Inkjet printers are well known for the rich detail they give to printed images. Since their appearance on the market, they have been one of the most coveted and high-quality ways for home and business users to get great prints out of a printing unit. In addition to their long list of advantages, however, there are a few disadvantages to these quality printers, as well. Consumers who are considering buying an inkjet printer may have some questions as to the pros and cons of these popular units.
Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of inkjet printers can help consumers determine whether or not it is the right printer for their needs. Consumers may also want to weigh some retail options when it comes to buying these printers for their homes or offices. While some brick and mortar vendors offer a reasonable selection in many cases, an even broader catalogue of inkjet printers is available online on retail sites like eBay.
How Inkjet Printers Work
To begin, it may help to understand how an inkjet printer works. While laser printers scan an image onto a page using a laser, an inkjet printer actually drops spots of ink onto the paper. This creates a very rich image, especially when it comes to printing photographs. The technique with which a printer propels the ink onto the page is called 'drop on demand'. There are two types of drop-on-demand printing: thermal DOD and piezoelectric DOD.
With thermal DOD, the print cartridge is constructed with multiple tiny chambers that contain heaters. A current is passed through the heater in the chamber, which causes the ink to vapourise and create a bubble. This bubble creates a pressure increase in the chamber that pushes out a droplet of ink onto the paper. With piezoelectric DOD, the cartridge has piezoelectric material inside instead of a heating element. When a voltage passes through the chamber, the piezoelectric material changes shape and generates a pressure pulse in the fluid to propel a droplet of ink out of the chamber.
The Pros of Inkjet Printers
There are several pros to inkjet printers. These pros include the variety of these types of printers on the market and the clarity with which these machines can print.
Inkjet Printers Exist in a Diverse Marketplace
Inkjet printers are the most common commercial printers on the market. Because of this, there is a lot of competition between manufacturers to create the latest and greatest inkjet printer. This also creates a very diverse marketplace. Consumers can find affordable, low-maintenance, home and business printers or very high-end, expensive inkjet printers. If consumers prioritise having a wide array of choices, inkjet printers certainly deliver on this point.
Inkjet Printers Are Affordable
The fact that the inkjet market is saturated has driven down the price of many of these units significantly. While a very high-quality printer can still be quite expensive, market saturation has created a very healthy price point for the majority of inkjet units.
Inkjet Printers Are Easy to Use
Inkjet printers are user-friendly and easy for many individuals to use. Ink cartridges load easily and are easily replaced. Given their ubiquity, many users may know how to use them just from being around these printers for so many years.
Inkjet Printers Port Easily with Computers
Inkjet printers are compatible with most computers on the market. The vast majority of inkjet printers, in fact, are supported in Windows as a matter of course. Many Linux and Mac computers also support these printers.
Inkjet Printers Are Lightweight
Inkjet printers have light, compact form factors, for the most part. Even a standard desktop inkjet printer can be moved easily by almost anyone. Inkjet printers also come in highly compact portable models. Users can take these printers with them wherever they go to use with a laptop.
Inkjet Printers Are Great Image Printers
Users can port their inkjet printers directly with a camera. This allows them to print images directly from the camera without the use of external storage media. When used with quality photo paper, inkjet printers can also create the best printout of a photograph. Inkjet printers are much better at blending colours smoothly than laser printers, and this creates true-to-life images with ease. If a user prints image-heavy documents or wants to print photos regularly, an inkjet is a significant advantage.
Inkjet Printers Do Not Need a Warmup
Inkjet printers are quick starters. While a laser printer may need some time to warm up, most inkjet printers are ready to print as soon as they are turned on. This can save a rushed consumer a lot of time and stress.
Inkjet Printers Work with a Variety of Paper Types
Inkjet printers can print on almost anything. They can, of course, work with regular copy paper if images are not being used, and they can print well on glossy and textured paper, as well. Some inkjet printers can even print on fabric quite clearly.
The Cons of Inkjet Printers
There are, of course, also some disadvantages to using Inkjet printers. Before buying one of these printers, consumers should consider carefully whether these cons outweigh the pros of an inkjet printer for them.
Inkjet Printer Ink Is Expensive
While the units themselves can be quite affordable, the printer cartridges that come with these units can be quite expensive. Many consumers have been surprised to find that the running cost of a printer in the long-term is much more expensive than anticipated due to the ink costs. A moderately priced printer can end up feeling like an expensive printer after buying several rounds of ink cartridges. Some users consider purchasing a continuous inkjet printer as an alternative. These units have a vat for ink and just need to be topped off regularly. Inkjet printers with a continuous system are not that common in the commercial marketplace, however.
Inkjet Printers Work Best with Higher-Grade Paper
Since inkjet printers use actual ink, they can quickly saturate a piece of paper, especially when printing photos. This can cause paper to warp, curl, and waffle. When printing anything other than simple text documents, inkjet printers work best with higher quality, heavier weight paper. This can add to the operational costs of an inkjet printer. In most cases, if someone is printing photographs, they would always want to use photo paper or photo stock, thereby eliminating this problem. Printing regular text usually does not cause a saturation problem on the paper.
Inkjet Printer Ink Can Dry Up
If a consumer ever goes a few months without using an inkjet printer, the ink inside the cartridges can actually dry up. This is not just a waste of cartridges. This can also cause blockages within the printer. Inkjet printers have cleaning cycles that can clear these issues up. Excessive cleaning, however, can shorten the performance life of an inkjet printer.
Inkjet Printers Print Slowly in Comparison to Laser Units
When printing a basic text document, inkjet printers work quickly enough. When it comes to more complex printouts, however, they begin to drag their heels. When complexity is at stake, even the fastest inkjet is nowhere near as rapid-fire fast as a laser printer.
Inkjet Printouts Can Smear or Fade
When an inkjet image prints out, it often needs time to dry out. If a printout is not given sufficient time to dry, it can smear and ruin. Many users do not always have time to wait for an image to dry and may end up losing work. Inkjet ink is also water-based. This can cause an image to fade over time.
Inkjet Printers Have Low-Capacity Trays
For consumers who print a lot, the fact that inkjet printers have low-capacity trays could end up being a problem. Most inkjet printers designed for home use can only load about 50 to 100 sheets of paper at a time. They also do not often come with output trays, meaning that high volume printing can become disorganised with an inkjet printer.
Buying Inkjet Printers on eBay
For consumers who decide that an inkjet printer's pros outweigh its cons, the online retailer eBay is a great option for making a purchase. This site brings together multiple vendors and allows users to comparison shop with ease and peruse through a number of different model types. Running a search using the search bar with a general term, such as 'inkjet printer', can bring up thousands of listings and give consumers a wide range of options to consider.
Getting to Know the Sellers on eBay
Another advantage of the site is that it allows consumers to communicate with and evaluate sellers. This can help clarify for consumers whether a product and a seller are right for them or not. To do this, consumers can just click on a seller's name to visit the seller's page. Feedback submitted by other consumers can be a useful read, as can past listings that a seller has posted.
Inkjet printers are some of the most prevalent and useful home and business printers in the world today. Many consumers have enjoyed the advantages of these printers to print out text, photos, presentations, and more on a daily basis. Before choosing to move forward with an inkjet printer purchase, however, consumers may want to weigh all the advantages and disadvantages involved. Certain consumers may find that another choice, such as a laser printer, better suits their usage demands.
For consumers who want to go ahead with an inkjet purchase, they can leverage the wide catalogue of printers available on eBay to make a purchase. Running a search on this site pulls up countless models and styles of inkjet printers that could be the widest range of options out there. If buyers prefer to shop locally instead of online, inkjet printers are typically easy to find in computer and electronics stores.