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Laser Printers buying guide

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Laser Printers Buyers Guide - An Introduction

A laser printer is a common variety of computer printer. It produces high-quality text and graphics quickly, using plain paper. In the same way that digital photocopiers operate, laser printers use a xerographic printing process using a direct scan from a laser beam against the printer’s photoreceptor. The printer’s laser beam projects the image to be printed onto an electrically charged drum. Photoconductivity removes the charge from the sections exposed to light. Dry ink particles, also known as toner, are then picked up by the charged areas on the drum. The image is then printed on the paper using heat and direct contact, fusing the ink onto the paper.

Laser printers have distinct advantages over other printers. The speed and quality can vary, making it easy to find a printer that meets your budget. This is better than inkjet printers which print in a slow, lurching manner, pausing as data is sent. A laser printer receives and outputs a large amount of data, allowing it to work in a continuous process.

Laser printers were invented at Xerox in 1969. Within three years, it was developed it into a fully functional network printing system. A laser focused light on a spinning drum with 8 mirrored sides, sweeping across the page as it passed through the copier. IBM developed the first commercial laser printer in 1976, which was used for high-volume printing.

Whether you need large-volume printing or simply want the convenience of printing a few documents, Price Inspector can help you find the right laser printer. Our buying guide helps you find the best model, and then we get you the best prices. We comparison-shop the UK stores to bring you the cheapest prices.

Printer Types

Before you buy a laser printer, it’s important to consider how you'll use it. Faster printers are more expensive, but it’s worth the expense if your printing volume is high. If you just print a few pages at a time, however, you can buy a less expensive model.

The fastest monochrome laser printers can print more than 200 monochrome pages a minute (ppm), or 12,000 pages an hour. A colour laser printer prints 100 pages a minute, or 6,000 pages an hour. The highest speed laser printers are used by companies that generate mass mailings. A typical home printer speed might be 25 ppm or 34 ppm.

A duplex printout laser printer can print on both sides of the sheet of paper, reducing your paper costs and environmental impact. This used to only be an option on commercial printers, but it is now available in the mid-range of office printers. Duplex printers usually have a slower print speed because there is a longer path the paper must travel.

A wireless laser printer gives you more flexibility, as you won’t have to run cables from your computer to your printer. This is especially helpful in a situation where cables would be difficult to place without creating a tripping hazard.

If you are able to run cables for your network, an Ethernet laser printer gives you the fastest connection speed. These are ideal for home, home office, and small business use. The computer is able to communicate with the laser printer more quickly thanks to the Ethernet connection, which reduces your printing time.

A USB laser printer connects to your computer through the USB port. Many offer plug-and-play technology, which means you will not have to install any printer software on your computer. Another term for this is USB-direct printer.

A graphic device interface laser printer gives you enhanced graphics printing ability. Your computer brings all the graphics to the screen, then communicates with your printer to ensure high-quality print graphics.

Popular Brands

There are many popular of laser printers, including Sagem, Okidata, Tallygenicom, Oki, Konica, and Kyocera. Most manufacturers produce printers in a variety of price ranges and features.

Ricoh laser printers are available in a full line of network printers that can print in black & white, colour, or both. Their multi-function printers also provide scanning, copying, and faxing capabilities, and they may offer advanced finishing abilities.

Panasonic laser printers include their newest solution, the C3 laser printers. This series of printers leads the colour printing industry, using four in-line lasers and drums to print colour documents as fast as black & white printers.

Epson laser printers are widely available for home office uses. One of their less expensive models is their EPL 5700, which is a monochrome printer that uses wired connectivity. It prints about 8 pages per minute.

A good Dell laser printer is the 1110 model. Its small design fits easily on your desk, and it prints sharp laser-quality documents. It prints approximately 17 pages per minute, perfect for home or small office use.

The Canon laser printer family is redefining the printer industry, in both colour and black & white printers. Their innovative technologies are used in more than 80 per cent of today’s laser printers, and now Canon is putting their name on their own line of laser printers.

Samsung laser printers, such as the CLP 300, use a Linux driver to provide outstanding performance, easy installation, compatibility, and advanced print features.

Philips laser printers are multi-function machines that combine printing, faxing, scanning, and copying functionality. Their Laserfax line includes a network printer that can print 20 pages per minute.

Xerox laser printers offer many solutions to help small businesses improve efficiency, reduce costs, and reduce your environmental impact. Their Phaser 6360 model is fairly expensive, but it is designed for a growing small business. In both colour and black & white, it prints approximately 42 pages per minute and can hold up to 2,350 sheets of paper.

The Brother laser printer line is part of the whole family of electronics manufactured by Brother. The 3040CN prints colour and black & white documents are the rate of 17 pages per minute. Its compact design is perfect for small work spaces. The printer has a 250 sheet capacity and Ethernet network capabilities.

Hewlett-Packard laser printers are designed for high speed and high quality printing. The P1005 is their smallest laser printer, and it provides 2MB of memory and prints up to 15 pages per minute.

IBM laser printers are durable for long-lasting performance. Models range from print speed of 20 to 45 pages per minute. They are compatible with add-on options that allow you to scan, copy, and fax your documents.

Lexmark laser printers include their top-of-the-line model, the C935HDN. This printer is a network-ready model offering duplex and 11x17 printing. It has a built-in hard disk and has the largest input capacity of their printers.

Brother’s wireless 802 11b laser printer offers either wired or wireless connectivity for easy work group printing. It is a black & white printer that prints up to 25 pages per minute.

Buying Tips

 

  • Do you want one computer or multiple computers to print to your printer? If you want more than one computer to share the printer, you will need to look for one with networking capabilities.
  • Where will the printer be located compared to the computer? Can you safely run cables, or do you need to buy a wireless printer?
  • What will your standard print volume be? You can save a considerable amount of money by buying a slower printer if you have a low print volume. However, it’s worth spending more for a fast printer if you will be printing a lot of pages.
  • Will your printing be mostly black & white, colour, or a combination? One printer may be faster on colour printing, while another may be faster for monochrome. Make sure you know which is more important for your needs.
  • Consider your operating expenses, not just your upfront purchase price. Any printer will need toner and paper, but some use more ink than others. Also, a printer with a plastic drum may require the drum to be changed at some point, which can be rather expensive.
  • If you want to print high quality, long-lasting photos on photo paper, or if you need to print long banners on continuous pages, understand that laser printers are not suited for these purposes. For those types of jobs, you will need an inkjet printer. Laser printers are designed for printing text documents quickly.

Jargon Buster

USBShort for Universal Serial Bus, this is a standard connection port for attaching devices like printers to your computer.
WirelessPrinters that connect to your computer without cords or cables. They may have a plug that attaches to your computer’s USB port for communication between the devices.
Plug in and PlayThis term means that you can connect your printer to your computer and start printing right away, without having to download software or shut down your computer.
NetworkA communication system that connects more than one computer, allowing them to communicate with each other or with common devices like sharing a printer.
MonochromeSingle colour printer, usually black & white. These are often less expensive than colour printers, so they can be a good option if you will be printing only single-colour text documents.

Buying Guide to Laser Printers
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