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Printer Quick Finder
Choosing the right printer, that suits your printing needs
The biggest brand is not always the best choice, by selecting the wrong printer you leave yourself open to a number of pitfalls; high running costs, low productivity, low quality, limited paper handling, reliabilty issues and general poor performance.
The following information will help you make an informed choice about the best printer for your needs.
There are a number of things you need to consider when choosing a printer, the importance of each varies with the user, but all should be considered before purchase.
Obviously you need to decide first if you just want a stand alone printer, or a multifunction printer which allows copying, printing, scanning, faxing etc. Once you have decided on this the information below should help in your understanding of how to choose the correct printer for your needs.
Laser printers go to a maximum print size of A3+, if you have a print requirement larger than this you need to look at inkjet. Epson offers the best range of professional Inkjet printers, Epson 4880 - A2+, Epson 7880 – A1+, Epson 9880 - B0+, Epson 11880 – 64”. These are the professional inkjet printer range from Epson and are often used by photographers, graphic design companies, marketing departments, architects, artists, print bureaus, etc.
Oki offers an A3 laser printer which can print on oki banner paper giving an A3 wide, 3 ft long print. Perfect for sales forecasts, year planners, posters etc.
We offer a comprehensive range of Large Format Epson Medias, Hahnemuhle Fine Art Papers, Epson Canvas and compatible Inkjet Canvas all for printing on with Epson and other large format printers.
Laser printers are faster, more professional, cheaper to run and more productive than any office inkjet printer. Laser printers will allow a user to produce high quality, professional looking fast prints at a low cost (in comparisson to an office inkjet printer). Inkjet printers are often marketed as being able to print up to 30 pages per minute, anyone with prior knowledge of inkjet will know this is a huge exageration. Printing on inkjet is much slower than laser, especially if you are printing anything with images, solid colours or multiple pages.
Colour laser printers have now reached a sensible price point and demand for colour lasers is now higher than ever. We are finding that colour laser printers are not exclusive to business users, the home user market has now realised the benfits of laser over inkjet and colour lasers are now regularly found in homes throughout the UK.
Manufacturers do not make their money from the printers they sell, their profits come from the sale of consumables during the lifetime of the printer. In the first year alone a customer can easily spend 5x the value of their printer on supplies. It is the most overlooked aspect of buying a printer, but for people buying their 2nd or 3rd printers it is often the area given the most focus.
Consumables between manufacturers vary massively in cost, it is a good rule of thumb that the cheapest colour laser printers and Inkjet printers are normally the most expensive to run. To calculate the running cost of a printer, you need to look at all the consumables it uses and compare the cost of them to the amount of prints they offer – this will give you the cost per page.
To find out which printers ship with full toners email us or call us on 020 7378 4729.
The quality differences between laser and inkjet have already been discussed above. You now need to look at the quality differences of the printer type you have chosen. Print quality is measured in dpi (dot per inch) if you look at the pdf for the Lexmark C530dn you will see the quality is 1200x1200dpi (1.4million dots per square inch) this measure is a good guide to quality, but not a guarantee of it.
The quality of a printer is also determined by the build quality, engine type, toner compound type and component quality. It is often the case that two printers both advertised as 1200dpi vary massively in the final print result. For further information on the best quality laser printers email us or request a call back. Like anything else in life the cheapest are often the lowest quality.
It is expected that the biggest brands make for the best quality. This is definitely not case with printers. HP (the UK’s largest printer brand) are exceptional in their mono laser printers, but the quality of their colour laser printers is often surpassed by the likes of Lexmark / Oki / Konica and Xerox.
Some printers have LED engines as an alternative to Laser (Oki C8600N as an example), this is nothing to worry about, LED and Laser produce a very similar quality output and both now come under the category of Laser. Both are still toner based and the final result is virtually indistinguishable. LED was intially developed as it had the advantage of producing faster output.
The highest quality colour laser printers are the A3+ Graphics Models generally manufactured by the likes of Oki and Xerox. Both these manufacturers produce printers used for pre-press production and are often seen in marketing departments, graphics design companies and other creative departments. Not only are these printers capable of printing on oversive A3 paper, they also have specialist colour handling controls to provide the most accurate colour output available from a colour laser printer. In most environments getting accurate colour is not essential, but in marketing depts and pre-press environments getting colours wrong can lose you business and cost companies money. We also provide expert colour profiling solutions for business who require this.
Colour laser printer speeds vary considerably from one printer to another. When choosing your printer you need to be aware that the printers speed will not be exactly as advertised. You can see on this site that each printer lists the speed in mono and colour (if appropriate). If you look at the Oki C8600N you will see the advertised print speed of 26ppm Colour / 32ppm Mono. (ppm being pages per minute) To cause confusion; this speed refers to the engine speed of the printer and reflects how quickly the printer will print a page once it has been processed. If you send a 20 page Powerpoint presentation to this printer – it will not be finished printing in less than a minute!
Prior to printing a page the printer first needs to process the information you are sending to it. The larger the file size, the longer the printer will take to process the information. Once a page has been processed the printer can print multiple copies of that page at the advertised engine speed. If speed is vital to your work, you should also look at the other governing factors determining the processing times of print jobs; printer memory and processor speed. You can see this printer has 128 meg ram and a processor speed of 200Mhz. The more memory and the faster the processor the better.
High end graphics printers have a lot of ram, a hard disk and very fast processors to cater for the graphics intensive images they need to process. If you look at the Oki C9650 Printer PDF you will see the printer has an 800Mhz Processor, 512 Meg Ram upgradeable to 1024 Meg and a 40 gig hard disk. All this extra processing power makes this machine dramatically faster than many others on the market advertised with the same print (ppm) speeds.
The advertised print speed of a printer is only achieved once the printer has finished processing the job. Colour Laser Printers are fastest when printing multiple copies of the same page.
Paper handling is often overlooked when choosing a colour or mono laser printer. It is often assumed that all laser printers are similar in their paper handling capabilities. This is definitely not the case. The things to check prior to purchase are:
We can often arrange demonstrations on the printers we supply so please ask about this. We can also send out print samples if required.