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Variety is Key With Computer Printers, But Toner Can Strain Your Budget

You know just how far technology has advanced when it comes to computer printers if you're old enough to remember daisy wheel printers. We've come a long way from the days when a daisy wheel would strike an ink ribbon and produce a letter on a page, and even from the days when a dot matrix printer would use its 24 pins to, line by line, produce a sheet of text.

Types of Printers

These days, of course, there are many different options when it comes to printers. For home use, many people continue to rely on inkjet printers, which are a relatively cost-effective way to print in both color and black and white. Other people opt for laser printers, which offer better speed and quality than inkjet printers. While they have dropped in price, color laser printers are often cost-prohibitive for home use, which is why many people choose inkjet printers for color.

Toner-based laser printers are the printers of choice for most office applications. With the increase in in-house graphic design and desktop publishing, small printing jobs can be performed more cost-effectively with a color laser printer than sending them out to be printed on an offset press.

Some offices - particularly those that wish to produce high-quality printed material - have turned to solid ink printers that use wax-based four color thermal transfer printing. Using solid ink CMYK colors mimics the effect of color separation on a printing press, which produces richer, deeper colors. Likewise, dye sublimation printers are often used for photo-quality reproductions, and are often marketed as photo printers.

Printer Manufacturers and Pricing

There are a number of first-rate printer manufacturers. Hewlett-Packard (HP), Epson, Canon, Brother, Apple, and Xerox all manufacture laser and/or inkjet printer. It's been interesting to watch the pricing strategy of printer manufacturers, which is generally to charge a minimum for computer printers, while charging an exorbitant amount for Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or brand name toner. This phenomenon is similar to the strategy employed by video game console manufacturers, where they barely recover the cost of manufacturing the console in the purchase price, but then charge dearly for the actual video games.

Avoiding Getting Gouged with OEM Toner

Although printer manufacturers would lead you to believe that brand name toner is the only toner that works in their printers, the truth is that high quality remanufactured toner or Reflexion toner works just as well. You can buy toner that is compatible with Hewlett-Packard (HP), Epson, Canon, Brother, Apple, and Xerox printers at a fraction of the price.

So, enjoy the low prices and high quality of brand name printers, but don't get gouged by the high price of toner. Always remember that there are alternatives that work just as well!

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