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How to buy a printer

Inkjet vs Laser

An inkjet printer sprays tiny drops of ink onto paper to produce vibrant images and crisp text. A laser printer uses laser technology and toner cartridges to deliver high volumes of prints that won't smudge at speeds higher than inkjet printers. With the ability to seamlessly blend colours, inkjet printers are great for printing everything from text to banners to professional-quality photos. Laser printers are popular in offices because they produce precise, professional-looking documents and handle small fonts/fine lines better than inkjet printers.

Print Speeds

Speed is important if you're a frequent printer. Print speed is determined by how many pages per minute (ppm) a printer can push out. Laser printers are generally much faster at churning out documents than inkjet printers. To avoid an anxious wait as you print a 50-page report, opt for a machine with higher print speeds of at least 20 pages per minute. If you print the occasional photo or email, print speed may not be as important.

Paper Capacity

If you plan to print in high volumes, you’ll want a printer with a high paper capacity. Most home-based printers will have one paper tray that can hold an average of 150 pages. On the other hand, since offices tend to print in higher volumes, multiple paper trays that can hold 200 or more pages will help reduce the number of times you have to refill the trays. You’ll also want to make sure the printer can hold different paper sizes, especially if you regularly use something other than letter size.

Wireless Printing

Wireless printers with built-in WiFi or Bluetooth capabilities allow you to print almost anywhere without needing to directly connect your computer or mobile device. Apple AirPrint allows you to print documents from your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch by simply tapping the "print" icon – there’s no software to download, no cables to connect, and no drivers to install. Some printers even have a feature that assigns an e-mail address to it so you can just load up a message window, attach your file, and send it to your printer’s e-mail address.

Advanced Features

Some printers come equipped with advanced features such as duplex printing and touchscreen management controls. Duplex printing is a real time saver because of its ability to print on both sides of a page without you having to turn the paper over and re-feed it into the machine. A printer with management controls like a touchscreen LCD screen make it easy to navigate your printer and quickly input data, such as the number of pages you want to print or the e-mail address you want to send a scanned copy to.

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Discover the Perfect Printer

For everything from printing invoices to digitizing old family photos, there’s a printer that meets your home and office needs. Printers come in various forms and sizes, from office-friendly laser printers to economical all-in-one inket printers that can print, scan, copy, and sometimes fax from one machine. Best Buy carries a wide selection of printers and scanners from brands like HP, Canon, Brother, Epson, Lexmark and Xerox, to meet your needs.

Tips on finding the perfect printer

1. Figure out exactly what and how much you need to print.

Are you an occasional casual at-home user printing out a book report or snapshots, or are you a busy daily user with a home office who relies on a high output? Answering this question will help you determine what kind of printer and what functions you require. Maybe you just need a photo printer or maybe you need a multifunction printer that can copy, print, scan, and more.

2. Determine the quality of the printing you need.

If you’re going to be printing presentation-quality text, graphics and photos, you may want to invest in a higher-end model with higher resolutions.

Inkjet vs laser: Laser printers are the shining stars among office users, while inkjets provide high quality colour printing at a reasonable cost. Laser printers are phenomenal for high-speed printing and can tackle large volumes while today’s inkjet printers are far more cutting-edge and make for the perfect home and office essential. Inkjets can offer richer colours, and great features at a lower cost per page.

An inkjet printer sprays tiny drops of ink onto paper to produce vibrant images and crisp text. With the ability to seamlessly blend colours, inkjet printers are great for printing everything from text to banners to professional-quality photos. Features such as built-in WiFi, Apple AirPrint, and HP ePrint make it easy to wirelessly print from a range of devices, including laptops, iPads, iPhones, tablets, and more.

Perfect for the home or office, a laser printer uses laser technology and toner cartridges to deliver high volumes of prints at speeds higher than inkjet printers. With monochrome and colour varieties, laser printers are ideal for printing both text and images. And with added features like wireless capability, laser printers can be easily connected to by multiple computers.

3. Choose the right size printer for your space.

Are you in a small office or apartment and want to make sure your printer doesn’t take up too much valuable space? There are tons of compact and portable printers to choose from, as well as ones equipped with WiFi for keeping them out of sight until you need them.

4. Make the call on colour or black and white.

If you’re only ever printing out basic documents, newsletters, and rarely needing colour print-outs, it may be more economical to opt for a black and white printer. You can always opt to have photos printed at a photo lab or other service. On the other hand, if you prefer to have the flexibility and versatility of getting beautiful colourful printing results at home, whether it’s for a presentation or a snapshot, a colour printer is the way to go.

Want more info? Check out some of our resources

Printer Buying Guide