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A Complete Guide On Different Types Of Printers

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Printers have become quite common in every office and household because of their versatile functions.

While purchasing a printer, you may come across several types of printers in the market. However, not all of them provide the required functions that you need.

Even if they do, they might be on the expensive end. It is necessary to know about the huge range of models and types for you to choose from.

We bring this article for you to explore the different types of printers. This comprehensive guide will help you learn about the significance of each printing unit.

By the end of this write-up, you will be able to discover what type of printer is right and suitable for your office and home needs. Take a look at the guide below.

Types of Printers

Below are the different types of printers depending on their functionalities and characteristics. These are complex, simple, compact, and sophisticated types that serve your office and home purposes.

  1. Inkjet Printers
  2. Laser Printers
  3. Solid Ink Printers
  4. Super Tank or Ink Tank Printers
  5. LED Printers
  6. 3D Printers
  7. Dot Matrix Printers
  8. A3 Printers
  9. Thermal Printers
  10. Plotter

Let us learn about each type in detail.

1. Inkjet Printers

Inkjet PrintersThe inkjet printers are the most likely seen printers that have been a staple for the past many years. They come in various designs, sizes, and varieties, each designed for a specific need.

These printers are so versatile that they allow you to print a canvas, various paper sizes, etc. The inkjet printers are mostly ideal for office and home printing needs. You can even have black and white printing, colour printing, and photo printing with these printers.

The inkjet printers are inexpensive. However, you need to frequently replace the cartridges that can be expensive in the long run.

Here are the different varieties of inkjet printers available:

  • Single-function Inkjet Printers
  • Multi-function or All-in-one Printers
  • Photo Inkjet Printers

a) Single-function Inkjet Printers

The single-function inkjet printers are the most commonly used home printers.

Construction

As the name says, the single-function inkjets printers are designed exclusively for printing. You cannot fax or scan with these devices.

Characteristic Features

The single-function inkjet printers are capable of handling black and colour printing duties. Additionally, they can also print colour photos.

Ease Of Use

The single-function inkjet printers are very easy to use.

Cost

These printers are very affordable. However, they can use a lot of ink, depending on what you are printing daily.

Ideal For

The single-function inkjet printers are best suitable for everyday printing needs in small offices and at homes.

b) Multi-function or All-in-one Printers

Multi-function inkjet printers are also known as all-in-one printers. They are the most prevalent models of printers available even today.

Construction

Unlike single-function printers, these printers can perform multiple functions like scan, fax, and print.

Characteristic Features

The multi-function inkjet printers come with multi-functional features. These units are available in different variants each with different features and specifications. The price of cartridge and the page yield also differs for various models of these printers.

The multi-function inkjet printers are capable of handling black and colour printing duties. Additionally, they can also print colour photos, colour images, and even texts.

Ease Of Use

The multi-function inkjet printers are easy to use.

Cost

These printers are a little expensive than single-function inkjet printers. The cost of each variant differs depending on the actions they perform, their size, and their features.

Ideal For

The multi-function inkjet printers are best suitable for everyday printing needs in small offices, casual home offices, and at homes.

c) Photo Inkjet Printers

As the name says, these inkjet printers can print quality colour photos.

Design

The multi-function inkjet print helps you print colour photos apart from performing other actions. But the prime difference between these printers and the multi-function units is the finesse in printing. The photo inkjet printers bring life to the photos by adding a little expertise.

Characteristic Features

The photo inkjet printers work exceptionally well with different kinds of photo papers and sizes. They deliver vivid prints with the help of ink cartridges that can be either pigment-based or dye-based, or even both.

The photo inkjet printers are capable of handling black and colour printing duties. Additionally, they can also print colour photos, colour images, and even texts.

Ease Of Use

The photo inkjet printers are easy to use.

Cost

These printers are very little expensive than the single and multi-function inkjet printers. The cost of each variant differs depending on the type of ink cartridge used in them. The combination cartridge type printer costs you more than the other models.

Ideal For

The photo inkjet printers are ideal for professional photographers who need quality prints.

2. Laser Printers

Laser PrintersLaser printers are those types of printers mostly used by businesses. They are known for delivering quality outputs with high-volume printing and efficiency.

The upsides of laser printers are that they are capable of handling larger tasks with great ease. They have low ink costs and are compatible with several connectivity methods. These printing units are available in different sizes and have faster speed print when compared to their inkjet counterparts.

The laser printers are capable of handling black and colour printing duties. Moreover, they are familiar with specialization in monochromatic printing.

Coming to the price, the laser printers are a little expensive than the inkjet printers. However, they come in an affordable price range, including high-quality laser printers.

Here are the different varieties of laser printers available:

  • Colour Laser Printers
  • Monochrome Laser Printers

a) Colour Laser Printers

As the name indicates, the colour laser printers are exclusively for having great colour detail in the prints.

Design

The colour laser printers come exclusively designed for delivering quality photos in documents. They help make the graphics or illustrations in your presentations look great and stand out with vibrant colours.

Characteristic Features

The colour laser printers use four separate toner cartridges in the machines for giving quality outputs. These cartridges include black, yellow, magenta, and cyan.

These laser printers are capable of handling black and colour printing duties.

Ease Of Use

The colour laser printers are easy to use.

Cost

The colour laser printers are available at affordable prices. However, they have higher operational costs because of the expensive cartridge replacements.

Ideal For

The colour laser printers are ideal for businesses with a requirement of colour printer flexibility.

b) Monochrome Laser Printers

Monochrome laser printers are specially for delivering black and white printing duties.

Design

The monochrome laser printers come exclusively designed for delivering quality output for text-based documents. They help make the text in your documents look clear and specific.

Characteristic Features.

Unlike the colour laser printers, the monochrome laser printers use only a single toner cartridge (black) in the machines for giving quality outputs.

These laser printers are capable of printing only black and colour printing duties. These units print at faster speeds.

Ease Of Use

The monochrome laser printers are easy to use.

Cost

The colour laser printers are very affordable. Moreover, they have low operational costs because of the single cartridge replacement.

Ideal For

The colour laser printers are ideal for businesses with a requirement of heavy-duty printing of text-based documents. They are the best bet for printing documents that do not require colour.

Other Types Of Printers

In the above sections, we discussed about inkjet and laser printers. These are the most common type of printers widely used by many businesses. There are other types available apart from the duo.

These different types of printers are ideal for businesses or offices that need prints with extra vibrant colours. You may not find all these printers in every store because of their limited usage. However, they provide you with the best output suitable for your niche projects and requirements.

3. Solid ink printers

Solid ink printersAs the name suggests, these printers use solid ink that is basically wax. The solid ink printers are environmental-friendly printers.

Design

Solid ink printers are known for using ink made from non-toxic vegetable oils. They produce quality prints that have less impact on the environment. These printers use solid ink sticks that melt inside the machine. After melting, the ink gets transferred onto the paper.

Characteristic Features

They deliver quality outputs for documents with extra bright colours. The solid ink printers are available in small and compact sizes. Moreover, they are portable, too.

Solid ink printers usually come with all the mandatory features that you expect from a high-end printing machine. However, they require a cool-down time after the machines finish printing.

Ease Of Use

The solid ink printers are easy to use.

Cost

Solid ink printers are very expensive.

Ideal For

These printers are ideal for businesses that require high-quality glossy prints.

4. Super Tank or Ink Tank Printers 

Ink Tank PrintersThe super tank printers are a perfect alternative to the traditional inkjet printers.

Design

Also known as ink tank printers, these have high-capacity ink tanks that do not need the replacement of cartridges. These are refillable ink tanks that need refilling whenever the ink runs low. For refilling, you just have to use ink bottles to fill the ink tanks.

Characteristic Features

These super tank printers are capable of handling black and colour printing duties.

The ink tank capacity of the super tanks is very high. That said, you can have a high amount of page yield for about 4,500 pages of black printing. Similarly, for colour print outputs, it is about 7,500 pages. All the prints you get in just a single ink bottle.

The high-capacity tank printers are available in different models from popular brands. Besides, they eliminate the need for the replacement of heavy and bulky cartridges. They save your time and also money from replacing.

Ease Of Use

The super tank printers are easy to use and easy to maintain.

Cost

The super tank printers are a little expensive. However, they have lower operational costs.

Ideal For

The super tank printers are ideal for heavy-duty printing needs.

5. LED Printers

LED PrintersThe LED printers are similar to laser printers. However, the technology used inside the machine only differs.

Design

As the name indicates, these printers use light-emitting diodes instead of a laser. While the LED printers use an ink tray of LEDs, their laser counterparts use a laser and mirror.

The LED printers are not as popular as inkjet and laser printers. However, they are slowly gaining popularity because of their unique features.

Characteristic Features

The LED printers come in various sizes and weights. They are environmental-friendly and can print at faster speeds. They even come with warranty expansions.

Ease Of Use

Although the LED printers are very easy to use, they are a little tricky to repair and replace in case of a machine breakdown.

Cost

The LED printers are very inexpensive.

Ideal For

Their small, lightweight, and compact design make them ideal for small offices.

6. 3D Printers

3D PrintersThe 3D printers are not for printing documents or photos. Instead, they produce 3D objects.

Design

The 3D printers help in creating three-dimensional objects and other items using high-quality resins. They produce 3D models of various materials such as plastics, metal alloys, polymers, etc.

Characteristic Features

The 3D printers use a new technology that helps in creating many interesting and colourful shapes. They offer endless possibilities for creating in various industries such as IT, biotechnology, archaeology, aerospace engineering, and others. These printers deliver 3D prints and offer great capacity for customization.

Ease Of Use

The 3D printers are not that easy to use.

Cost

The 3D printers are very expensive. Moreover, the resin costs are also high.

Ideal For

3D printers are ideal for businesses or people to produce creative or innovative products for the household.

7. Dot Matrix Printers

Dot Matrix PrintersDot-matrix printers are the traditional or conventional printers that are not widely seen and used currently.

Design

The dot-matrix printers feature an ink band or ribbon and pin print heads. When the print heads hit the ribbon, it creates patterns of small dots on the paper to form texts and images.

The number of pin print heads used in the dot-matrix is about nine to 24. These pins generate thousands of small dots as patterns on the page to produce the shape of individual characters. The printer with 24 print heads produces better quality characters and results than one with 9 pins.

Characteristic Features

The dot matrix printers are capable of performing in all conditions, including hot and dirty. They can even produce colour output. These printers can print about 100 to 600 characters per second, depending on the model.

Ease Of Use

The dot matrix printers are easy to use and easy to maintain.

Cost

The dot matrix printers have low initial costs and also low maintenance costs.

Ideal For

The dot matrix printers are ideal for industries like shipping firms.

8. A3 Printers

A3 PrintersAs the name suggests, these printers print on A3 paper sheets.

Design

Although the A3 printers are ideal for printing A3 documents, they even accommodate documents of A4 size. They help in creating large-scale photography.

Characteristic Features

The A3 printers are available in both inkjet and laser technology. They deliver outputs with a larger print size. However, they require more space than the other printers.

Ease Of Use

The A3 printers are easy to use.

Cost

The A3 printers are very expensive.

Ideal For

These printers are ideal for businesses that require printing A3 documents.

9. Thermal Printers

Thermal PrintersThermal printers use thermochromic paper for producing prints.

Design

They feature heated pins to produce the picture on paper. They are also known as thermal transfer printers.

Characteristic Features

The thermal printers are available in various types from different brands. The paper type, size, and printing medium used in these machines vary from model to model.

Ease Of Use

The thermal printers are familiar for their ease of use.

Cost

These printers are inexpensive.

Ideal For

Thermal printers are ideal for businesses and various industries like retail, food service, etc.

10. Plotter

PlotterPlotters are nothing but a large type of format printer.

Design

Unlike the ink or toner printers, the plotter uses writing tools like pencil, pen, marker, and others to create vector designs.

Characteristic Features

The plotters can print the vector graphics on other surfaces like cardboards, fabrics, etc. They can print relatively large graphics. However, they require more space than the other printers.

Ease Of Use

The plotters are easy to use.

Cost

The plotters are quite expensive.

Ideal For

The plotters are ideal for printing large graphics.

Other Types Of Printers Based On Printing Speed

Based on the speed of printing, you can categorize printers into the following:

Serial Printers

The serial printers have their speed in characters per second. They can print hundreds of characters one-by-one in one second.

Line Printers

The line printers print characters in line and have their speed in lines per minute. They can print several thousands of lines in a single minute.

Page Printers

The page printers contain one-page buffer memories that can be single or multiple. They can print more than 50,000 lines per minute.

Conclusion:

To conclude, inkjet printers are perfect for printing high-quality photo printing. If your business indulges in heavy-duty printing, then laser printers are the best. Similarly, if printing quality is your basic requirement, opt for a LED printer or a dot matrix printer.

It is up to you to choose the right type of printer based on the type of application you want to print. With all the information provided in this article, opting for the best printer suitable for your printing needs will no longer be an overwhelming task.

Let us know in the comments section below what will you choose and why. Do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or need more information on printers. We will answer all your queries at the earliest.

Do share your feedback in the comments by letting us know if we missed out on any points. Please feel free to add your inputs to this article. We welcome your suggestions.

Stay healthy and stay safe!!!

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