Today, the convenience of more portable printers has completely transformed how the average business tackles printing. But every printing task will require a different type of tool for the job.
To find out which printer type you actually need, you first need to lock down what you’ll be using your printer for the most. Will it be a home office printer only? Will multiple people be using the machine? Do you want a printer connected via Wi-Fi or through a traditional USB port? Consider your answers as you explore our printer type offerings below.
For home printing tasks, an inkjet printer is a gold standard. As one of the most common and popular printers consumers are familiar with, color inkjet printers have rapidly become a staple in home offices for the less frequent printer.
However, if you’re looking for a printer designed for heavy-duty printing jobs, this may not be the model for you. The additional cost of ink and replacement cartridges, paired with their relatively slow printing speed compared to more durable printer types, would not make them suitable for a high-volume office setting.
Best for: Small office or home office printing; low volume color or photo printing; B&W printing jobs.
Businesses require a printer that can maintain quality and efficiency when faced with high-volume printing. Laser printers are built to handle your larger tasks with ease, boasting relatively low ink costs, large paper tray sizes, and numerous connectivity methods (including wireless and Wi-Fi options). Some models specialize in monochromatic printing, while other laser printers can handle both color and B&W printing.
Compared to inkjet printers, laser printers have a faster print speed and are better equipped to handle large printing needs. Similar to a laser printer, LED printers use the power of light-emitting diodes (LED) to complete your printing tasks.
High-quality color laser printers are available at affordable price points, like Canon imageCLASS printers or HP LaserJet Pro printers, which include auto duplex printing and mobile printing.
Best for: Business and commercial printing needs; larger printing projects.
If you’re looking for a versatile, multifunction printer to take on the vast majority of your everyday printing tasks, an all-in-one printer is for you. These are the best home office printers and can handle printing, scanning, copying, faxing, and more.
The best all-in-one printers possess total functionality with convenient features, such as wireless printing, smartphone capabilities, touch screens, and more. With dozens of different options, there is a competitive selection of all-in-one printers. Top all-in-one printers can be found from brands like HP, Epson, Brother, and Canon.
Best for: The casual printer or professional home printer.
Dot Matrix Printers
Reminiscent of old-school typewriters, the dot matrix printer utilizes a print head that marks an ink-soaked ribbon. While not extremely popular, there are still some uses for dot matrix printers, especially for people looking for a lower-cost monochrome printing option. Their simplistic design and durability make dot matrix printers a perfect option for working in dusty or industrial environments. High-quality dot matrix printers are available from brands like Epson and OKI.
Best for: Simple small business or office printer; black ink printing jobs.
An alternative to traditional inkjet printers, supertank printers feature refillable, expanded ink tanks that need refills when running low. Using ink bottles to replenish ink avoids having to use single-use ink cartridges and increases printing capacity: Ink bottles can yield around 4,500 pages of black and 7,500 pages of color printing with just one bottle.
These high-capacity ink tanks eliminate bulky and wasteful ink cartridges in favor of time and money-saving bottles of ink. When it’s time to replenish the ink tanks, it’s as simple as pouring in more ink and getting back to your printing task at hand. Selections of supertank printers are available from trusted brands like Epson and Brother.
Best for: Eco-friendly and high volume needs.
The paper types, paper sizes, and printing medium used will vary from thermal printer to thermal printer. However, thermal printers are designed to exclusively use thermochromic paper. Thermal printers are popular among all types of commercial use due to their low cost and ease of use. Many businesses that print food labels, barcodes, receipts, and tickets turn to thermal printing as a simple and effective way to deliver their products.
There are many types of thermal printers, like receipt, label, or photo printers, from brands like Canon, Epson, and Brother.
Best for: Foodservice, factory, retail, freight, or photo printing jobs.
Which Is the Best Printer for You?
Your top choice of printer will vary dramatically based on the particular reasons you need a printer. Are you looking for a dependable, high print quality machine for your home office? An inkjet or all-in-one printer is likely the choice for you. Are you a floor manager of an office who needs a new heavy-duty machine for printing and scanning? A laser printer is likely your best bet.
Want to learn more? The printer buying guide includes additional information on which printer is best for you.
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. It is provided “as is,” and neither the author nor Office Depot warrants the accuracy of the information provided, nor do they assume any responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein.
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