In 1991, digital printing emerged as a new and much-upgraded printing system. 30 years on, in the year 2021, digital printers are available at a fraction of the cost and size, ready to be used in an instant in your home. In fact, the technology became popular so rapidly, that there are now simply too many options to choose from when it comes to home printing. With so many options to choose from, it is hard to know what features you actually need or what style of printer you want. Let’s take a look at some features of modern printers and which ones may be suitable for your 2021 home printer.
First, you need to figure out what it is you are going to use this printer for as this will likely affect a lot of the decisions throughout this discussion. There is such a wide variety of technology available on the market and many of these printers have different strengths and weaknesses. What do you envisage the majority of your printing will be? Maybe you’re a photography student and want to print out high-quality coursework and photography. Maybe you’re a teacher and will only be printing essays and marking sheets. Or, potentially you think you’ll do a little bit of everything so need a good all-rounder printer. Figure this out first, the rest will follow, and make your decision easier.
So, now you have figured out what it is you’re going to use your printer for, it’s time to consider sizing. There are printers available in every size from portable ‘fit in a backpack’ printers to huge desktop office-style printers. Again, a lot of this comes down to how you plan on using the printer. Let’s first consider portable printers, like the Canon Pixma ip110. This sort of printer produces good levels of quality – though not outstanding – and can be moved around the home or even taken on your travels. These are super popular with people in jobs that require a lot of traveling.
The next size up would be your traditional desktop home printer, such as the HP Deskjet series. With the slight size, the upgrade comes an increase in quality. You will get crisper photographic prints from a desktop printer like this, though the difference in document printing will be negligible. Surprisingly, high-quality compact and desktop printers cost a similar amount, so if the price is the deciding factor, size does not, in fact, matter. Obviously, a printer this size is harder to move. It would be easy enough to store in a cupboard or hide from view, but not light enough to be regularly transporting to another location. Unless you are planning on printing hundreds of times a day, there’s really no need to go any larger than a standard home desktop printer.
Depending on the type of documents you are likely to print, you can decide whether to buy color cartridges for your printer or stick to black. All top brand printers come with the capability of printing color, so the choice is ultimately yours. It is worth looking into the brand’s reputed ink quality, however. Some brands have been known to use lesser-quality ink and get poorer results. This can also occur with a lesser-quality print head. Look at reviews to see which machine gives the most high resolution and accurate ink distribution.
A big thing nowadays is the ability to use your printer without having to drag cables across the room. With a feature like cloud – or wifi – printing, your printer never has to move or create an eyesore of cables in the corner. This is a big selling point for many, and we can totally see why. Pick a printer, like the Canon TR8550 for simple Wi-Fi set up, reliable connectivity, and quality printing.
It’s no longer the case that adding scanning capability to a printer turns it into a huge office-like, ugly machine. Many relatively compact printers, like the HP SmartTank Plus, incorporate scanning capabilities without adding much bulk. In fact, you’d never guess it had a built-in scanner based on looks alone. This, again, may be more useful to certain users than others – for example, a creative designer scanning layers of designs or photographs. But, if you can add scanning capabilities without adding much price, it seems like a no-brainer to us.
The options are quite endless when it comes to printing, but the bottom line is: there’s a printer to suit everyone. Go compact if you need to move a lot, go desktop if you want a slightly higher quality, and go Wi-Fi if you want neat and tidy. If you’re really lucky, you might just find a combination of all three.