New year, new printer! If you’ve been thinking about buying a new printer in 2018, what features are you looking for? The good news is that, these days, there is a home printer to fill every need. In fact, you might think there are too many choices, so let’s explore some of the main features consumers look for.

Method of Printing

What’s the difference between a laser printer and an inkjet printer? Most people buy inkjet printers for the versatility in printing. These printers can do just about anything, from standard black monochrome print to glossy full color photos. Inkjets used to be a lot slower than their laser counterparts, but they’ve improved in speed.

A laser printer is great for an office setting because these printers are best at monochrome printing. If you do a lot of printing, these printers usually provide a lower cost-per-page than their color inkjet counterparts. You can also choose a color laser printer, but these are usually much more expensive and have a higher per-page cost, too. The choice usually comes down to flexibility of the inkjet versus sheer volume output of the laser printer.

Multifunction Vs. Standalone

Your next choice is whether to buy a standalone printer or a multifunction printer that includes scanning and fax capability. Multifunction units are highly recommended because they are very affordable and they save a lot of space. Indeed, most new printers on the market are multifunction all-in-one models.

Before you buy, think of the scanning features you might need, like duplex printing on both sides of the paper, or Automatic Document Feed (ADF). Consider networking, too; most modern printers have Wi-Fi capability.

Ink costs

Many manufacturers sell home printers at a very low price because the consumer then has to purchase the ink cartridges, which can be very costly. Be sure to calculate the volume of pages you will print on a monthly basis and then determine the volume of cartridges you will need. Sometimes it makes sense to purchase a more expensive printer which has a less expensive line of ink cartridge products. Just price compare before you buy.

Many establishments will refill cartridges, which is a very economical option compared to always buying new ones. Just note that most manufacturers have caught on to the refilling, and now manufacture the cartridges so they cannot be refilled. Instead, printer manufacturers now offer ink plans to automatically send you cartridges on a fixed monthly fee basis. Manufacturers are also offering more environmentally-friendly inks as well as cartridge recycling capability.