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Types of Printers & Which one is Best for your needs

Printers are devices that can be used to create hard copies of documents. There are different types of printers depending on the type of output and materials used.

It’s possible to lose track of time while working on a screen. You’ll inevitably run into the same challenge, whether it’s a long text, an edited picture, or your first novel: how do you get it out of the computer? Using a printer becomes the tool.

A printer is a computer that prints text and graphics onto a physical medium like paper. It is an outside piece of hardware that takes data from a computer or other system and turns it into a hard copy. If you made a report on your computer, for example, you could print multiple copies to distribute at a staff conference. Printers are one of the most common computer accessories. They are used to print text and pictures. Printers are of various styles, which you will read about later.

It’s not easy to choose a printer because there are so many options, each with its own set of features. So, here’s a path to help you sort it all out!

Read Our Other Printers' Unbiased Reviews: i. Best Sublimation Printer - ii. Best 11X17 Color Laser Printer - iii. Best Negative Scanner

Let’s take a peek at some of the different printer technology.

Types of Printers Laser printer inkjet printer thermal printer dot-matrix printer led printer

Types of Printer Technologies

We have many types of printers; each of them has different uses. These printers use ink, toner, or laser to print the desired output. They vary in price and size and can be used on various platforms.

Some people want to buy a printer that is compatible with all their devices. The best choice would be an all-in-one printer where they only need one device to print any document, photos, or artwork in different formats such as A3, A4, and portrait mode.

Printers are the most common type of device in the office. They are essential for any business that needs printing done regularly. A good printer needs to have a large capacity for paper sheets as well as a large ink cartridge that will keep running for a long time without stopping at all times.

  1. Inkjet Printer
  2. Sublimation Printer
  3. Laser Printers
  4. Thermal Printer
  5. LED Printer

We will be reviewing each of these to get a better insight into what type of printer you need to get.

#1. The Inkjet Printer

An inkjet printer is the most common type of printer used in homes. They are cheap, work well enough for photos, and are more than enough for the needs of the average home user. Inkjet printers have been so common in recent years that they are now found in almost every household. They are inexpensive to purchase, portable, and normally very dependable.

Non-impact printers that print text and photographs by spraying tiny droplets of liquid ink onto paper are known as inkjet printers. They are the most widely used printers at home. The majority of inkjet printers today use either thermal or piezoelectric inkjet technology.

In a thermal inkjet printer, the heating device heats the liquid ink to make a vapour bubble. This bubble pushes the ink droplets out of the nozzle and onto the paper. Most commercial inkjet printers made by companies that make inkjet printers use this technology. Fixed-head and disposable-head inkjet heads are the two major types of inkjet heads.

Therefore, fixed head printer ink cartridges are less expensive since the print head does not need to be changed. If the head is destroyed, however, the whole printer must be replaced. The replacement ink cartridge comes with a disposable head. When an ink cartridge runs out of ink, it is replaced.

Inkjet printers are reasonably priced. They are less expensive than a standard black-and-white laser printer and somewhat less expensive than a color laser printer. Several manufacturers, in particular, sell some of their printers at a loss. You will always find the printer on sale for less than the cost of a package of ink cartridges!

The type of paper you use for an inkjet printer has a big impact on the image quality. Standard copier paper works, but it doesn’t produce the same crisp, vibrant image as inkjet printer paper. Image quality is influenced by two major factors: brightness and absorption.

Who Should Buy this Inkjet Printers?

Disposable ink and print heads are used independently by several printer manufacturers. The print head is designed to last much longer than a disposable print head and is ideal for high-volume printing. If the head becomes clogged or damaged, it can be quickly replaced.

Despite the fact that inkjet printers are most often used in homes and small companies, some manufacturers, such as Hewlett Packard, have developed high-end inkjet printers for commercial use. Advertising illustrations and scientific sketches are commonly printed on these specialist inkjet printers.

  • Economical and reasonably priced
  • High production efficiency, with the ability to print fine and seamless data
  • Capable of printing in vibrant colour, making it ideal for printing photographs.
  • It’s easy to use and operate
  • Relatively fast processing
  • Less noisy than a dot matrix printer
  • There is no need to warm-up
  • The print head is less reliable, vulnerable to clogging and destruction.
  • Expensive ink cartridge replacements
  • It’s not suitable for high-volume printing.
  • Printing speeds are slower than laser printers.
  • Ink bleeding, which causes blurred effects on certain papers due to ink flowing sideways.
  • Aqueous ink is water-sensitive, and even a slight drop will cause blurring.
  • It is not possible to use a highlighter marker.

Also Read: Most Common Causes of Printer Failures

#2. Sublimation Printer

They come in a variety of sizes for printing on cloth at home and in the workplace. Following the selection of a template to print, the sublimation printer will assist in the printing of the design on a specific type of paper created for the purpose. The pattern is printed onto the cloth or paper using a heat press.

Sublimation is the process of printing sublimation ink on sublimation transfer paper with a sublimation printing system. Unlike traditional inkjet transfers, sublimation ink becomes part of the layer (or t-shirt surface) you print on. Inkjet transfers use a carrier layer to print the ink on top of the shirt or object.

When your special sublimation transfer paper is heated and forced onto the substrate and reaches a certain high temperature, the ink turns into a gas. Heat not only absorbs the gas from the sublimation paint but also opens up the pores of the polyester, rubber, or polymer-coated object you’re heat pressing.

Let the temperature drop until your sublimation printer presses the transfer paper onto the object and then lets go of the pressure. At this point, the sublimation ink turns back into a solid, and the pores permanently close, trapping the ink inside the polymer coating of your substrate.

Who Should Buy this Sublimation Printers?

Based on the properties and on the permission of the business owner, an individual with a regular use requirement can own a sublimation printer.

  • If done correctly, the image you pass onto your object will not fade or vanish over time, as long as the substrate isn’t affected.
  • Since the ink becomes one with the ground, you should expect an incredibly smooth, soft-to-the-touch texture.
  • You don’t have to turn down a customer who requests four shirts with 37 colours each.
  • This method helps you to print full-colour transfers and heat press them onto 100 per cent polyester shirts.
  • The procedure is limited to 100% polyester clothing or substrates with a special polymer coating. What does this imply for you? Unfortunately, closeout mouse pads will not be available at Office Depot.
  • The sublimation inks used in this process are translucent. As a result, you can print on white or light-coloured substrates, as dark fabrics cannot move the image properly. So, not a great option for dark garments.

#3. Laser printers

The laser printer is the next kind of printer that is common, but they are still more costly than inkjet printers.

Laser printers are non-impact printers that can print text and images at high speeds and with high resolution (600 to 1200 dpi). Laser printers, unlike inkjet printers, use toner (black or colored powder) rather than liquid ink. The main parts of a laser printer are the drum cartridge, the mirror that spins, the toner cartridge, and the roller.

If the paper is fed in, the drum cartridge rotates. The mirror reflects the laser beam through the drum’s surface. Because the laser beam creates a charge, the toner can stick to the drum. As the drum turns and pushes on the paper, it moves toner from the drum to the paper, making images. The toner is then fused to the paper by rollers using heat and pressure.

Who Should Buy this Laser Printers?

Laser printers are available in various sizes, ranging from small personal printers for home use to large commercial printers when printing text and basic graphics; laser printers produce the best results, so everyone can buy this.

  • It has a high resolution.
  • Quick printing speed
  • There will be no smearing.
  • Pricey compared to inkjet printers.
  • Laser printers, with the exception of high-end devices, are less capable of printing vibrant colours and high-quality images such as portraits.
  • Toner and drum repair costs are prohibitively expensive.

#4. Thermal Printer

In thermal printers, hot needles are used to print on paper that responds to heat. As the paper moves over the thermal print head, changes in temperature cause black and other colors to be used to make photos or text. The paper is put between the print head and the roller, and the printer sends an electric current to the thermal head to make the image.

The two ways that thermal printers use to print are direct thermal printing and thermal transfer printing. Traditional thermal printers work by pressing electrically heated pins against heat-sensitive paper (thermal paper) using the direct thermal process. In places where the thermal paper is heated, the coating turns black, forming characters or pictures. Ink, toner, and ribbon are not used in direct thermal printers.

Tape cartridges are used in the printer on newer computers. The cartridges have a waxy substance. The paper is fed through the groove between the print head and the roll while the printer is in operation. The material adheres to the paper due to the heat.

Who Can Buy Thermal Printers?

They are simple to operate and use relatively little electricity, ensuring that they do not interrupt the workplace environment, clients, or colleagues, which means they are ideal for offices and homes. They are also user-friendly printers.

  • It is extremely swift, small, resilient, and transportable
  • The most striking feature of this style of printer, though, is its low cost and the ease with which paper cartridges can be refilled.
  • Since these devices use heat to begin running, if they get too hot, they can consume more ink, causing printing to become less reliable and effective.
  • Since the paper is heat sensitive, even human contact will create smudges and stains.

#5. LED Printer

These work in a similar way to a laser printer, but instead of a laser and mirrors, they use an array of LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes). To shape the printed image, the LEDs generate a charge on the drum line by line, and then the toner is drawn to the drum in the same way as a laser printer does.

Following that, the paper is fed through the drum machine and onto the paper. Finally, the fuser heats the paper to a high temperature and bakes it onto the paper. In terms of action, a charge is first added to the surface of the drum unit, much as it is in all “toner” printers. A charging shaft or a corotron, which is a stretched cable, is used for this purpose.

The charge will be positive or negative depending on the substance used to make the photo cylinder. The latter is the more popular alternative. In general, there is no distinction between laser and LED instruments at this time. The theory of light emission is the key distinction between the two technologies.

A system using LED technology is almost identical to a laser printer, with the exception that it has just one light source instead of many, i.e., laser. Due to the different light sources, the LED unit will show more precise edges of the image charges.

Furthermore, this technology enables you to improve the accuracy of printed graphics. Since LED printers do not have a spinning mirror assembly, they are much quieter than laser printers. This also improves the LED printer’s dependability and extends its lifespan.

Even if the disparity is minor, standard fusers do a much better job of maintaining a consistent and even temperature than an LED array, which has thousands of diodes with varying intensities. With this in mind, it seems likely that LED printers will soon become a good alternative to laser printers.

Who Should Buy LED Printers?

This is an ideal home-friendly printer, which is portable and energy-efficient. It can be used in various workspaces too, although due to the lower image quality, the types of offices are limited.

  • They’re quieter because they don’t need any moving parts to move the image to the photoreceptive disc, unlike laser printers that require a rotating mirror.
  • They can also be more portable due to the lack of moving pieces.
  • They’re more dependable, and they don’t have any rotating parts that could snap with everyday use.
  • Printing is easier since the negative charge on the photoreceptive drum is generated in fewer stages.
  • LED printers conserve energy as compared to laser printers because LEDs are known to be extremely energy-efficient.
  • • Printing accuracy is marginally lower than that of laser printers.

Also Read: Office Printing Statistics

Printer Technology

There are a number of different printer technologies to choose from. These technologies can be divided into two divisions, each of many types:

Impact printers

They use a device that makes contact with the paper to produce an image. So here are the two most significant impact technologies:

  • Dot-matrix printers attack an ink-coated ribbon with a set of small pins, allowing the ink to migrate to the paper at the point of contact.
  • Character printers are essentially typewriters that have been computerized. They have a ball or a set of bars on the top with individual characters (letters and numbers) embossed. The character’s portrait is transferred to the page as it is hit against the ink ribbon. For simple text, character printers are quick and sharp, but they are constrained in other ways.

Non-Impact Printers

When making an image, non-impact printers do not make contact with the paper. This category covers inkjet printers, as well as:

  • Inkjet printers, including the ones mentioned in this article, use a series of nozzles to spray ink drops directly onto the paper.
  • Laser printers use dry ink (toner), static electricity, and heat to mount and bind the ink onto the paper, as explained in detail in How Laser Printers Work.
  • Solid ink printers use wax-like ink sticks that are melted and then added to the paper. The ink then sets in place and hardens.
  • Dye-sublimation printers use a long roll of translucent film that looks like red, blue, yellow, and grey cellophane sheets glued together end to end. Strong dyes contributing to the four basic colours used in printing are integrated into this film: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black (CMYK). The print head has a heating feature that changes temperature based on how much of a certain colour needs to be used. Until returning to a solid state, the dyes vaporise and permeate the shiny surface of the paper. For each of the simple colours, the printer makes a full pass over the page, progressively creating the picture.
  • Thermal wax printers are a cross between dye-sublimation and solid ink printing. They use a ribbon with CMYK colour bands that alternate. A print head with a set of tiny heated pins moves in front of the ribbon. The pins melt the wax, which adheres to the paper and hardens in place.
  • Thermal Autochrome – Colour is printed on paper rather than in the printer of thermal autochrome printers. The paper is made up of three layers (cyan, magenta, and yellow), each of which is stimulated by a different amount of heat. A heating device in the print head may be adjusted in temperature. The print head moves over the paper three times, ensuring that each colour sheet is at the proper temperature.

Closing Words

We hope we have cleared up all your questions and doubts regarding what type of printer to buy, and we assure you that this will be worth your time, effort, and money. All of the five printers we have discussed above are excellent! Whether it is a LED printer or a Laser Printer, with the right weighing out of needs, you can surely trust the collective judgement and buy the best.


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Tony Hoffman

Tony Hoffman is a tech expert with over 10 years of experience in the printer and scanner industries. He has developed a keen eye for the latest innovations and trends in printing technology making him a go-to resource for consumers and professionals alike. His engaging writing style and ability to break down complex topics make his articles and reviews accessible and informative for a wide range of readers. Outside of his work as a tech writer Tony enjoys tinkering with gadgets and exploring the outdoors.View Author posts

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