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How to Choose a Printer?-Printer Characteristics & Specifications to Check

Choosing a printer can be very tricky. There are thousands of printers in the market of various types. Depending upon the performance and ability, a specific printer can be utilized properly. In the current world, printers are usually used for different purposes like home and office use, card printing, quality photos and document printing, printing on fabric etc.

The modern printers can be classified into two major categories:

  • Inkjet printer.
  • Laser printer.

Inkjet printer: Inkjet printer can be used to print both documents and documents. Even this type printer is suitable for printing on card and fabric. But the operating cost can be very high and the process is slow. The printer price is lower than the laser printer.

Laser printer: Laser printer is suitable for printing text documents at a very high speed. You should remember that laser printer is not well suited for graphics and photos. The operating cost is low but the initial price is usually higher than the inkjet printer.

The manufacturers in the market produce variety of printers depending on the customer needs. So, you must know why you are going to use a printer specially. Then, there are some basic specifications that make a printer suited for the desired purposes; you can easily choose your printer by taking a closer look at the specifications and budget.

While choosing a printer, you must want to consider the following characteristics:

  • Image quality/ Resolution.
  • Speed.
  • Initial cost.
  • Cost of operation.
  • Duty cycle.
  • Duplexing.
  • Processor and memory.
  • Paper size.
  • Compatibility.
  • Warranty.

Image quality/ resolution

Image quality/ resolution are measured in dot per inch (DPI). The higher dot per inch (DPI) a printer can generate, the better is the image quality. Let us suppose that a printer has a DPI value of 800, this means the printer has the capability of printing 800 rows dots and 800 columns of dots in each square inch of the page. The lowest DPI for a printer available in the current market is 600 which is pretty good for texts and documents printing. But if you want to print cards, images and graphics, you must go for at least 1200 DPI for better quality assuming you budget is low.


 The speed of a printer is determined by pages per minute (PPM) the printer can print. As said earlier, laser printer is faster than the inkjet printer. Pages per minute (PPM) value of 10 can be considered as a standard speed measurement of a printer. You may blindly go for a printer which is approved by International Organization of Standardization (IOS) as they are to get approved by passing a few requirements.

Printer specifications to check

Initial cost

You need to buy the printer based on the requirements. Still a 200$ inkjet printer can be perfect for heavy use. Normally, the price of inkjet printers stars at 50$. A 220$ laser printer can serve multi-purpose jobs like printing, scanning and copying.

Cost of operation

Inkjet printer is inexpensive but the operating cost is high. Usually, a cartridge can cost you $10 to $40 which can print 100 to 1000 pages. But the expensive printer comes up to large and separate ink tanks which offers extra benefits and saves money. For a laser printer, a cartridge price starts at $10 which can print at least 2000 pages.

Duty cycle

Duty cycle is the number of pages a printer can print per month.


Compatibility is the way of connecting your computer or device with the printer. Currently most of the printers support multiple connectivity options. Apart from USB ports (direct connection by wire), a printer can have ethernet port and Wi-Fi. You can print photo by connecting your camera to the printer having Pictbridge technology. Google cloud print allows you print wirelessly from your smart device. The latest technology is Near Field Communication (NFC) which allows you to connect your device simply by touching.

Memory and processor

 For an inkjet printer, you do not need not to follow memory and processor. But if you wish to print directly from your camera and smart device, you will need quality processor. For a laser printer, you should take a look at the memory and processor. Many printers offer memory slot which makes possible to print directly from memory card.


Choosing a printer

Duplexing is the ability of printer to print/scan in both sides of a page automatically.

Paper size

Depending upon the customer needs, printers can be of various paper sizes. The most commonly used is A4. A4 sheet is sized as 210mm x 297mm. Smaller than A4 size paper printer is available. For larger print, A3 is suitable and available. A3 is sized as 420mm x 297mm.


The thing you want to keep in mind is the warranty. Do not ever purchase a printer that has warranty of less than 90 days. The last thing you want to do is to choose the best brands. I would suggest you to go for Brother, Epson or HP. participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, which is an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for websites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to