Friday, February 24, 2017

How to choose printer for everyday use ? Information for customers who going to buy printer but hard to choose the right one.

At first I thought it will be comprehensive guide in buying printer for home users, but soon I found out that it is a very complex article. So I will try to write only summary to  provide you with basic ideas how to select printers so this post will be  universal and easily  understandable.

   In this post I am gonna write only about ink jet printers. It is common type of printers people buying for home use because of price , ability to print in color and ability to print photos. If you not going to do color printing I guess you will buy laser jet printer without any doubts.
   I got my first ink jet printer in early 90s - it was Soviet black and white printer MC6313 - it has very compact size even by modern standards. Huge difference in quality and noise to matrix printers that was popular at that period of time.
   Soon first color ink jet  printer arrives - Epson Stylus Color, then was Color II and after that time - color printing at home goes cheaper and cheaper and becomes more popular. Now lots of people printing their photos at home.
    Lets try to find out main requirements for the printer that you want to buy ?
1. Quality of printing mainly quality of printed photos.

2. Number of pages you can print with one set of cartridges - this means how cheap every print will be.
3. Communications - ability to print over network, WiFi, Bluetooth, card-reader  etc.
4. Size , design , manufacturer etc.

Sometime price of printed document is more important then quality - this people will put second line first and I will suggest them to look on Epson printers with extended ink supply volumes (they are easy to refill even with non original ink). But the hardest question for most buyers is where is this thin line between quality and price and how to select good enough printer at reasonable price. Have in mind that if you will start to compare specifications of HP and Canon printers you will notice that they have different resolution parameters. HP uses 4096x1920 dots max, while some Canon home printers have up to 9600 dots like even more expansive professional printers. Why is that ?
Because of type of inks.
     Canon continue developing more simple formula of water inks  - they cheap in producing, but it is harder to get specific color so Canon adding more print heads with premixed color shades to get more precise color on paper - for example Canon Pro 10 got  ten print heads and Pro 1 even more - 12 print heads. Every print head needs own color (ink cartridge) ! Expensive thing - but it gives you stunning results on paper. It is like Hi End audio but it also requires you to calibrate your monitor, using professional software to get the most out of your printer. But more important - you will have to print nearly everyday or print heads will go dry  and your next printing job will start with cleaning printing heads and it will leads to waste of ink in all cartridges ! What a waste of time, money and ink ! But it is ok if you doing commercial prints that covers this expanses. So this Canon printers only when you plan to open  photo lab with professional monitor and calibration hardware or you will be disappointed with the results.

 For the rest of you, who not going to spend money on buying expansive equipment, calibrating and do color works, for those , who need good printer that is ready to works when ever you need you need another system - HP. They spent more then decade on invention of inks, that will be durable, not drying in print heads and  that will make it easy to print photos and text documents. only 2 cartridges - tri-color and black  - this means less money on buying supplies. More important - last version of inks (HP 650 series) will not dry in nozzles while you not printing for months.
   But what the exact model you need ? First of all you have to decided if you will ever print photos.
If  yes - then you have to look for printers with photo tray feature or pay attention on paper density that specific  model work with. For work with photo papers it should be more then 170 g/cm. If in printer specifications you see that it supports maximum 90 g/cm papers - then it is only for plain paper printings. Next important moment -  type of print heads.  If the print head is part of printer and not the ink cartridge - this is not good. It will makes ink supplies cheaper but when something happens to print head you will need to replace it in customer service. Another type - when print heads are on ink cartridges. They are more effective since you always get a new nozzles when replacing inks - today its not expansive  - usually only $5-10  more then simple inks. But it is worth it  !

And finally to get max resolution out of your printer  - pay attention on settings  while printing , When you will see Print dialog in Windows  - open Advanced tab and find Max DPI  settings, also there are few settings you may find interesting. And now all you need - to do some test printings form different applications - Native HP image printing software, graphic editor or viewer (like ACDSee etc) to find which one have more color correct printing.

 That`s it !