You can use a home printer no matter what you need to print. The fierce competition between rivals such as Hewlett-Packard, Epson, and Canon has forced prices to go so ridiculously low. Now you can walk into stores - even local supermarkets - and get out of a brand new printer for $60 or less.
However, given the large number of choices on the market, choosing a home printer can be difficult, not to mention the complicated terms that seem to only complicate the process. With this in mind, we've put together a quick buying guide for choosing a home printer that simply explains some of the most common terms and suggestions that will serve most users.
The first problem that all printer buyers must address comes down to the content and quantity you plan to print.
Color inkjet printers make up the majority of the market just because they can print anything: articles, pie charts or glossy photos that you can name. Today's inkjet printers and all-in-ones are fast, and print speeds are usually comparable to or exceed those of laser printers.
Laser printers are still ideal for office setup when most of the prints you need to make are monochrome. In most cases, monochrome laser printers can be purchased at a reasonable price, provide good print speeds, and, in most cases, provide lower printing costs than color inkjet printers. But you must decide whether to give up the flexibility offered by color inkjet printers. Color laser printers are another option, but they typically have a higher cost per page than color inkjet printers.
In the past, laser printers had higher page prints per ink cartridge than inkjet printers. However, this is changing, and some newer inkjet printers can provide up to 10,000 printed pages from a single color cartridge, with 7,000 or more pages per color cartridge. This means lower cost per page and lower cartridge replacement frequency.
For home use, the multi-function unit makes sense, not only because it is cheaper than buying a printer and a stand-alone scanner, but also to save space. Because MFPs are so common and manufacturers rarely charge them high (you can often find products as low as $50 to $60), we highly recommend them for home users.
Note: Soon, you may not need to decide whether to purchase a stand-alone printer or an all-in-one. While manufacturers continue to introduce new printer-only devices for their offices, many of the new devices for home users are all-in-one models, phasing out print-only models.