Choosing the right laser printer

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Why choose a laser printer?

Laser printers give very clean, accurate high quality printing in colour or monochrome (black).  Today's machines provide low cost printing and fantastic results. Many also work as scanners, photocopiers and fax machines, some will even fold and staple your printing into booklets - if you want to make a great impression you need a laser printer. 

We always have a great selection of all types of laser printer, from small desktop printers to large office machines and we're always happy to help and advise you - visit us at goldstoneprinters.co.uk or message us at CheaplaserprintersUK through Ebay.  But if you'd like some basic information to help you chose the best laser printer for the work you need it to do, please read on...

How do they work?

If you want a digestible explanation of how laser printers work, Wikipedia has a good one, go to wikipedia and search for laser printers!

Features and benefits

The main advantages of laser printers are speed, precision and economy. A laser can move with much greater speed than an inkjet. Because laser beams have an unvarying diameter, they can draw more precisely, without spilling any excess ink.

Laser printers lend to be more expensive than inkjet printers to buy, but are cheaper to run. Toner is cheap and lasts a long time, while you can use expensive inkjet cartridges very quickly. This is why offices typically use a laser printer for printing long documents.

It's easy to make a great impression with a laser printer. Armed with desktop publishing software, a digital camera and a colour laser printer, even one person working from a home office can create professional looking documents and marketing literature.

Prices have gone down in recent years as manufacturers have found new ways of cutting production costs. Output quality and build size have both improved, making them more suited to home use than ever before.

Mono or colour?

A monochrome (that’s black & white to you and me) laser produces sharp text fast. Monochrome lasers are best at reproducing text, especially if you need to print fonts that are larger or smaller than the usual 10 to 12 point sizes. 

A laser printer offers a lower cost per page since monochrome toner is comparatively cheap and regular paper does the job. Monochrome laser printers also tend to have better paper handling options. For example, they can hold more paper or make it easier to attach an extra tray for different paper sizes. These features make a monochrome laser printer a great choice for the home office or small office workgroup.

Apart from their speed, one of the main advantages of colour laser printers is the durability of their output -a function of the chemically inert toners that are fused on to the papers surface rather than absorbed into the paper like the ink from inkjet printers. This allows colour lasers to print well on a variety of media without the problems of smudging and fading that beset many inkjets. By controlling the amount of heat and pressure in the fusing process, output can be given a finish from matte through to gloss.

Consumables

Just as inkjet printers require regular ink cartridge replacement, laser printers have a number of components that periodically need to be changed, though much less often. There's the OPC (Organic Photoconductor) drum, developer unit, ozone filter and fuser. Some printers allow you to change these components separately. 

The cartridge is the major item in a laser printer. Its lifetime depends on the quantity of toner powder it contains. When the toner runs out, the cartridge is replaced. Sometimes the toner cartridge and the OPC drum are housed separately, but sometimes the drum is inside the toner cartridge. This means that when the toner runs out, the whole drum containing the OPC is replaced, which ensures high quality prints with little maintenance.

Not all of the consumables inside cartridges wear out when the toner is finished so you can save money and recycle the cartridge. A remanufacturer can simply refill the cartridge with toner or rebuild the cartridge by replacing the drum and a few other components with new ones. The remanufactured cartridge is usually quality tested too. Buying remanufactured cartridges can save you between 25¬50% and help the environment.

Cheaplaserprintersuk has a great range of remanfactured and new printer consumables. 

Specifications

Once you know what type of printer you need, there are a number of technical criteria to consider.

Resolution:

The printer's resolution tells you how many dots per inch (dpi) can be printed: the higher the resolution the better the image quality. Resolutions are quoted for both the horizontal and vertical (i.e. 300 x 600). The standard resolution to aim for is 600 x 600.

Speed;

Printer speeds vary a lot. Laser printers are generally faster than inkjets and monochrome text printing is faster than colour graphics. The pages per minute (ppm) quoted in printer specifications tells you how fast the engine can turn out blank paper. This ‘raw engine speed’ is not the actual printing speed because it doesn’t include processing time. It's wise to read printer reviews the quote the actual printed ppm.

Duplex;

All printers can print on both sides of the paper but if you don’t want to have to flip a printed page over and re-feed it through the machine you need a duplex facility. This enables the machine to take control and your finished document will exit the printer with both sides printed in a single pass. This not only saves time, but also cuts down your paper costs.

Paper handling;

Paper is obviously a crucial part of printing. For text, most laser printers work well with ordinary paper stock but some colour printers require specialised stock for best quality results. Factor in the extra cost for this paper when you evaluate cost per page.

Most lasers and inkjets can handle A4 paper. Expect to pay significantly more for a printer that can handle A3.

Some printers can also print on heavy stock, envelopes, transparencies and labels. Make sure the printer can handle the types of paper you need. If you want to print on a variety of papers you should also consider a printer with multiple paper trays. The capacity of the trays may be a factor depending on your expected printing volume.

Compatibility;

Not every printer is will work with all operating systems (Such as Windows, Apple, and Linux) although most laser printers work with Windows. The printer specification will tell you what operating systems are supported.

If you use Linux or other operating systems check on the printer manufacturer’s website or one of the operating system websites that there is a driver available for the machine you want before you buy.

Inerface:

The parallel or USB ports are fine for personal use or a small office where users are sharing one printer, but larger workgroups will require a printer with a network (usually Ethernet) connection. Network connectivity is often indicated by an ‘n’ at the end of the printer model e.g. HP9500n. Some newer printers also offer wireless connectivity.

Memory;

Laser printers need memory to hold a document. Often manufacturers reduce printer prices by including just enough memory for low-resolution printing. Make sure you check the printer has sufficient memory to print at the resolutions you want. As with PCs, you can often add memory to a printer if you need to.

Help??

We hope this short guide has helped.  If you'd like to know more please message us at cheaplaserprintersuk through Ebay or look at our current offers at CheaplaserprintersUK

Thanks for reading!



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