Printer Buying Guide


Printer Buying Guide

Printer Buying Guide

By Anne Ahira

Though they are often billed as a simple computer accessory, a printer is actually one of the most important machines a person can own.

This is doubly true for individuals, like college students, who have to print out important documents on a daily basis.

In this article we are going to review some of the most important features of the popular printers for students, the inkjet multifunction printer.

As you might expect, these printers are known as multifunction models because they have the ability to complete a number of important and common tasks. The average multifunction printer for the home can handle copying, scanning and printing.

However, they will not scan or copy pages in bulk. But the only people who really need to copy pages in bulk at a college or university are the professors, so a standard inject multifunction printer often affords students all of the power they need.

What to consider?

As we mentioned, the first thing you will want to think about when looking at a printer buying guide is the workload. Will you be sharing this printer with roommates or other students? If so, it may be necessary to purchase a faster more expensive model. The easy solution to this problem is to estimate the number of pages you plan on printing or copying each week.

It is also important to consider the quality of the print. These two factors will tell you if you should buy an inkjet or a more expensive laser printer. Every printer buying guide tells us that these printers allow for much heavier workloads and provide cleaner, crisper copies.

A general rule of thumb is that if you need to print more than 400 pages a month, you should probably invest in a laser printer because an inject will be too expensive to maintain and it may not be able to handle the heavy workload.  In this case, a printer buying guide for laser printers can help you find the model you need.

Another important consideration is the actual cost of ownership. As you may know, injet printers rely on black and color cartridges to print. The average cost of each cartridge is about fifteen dollars.

For this reason, it is important to determine your workload before you even look at an inject printer buying guide. After all, if you make hundreds of copies each month, it is likely that an inject printer will simply be too expensive to maintain.

However, if you do not need your printer for color copies, it is possible to save quite a bit of money just making black and white prints. It is also possible to save money by buying high capacity cartridges that will last two or three time as long as the standard ones. You may even be able to purchase cartridges in bulk online.


Generally speaking, inkjet printers are not know for their blazing speed, although printing times have greatly improved from earlier models. The printer buying guide tells us that inkjet models print about 30 pages per minute.

The speed for color printing is a bit slower at about twenty-two pages per minute. These are respectable times that will allow students to print out most assignments in well under a minute, unless we are talking about a thesis paper. If you require faster speeds than these, again, you may have to consult a laser printer buying guide.

Media Support

Every inkjet multifunction model in the printer buying guide is capable of handling the most basic paper formats, such as legal, letter, and standard envelopes. If you anticipate having to print on special paper, it is best to examine the manufacturer’s description to see if the printer will be able to meet your needs.

Two other important features that you will want to investigate are the flatbed scanner and the paper feeder. These features will make like a lot easier for you, especially if you tend to print large documents all at once.


The resolution for the printer and scanner often vary from model to model. What is resolution? Well, it refers specifically to the quality of the print, or rather the number of dots that are printed on each inch of each page. One of the highest quality multifunction inject printers that we reviewed boasted a resolution of 5760 x 1440 dpi (dots per inch).

Scan resolution is also extremely important because it lets users make clear copies and scan pictures. The quality of the average optical scan in the printer buying guide was 600 x 1200 dpi. 

If the scan feature is important to you, many inkjet printer list a feature that is known as “resolution enhanced scan,” which relies on special software to improve the quality of pictures and to make them larger.

Other Features

Some multifunction injet printers include fax capabilities. Unfortunately, however, many buyers simply assume that a multifunction printer comes with a built-in fax. Then, when they get the model home and open it up, they are disappointed with what they find.

That is why you should always check to see that the printer has a fax. For even if a fax is not important to you, consider the amount of space that you will save if you ever need to use a fax.


And with that we will segue into our final important consideration when it comes to finding the right multifunction inkjet printer. Years ago, printers were massive things that could only handle a single function and often didn’t even do that especially well.

But the printers of today are an entirely new breed. Not only are they faster and cheaper (the average injet in the printer buying guide was only about sixty dollar), but they are also much smaller and easier to use.

Still, if space is of paramount importance, there are a few things you should think about. For instance, some printers load the pages from the top, while others load it from a bottom tray.

Generally speaking, a bottom tray will often be extended which means that it will take up more room. While we are often only talking about an additional five or six inches of space, if you have a small desk or a limited work area, this might be too much.

Here's Printer Buying Guide Selections: