The vexed question of printers and inks

I am sure you’ve heard a friend tell you that it’s cheaper to buy a new printer then it is to buy the inks. Well, I’m here to tell you that after extensive research on the major printer manufacturers, the starter cartridges you receive with the new printers are generally half the capacity or less then if you buy a refill.

While it’s true that many manufacturers do sell their printers cheaper and make up the margin on the inks, there is much more on offer then just printing.

 Multi-function printers

Many people opt for the multifunction printer, generally the cheaper household variety is the inkjet printer offering print, scan and copy options. Many of these printers provide photo quality prints, printing on both sides of the paper (duplex printing) and have a touch sensitive LCD screen.

They also connect to the home wireless network and are compatible with Apple and Android devices so you can not only print from your computer or laptop but from your tablet and smart phone.

Some can also link with Google Cloud Print or their own cloud service to allow you to print not just from home but from anywhere with an internet connection.

Reviewing websites such as Choice.com.au, PCMAG.com.au and Productreview.com.au, among others, it seems the Canon Pixma, Epson Expression or Workforce, or the Brother MFC are the best value for money.

They offer any combination of these features and at reasonable prices. It is important to note that their inkjet refills are also included in these reviews for value for money.

 Laser printers

If you are not looking for the photo quality full colour multifunction print option, one of the best value for money options is a black and white laser printer. This is an emerging market and currently cornered by Brother and Fuji Xerox. It is excellent value for money.

They offer wireless printing, cloud printing and duplex printing like their inkjet counterpart, but for high-volume printers, the cost per print is less than a third of an inkjet printer. So, when you’re next in the market, consider what you actually print and whether this is an option.

For myself, a father of two high school girls with lots of assignments, I have both a laser printer as the day-to-day black and white workhorse of the household, and a multifunction printer for when I need a colour copy, to scan and send documents or to print out an assignment.

Printer software has become more user friendly over the years, but to I feel it still has a long way to go when considering wireless home networks and software compatibility.

For me, if I have one week where I am not fixing a printer issue on a home network then it is an unusual week!

 If you would like some more direction please contact your local technician for their advice on your needs, or email me nathan@hometechassist.com.au. 1300 682 817.