Types of Printers

Different Types of Printers

Different types of printers have developed a lot since their introduction to the market. A little background about printers’ history is necessary to understand better how they function. In my opinion, they have been rather popular over the last two decades and have become an essential gadget for offices.

A printer has a role in producing a wide range of printable media types. This ranges from books to tapes, envelopes to T-shirts, and posters to playing cards. Here, we discuss various printer types and their use in today’s printing industry.

But first, printers can be grouped into two main categories, impact and non-impact. Let’s explore.

Types of Printers

Impact Printers

Impact printers work by use of the principle of impact. They were once the primary method of printing documents for many years. However, they were eventually superseded by non-impact printers.

They work by utilizing a ribbon soaked in ink and a hammer with an impact component. This impression component can either be metal or plastic. Its main work is to strike the ribbon to imprint the letter onto the paper.

Impact printers are suitable for creating business documents that do not include graphics or images. It is more of an attachment to personal computers than a standalone device. Therefore, its printing speed is comparatively slower than other kinds of printers.

Even after the advancement of non-impact printers to handle a range of printing tasks, impact printers are still used today. This is because they are cost-effective and energy-efficient as compared with other printers.

Non-Impact Printer

Non-impact printers are nothing but printers that lack any form of an impact-based printing mechanism. Such printers, instead, utilize various methods to create image prints. The most predominantly common kind of non-impact printer uses lasers and LED lights.

The main advantage of non-impact printers is that they are reticent compared to their impact peers. The printouts produced are less likely to be affected by any form of vibration or physical interference.

Nowadays, many businesses are adopting non-impact printers for their needs. This is due to the improved quality of the printout. They are also convenient for users who wish to print out professional documents within different work environments.

Common Types of Printers Used Today

There are a variety of different types of Printers available to use today. Some printers specialize in-home use while others in business use. Here are the commonly used printers today.

  • Multifunction Printers
  • Business Inkjet Printers
  • 3D Printers
  • Laser Printers
  • Home Inkjet Printers
  • Dot Matrix Printers
  • LED Printers
  • Solid Ink Printers

Let’s discuss each printer in detail.

1.   Multifunction Printers

Multifunction printer

Multifunction Printers are the most commonly used printers today. This is because they are versatile. They offer more options for printing different sizes, colors, and styles. They speed up the production of documents by being multifunctional.

An MFP can replace several separate office equipment items such as a fax machine and scanners. Converting these devices into one appliance can save you money and time. They also have wireless technology is built in them. You can therefore print from your smartphone.

While office workers may have pioneered the technology, multifunction printers are used in many fields. This is available in homes and hospitals.

Pros

  • Saves cost, time, space, and power
  • Convenient
  • It is fast
  • Wireless

Cons

  • Prone to user crowding
  • It does not specialize in a specific task.

2. Business Inkjet Printers

Business inkjet printers

Inkjet printing is a popular form of printing for homes and offices. With an inkjet printer, you can print on paper, transparencies, and specialty surfaces like cloth or leather.

As in all other printers, the primary goal of an inkjet printer is to transfer data from a computer to too much readable data on hardcopy. They use inkjet printing technology to produce high-quality prints. With the aid of nozzles, they can dispatch inks onto these papers fast and efficiently.

Manufacturers have developed unique systems for loading inks into nozzles without leaking to maintain quality and control print head performance over time.

If you’re searching for a business-grade printer with stunning printing quality, inkjet printers should be your first choice.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to use
  • It is quiet
  • Fast
  • High-quality output

Cons

  • Not durable- May clog
  • The ink cartridges are expensive.
  • Not recommendable for high volume outputs

3. 3D Printers

If you design and create, you’re already familiar with 3D printing. It’s the process of making a physical object from digital files.

The idea is almost as old as computing. Only that the technology has recently advanced to the point that it’s now an affordable option for small business owners and designers. If you’ve used a 3D printer before, you know how expensive the technology can be. Fortunately, the prices are lowering as they are becoming more popular.

3D printers manufacture items by layer-by-layer depositing of plastic. They then build up to create a physical object based on a digital file. Designers use 3D printers to build prototypes, as well as final products.

Among the items made with 3D printers are shoe designs, furniture, and wax castings for making jewelry. 3D technology dramatically cuts the time and cost of making such parts. They even allow for experiments with materials not used in traditional manufacturing – such as human tissue.

Pros

  • Can create different designs
  • They are fast
  • They’re flexibility
  • Lower cost

Cons

  • Not reliable for large volumes
  • The printing material may pose challenges.

4. Laser Printers

If you’ve ever used a laser printer, you know that their printouts quality is far superior to inkjet printers. Laser printing was first invented and patented by Xerox and IBM in 1959.

Then the first laser printers rolled out in 1980. This type of printing traces its origin back to the use of laser beams. With laser beam factors in it, this printer produces unparalleled printout quality.

Artists who need to print out many copies for their business will probably go for a laser printer with color printing capabilities. A laser printer is fast and can handle huge printing needs. They can also print out logos or designs which require lines and crevices.

Pros

  • Great speed
  • It is reliable
  • Can maintain huge volumes
  • It is quiet
  • High efficiency

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Consumes more energy

5. Dot Matrix Printers

Dot-matrix printers were first developed and used years ago. It has been the go-to option for total printing solutions for many business organizations. You can trace its origin back to the 1960s when it first made its entry as a direct impact printer on the market.

Since their debut, their popularity has grown each year due to their reliable services. Dot-matrix printers put ink on the paper through the mechanical process. They can print graphics and text in black or colored inks. Their only drawback is speed. They are relatively slow.

A dot matrix printer works on a printing principle called the dot-matrix effect. They use a print head with a pattern of pins or a series of columns that carry ink. The size, shape, and number of these pins vary with the type of dot pattern to create.

Though dot matrix printers are not ideal for businesses that require professionalism in their daily print jobs, they are an excellent choice for printing reports and brochures.

Pros

  • They are cheap
  • Can print carbon copies

Cons

  • Maybe time-consuming
  • Not high resolution

6. LED Printers

LED printers use photo-electric and heat processes to produce toner and lighten or darken the page. It uses LED arrays to scan the pages. These LED pixels emit light onto a printing drum following a path that changes depending on whether an area of the page you want to print shades in between.

The printer then transfers the toner to paper and fuses (melts) it into position with a heating element at one end of the drum. After this, the paper rolls through a set of rubber rollers which squeeze out excess toner and help iron it into place.

LED printers are very energy efficient, using about one-tenth the power of comparable printers. They create full-color documents at fast speeds and have a low cost of ownership.

If you’re looking for a reliable printer to keep up with your growing business demands, LED models would be a great choice. They are efficient and dependable.

Pros

  • They are quiet
  • Compact
  • Fast printing
  • They are more reliable.

Cons

  • High power consumption
  • Expensive

7. Solid Ink Printers

Solid ink printers use wax-like ink sticks to produce images on paper. Each solid ink stick has a color, and the sticks are melted and fused onto a paper in a solid form.

Solid ink printers were the fastest and most efficient printing devices on the market. By today, they’ve been surpassed by continuous inkjet and laser printers.

They produce prints as good as those from laser printers. They are reliable, with an improved design and structure, and do not compromise print quality.

Solid ink printers are great for color printing. It has all its colors mixed in its reservoirs. Instead of spraying via the nozzle, it’s more controlled extrusion. So you could say that these printers are very similar to an actual 3D printer.

Pros

  • Produces high-quality prints
  • Environment friendly
  • Reliable
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Maybe expensive
  • It is bulky

8. Electrostatic Printer

It operates with the use of the principle of an electrostatic field. It charges via a power source and uses toner to create shapes on paper.

This type of printer promises quick speed with less mess than its counterparts. Its standard form works by first charging a photoconductor to make it negatively charged.

This causes the attraction effect of positively charged toner particles to the photoconductor. The image is then developed by direct contact transfer from the photoconductor to a sheet of plain paper. A sheet of paper that does not have a built-in charge opposite the photoconductor.

Pros

  • They are fast than pen plotters
  • They also include scan conversion capability.

Cons

  • They have limited speed
  • Color printing is of low quality

9. Portable Printers

If you’re looking for a compact way to print documents, then portable printers should be your savior. They don’t use any ink but operate like regular inkjets or laser printers.

They are compact and let you print reports from hotels. Their only drawback is they can be a little pricier than their counterparts.

Portable printers should be your everyday use printer since you can travel with them anywhere. The good thing is their wireless capability to print from your smartphone directly. They either use Bluetooth or Air Print technology to print wirelessly.

Pros

  • They have printer companion apps
  • Wireless compatibility
  • Use zinc paper for printing.

Cons

  • The battery does not last long
  • You need to be n range to stay connected with WIFI.

10. Label Printer

Anyone who has a business, large or small, knows the importance of labels. The market for this kind of equipment is continuously growing, and there are enough reasons for that. For instance, you need labels for your products when you own a manufacturing company.

Labels help you keep track of your inventory. This is just an example of many uses of labels in today’s corporate world. These printers can serve the same purpose as the commercial setting for consumers looking to make their labels.

By buying label printers, you have a lot of choices. The prices may vary depending on the specific model that you choose. Unlike labels made with traditional methods, label printers produce clear and legible outputs.

Today people use their label printers for identifying photo albums, file folders, and CDs.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • They are cost-effective
  • Print different labels
  • High-quality prints

Cons

  • Prone to color variance
  • Limited ink options

11. Thermal Printer

Jack Kilby is the brain behind thermal printing technology. He developed a printing mechanism that uses wax paper to create printable images, among other innovations. This mechanism rendered the printed results using heated pins that melted this wax paper to create permanent images.

This innovation made fax machines and thermal printers possible. Although Kilby did not patent the technology, he successfully publicized his contributions to the world of technology. As a result, his gifts are recognizable worldwide today, especially for thermal-printing devices.

Thermal printers are evident in our daily life activities. From office purchases, railway station ticketing machines, and bank debit & credit card receipts. They are all made possible by thermal printers.

Pros

  • Minimal noise
  • Easy to use
  • It is durable
  • Fast prints

Cons

  • It is expensive
  • Image quality is poor.

12. A3 Printers

Whether pamphlets, posters, or business cards, having an A3 printer on hand will ensure that you print these documents. Having your A3 printer can be incredibly beneficial for any business. There are many other reasons why you should purchase an A3 printer today.

These printers are made for printing bigger, and there’s no fiddling about with makeshift methods like printing over two sheets of A4. Although they come at a cost, and given their size, there’s plenty to consider before reaching for your wallet.

However, if there is one disadvantage of purchasing an A3 printer, it is the price. Most typically come with a hefty price tag, but if you are looking for a big-budget printing solution for your small business and company, go for it. 

An A3 printer will allow you to print any sized document. Whether this is a large-scale poster or a high-resolution photograph, you’ll be able to print it with ease. This makes A3 printers very useful for businesses. It replaces bulky printers and stores multiple documents at once.

A3 printers are hugely popular in schools, offices, homes, and just about any other large-scale printing environment. If you rely on printing charts, graphs, floor plans, or huge 12-foot by 6-foot posters for your business, then getting an A3 printer is a must.

Pros

  • Prints large documents
  • High-quality printout

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Occupy a large space

What To Consider When Buying Printers

You already know that laptops and tablets will get you cutting-edge performance. But did you also know that you cannot say the same for printers? Moving forward, you’re going to be using printouts more than ever. So, choosing a reliable printer is vital.

Please don’t blow it and get a printer that doesn’t fit your needs and abilities. Let’s face it. Buying a printer is no different than buying a car. The last thing you want to do is buy a $900 printer that is unreliable and produces poor printouts.

Here’s what you should consider when purchasing a new printer.

Reliability

With buying printers, people often consider the long-life expectancy of their printer. This is because they do not want to spend more than the initial purchase cost of the printer.

No matter your reason for purchasing a new printer, it is essential you consider its reliability. It is necessary to buy a printer that will give you many years of service.

Printer’s speed

Speed is an essential factor to consider when planning to buy a printer. No one likes waiting around for hours for printouts. It is better to go for printers that offer faster printing than those that take ages to print.

For instance, if your friend needs to print out A5-sized documents double spaced at times, it wouldn’t be wise for him to buy an A3+ sized printer. He will spend more time printing. Most offices usually use multifunctional printers, which are expensive, but they work well, especially for heavy users.

The number of copies per minute (CPPM) is directly proportional to your office work speed for obvious reasons. Most companies consider printers with high CPPM, and it’s obvious.

The weight of the printer

The weight of the printer is an essential factor to consider. You want to ensure that you buy a light enough printer to move around without hassle. To avoid it feeling like a burden, lift the printer regularly.

The Image Quality

One of the features of a productive printer is high resolution. It determines how clear, crisp and sharp your document is on the page.

For example, if you use a standard A4 printer, 250×300 dpi, and the output is of high resolution, then 600×600 dpi would be the best. A high image quality helps you produce professional-looking printouts without distress and strain.

Some factors contribute to the image quality provided by a printer. For instance, look at each device’s DPI (dots per inch) rating if you’re looking for photo printing. The higher the rating, the clearer and more detailed your output.

Printer manufacturers are constantly improving the quality of their image outputs. Therefore, it’s essential to understand these quality improvements and what they mean for you.

Compactness

Whether you’re an office worker, blogger, online seller, or just trying to get printing done for your home use, compact printers are what you need.

Compact doesn’t necessarily mean cheap. Compact printers are the newest trend in office printer technology. They provide you with more than enough space-saving benefits.

With the compactness of a printer, it is essential to remember that the size of the ink cartridges is an essential element here. Large cartridges can make a printer bulky. So, you need to be clear on how many pages you need to print per month.

It will be inconvenient to move your printer if you need to, for some reason. This makes it unnecessary to choose the most compact printer on the market.

But, it’s still good to compare the dimensions of different brands. By selecting the most compact model, you’ll have enough space to use it comfortably.

Paper and ink capacity

Depending on how big your business grows, purchasing a printer with high paper and ink capacity will be necessary.

The more ink or paper a printer can hold, the less time you will have to spend restocking and maximizing your office space. Having a high-capacity printer will allow your business to expand and grow fast.

To gauge the paper and ink capacity, you have to consider a few factors. First, how much paper does a home user print? Second, how much does that person pay for paper or ink?

If you print regularly, go for a high-capacity model that holds more paper to cut down the frequency of reloading. In addition, look out for printers that allow you to add extra paper trays. And those which can print on different sizes and types of paper.

Scanning and Photocopying

Scanning is often done at home or the workplace to convert certain documents into digital files. You may want to scan documents like passports, ID cards, and mortgage documents if you’re working in an administrative job.

It’s also important for parents to convert school papers into digital format. So, they can view them at their convenience. Whatever the case, there is a market for printers that specialize in scanning rather than only printing documents.

All In One Printer

Many home-based businesses and even small offices often need to print documents and images. But beyond printing pages, there are other aspects to consider when buying a printer.

Most people merely print from their laptops, tablet, or smartphone. So perhaps the features that matter most to you are Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity. Whether you want the ability to print photos directly from your device or you want instant ink cartridges.

Cost

We all want to save money. So, it’s always a significant factor when it comes to cost. As well as the printer’s purchase price, you must consider the expense of printers, toners, cartridges, paper, maintenance.

Considering the cost and other factors is essential when buying a printer. It affects not only your pocket but also the output quality.

Graphic Printing

It is often said that graphics printing aims to keep print shops from going out of business. There is a good reason for that. There are two main types of printing – graphics and character, or text.

Graphic printing displays pictures and text convey information understandable by the human eye. You must understand these two types of printing before going for printers for your business.

Generally, businesses will want to print high-resolution graphics directly from their computer to their printer. With this feature, you can quickly print labels, brochures, flyers, photos, and much more.

Final Thoughts

We believe that finding a printer that best suits your needs is an important step to the success of your business. The printer you choose will directly influence the outcome of your print job.

Getting it right can mean the difference between success with print jobs and failure. By taking some time to familiarize yourself with the different types of printers available on the market, today, you’ll be better equip you to find one that suits your specific needs.

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