont,
  • PCL5e is responsible for the communication in both directions between the computer and the printer, supported by Windows,
  • PCL6 assures a faster print of graphics and a more efficient management of the data transfer.

Required operating system

Most devices are compatible with PC (Windows) and Mac OS (check always the version), Linux and Citrix. Do you hesitate? Ask some advice at an expert. He will certainly be able to check if the desired model is compatible with your own operating system.