types, pros and cons, what to choose


Today it is difficult to imagine how one can do without a printer — a technique that allows you to visualize the information presented on a computer screen. The devices have been used for both domestic and industrial purposes. To understand what kind of device you need, you should know what printers are — this information will allow you to make the right choice in an office equipment store.

General classification

Despite the widespread advertising of trademarks, the main thing in the selection of such equipment is still not the brand, but the technology by which the device prints. Each of them requires a certain refueling and replenishment of resources, performing the task in a special way.

According to this principle, the following classification of species has been adopted:

  • matrix;
  • jet;
  • laser;
  • LED;
  • sublimation (thermal printing);
  • MFP.

Some types of printers are available in several technologies at once. It is important to understand what purpose each device carries. About all this in more detail — below.

Matrix printer

Matrix technology is the oldest. The device resembles a typewriter, only a dot matrix printer has from 9 to 24 print heads. They make selective strikes on a special ink ribbon, which, in turn, prints them on paper. The diameter of the needle determines the size of the dots that make up the printed character.

All such devices are charged with special paper — most often, in roll or folded versions.

Despite the almost «ancestral» origin, dot matrix printers continue to be produced at the present time. It’s all about their unique characteristics: the inscription made by such a device cannot be erased and corrected.. Such «talents» have found their application in banking institutions, cash desks, passport offices and so on.

Matrix printer

Inkjet printing technology

The principle of operation of this technology involves the instantaneous injection of ink through the holes. They are very small and are located in a carriage that moves along the paper sheet. The image on the media is also formed pointwise, as in the previous case, but here it is used liquid dye matrix (and some of these cartridges have a built-in print head).

Read more about the device and principle of operation of an inkjet printer.

The composition of these liquid dyes is a very important point — they should not be too liquid or thick. Otherwise, the image may dry for a long time, and with a more viscous consistency, the micron diameter of the nozzle will clog.

The user must ensure that the nozzles do not become clogged with dust or the ink in them does not dry out (therefore, you should print regularly). When it comes to a cartridge system, black and color inks are usually used together. Recently, CISS has gained particular popularity — continuous ink supply system. This know-how reduces the cost of the technique itself and improves printing parameters.

Usually there is enough ink for 500 printed sheets in A4 format. «Inkjet» are recognized as home «favorites» because of their compact size, affordable cost and good print quality.

Inkjet printers

Delving deeper into the topic, it can be noted that this type of printer is divided into the following types according to the application of ink:

  • piezoelectric;
  • thermal jet.

In the first case, a small droplet size stands out, which positively affects the image quality. These printers are manufactured by Epson and Brother. At thermal jet varieties on the nozzles have thermistors — they will heat up at the moment an electric current passes through them (the temperature of which is 500 degrees). In this case, the service life of both the cartridge itself and the print head is limited. Manufacturers of such devices include Xerox, Canon, Epson and HP.

See also: how to clean an inkjet printer cartridge.

Laser devices

Another name for this technology is electrographic. The principle of its work is Photocopying an image. The photodrum becomes the basis, which can discretely hold an electric charge. When hitting this drum, a “charge” is removed from individual points by a laser beam. If such a beam is controlled, then it is possible to draw on the surface of the drum due to the fact that the drum surface is sprinkled with a special powder — toner. It sticks to areas that have a charge. Then the toner is transferred to the paper (which also has a charge) and now, under the influence of high temperatures, sticks to it.

Read more about the device and principle of operation of a laser printer.

The main advantage of laser technology is its high print speed (up to 20 pages per minute).

Laser printer

Among other characteristics:

  • silent operation;
  • low cost of consumables;
  • no need for drying printed;
  • reliable operation of the toner;
  • moisture resistance of the printed text or picture.

In addition, you can use various mediafrom paper to film. But in terms of color (there are also such models), the color transfer of the laser version is much worse than the inkjet one. Two more significant drawbacks are the high cost of such devices and tangible electricity costs.

LED technology

It refers to LED technology, which is very similar to laser in principle of operation. The difference is in the light source. Instead of one laser beam, a whole line works here. LED devices (the amount depends on the resolution of the printer). Their range can be from 2500 to 10000 pieces.

Experts call the lack of mechanics in controlling the device a big advantage — the reliability of work is expressed in the fact that a certain LED is fixed at each point of the device. This means that they will no distorted edgesand the picture will be in high definition.

Read more about LED printers.

LED printing technology

Photo printers

I would like to single out such a type of equipment as photo printers as a separate item. They are found in laser and inkjet interpretations — the latter are considered better for obtaining high-quality and rich photographs.. Home models are usually easy to use and very compact — many of them are quite suitable even for small laboratories. Their technical capabilities are more than worthy:

  • six-color printing;
  • the use of CISS for «inkjet»;
  • stunning resolution of the finished image (parameters reach up to 9600×2400 pixels per inch);
  • good cartridge resource (up to 1000 A4 color pages);
  • The press happens on special paper with a density up to 180 g/inch.

Photo printing

Not without interesting inventions. In the field of photo printers, the following models can be especially distinguished:

  1. iMo Photo frame Printer — This is a printer built into the photo frame. It has a USB port and a card reader. It prints, however, in a small resolution — only 800 * 600, and the pictures themselves do not exceed dimensions of 10 * 15 cm.
  2. Adhere to entertainment concepts and eminent brands — for example, Epson Colorio makes color postcards, on which the face of the customer will be close-up. The photo of the prototype required for this will be taken by the camera located in the device.

See also: which printer to choose for printing photos.

sublimation transfer

Another name for a printer is sublimation. This device has unusual features: it is able to print on surfaces with sufficient density, introducing a solid dye under them. There are several cartridges in the technique: black, color and protective.

The printing process are as follows:

  • the head of the technique will heat and soften the surface (most often, plastic);
  • at this time, paint (more precisely, its gaseous particles) is “injected” at great speed, while the optimal length is selected so that the image on the surface does not fade;
  • if necessary, the next color is applied;
  • the coloring matter is placed in successive lines, as in inkjet technology;
  • The final step is the application of a protective layer.

Read more about sublimation printer.

sublimation printer

3D printers

Today, you will not surprise anyone with a device that is capable of reproducing three-dimensional models from files given by computers. We are talking about 3D printers. To date, they have found worthy use both in domestic and industrial purposes: for example, the creation of medical prostheses or complex parts. A 3D printer can be both laser and inkjet, use polymer or powder materials as consumables, sinter the device or glue them in stages — the embodiment itself is not so important as the possibility of obtaining a three-dimensional layout at the output.
Some of these devices can work wonders. True, a reservation is immediately needed here that such a technique is presented in a single copy. For example, the Italian engineer Enrico Denis presented an innovative development that uses instead of ink magnetic dust and sand. This data is converted by the device into 3D layers. Technique can find worthy application in architecture.
And the Belgian company Unfold presented a 3D printer that uses wet clay. The device is able to create any ceramic objects, which then will only be subjected to drying and firing. There are also edible options for finished products. Products are filled into such Food-devices. The 3D printer will have to use food glue to create a given edible masterpiece.

See also: what are 3D printers.
3D printers

Many features in one device

MFPs, indeed, combine the capabilities of a printer, copier and scanner. Manufacturers produce these devices in two main types — laser and inkjet. To know which one is right for you, you need to have information about the advantages and disadvantages of each of them.
These advantages distinguish laser MFP:

  • the best print quality;
  • a large number of copies in one minute;
  • process automation;
  • Possibility of duplex printing.

Most often, such a device is purchased by those who constantly work with a variety of documents. The main disadvantage is the limited resource of cartridges sold in the kit are designed for 1000-2000 copies.

If duplex printing is required, additional duplex must be installed: very rarely this feature is installed by the manufacturer.

MFP devices
Now about the «inkjet» — the standard model will come with black, blue, yellow and crimson colors. In a more expensive device, there will be more opportunities, and the print is clearer and more saturated. Such an MFP will be able to print color photos and documents. Inkjet MFPs turn out to be twice cheaper than laser ones for testing, but original consumables turn out to be expensive in this case too. However, this significant disadvantage is solved by installing CISS.

See also: how to choose an MFP for the home.

Which printer to choose

Dot matrix printers for office and home use are outdated as a species. Modern models of this type have a specialized purpose, so it makes no sense to consider them in comparison with other types in the context of wide application.

Inkjet printers they print quietly, they can work with plain office paper (but such a printer does not like thick paper). They are widely used, give great opportunities for color printing. However, inkjet printers are slow. In this parameter, they are very close to matrix devices. The next drawback: the rapid consumption of ink, its high cost (replaceable cartridges), as a result, the price of one printed sheet is considerable. At the same time, you must use the device regularly, otherwise the dye will dry out in the cartridges and clog the nozzles.

The next type of printers is laser. They print much faster (laser print speed is about 10-20 ppm, while inkjet printers print up to 10 ppm). In terms of noise level, this type of device is not the best option. But the printing capabilities here are among the best. The laser printer is unpretentious to paper quality. It works with almost all types of «raw materials» from office plain paper or special for laser printing to thermal transfers and tracing paper.

The main disadvantage of a laser printer is its cost. But, if you recalculate the cost of one printed sheet, including the device itself, then the “laser sheet” will come out cheaper than the inkjet one due to the economical consumption of toner.

Laser or LED printer

The principle of operation of these devices is similar. The only difference is that in a laser printer, the image is formed on a light-sensitive drum by a laser beam, in an LED printer, using a line of LEDs.

Advantages of LED Printer:

  • The small size of the device itselfsince LEDs do not have a complex optical system, like a laser.
  • He more reliable. The line of LEDs is motionless, so it cannot mechanically fail in principle. This also makes the print better, as there is no movement error.
  • Environmental friendliness (there is no working off in the form of ozone, unlike the laser).
  • Great print speed and high quality. On an industrial scale, high-quality printing occurs mainly on LED printers.

Disadvantages of LED printers:

  • They are expensive, components and consumables are also expensive. Buying such a printer for home use is not economically justified.
  • Expensive maintenance and repairs. Repair of such devices is technically complex and can only be carried out in the conditions of authorized services. Even the replacement of the cartridge must be in the conditions of service. Spare parts for such printers are difficult to find in free sale.
  • This is a powerful device with its own specifics. It will perfectly cope with the needs of the enterprise, office, photo studio. For the home, this printer is not the best option.

Xerox Phaser 6510DN LED printer suitable for medium office

The advantages of a laser printer make them leaders for everyday «household» use:

  • Cost-effectiveness of consumables and their long service life.
  • High print quality even with heavy workloads.
  • Can work with paper of any quality.
  • Simple and convenient to operate and maintain.

Which is better: printer or MFP

The MFP is, as the name implies, a multifunctional device. It should be chosen by those who often use all the components of this device: printer, scanner and copier. Performed in one building, they will not take up much space, while performing their duties at a decent average level.

The biggest disadvantage follows from the main advantage — the failure of one component often leads to the failure of the entire complex.

If the requirements for the characteristics of a printer, scanner or copier are specific, then it is easier and more rational to choose independent equipment. So you don’t have to overpay for the quality of the component for which the requirements are not high in order to get what you need from another component. If you need a device only for printing, then it is better to stop the choice on the printer.


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