Printer Buying Guide


Are you getting confused by printer jargon and technical terms? View our Printer Buying Guide, which we have created to make printing simple again.

There are many options available; all with their own benefits. Find out which is best for you.

Inkjet Printer

Inkjet Printers

Inkjet printers are the go-to devices for everyday home use, particularly as replacement ink cartridges are generally cheaper than toner for laser printers.

Inkjet cartridges create text or an image by dropping miniscule amounts of ink onto a page. Overall, inkjet printers are ideal for printing tickets, reservations, homework and small projects.

Also, inkjets are much better than laser devices when it comes to printing photographs, so you can print all the family snaps on your home device.

See our range of inkjet printers here.

Laser Printer

Laser Printers

Laser printers are the traditional choice for offices and homes that print large amounts, as they are designed for the more frequent user.

Laser technology prints by heating fine, powdered toner onto the paper. Specifically built to keep up with a demanding, fast pace, laser devices are ideal for large jobs that need to be printed at a high speed – particularly when printing in black and white.

Also, while toner does cost more than inkjet cartridges, the amount of pages from a toner cartridge is often significantly higher, meaning that the overall cost-per-page works out cheaper.

See our range of laser printers here.

MFP

Multifunction Printers

Multifunction printers – or 4-in-1/3-in-1, as they’re also known, provide homes and offices with everything you could need for a comprehensive print setup.

Giving users the ability to print, copy and scan, with some also offering an integrated fax function, multifunction devices come with both inkjet and laser technology, so you can benefit from the capabilities in whichever ink you’d like.

Also, many all-in-ones often come with more than one paper tray, making it simple to switch between different quality paper in various sizes.

See our range of multifunction printers here.

LED Printer

LED Printers

LED printers are similar to laser machines in terms of design and print quality, with the only difference being the print heads. LED print heads have an array of LEDs for light generation, while laser technology uses a single light beam.

Manufacturers such as Brother, OKI and Xerox use LED technology to produce impressive models for a whole range of users.

See our range of LED printers here.

Business Inkjet Printer

Business Inkjet Printers

Inkjet technology has undergone some impressive developments over the last few years, allowing inkjet devices to compete with laser printers in a busy office environment.

Business inkjet printers offer the same quality of print, impressive speeds and reliability of their laser counterparts, with large-capacity ink cartridges keeping print costs low.

A great option for any office wanting to upgrade their print setup on a budget.

See our range of business inkjet printers here.

Inkjet

Photo Printers

If you’re a keen photographer, or simply want your family snaps to be a better quality, then a dedicated photo printer is the ideal choice.

Like other devices, photo printers vary in terms of the quality of print, though they will all be significantly better than a normal inkjet or laser printer.

Many photo printers also include PictBridge technology and memory card slots, allowing you to print directly from your camera without the need for a PC or Laptop.

See our range of photo printers here.

Label Printer

Label Printers

Label printers are handy devices that are ideal for use in a variety of places, such as the home, garden, office, warehouse etc. – perfect for getting everything organised.

They usually come as a handheld device, although there are also desktop label printers that are often used in an office setup. You can print on a wide range of labels with these machines, with different colours and sizes available.

Label printers mainly use two types of technology; direct thermal and thermal transfer. A heated ribbon is used in thermal transfer to produce long-lasting text or images on a wide range of labels. Direct thermal, on the other hand, creates the text or image directly onto the printed material without the ribbon, though these labels are not as durable.

See our range of label printers here.

3D Printer

3D Printers

Ideal for prototyping, small-scale manufacturing or simply as an interesting hobby for most ages, a 3D printer is an exciting addition to the home or business.

3D printing uses an additive manufacturing process to create objects; building solid designs by gradually layering heated material on top. 3D printers can use a wide range of materials, though, for consumer-level models, it is PLA or ABS plastic that is usually used.

3D technology has been recognised as a ‘game-changer’ in the world of print, as it can offer a revolutionary approach to the way we view a variety of industries, such as education, design, manufacturing and healthcare.

See our range of 3D printers here.

Mobile Printer

Mobile Printers

Mobile printers are sleek, lightweight and well-designed, making them ideal to carry with you wherever you go.

Traditionally, printers have always been large devices confined to a life in the office; however, with the advent of portable devices, such as smartphones and tablets, mobile printers have filled a gap for those looking to print on-the-go.

There are a wide range of mobile printers available, all with different features and capabilities for users. So, whether you want to print full-size A4 documents or small photographs, there is a mobile printer to suit your needs.

See our range of mobile printers here.

Dot Matrix Printer

Dot Matrix Printers

Dot matrix printers use a more traditional technology to produce prints, with a print head moving back and forth across the page, striking an ink ribbon against the paper to print by impact – much like a typewriter.

Dot matrix printers are not a device you’d have in the home or office, however, they are extremely durable and can print multi-page forms – i.e. carbon copies – which is something that laser and inkjet machines cannot do.

This feature, paired with their robust design, makes them ideal for industrial, warehouse or garage use.

See our range of dot matrix printers here.

It’s also handy to have a general idea of how much you’ll be printing on average. For example, if you’re likely to be printing thousands of pages each month, you can get a printer that specifically designed to do so – giving you a better quality of print and lower costs per page.

Find out which is suited to your specific requirements.

Inkjet Printer

Home

Ideal for general use; printing tickets, booking confirmations, homework and general documents.

Up to 300 prints per month.

Laser Printer

Small office / Home office

Perfect for up to five users printing documents on a regular basis.

Up to 3,000 prints per month.

Inkjet Printer

Medium Office

Perfect for up to five users printing documents on a regular basis.

Up to 8,000 prints per month.

Laser Printer

Large office

A printer with plenty of power that can handle the demands of a busy office and large print jobs.

Up to 10,000 prints per month.

There’s also the cloud printing capabilities, as well as the ability to print directly from USB and memory cards to consider, too.

Find out which of these are likely to suit your print needs.

Inkjet Printer

Apple AirPrint

AirPrint is a technology from Apple that allows you to directly print images and documents from iPads, iPhones and iPods with ease.

All you need is an AirPrint-compatible printer that is on the same Wi-Fi network as the device you’re printing from.

Once this is setup, you can simply print documents, web pages, images etc. from your Apple device.

Laser Printer

Wi-Fi Direct

Wi-FI Direct is a simple way of printing from a device straight to a printer, without the need to connect to a traditional Wi-Fi network.

Using Wi-Fi Direct, you can just connect your device and to a compatible printer and send your print jobs straight to the machine.

MFP

Google Cloud Print

Google Cloud Print is a service from Google that allows any Cloud Print-compatible device, such as a tablet or desktop PC, to print to any printer.

All devices have to be on the same cloud network, though that is all the setup that’s needed, as printer drivers don’t need to be installed.

This handy application gives you the ability to print to any printer, no matter where you are.

LED Printer

Mobile Printing

Printing from mobiles and tablets has been made very simple, with many manufacturers offering their own mobile print app for both iOS and Android operating systems.

List of mobile print apps available:

  • Brother iPrint&Scan
  • Canon Mobile Printing
  • Dell Mobile Print
  • Epson iPrint
  • HP ePrint
  • Kyocera Mobile Print
  • Lexmark Mobile Printing
  • OKI Mobile Print
  • Ricoh Smart Device Print&Scan
  • Samsung Mobile Print
  • Xerox Print Portal

Business Inkjet Printer

Media Cards

Plenty of printers also have a card slot, allowing you to print directly from a media card.

This is handy for printing photographs from a digital camera or smartphone, without the need to connect to a PC or laptop.

A whole range of media cards are accepted by plenty of different printers, including SD and MMC cards.

Inkjet

USB/PictBridge

Printing from USB is another option, allowing users to directly print from a USB flash drive without the need to connect to a PC or laptop.

There is also PictBridge, which is a technology that gives you the ability to print straight from your digital camera.

Some manufacturers offer direct printing to their own devices – i.e. printing from a Canon camera to a Canon printer, but PictBridge is an industry standard technology, meaning that you can connect any camera to a printer as long as they both have PictBridge support.

Inkjet

NFC

NFC Printing, or Near Field Communication Printing, is a short-range wireless technology that allows data to pass from one device to another by simply touching them or holding them close together.

If your device has NFC technology built into it, then all you have to do is select the file you would like to print, hold the device on the NFC-enabled printer for a few seconds, the dedicated app will open up, click print and that’s it – you have your print.

Inkjet cartridges are used in inkjet printers, while toner is used in both laser and LED devices. There is also gel ink for Ricoh printers, as well as solid ink, which has been specifically designed by Xerox.

Inkjet Printer

Inkjet

Inkjet cartridges, which are used in inkjet printers, offer high-quality prints, particularly when printing photos.

Each cartridge contains liquid ink, which is fed through print heads with microscopic nozzles. As the print head moves across the paper, the nozzles create the image or text with tiny droplets of ink.

Also, inkjets are much better than laser devices when it comes to printing photographs, so you can print all the family snaps on your home device.

Laser Printer

Toner

Toner is used in both laser and LED printers, delivering an accurate, high quality of print.

The two main components of toner are iron oxide and plastic resin – and it is the latter that allows the toner powder to be heated onto the page, creating the print that was sent to the machine.

MFP

Solid Ink

Solid ink is an eco-friendly colour print technology created by Xerox for their range of printers.

Similar to a wax crayon, small solid blocks of non-toxic, no-mess ink are used, as opposed to traditional toner and inkjet cartridges. The solid ink is melted onto the page when printing, giving you a bright, vivid and durable print.

LED Printer

Gel Ink

Gel ink is a patented technology from Ricoh that is used for a selection of their printers

Gel ink comes in cartridges similar to inkjet, with the print quality being similar, too. The one key difference is that gel ink dries as soon as it hits the page, so your prints are ready instantly.


Find out what the options are and which will suit your needs best.

Inkjet Printer

Wireless

A wireless connection has become increasingly popular over the years, particularly with many people now wanting to print from laptops, smartphones and tablets.

A printer with wireless connectivity connects to your wireless network and allows all computers and devices on the same network to use the printer.

The main benefit of a wireless connection is that your printer does not have to be placed next to a computer or router; it can be anywhere that is convenient at home or in the office, while avoiding cable clutter, too.

Laser Printer

Network

A network connection is often used in offices, with businesses wanting a simple, consistent connection to a printer for all the PCs, laptops and devices.

The network is commonly formed from a router or access point that can be connected through an Ethernet cable or wirelessly. This connection allows all devices on the network to communicate with each other, including printers.

A network connection allows a whole range of devices – PCs, laptops, tablets and the like – to connect to and send jobs to a printer.

MFP

USB

Using a USB connection is common with home users who are looking to ‘plug & play’ as your printer will often automatically install when connected via USB.

A USB connection is simple, effective and takes very little time in terms of setup. However, it’s always recommended that you download the latest printer drivers for the best results and performance from your device.

LED Printer

Parallel

Parallel cables are the traditional connection for printers, though they have largely been replaced by USB as the most commonly used wired connection.

Parallel connections are now mostly used for Dot Matrix printers.

There are a wide range of sizes, thicker paper and card stock, as well as different coatings, such as glossy for printing photographs.

There are also specific types of paper depending on your printer, so, for example, you can get glossy photo paper for both inkjet and laser printers.

Inkjet Printer

A4

A4 is the most common paper size used in the home or office for general documents, reports, homework etc.

See our range of A4 Paper

Laser Printer

A3

A3 is a larger paper size than the average A4 and is usually used for projects, posters, signs etc.

See our range of A3 Paper here

Inkjet Printer

Inkjet and Photo Paper

This photo paper is popular with those printing photographs on a dedicated printer.

See our range of Photo Paper

Laser Printer

Custom

There are plenty of other paper sizes to suit everyone’s specific print needs.

See our range of custom paper

GSM

GSM, which stands for ‘Grams per Square Metre’, is a universal measurement of paper thickness. In basic terms, the higher the GSM, the thicker your paper is.

To give you an idea of what you should expect, office paper is around 80 GSM, while photo paper is anywhere between 180 and 300 GSM. Remember to consider the GSM of your paper, depending on what your printer accepts and what it is you’re printing.

Find out which printer brand is best for you.

Inkjet Printer

Brother

One of the leaders in print, Brother offer a full range of innovative and reliable laser and inkjet printers, along with scanners, fax machines and label printers.

View our Brother range

Inkjet Printer

Canon

Using their years of experience, Canon offer a wide range of laser and inkjet printers, as well as dedicated photo and large format printers.

View our Canon range

Inkjet Printer

Dell

Dell use their extensive experience in the field of print to deliver a wide range of colour, mono and multifunction printers.

View our Dell range

Inkjet Printer

Dymo

Dymo offer unrivalled quality when it comes to label printers, with models suited to a wide range of industries and businesses.

View our Dymo range

Inkjet Printer

Epson

Epson offer a huge variety of options when it comes to their printers, with inkjet, laser, large format, label and even dot matrix printers available, as well as scanners.

View our Epson range

Inkjet Printer

HP

A go-to printer brand after years of impressive quality in the world of print, HP offer a huge range of laser, inkjet and multifunction printers, along with large format devices.

View our HP range

Inkjet Printer

Kyocera

With over 50 years of experience, Kyocera have established themselves as one of the go-to manufacturers for cost-effective, eco-friendly printers that offer an exceptional, reliable performance.

View our Kyocera range

Inkjet Printer

Lexmark

Lexmark are a leading name in print, providing a broad range of printers and imaging products that are durable, versatile and designed with productivity in mind.

View our Lexmark range

Inkjet Printer

OKI

Using the quality and flexibility of their LED technology, OKI offer a impressive portfolio of colour, mono and multifunction printers, as well as dot matrix models.

View our OKI range

Inkjet Printer

Ricoh

With over 75 years of innovation and expertise, Ricoh have become a trusted leader with an impressive track record when it comes to producing affordable, high-quality office equipment.

View our Ricoh range

Inkjet Printer

Samsung

Samsung use cutting edge technology and innovation in their printer range, combining that with low print costs and environmentally-friendly features to offer a full range of exceptional printers

View our Samsung range

Inkjet Printer

Xerox

With over 100 years of innovation, product development and technological expertise, Xerox are one of the most trusted brands, with their devices offering much more than just copying capabilities.

View our Xerox range

Automatic Document Feeder [ADF]

An automatic document feeder, or ADF, allows you to copy or scan multiple documents at once, without having to manually insert individual sheets of paper.

An ADF is usually found on multifunction printers and scanners.

Duplex Printing

Duplex printing, which is also know as two-sided printing, is a handy feature that allows you to print on both sides of the paper.

You can choose to use this cost-effective feature as and when you desire..

E-mail Printing

E-mail Printing is a feature available on selected printers that provides a form of wireless printing from any device once the printer is connected to a network.

Printers with this feature have a unique e-mail address, allowing you to send documents and images directly to the machine for printing.

Mono Printer

Also known as monochrome printers, these devices print black and white documents only – making them ideal for businesses.

Mono laser printers have faster speeds than the standard mono inkjet printers.

PPM

PPM simply stands for ‘pages per minute’, highlighting how fast the print speeds are on each model.

Print speed should be taken into consideration if you plan to use your print to regularly print large jobs.

Laser printers are traditionally faster than inkjet, however with the advent on business inkjet printers, this has changed somewhat.

Print Quality: DPI

DPI stands for ‘dots per inch’ and is a measure of print quality. Generally, the higher the DPI, the better quality of print.

However, DPI is only a basic measure of quality; other factors should be considered when it comes to print quality, such as ink, paper etc.

Rear Feed

Some printers have a rear feed, which is another way to input paper into the device.

Rear feeds are usually used for larger size paper, such as A3, or specialty paper stock.

Wi-Fi Direct

Wi-Fi Direct gives you a wireless connection between a printer and a device, such as a tablet or smartphone, without the need for a Wi-Fi signal.

This is ideal for homes and offices without a wireless network, or for a back up if a network is to go down.