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Printer - Inkjet Printers
Two technologies dominate the personal printer market: inkjet and laser printers. Of these two technologies, inkjet is the most popular and least expensive.

How Inkjet Printers Work
When a document is sent to the printer, the printer driver translates the text and images into the inkjet printer's language. After the printer receives the information, the controller activates the printer.
The rollers feed the paper into the printer and are positioned at the start of the page. The print head will then begin to move across the page spraying droplets of ink onto the page. As the print head is printing, the motor stops for less than a second to spray multiple dots at a defined area to create all colors.

When the print head reaches the end of the page, the rollers move the paper forward until the full page is printed.

Parts of an Inkjet Printer & How they Work
Buying Guide
If you are looking for a printer that can print school reports and the occasional picture, you can find inexpensive inkjet printers that will meet all your printing needs. If your printing needs are a little more advanced, you can find inkjet printers with added features that will still be less expensive than purchasing a laser printer.

The more features you need and the type of quality you are looking for will add to the cost of the printer; however, you can find a printer with good print quality for under $100.

Advantages
  • Inexpensive
  • The ability to print in color
Disadvantages
  • Slow
  • High maintenance costs
Price Range
  • $50-200

Features to Look For
  • Print Quality
  • When deciding on what inkjet printer is best for your printing needs, don't let price be the deciding factor. Higher prices don't always indicate the best print quality or speed of an inkjet printer.

    Before purchasing a printer, shop around and when you have a specific model in mind, if available, ask to print a test page to see for yourself the printer's print quality.

  • Print Speed
  • Inkjet printer speed is measured by the number of pages the printer can print out in a minute. The cost of any inkjet printer will go up the faster the printer is. The print speed might not be important for many home users but if you are planning to be printing a great deal, a faster printer might be a better option for you.

    When it comes to print speed, most manufacturers determine their print speeds using the simplest text in draft mode, so in most cases print speeds are almost twice the speed you will actually have. Print speed will ultimately be determined by the page complexity, the connection speed, and the printer's memory.

  • Connectivity
  • Before you buy a printer, check what kind of connections your computer supports. Most printers do not come with a printer cable that connects the printer to the computer so you will need to include this cost when budgeting for a new printer.

  • Memory
  • Memory will play an important part in the print speed of your printer. The more memory you have the faster your printer will be.

    Documents that are in queue (waiting to be printed) are sent to the printer's memory. If you are printing emails, word documents and the occasional picture, memory is not and important function. Everyday printing usually doesn't take as much memory. Look for a printer with more built in memory if you are planning to print large text documents and color graphics.

    If your printing demands change, there are printers that you can upgrade with more memory.

  • Print Resolution
  • Print resolution is the maximum number or dots per square inch that can be printed, measured horizontally and vertically. The more dots per inch will give you finer details such as sharper text and cleaner images. Look for an inkjet printer with a resolution of 1200 x1200 dots per inch or higher.

  • Cartridges & Supplies
  • The real cost of an inkjet printer comes from the ongoing cost of buying replacement inkjet cartridges. If you know you will be using one color more than the others, consider an inkjet printer with individual ink cartridges. It will save you money in the long run because you will only need to replace the cartridges you need. With tri-color inkjet cartridges (three colors in one container), you will need to replace the whole cartridge when one color is empty.