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Here at CityInkExpress, we are often asked for advice on which printer model would be best for our customers. In this blog post, we hope to shed some light on the sometimes bewildering array of options available in the market.

 

 

Toner or Inkjet?

 

Traditionally, businesses have always chosen a laser printer over an inkjet because of the reduced running costs involved with a laser printer. That is no longer necessarily the case, and many small or medium businesses (SMBs) are taking advantage of the latest business inkjet offerings from the various printer manufacturers, with real-world print speeds of up to 22 pages per minute. Fitting a continuous ink system can often be cheaper than using toner cartridges, and the reduced startup costs are very attractive.

 

 

Which Printer Manufacturer?

 

Generally speaking, Canon produce the printers most suited to photo printing, and many of their models are able to handle cardstock up to 300GSM (grams per square metre).

 

Epson produce fantastic all-round printers, and their small-in-one printers from the Expression range are well suited to families on a budget.

 

Brother printers are relatively fuss-free, cheap printers suited to a variety of uses. Whether you are a small business looking to print invoices, or need a printer to handle your children's homework, a Brother printer may well be the way to go.

 

 

How Much to Spend?

 

Budget is a concern for most people, and we will always do our best to meet all of your requirements, but as with everything you get what you pay for. We can help you find a professional quality photo printer, or a high-speed printer for invoices, for under £100, but there will be a trade-off in terms of other functions. Ideally, you should look to buy a printer which does everything you need it to, and nothing more. That way, you won't be spending money on a function you won't use.

 

There is also another key point to consider when buying a new printer: running costs. One of the cheapest printers currently on the market is the Canon iP2850, starting at around £30 plus VAT. If you need a basic printer for occasional use, it may well be the way to go, but the cartridges can cost £25 a set, and will only last for around 180 pages. Clearly, printer price isn't everything.

 

 

You're Not Helping. Which Printer Should I Buy?

 

Alright, back on topic. You need a printer, and you don't know which one. There are too many to choose from, and you don't know how to narrow it down. The easiest way to choose a printer is to ask yourself the following questions:

 

  • How much do I want to spend?
  • Do I need a scanner/copier, or just a printer?
  • Should the printer be wireless? Will I want to print from my phone?
  • What kind of things will I be printing? Is it for card-making, invoice printing, photo printing, or a mixture of everything?
  • How much printing will I do?
  • Will I need to print double-sided?
  • Do I want to print in A3, or just A4?
  • Is there anything else I want the printer to do, or any other features I would like (e.g. printing onto CDs, fax capability, or a rear tray for cardstock).

 

If you can answer most of these, we will find the printer for you. Here are some examples of printers which we might recommend for different uses*:

 

 

"I just want a printer. For printing."

The Epson WF-3010DW is a fantastic little printer. It is completely lacking in bells and whistles, which means that the money goes to producing one of the best small printers on the market. At 9.2 colour pages per minute (or 15ppm in black and white), with automatic duplexing and wireless functionality, and a 250-sheet paper tray as standard, the WF-3010DW punches well above its weight in terms of print quality and speed. If you want all of this and a scanner as well, you would have to spend twice as much on the printer!

 

 

"I need something cheap with a scanner to print the kids' homework, and occasional photos."

Epson's Expression small-in-one printers are ideal for light use in a home environment. The XP-225 is the cheapest currently on offer, and for just £45 you can have a USB printer/scanner/copier capable of handling all types of printing.

 

 

"I need a printer for the office, as cheap as possible. I mainly print invoices."

Brother's all-in-one printers offer a very competitively priced option for small businesses or home offices. With prices from £75, the DCP-J4110DW is a real workhorse. With print speeds of 16 pages per minute, and the option of occasional A3 printing as well as a scanner/copier, many businesses should look no further than Brother's J4000 range of printers. For larger offices, the J5000 series is well worth a look, as they are more suited to heavy use.

 

 

"I want a professional-quality photo printer, but I don't want to spend any money."

The Canon Pixma iP7250 was made for photo printing. For just £60, you can have a wireless printer with a maximum print resolution of 9600*4800 dpi, and capable of handling cardstock up to 300gsm.

 

 

"I would like a printer for heavy use in the office."

This is a request we get a lot, and there are plenty of options to choose from. Whether it's Epson WorkForce Pro range, Canon's new MAXIFY printers, HP's OfficeJet Pro or Brother's J5000/6000 range, there is a huge range of inkjet printers available for SMBs. Different prices and print speeds, along with other options such as fax and double-sided scanning, enable you to find the perfect printer for your requirements.

 

 

"I don't like any of those. My needs are different."

That's not a problem. Drop us an email to admin@cityinkexpress.co.uk and we'll find a printer/CISS combination to suit any environment.

 


*Prices and current models are correct as of 29/01/2015. Links provided are to printer bundles, with a CISS and 100ml bottles of ink included in the price.

4200DTNS

 

 

For some reason, printer manufacturers have never put a lot of effort into naming their machines. It would be refreshing to see someone like Brother or HP roll out a new model called 'The Inkredible' or 'Colourama', but no - it's always DCP this and 3800DN that. How boring.

 

But have you ever wondered what those names might mean? A quick browse through our toner cartridge range will throw up a mind-boggling variety of acronyms and suffixes, but unless you're already a printing expert, it's probably all greek to you. What, for example, is the difference between an HP LaserJet 3500 and an HP LaserJet 3500n

 

In today's blog, we're going to explain what some of those letters stand for. Note that different manufacturers use different nomenclature, so this information will vary between brands; still, most of these are reasonably universal:

 

  • D is for Duplexing: This printer is capable of double-sided printing.

  • L is...a tricky one. It can denote a low-speed printer (although this is more commonly written as LS); bizarrely, HP have also been known to use it to denote a stapler function (see S).

  • M means that this printer has PostScript capabilities. Not to be confused with...

  • MFP is for Multi-Fucntion Printer: This printer also functions as a scanner, photocopier, etc.

  • is for Network: This printer is network-ready, meaning that multiple printers can connect to it at once. Non-network printers must be plugged into the computer you're printing from.

  • is for Stapler or Stacker: This printer has a built-in stapling function...or a paper stacker for large jobs. Not to be confused with...

  • SE is for Special Edition: This printer was marketed as a 'special' version of a previous model. Note that this doesn't refer to any specific features or functions.

  • Si is used by Hewlett-Packard to denote high-volume printers.

  • T is for Tray: This printer has an additional paper tray.

  • is for Wireless: Printer can connect to the network wirelessly (as opposed to printers, which have to be physically connected to the network).

  • X is used to denote that this printer has several different features - it looks a bit cleaner than DTNSL, after all!

Did we miss any? If you're still not sure what that model name means, why not get in touch?

If you currently own or are planning to purchase a laser printer, then unfortunately toner is something you need to get to grips with. Toner cartridges are an essential element of any laser printer and indeed without one your printer simply won't print! If you want to stay on top of your printing game, you need to know the ins and outs of toner to really make the most out of your printer. We regularly get tweeted, emailed and facebooked all manner of questions about toner cartridges, so we thought we'd put together this handy FAQ blog post to try and answer all of the most common toner questions in one place. 

 

Toner Cartridge FAQs 


1. Are toner cartridges expensive?


To put it simply - yes, they tend to be. Toner is a powder form of ink, rather than the traditional gloopy ink we're used to with printers. A standard toner cartridge is more expensive than a standard ink cartridge, however there are a variety of compatible toner cartridges for most printer models which are significantly cheaper than manufacturer branded toner cartridges. Of course, the more you print the more you'll have to replace your toner - so indeed it depends entirely on how often you print and whether you're opting for manufacturer or quality alternative toner cartridges. 

 

2. How long does a toner cartridge last? 


This depends on how often you print, the type of printing you're doing (if you're printing high-quality images obviously more toner will be used) and whether or not you correctly installed and cleaned your cartridges when you first purchased them. You should regularly schedule cleaning courses for your toner to keep it on top of its game. A standard toner cartridge should last you a couple of months though!

 

3. How does the quality of a toner cartridge compare to that of a standard ink cartridge?


A toner cartridge should produce documents and pictures of a much higher standard than an ink cartridge. 

 

4. Is a genuine manufacturer toner better than a compatible alternative toner cartridge?


Technically speaking yes. Printers are designed to have compatible toner cartridges from the same manufacturer. However, in our experience we have found our range of carefully selected high-quality alternative toner cartridges produce documents and images of equal standard to genuine manufacturer toner, without the cost!

 

5. What do I do with my empty toner cartridge?


Recycle it! There are a number of companies who will do this for you and collect your toner cartridges for free - some will even pay money for the privilege!