Printers - Selecting a Printer
Choosing a printer for your home is an exercise in prioritizing. First you'll need to answer a few basic "who" and "what" questions. For example, who will be using the printer? Just you and your spouse, or your family of six? What will you be printing with it? And how many pages will you be printing in a month? Here are a few suggestions for choosing a printer for everyday home use.
For basic printing needs
If you want to print mostly text documents, you can do manage with a slower inkjet with less resolution. You can buy entry-level inkjet printers for less than US $50 that are perfect for printing e-mail, Web documents, school reports, and so on.etc. They don't move at lightning speed (only around 8 pages per minute, or ppm) and they won't print digital pictures that look photo-lab fresh [but you can print digitial pictures]. They are sufficient for everyday text and occasional graphics printing.
Moving along to the inkjet spectrum, you could pay about US $100 for a faster inkjet with up to 4,800 x 1,200 dpi that prints more vibrant color documents and professional-quality photos, both large and small.
For entry-level photo printing
For realistic digital photo printing, you'll want a printer that has been optimized for photo printing. Printers from HP (Photosmart printers), Epson and Canon offer up to 4,800 x 1,200 dpi on premium photo paper. Each company has their own technologies to enhance the resolution of your print out and are designed to produce crispe, realistic colors and details.
No matter what brand of printer that you end up buying, it's recommended that you buy the 'consumables', that's the paper and inks, from the manufacturer of the printer. Doing this won't assure you a perfect relationship with your printer, but you'll know that the inks and papers have been optimized to be used together.Traditionally, all-in-one (AIO) devices have been geared toward home offices, some multifunction machines available from HP, have features that make them perfect for everyday use. They combine an inkjet printer, a flatbed scanner, a copier, and sometimes a fax in a single, compact unit.
Most AIO manufacturers provide software that will allow you to easily integrate photos into projects or e-mail them - great for restoring old family photos and lots more! Most have copy buttons, which let you instantly create photo reprints and posters, all with beautiful 4,800 x 1,200- dpi color (on premium photo paper).
Printing for the kids
If you're looking for a printer that the kids can use, you probably don't need blazing speeds. You'll want to balance simplicity with enough special features to enrich your child's experience [you can read that as - 'prevent the kids from complaining]. Most importantly, you' will want to choose a printer with kid-friendly qualities, like such as ease of use, easy setup, and a fun software bundle, all for a reasonable price.
The second consideration is whether or not the printer will handle different types of paper. Some printers can use thicker sheets of paper, such as card stock or brochure paper, and others cannot. Be sure the printer can handle all the media you intend to use, including transparencies and iron-on transfer sheets.
Last but not least is paper size. Most printers will handle letter and legal sizes (8 1/2 x 11 and 8 1/2 x 14, respectively), but only a few will accept tabloid size (11 x 17). Be sure you can print envelopes if you'd like (some color laser printers don't). Also, consider whether or not you need multiple paper trays for different types of paper.
Most photo printers have a proof-sheet feature that really helps make photo printing a breeze. This feature allows you to print a sheet of thumbnail-size photos directly from your storage card. In addition to this proof sheet, you can also print the individual photos directly from your storage card. If you are looking to be able to do this, you must be careful to get a printer with a slot for the same media that you are using in your camera. If you have an HP camera, you'll be safe if you purchase an HP printer that's designed to work with your (or a similar) camera. If you're going with an Epson or a Canon printer, just check to see that the printer supports your compact flash card or your smart digital card, or whatever size card your camera uses to store photos.