Which printer is right for the job?

If you think about it, print is not going away anytime soon. This could be because there are still people who prefer having a physical document to read and analyze after a long day of looking at screens. At the same time, a message passed on in print is more likely to be remembered than one posted on social media. There are also the board meetings where physical handouts help maintain the group focus as using computers and laptops might get distracting with the pop-ups and email notifications. However, not everyone is familiar with how to use a printer, what to consider when buying one or even the many functionalities that these devices allow. Let’s have a look into this.

Kyocera multifunction printer

 

  1. TYPES OF PRINTERS

The common printer found in most offices and institutions would allow you to print, scan and fax documents from one office to another. Even so, this type of printer is not a commercially reasonable purchase when you are working from home or own a small business that doesn’t have the space to store the bulky machines. At the same time, if you are involved in photography or commercial printing, you would need one that can produce quality documents and pictures. Below is a list of the various types of printers you can find in Kenya.

Each of these printers serves a different purpose based on your preference and the type of print you require. Some are meant for offices while others are for large companies such as newspaper and magazine production, while others are best for printing out photos and posters.

 

  1. TYPES OF PRINTING PAPER

Every print job requires a different type of paper to achieve quality prints. Think of the books you have read, the magazines, the official documents and even the paper that photos get printed on. It can be hard to decide what kind of paper you need and this descriptive list will help you get an idea of what you need.

  • Inkjet Printer Paper – best for business cards, photos, greeting cards and glossy prints
  • Laser Printer paper – best for documents, mailing labels and cheques.
  • Matte paper – it is the most common in the market and is best for daily printing tasks
  • Bright white paper – it is smooth and therefore the best for high-quality presentation prints and also double-sided printing.
  • Glossy paper – it absorbs ink quickly making it suitable for photos over text prints.
  • Card stock paper – it is sturdy which makes it best for business cards, postcards and scrapbooking.
  • Resume paper – it is heavier than other types and gives off an off-white shade. It is used to indicate the document is of high importance.
  1. TYPES OF PRINTING

You already know the types of printers available as well as the different types of paper and their use. But still, how do you know which printer is best for you to budget-wise and in terms of quality. This usually depends on the type of printing you want to achieve. It could be commercial, desktop, lithography or engraving. Let's look at each of these:

  • Desktop printing

This is the common type of printing most people have used, Often desktop printing could be consumer-grade printers to feature loaded office printers that produce thousands of copies in minutes. They include inkjet printers, laser printers and photo printers. To use them you can connect to your computer through a wireless connection or using a cable. They are best suited for one-off projects and small-scale printing. However, they can be expensive especially if you are using one cartridge for all colours.

  • Commercial Digital printing

This type of printing is similar to desktop printing except with more functionalities. You can print photos, postcards, simple documents, business cards and even 3D promotional pieces. Usually, it starts with a digital file which then informs the printer to deposit toner on the paper for your final print. It is both fast and cost-effective as each print can be conducted differently from the previous one.

  • Offset lithography

An offset lithography machine is what has been used in the industrial printing press. In this process, printed images are transferred, from a metal printing plate to a rubber blanket and then rolled onto the printing surface like a stamp. This method produces large volumes of prints with exceptional quality and is best suited for on-going large-scale projects that require the best quality.

  • Engraving

Engraving is one of the oldest printing methods used to date. You may have seen it on wedding or event invitations as well as other formal documents. Engraving uses finely-carved plates of steel or copper to print an image into paper or another surface using extreme pressure. Though uncommon and very slow it is used for top-end quality artwork or fine typography.

 

  1. FEATURES TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A PRINTER

Like most electronic devices, every printer has unique features that enable the user to achieve the best quality of prints depending on the tasks they conduct. That is why it is advisable to have clear goals for the job you need your printer to undertake. Here is a look into the features you should take into consideration before making a printer purchase.

  1. Your budget.

The cost of printers varies widely depending on the brand, functionality and type of printer you require. While it may seem like a good idea to get a new one, there are refurbished ones that can complete the same task for a better price. But beyond the initial buying price, you also have to consider the recurring cost of cartridges and ink replacement you have to do. For these, you can check whether you can get third-party cartridges and even refillable ones. However, always purchase the appropriately approved ink cartridges to avoid future problems.

Types of ink

There are essentially three ink types that are used with printers these include;

  • Two ink cartridges: A black cartridge and an all-in-one colour cartridge.
  • Four ink cartridges: A black cartridge, and three separate cartridges for cyan, magenta, and yellow. This is the CMYK colour model.
  • Inkwells: Instead of using cartridges, the printer draws its ink from large, refillable wells.

From these, the inkwells are the most economical as you don’t need to constantly replace the whole cartridge since they only require you to fill up the wells. Some can even print 14,000 pages before running out of ink. You can also get laser printers that use toner instead of ink, therefore, producing sharper edges on the images or documents.

Kyocera printer toner. Toner is used in laser printers

 

 a. Your budget.

The cost of printers varies widely depending on the brand, functionality and type of printer you require. While it may seem like a good idea to get a new one, there are refurbished ones that can complete the same task for a better price. But beyond the initial buying price, you also have to consider the recurring cost of cartridges and ink replacement you have to do. For these, you can check whether you can get third-party cartridges and even refillable ones. However, always purchase the appropriately approved ink cartridges to avoid future problems.

 b. Types of ink

There are essentially three ink types that are used with printers these include;

  • Two ink cartridges: A black cartridge and an all-in-one colour cartridge.
  • Four ink cartridges: A black cartridge, and three separate cartridges for cyan, magenta, and yellow. This is the CMYK colour model.
  • Inkwells: Instead of using cartridges, the printer draws its ink from large, refillable wells.

From these, the inkwells are the most economical as you don’t need to constantly replace the whole cartridge since they only require you to fill up the wells. Some can even print 14,000 pages before running out of the ink. You can also get laser printers which use toner instead of ink therefore producing sharper edges on the images or documents.

 

Kyocera printer toner. Toner is used in laser printers

 

c. Print quality

Print quality is determined by the dpi(dots per inch) which vary from printer to printer. This variation informs you how accurately a printer can replicate pixels of the source image. While laser printers produce the best quality they are expensive to buy and in terms of recurring toner costs. For home use, inkjet printers are your best bet.

d. Print speed.

This is often determined by the PPM(Pages Per Minute) specification that is indicated on the printer box. Often it relates to the number of black ink pages that a printer can produce. You should make sure that the number fits your requirements as you wouldn’t want to stand around a printer for long periods printing a small number of documents.

e. Wireless connection

Here you have to consider where you will be printing from and how many devices are you going to print from. While all printers come with cables to allow you to connect to computers, some allow Wi-Fi and even Bluetooth connection allowing you to print directly from your phone.

f. Additional features

Apart from the basic functions of a printer, you may need one that can scan, photocopy and fax. You can also find printers that allow photo printing and connectivity to web apps.

g. Desktop, portable or desktop.

In today’s society, portability and ease of access are a top priority for most. That’s why you have to consider this when buying your printer. Compact ones fit in small spaces but may have fewer functions. Desktop printers possess more functionality and also come in different sizes allowing you to choose the best for your business.

 

  1. BEST PRINTERS AVAILABLE IN KENYA

While there are very many brands and companies that make printers, some of which are very similar. Some of the top known brands include Kyocera, HP, Epson, Brother and Canon. Certain brands have proved themselves as the best options over the years. Here are some of those ;

 

With a lot of us working from home since Covid 19 began, having a printer of your own is not an uncommon occurrence. Check out the Dukatech website where you can buy your printer and have it delivered at your convenience.