Without the help of a quality laser printer buying guide, it can be very overwhelming to buy your first laser printer. There are so many options available and different printers to choose from that it is easy to be frustrated.
This frustration is especially real if you are looking for a printer that has specific abilities or benefits.
By following a buying guide, you can be sure that you get a laser printer that will meet your needs and allow to you do any of the printing that you need to do without going over your budget or buying one that won’t last for years.
Home Or Small Office Laser Printer Buying Guide
Questions First-Time Laser Printer Buyers Should Ask Themselves
- What Kind of Capabilities Do You Need? If you are going to be using your machine to fax, scan, and copy as well as print, then it will automatically narrow down the different printers that will work for you. These are more expensive and tend to be larger than ones that only print but offer a lot more functionality that may be beneficial to you in the future.
- What Will You Be Printing? You will also need to think about what you are going to be printing most of the time. While some people only use their printers for printing text, if you want to print photographs, then you will need a different kind of printer.
- Will You Need to Print on Both Sides? Being able to print on both sides of your paper makes printing a lot faster and will decrease the amount of money that you spend on printer paper. Without this ability, you will have to manually turn around the paper each time you want to print on the back, which can be frustrating. For many people, not having to monitor the printer and turn the paper each time you need to print on the back is worth any increase in cost.
- What Kind of Computer Do You Have and Do You Want to Be Able to Print Wirelessly? Older computers and ones that run on alternate operating systems may not be compatible with all types of laser printers, so it’s important to know the specifications of your computer before going shopping. Also, if you want everyone in your family to share the printer and print wirelessly, then it’s essential to find one that can connect to a network.
Types of Laser Printers
There are some different types of laser printers that you will be able to choose from when you are looking for your new printer. Each one has its own set of pros and cons.
- Color Laser Printers: These are very important if you are going to be printing a lot of pictures, pamphlets, or brochures. By using a few different kinds of toner, they can quickly create any color that you may need.
- Black-and-White Printers: Ideal for the user who isn’t concerned about being able to print in color, these printers offer crisp and sharp text. They do a great job on black and white graphics as well.
- Personal Laser Printers: If you are going to be using your new printer at home or in a small office, then you can efficiently use a personal printer without any problems. Newer models can easily print hundreds of pages a day without any issues, making them ideal for small businesses. While they can be hooked up to a print server so many different computers can use the same printer, too many pages in a day can wear it out.
- Workgroup Printers: For larger companies with more than ten people who will be using the same printer, you will want to buy a workgroup laser printer. These have the same capabilities as smaller personal printers but can handle the increased workload.
- Network Laser Printer: These printers can connect to your LAN in your office building so that all of your employees can efficiently use it. They are heavy-duty, and the most expensive choice, so individuals looking for a printer will likely pass over these options.
Top Laser Printer Manufacturers
While any manufacturer can create and market a laser printer, you do want to make sure that you are buying from a reputable company. This reputation will ensure that the product has been tested and that they will offer any necessary support if you do run into problems with your printer.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Laser Printer
By researching the printer you think that you are going to buy before you pay for it, you can make sure that you will be happy with your purchase. Consider these factors, and you will be sure to make a great decision.
Ease of Use:
Some printers are a lot easier to use than others are, especially if you have difficulty with technology. It’s important to know your abilities and not to buy a printer that you find to be very frustrating.
Setting up a printer to communicate with your computer can be difficult, as can replacing the toner, so make sure that you understand precisely what goes into the actual use of the printer.
Toner can be very expensive, depending on the brand, so it’s smart to do some research beforehand to find out how much it will cost actually to operate your new printer. If the toner brand that you will have to buy is out of your budget, then you may want to consider a different printer that uses a less expensive toner.
Some printers can connect to your computer wirelessly, which makes it very easy to print even if you are not right next to the printer. If, however, you are the only one who will be using the printer, then connectivity is not a big deal, and you can likely connect to the printer with a USB cable.
Some laser printers are quite large and depending on how much space you have in your home office or at work; you may have to consider a smaller printer than the one that you would prefer.
While larger printers may offer more features such as multiple paper trays, if you do not have the space to place the printer, then you will need to choose a different option.
While a printer that can scan, fax, and copy, as well as print, seems very neat to have, it’s important to consider how much you will use those various functions. If you are not going to be using them, then it’s smart not to pay for them as they can significantly increase the cost of the printer. Only if you need these features should you pay for them?
All of the available features will factor into the cost of the printer, so it’s important to know what your budget is before you go shopping.
While considering the future and the cost of toner that you will have to buy is essential, you also have to think about how much you are willing to spend on the printer itself. With so many different options, it can be easy to go over budget without realizing it accidentally.
Features to Look for in a Laser Printer
It’s important that the printer you buy to meet your needs, or you will have to buy another one relatively soon. This waste is not only frustrating but a waste of money. Keep an eye out for these features to make sure that you buy a printer that you will enjoy and that will work for you.
Less-expensive printers will often have lower resolution. This lower resolution means that the image quality will not be very good. Make sure that you buy a printer that offers high enough resolution to print clearly, especially if you are going to be printing pictures or photographs.
While most printers will handle letter-size paper and envelopes, if you need to print on legal paper, labels, or heavier stock, you will need to make sure that your new printer can handle the work. Different paper trays will help with this problem.
It’s important to consider how fast you want to be able to print as some laser printers can print quite quickly. Bear in mind when you are comparing printers and thinking about print speed that manufacturers will base their print speed on a low-quality setting. This speed means that if you are going to be printing in color, then it will take longer than merely printing in black and white.
If you have a particularly old computer, then it’s important to make sure that your new printer is compatible with it. While printers most often use USB cables to connect to networks, if that will not work with your computer, then you will have to come up with a different connection option or choose a different printer.
The memory matters when you are deciding between printers. Not everyone realizes that printers have memory, but they do and they rely on it when they are printing substantial jobs or ones that have much color.
Printers that have plenty of memory will be able to print large jobs a lot faster and more reliably. If you use a printer with limited memory, it can slow down your computer and make working on your computer at the same time very frustrating.
Some printers can have memory added to them at a later date, and this is an excellent option if you know that you are going to continue to grow and want to make sure that you will not have to buy a new printer shortly.
Putting it All Together
Now that you know some information about what to consider when buying a laser printer, it’s time to make a decision. You will first want to start by determining your budget for purchasing the printer as well as how much you are willing to spend on toner each month.
After you have your budget, think about the different features that are available and decide which ones are the most important to you. This examination will help you to narrow down all of the available options.
When you have prioritized the available features, you can move on to considering various models.
If you have a preference about which company you want to buy from, that’s great. Otherwise, you can go on a case-by-case basis when considering printers.
Think about where you will put your printer and how many people will be using it. You can now exclude from consideration printers that are too big or small or won’t be compatible with the number of people who will need to use it to print.
Finally, think about how much you will be printing, if you will need color or can work with just a black and white printer, and whether or not you can buy an individual printer just for your use or if you need a larger one that can handle requests from some people.
By being very methodical in your search and in narrowing down your choices, you will easily be able to find the best printer to meet your needs. While you may not want to spend all of the time beforehand trying to figure out what printer is best for you, by doing your research and planning will save you a lot of time and money as well as frustration.
Use this laser printer buying guide to help you decide what printer is best for you and you’ll be able to plan out what features you need and will make sure that it will work for your space. The perfect printer does exist; it just may take a little effort for you to find it.
You can start your search by checking out our list of the best laser printers for the home or small office or check out our laser printer reviews below.