Purchasing a Printer? Understand The Different Types
Are you in the market for the best printer for business in Fairbanks, AK? The team at Arctic Office is here to help you find a printer that will fit your needs and your budget.
One of the first decisions to make is to determine which type of printer technology is right for you. Here’s a brief description of your options:
Flashback: The Dot Matrix Printer
Dot-matrix printers are almost non-existent nowadays, but it’s worth starting with this older technology as a basis for comparison. Dot-matrix printers are impact printers, meaning the text is transferred to paper as pens on the printhead strike a cloth ribbon covered in ink. The pens are small and the resulting printed characters are composed of dots. Dot-matrix printers are noisy and the print quality is not great, but they lasted a long time and were very reliable.
Inkjet printers have replaced dot matrix printers as the most popular home printer. This technology has been around for a while and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Dot matrix and inkjet tech are a bit like cousins. Inkjets also produce an image that’s made up of dots, but these microscopic dots of liquid ink are squeezed out onto the paper from printhead nozzles. Inkjet printers create stunning, photo-quality images and rich colors.
Inkjets are affordable and compact, which explains why they are so popular. Inkjet ink can be pricey, however. Some of the newer models have ink tanks rather than ink cartridges. These machines are more expensive upfront, but the ink is more economical. When pricing out an inkjet, it’s critical to look at both the cost of the machine and the cost and output capacity of the required ink.
Laser printers are by far the most popular printing technology for business. They produce the highest quality text and their simple graphics are phenomenal. Laser technology is totally different from its predecessors. To create a laser printed image, a laser “prints” the image using an electrostatic charge onto a rotating drum. The drum is coated with toner, which only sticks to the laser-charged areas. As the paper feeds through the printer, the toner is transferred to the paper and heated to create a permanent image. The result is a high-quality, durable print.
Laser printers are fast and the prints are immediately dry and won’t smear or smudge like inkjet prints are prone to do. While laser printers are more expensive to purchase upfront, their price per page is competitive, and often lower than, comparable inkjets.
Sublimation printers are a fast-growing trend. These pricey printers print full-color, high-quality images using special sublimation ink onto sublimation transfer paper. Using heat and pressure, that image can then be transferred to another surface such as fabric or ceramics to create a permanent image that won’t crack, peel, or wash away. Unlike vinyl transfers or screen printing that deposit something on top of the item, sublimation images become part of the item; the ink is embedded into the material.
You cannot create sublimated images using an inkjet printer; the process requires a specially designed printer, but if you’re in the business of creating bags, tees, mugs, or other items, these devices produce remarkable results.
Thermal printers are totally different animals from other printers. While the four printers we’ve discussed already create images by depositing ink or toner onto the paper, thermal printers use heat to create an image on special ink-coated paper. Thermal printers are used for printing receipts, labels, and bar codes. They can be very compact and quiet and are often used for pocket-sized photo printing.
LED printers are a new technology that is closely related to laser printers. Rather than using lasers and mirrors, LED lights create the charge on the drum. The advantage is that LED printers have fewer moving parts and are thus more reliable.
Shop Arctic Office Today
Arctic Office has all the printing technology you need, from big machines to small business printers in Fairbanks, AK, and everything in between. We’re here to help you choose the right technology at the right price. Come see us today.