If you’re sick of going to the local library and forking over your loose change every time you need to print something, you may well have considered purchasing a printer of your very own. But if you’ve never owned a printer before, the unfamiliar jargon (not to mention the many available options) may leave you scratching your head. What’s a laser printer, and is it any better than an inkjet? What’s the difference between ink and toner? How on earth does a 3D printer work?
Fear not, citizen – CityInk Express will clear everything up for you. Here are some of the most common types of printer explained:
Laser printers are popular for several reasons – they print very quickly, they’re reasonably quiet, and they’re pretty economical in terms of toner usage. Toner is more expensive than ink, but a toner cartridge will last far longer before it needs replacing. Also, since laser printers don’t use normal ink, you don’t have to worry about smudging that crisp new document you’ve just printed.
That description of laser printers may make inkjet seem the far inferior option, but that’s not really true. In fact, an inkjet printer is probably the better choice if you want to print in colour – the photos and documents that you print will have a higher quality than those printed by laser. Inkjet printers also tend to be smaller (i.e. more portable) and slightly cheaper than laser printers.
As already mentioned, inkjet cartridges are cheaper and less fiddly to change than toner cartridges, although if you’re going to be printing a lot, a laser printer may save you money in the long run since it will last longer on one cartridge.
Dot Matrix Printer
The dot matrix printer was once the very height of printing technology, but nowadays, it’s considered somewhat obsolete. It’s kind of like a typewriter, in that it uses pins to strike the paper and press ink onto the page. This results in a much lower print quality than laser and inkjet printers, although some companies still use dot matrix printers because the ‘impact’ printing style allows for carbon copies to be printed simultaneously.
A relative newcomer to the printing scene, you’ve probably read a fair bit about 3D printers over the last year or so. Obviously, this isn’t what you want for your university essays; a 3D printer is used to create three-dimensional models right before your eyes. You can create your own designs, or download other people’s creations from Cubify. A different kettle of fish altogether, but worth mentioning nonetheless!