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5 Things to Remember When Buying a Printer

5 Things to Remember When Buying a Printer

You’ll come across all sorts of great deals when shopping for a new home-use printer. With dozens of brands offering dozens of individual models, each highlighting different features and figures based around their performance, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose sight of the bigger picture. When looking to spend only as much as needed for your next printer, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

Buying Cheap is Expensive

One of the most costly things consumers who print with any regularity can do is buy the cheapest printer they can find. Many inexpensive printers use a lot of ink and feature high priced brand-name cartridges with smaller payloads. If you are printing out movie tickets every month or so, this may not matter, but if you’re a student running through printing term papers and reading assignments, it adds up really quickly. When you’re buying a printer, take special note in the specs for both the printer and it’s compatible ink cartridges. All manufacturers will give you the average number of pages per ink cartridge that model will print. Crunch those numbers against the price of the cartridge and compare to see if that cheap printer is really as good a deal as it seems.

Don’t be Drawn-in by Superficial Features

It’s important to step away and consider what features you will really use regularly. For example, multifunction all-in-one printer/scanner/copiers are great for students and business people who need to track receipts, save excerpts and notes from library books, or make copies of invoices for accounting purposes. But, if you’ve never found yourself shopping for standalone scanners or running to Kinkos to get something copied at the absolute last minute, you may not need those functions. Similarly, WiFi printing is really cool and convenient . . . so long as your desktop isn’t directly situated right next to where your printer will be located. Understanding what features you want and need will also give you an idea of where it’s more important to spend a little extra cash. Photography enthusiasts are better off investing a bit more into inks and printheads and saying no to the all-in-one, for example.

Choosing Between Inkjet or Laser Printer

Knowing what type of printer is best for your needs can help you prevent overspending in a big way and render better print results! You are likely familiar with the two most common printer types: inkjet and laser. Inkjet printers apply layers of ink by shooting tiny droplets through jets in the printer head. They are commonly cheaper and come ready to print in color. Most of the printers designed for printing photos are inkjets since they produce better images than more expensive laser printers. Laser printers use powder toner instead of ink. They print faster and more efficiently than inkjet printers when printing text, and despite higher initial costs, they produce more pages of text for less money in most cases. If you commonly print out longer documents that are not image heavy, a laser printer may be a better investment in the long term. Learn more about the differences between inkjet and laser printers.

Affordable Alternatives to Branded Ink Cartridges

One way to save more money is to be smarter about what ink or toner you feed your printer. Get  comparable print results, for a fraction of the price when you use compatible ink cartridges–between 30 and 60 percent less at the cash register. When you are shopping for a new printer, make special note of what type of ink cartridges–or refilling options–are available. Different printers will have different types of alternatives available. Some ink cartridges are designed to be easily refilled with a refilling kit, which not only can save you money, but acts as a great fail-safe when your printer runs out of ink at just the wrong time.

Shop for Accessories Online

Buying home office supplies online saves you more than just a trip to the store. Online retailers have lower overhead costs and offer better deals than most brick and mortar chain stores. In many cases, you can also get compatible printer supplies, that aren’t carried in a lot of stores like Staples and OfficeMax all delivered to your door. Supplies such as USB cords, connectors, and other one-off requirements for your printer, are often considerably more more expensive if you buy them in stores than online, either because the product is seen as an upsell, an afterthought, or emergency necessity for a customer by the seller. Anyone who has found themselves without a phone charger in a pinch knows all about this. At the end of the day, a little research into the next printer you buy can save you a whole lot of money in the long run. Look beyond fancy features and shop around for more affordable alternatives. Your wallet will thank you later.

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Thank you for reading this post! This article is written by a team of ink experts at LD Products - a Long Beach, California-based company that specializes in compatible ink and toner.  With over 20 years of printing expertise, we’re committed to helping you save money on printer ink without sacrificing quality.  If you found this content helpful, we’d be grateful if you supported us by visiting for all of your ink and toner needs.  We appreciate your support!
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  • I love that you remind readers to look into printer features that they are actually going to use. After all, there is no point in paying extra for a printer that can fax things if you aren’t ever going to use that function. Instead you should focus on the basics like cartridge use, how quickly it prints, and maybe whether or not it has a scanner.

  • […] nowadays offer many different functions and features.  You first need to decide if you need an inkjet or laser printer.  Inkjet printers are compact, versatile and capable of printing both documents and decent looking […]

  • I’ve heard of a printer for home office that takes toner which does not dry out. can not find online

    • Hi Joseph, laser printers that use toner cartridges generally do not dry out. Since the toner powder inside a toner cartridge is a dry powdery substance it won’t dry out like the ink inside an ink cartridge would and should last in your printer for a long time with infrequent use. For more information on the difference between ink and toner check out our blog article here:

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